A Year in Recap: Celebrating this years milestones

Avalonia UI's remarkable growth in 2023: community expansion, company growth, product advancements, ecosystem expansion, industry recognition, and continued momentum into 2024.

Mike James

As we bid farewell to 2023 and embark on a new year filled with possibilities, Avalonia stands at the forefront of the .NET UI technology, marking a remarkable year of growth, innovation, and community engagement. This year has been a testament to our unyielding commitment to fostering a thriving cross-platform development ecosystem and empowering developers to create exceptional user experiences across diverse platforms.

This post will look back at some of the significant developers over the last 12 months. It is a bit more extensive than our usual updates but not quite in the league of a Stephen Toub masterpiece. We hope it helps you understand how much work has gone into improving Avalonia. 

Community Growth

The community has experienced unprecedented growth this year, a testament to the platform's rising appeal. This surge in interest has pushed Avalonia to become the most popular client UI technology in the .NET ecosystem, as reflected by our GitHub stars. 

The figures speak volumes about Avalonia's expanding influence. Since its release, version 11 has been downloaded an astonishing 387,271 times in just six months. The total package downloads are now nearing a remarkable milestone of 35 million, underscoring the widespread adoption of Avalonia. 

This year has been particularly notable for the adoption of Avalonia by an array of leading enterprises. We've seen its implementation in high-performance and critical environments, such as Formula 1 racing teams, renowned airlines, and major financial institutions. Avalonia has emerged as the go-to choice in realms where performance, stability, and reliability are paramount. These adoptions underscore our commitment to delivering a cross-platform UI framework that not only meets but exceeds the rigorous demands of complex, real-world applications. 

Beyond the remarkable download numbers, Avalonia's digital footprint has grown substantially this year. Our website has attracted nearly one million unique visitors, an indication of the increasing interest and engagement we see! Additionally, our presence on social media has expanded significantly, with a notable increase in followers. 

This year, we proudly introduced a significant new initiative within our community - the Avalonia Most Valuable Players (MVPs) program. This program is designed to recognise and celebrate the exceptional individuals who have shown extraordinary dedication and skill in enhancing the cross-platform UI development landscape. The MVP award, a prestigious accolade, was bestowed for the first time this year, highlighting those who have excelled in various capacities: from authoring insightful articles and maintaining essential UI controls to fostering community engagement through meetups, conferences, and online platforms.

Looking ahead, we are excited to continue this tradition by regularly recognising and awarding MVP status to outstanding community members. We encourage our community members to strive for excellence, as there will be many more opportunities to earn the Avalonia MVP title for significant contributions to the cross-platform developer community.

Expanding Our Horizons: Company Growth

In line with our achievements this year, the team of full-time Avalonia developers has seen a notable expansion, nearly doubling in size. This growth has brought an eclectic mix of highly skilled professionals, each dedicated to propelling Avalonia's vision forward. As we look to 2024, we aim to maintain this momentum and are eager to announce more roles. For those passionate about shaping the future of .NET UI frameworks, our careers page will be your go-to resource for new opportunities.

If you want to delve deeper into our commitment to fostering a sustainable OSS project, we invite you to read our recent blog post. Here, we've laid out the challenges we face and the strategic approaches we're employing to overcome them, offering an insight into the core of Avalonia's ethos and operations.

Avalonia v11: Time for something new!

The release of Avalonia UI v11 marked a significant milestone in the evolution of Avalonia. One of the most notable advancements in v11 was the introduction of support for iOS, Android, and WebAssembly (WASM), a leap forward in our commitment to cross-platform compatibility. v11 encapsulates our vision of a unified development experience, where the boundaries between different operating systems and platforms blur, giving developers the freedom to create without constraints.

Beyond platform expansion, v11 was refined and optimised to enhance performance. The new compositional renderer has helped make Avalonia the fastest cross-platform UI technology in the .NET ecosystem! 

Ecosystem Development: Strategic Collaborations

The growth and evolution of Avalonia's ecosystem this year have been nothing short of outstanding. We've had the honour of collaborating with leading pro-control vendors, including Actipro, DotNetBrowser, and Stimulsoft, reflecting a growing commercial interest in Avalonia, previously focused on other Microsoft UI toolkits like WPF, Xamarin and MAUI.

The significance of the ecosystem development for technologies like Avalonia cannot be overstated. In a landscape where the success and sustainability of technology are intrinsically linked to the ecosystem it exists within, our progress has been inspiring. We understand that we cannot provide every solution; hence, having partners who can fill the gaps is invaluable. This collaborative approach enriches our platform and empowers developers to explore and create with greater freedom and flexibility.

