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WPF on Mono? It is a matter of funding.

by Jonathan Allen on Mar 22, 2011 |

Miguel de Icaza, founder of the Mono project, says that support for Windows Presentation Foundation on Mono is possible, but would require funding for 15 to 20 developers over a period of two to three years. As an alternative he proposes using other toolkits, but they too need community support.

The first option he mentions is the use of Gtk# across Windows, OS X, and Linux.

For those who can afford to split their UI, Miguel recommends using the native toolkits for each platform. That means WPF on Windows, MonoMac on OS X, and Gtk# on Linux. Though he didn’t mention it, there is also MonoTouch for iPhone and MonoDroid for the Android platform. This would probably result in the best user experience.

A third option for those who can afford to ignore the mobile platforms is WinForms. Unfortunately Microsoft has essentially abandoned it and Mono is not actively working on it either.

Long term there are several more interesting options, but each of which would require significant community involvement to bring to fruition.

Monomac.Winforms: assist the effort to have a Winforms look-alike API that happens to be based entirely on MonoMac and provides a native experience at the expense of dropping compatibility with some Winforms features.

Create an SWT-like toolkit, like Eclipse did for Java, but this time for .NET. Mapping UI components to Cocoa, Gtk+ or WPF depending on the platform.

Use Silverlight on Windows. And then use a modified version of Moonlight on Linux (and assist porting Moonlight to Mac) to get enough support to integrate with the native OS (menus, file dialogs, file system access) and to access and embed OpenGL in their applications.

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Nice by N T

It would be really nice for this to be done. WPF is a very pretty UI. I hope they do it. It's probably the number 1 gripe for thick client developers looking at Mono.

The situation is unclear everywhere by Stefan Wenig

There's been a lot of talk about UI directions in .NET recently. Some say that MS essentially goes the HTML way in the long run. WPF is supported, but not under a lot of active development it seems. Silverlight's original goals have been dismissed (HTML5 turned out to become the Flash killer), and nobody knows how long MS is willing to fund active development for LOB apps.

If MS would give us a straight story, I'm sure it would be easier for Mono to follow. Why not make Silverlight a real subset of WPF, eventually? And make it run on the desktop CLR? Mono has that, and it would make a great cross-platform solution.

Re: The situation is unclear everywhere by Rod Hughes

Why not make Silverlight a real subset of WPF, eventually? And make it run on the desktop CLR?

Like XBAP?

Re: The situation is unclear everywhere by Stefan Wenig

No, like Mono's standalone Silverlight apps: tirania.org/blog/archive/2008/Apr-17.html

XBAP is just a way to deploy WPF apps via the browser.

Re: The situation is unclear everywhere by Rod Hughes

What do you see as the advantage of Silverlight running on the client .NET framework vs. having WPF & XBAP?

Re: The situation is unclear everywhere by Stefan Wenig

In the context of this article: it would run on Mono. It would also be possible to share UI code between SL and Desktop CLR.

Re: The situation is unclear everywhere by Rod Hughes

I suppose the issue would be losing the ability to use it for the Windows Phone platform.

Re: The situation is unclear everywhere by Stefan Wenig

I don't see why that would be lost.

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