Microsoft has released Windows Community Toolkit 8.0, introducing a range of enhancements and new features. The update is a result of the collective efforts and contributions of the developer community, according to Microsoft.
Part of the .NET Foundation, the Windows Community Toolkit offers a collection of controls for WinUI 2, WinUI 3, and Uno Platform developers. It aids developers in creating experiences for Windows 10 and 11 using .NET. It provides extensions and controls for dev's. The idea is to give creators an easier way to access developer tasks when building .NET and UWP apps for Windows 11 and Windows 10.
According to the release notes, the Toolkit has undergone a comprehensive restructuring in its construction and publication. Michael Hawker highlighted the challenges faced after the 7.x versions for WinUI 3 and the WindowsAppSDK were released. The team recognized the need for a more streamlined approach. As a result, they revamped the toolkit's structure, enabling them to target multiple platforms from a single codebase.
New Package Structure
Microsoft has made significant changes in the Toolkit's namespace and package structures with version 8.0. The primary advantage of this restructuring is to facilitate developers in migrating code written on 8.0 across multiple platforms without altering their source. All namespaces within the packages have now been unified under the root of CommunityToolkit.WinUI.. This ensures seamless code referencing across different platforms.
According to Microsoft, while the Toolkit has expanded over the past seven years, not all features could be transitioned in this update. Some features might not be available across all platforms due to certain limitations. The release notes provide a list of features not included in this release, such as AdaptiveGridView, DataGrid, and DropShadowPanel.
Developers are advised to familiarize themselves with the breaking changes and migration notes. Microsoft provides detailed guidance on migrating from the 7.x versions to the new 8.0 version, emphasizing the changes in package names and namespaces.
New Features and Updates
The Toolkit Gallery app has been revamped, showcasing a modern design that integrates samples and documentation on a single page. New controls have been introduced, including the Segmented control, SettingsCard, SettingsExpander, and StackedNotificationsBehavior. Existing controls have also received style updates to align with WinUI standards, Microsoft says.
Microsoft encourages developers to get involved with the Toolkit through the Windows Community Toolkit Labs. This platform serves as an incubation space for new ideas, allowing the community to experiment, provide feedback, and contribute to the Toolkit's growth. Microsoft provides various channels for engagement, including discussions on GitHub, Discord, and social media platforms.