[Mono-dev] Mono-devel-list Digest, Vol 96, Issue 26

Jonathan Pryor jonpryor at vt.edu
Fri Apr 26 16:49:04 UTC 2013

On Apr 26, 2013, at 11:01 AM, James Bellinger <james at illusorystudios.com> wrote:
> This really suggests "WinForms ought to be made to look better on other platforms" instead of diffusing the needed effort to end users and forcing them to maintain more code.

Arguably true, except:

1. Nobody has stepped up to maintain it.
2. Nobody wants to maintain it (implication of (1)).
3. The company that _was_ maintaining it (Novell/AttachMate) is not doing so anymore.
4. Xamarin has no interest in maintaing it.

From the (unofficial!) Xamarin perspective, the best _end-user_ experience is native UI code, using the native frameworks, hence MonoTouch.UIKit on iOS, Android.Widgets on Android, MonoMac.* on OS X, System.Windows.* on Windows, Gtk# on Linux, etc.

There is no sane way for a single UI framework to support all those diverse form factors and conventions. It's been tried -- GTK+, Qt, Java/AWT, Java/Swing, Java/SWT, wxWidgets, etc. Hell, at one point MFC supported MacOS (or my mind is playing tricks on me; Google can't verify that!).

At some point you have to bow to history and admit that one UI framework can't rule everything, not for great user experiences.

Sanely supporting multiple front-ends "just" requires designing your app in a UI-anostic fashion (MVC/MVVM/etc.) as opposed to tying your business code willy-nilly into your UI code (which is apparently very common with lots of GUI code).

 - Jon

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