Thursday, December 02, 2021

UnoConf (2021) - Quick reactions

UnoConf happened earlier this week.

UNO Conf 2021
If you missed it, you can watch it online.

There were some big announcements, including the launch of version 4.0. You can learn more from the video or read more in their official blog.

Rather than repeat what you can read elsewhere, I thought I'd share my initial reactions:

  • As with UnoConf announcements in past years, it's impressive how much new functionality and how many new features have been added.
  • It's exciting to see a push beyond just porting existing UWP/WinUI controls and adding new controls (as part of their new toolkit.) [Some of these look like they make some of the steps in the book redundant--and I'd like to find the time to investigate this.]
  • It's exciting to see the Uno Platform team do things that push the wider ecosystem forward and provide broader functionality that Microsoft hasn't created yet. (Even though many assume that Microsoft should have.)
  • It's also exciting that the team is trying to improve the way developers work by introducing their own framework. Hopefully, this will enable some developers to work more effectively and not confuse things. It'll be interesting to see how the message of "you can do and use everything you do on Windows and have it run everywhere" balances with a message that suggests "Uno Platform has their own way of writing code."
  • It was sad to see the continued lack of clarity about the terms UWP, WinUI, & WindowsAppSDK. I know this is a problem caused by Microsoft and not the Uno Platform team. Still, by saying they're using WindowsAppSDK 1.0 and .NET 6, someone could easily be confused that they're still using UWP to build the Windows version of apps and have not yet switched to using WinUI3 (because they can't.)
  • I also got the impression that there's a stronger push to encourage people to see the Uno Platform as an option when just building for the web. If this becomes a popular solution, it will definitely be good for the growth and adoption of the platform as web development is such a big market.
  • While it's clear that adoption and usage are growing, there is still a lack of large apps that have been shipped (and can be talked about publicly as examples of what's possible). That the customer demos and testimonials from the event showed apps in progress or that are shortly to be released didn't help address this concern. Better than showing no customers, though.
  • That 3rd party control vendors used the conference to (re?)confirm their commitment to the platform was also good. But, I got the impression they're waiting to see more platform usage (& their controls) before committing more heavily.

All in all, very positive, although there are a few things I'm cautious about. 

I'm keen to try some of this out and hear the broader feedback once more people have started using v4.0.

What are your thoughts from the conference?


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