Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cross-Platform Portable Class Libraries with .NET are Happening

Portable Class Libraries are the Happy Little Feature that Could. They've been chugging along, doing their thing, and it's getting to the point where they are going to pop. That's pop in a good way.

If you're not writing .NET apps for more than one target, then you likely haven't bumped into them. However for those people who are writing .NET and want it to run on everything from Watches to Phones to Tablets to Xboxen to Desktops to the Cloud, they are enjoying what PCLs can offer.

There's still a few technical and legal challenges but I'm confident they'll be dealt with and we'll be able to create great binary libraries that can be used everywhere.

There's been a bunch of recent activity in the .NET community around Portable Class Libraries and cross platform .NET.  Overall, Portable Class Libraries are starting to see wider adoption, more open source libraries are being released with portable support, and the MVVM pattern is proving to be a great way to maximize code sharing in cross platform apps.


First of all, there have been a bunch of new libraries released as PCLs recently.  Three of them are from GitHub's own Paul Betts:

  • Reactive UI – Reactive UI is an MVVM framework built on top of the Reactive Extensions.  Version 5.0 was released last week, which is "totally Portable-Friendly", and supports the following platforms:
    • Xamarin.iOS
    • Xamarin.Android
    • Xamarin.Mac
    • .NET 4.5 (WPF)
    • Windows Phone 8
    • Windows Store Apps (WinRT)

  • Akavache - An asynchronous, persistent key-value store.  Version 3.0, which includes PCL support, was also released last week, and now "nearly all of your serialization and network access layer can be cross-platform." Akavache supports the same set of platforms as Reactive UI. This is a really amazing piece of software that deserves its own blog post. I'll do one soon.

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