Innovations: Avalonia XPF and Hybrid XPF

The journey of Avalonia XPF over the past 18 months has been extraordinary. We've accomplished what many thought was impossible: transforming WPF into a cross-platform framework. This feat, achieved by a small team, directly challenges the narrative set by Microsoft. It demonstrates what passion, skill, and determination can achieve.

A key feature of Avalonia XPF is its API and binary compatibility with WPF, enabling existing WPF UI controls from renowned vendors like Telerik, DevExpress, Syncfusion, and Actipro to work seamlessly on macOS and Linux with no need for modifications. This is revolutionary, offering unprecedented convenience for developers looking to take their WPF apps to new platforms. 

Complementing Avalonia XPF is Hybrid XPF, a version of Avalonia XPF tailored for Avalonia developers. It enables Avalonia developers to use over 700 compatible WPF controls within their Avalonia apps on all supported platforms. This game-changer provides Avalonia developers access to a vast library of pro controls!

Elevating Visibility with more events 

This year has seen an increase in active participation in various prestigious events. We've had the opportunity to showcase Avalonia at Wilderness Labs DevCamp in Seattle, JetBrains .NET Day, and the highly esteemed .NET Conf. These opportunities have been instrumental in elevating Avalonia's presence within the .NET community, allowing us to engage with and inspire a broader audience.

Our involvement in these events underscores our commitment to raising awareness and demonstrating the potential of Avalonia. We're thrilled about the increasing number of avenues to share our work and connect with the community. 

A highlight of our event participation was our collaboration with UXDivers for the .NET Conf session. This partnership culminated in the creation of the "Ambient Weather Demo," a showcase of the power and sophistication of Avalonia UI. This application, designed to display weather data in a visually stunning manner, is not just a demo but a piece of art. It stands as the most beautiful Avalonia sample app ever created. If you'd like to receive a copy of the code, then you can sign up here

Exploring New Frontiers

We've been exploring and expanding into new platforms, with our most prominent exploration to demo support for Apple's new vision platform. We were extremely pleased to be the first and only .NET UI technology to demonstrate this capability! This groundbreaking development is particularly exciting for those with experience developing for platforms like HoloLens, and we eagerly anticipate further progress in 2024.

In addition to visionOS, we've seen significant strides in community-driven initiatives, with the development of support for Samsung Tizen and Apple's tvOS. These ventures highlight Avalonia's versatility and growing appeal across various platforms and devices. It's a testament to our community's ingenuity that Avalonia continues to add new platforms at such speed. 

A pivotal development this year has been the development of Avalonia.Bionic, an innovative approach to building Android apps. Designed in response to the demand for higher performance, particularly in embedded Android systems and low-powered devices, Avalonia.Bionic has the potential to change the performance of .NET apps on Android drastically. Boasting more than 3x the startup speed compared to traditional .NET Android (formerly Xamarin.Android & MonoDroid) versions, it illustrates our commitment to addressing the performance challenges faced by developers unsatisfied with other .NET UI technologies. 

Empowering Developers: New Tools and Extensions

The launch of our new extensions for both Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code marks a significant step in empowering developers to build Avalonia applications more efficiently and intuitively. 

Visual Studio Code Extension: Elevating XAML Development

Our Visual Studio Code extension, a highly anticipated addition to our IDE tooling, brings sophisticated features like XAML code completion and a live XAML Previewer. Featured on the Visual Studio marketplace, this extension has garnered positive feedback, predominantly earning 5-star reviews from its users. In just a few months since its release, it has been downloaded over 6.6k times, reflecting its popularity.

Visual Studio Template Studio: Streamlining Project Creation

Our Visual Studio Template Studio extension, launched to simplify creating new Avalonia projects, has been another critical addition to our developer tools. Since its release in June, the extension has seen over 2.9k downloads, underscoring its utility. We have many plans to continue to improve our Visual Studio tooling, and the Template Studio was just the beginning. 

Revamped Documentation

In line with our unwavering commitment to education and support, 2023 has seen a significant overhaul of the Avalonia UI documentation portal, revamped to coincide with the release of v11. This comprehensive improvement extends beyond mere aesthetic updates; it includes plenty of additional content.

Transitioning from GitBook, this ambitious project was undertaken with the aim of providing a more intuitive and user-friendly experience. Recognising the diversity of our global community, we've taken a significant stride in inclusivity by adding Chinese and Russian translations to our documentation, with more languages planned for next year. 

While we are proud of our progress, we acknowledge that the journey to perfect our documentation is ongoing. Much work remains to be done in refining, expanding, and updating our content to ensure it meets the evolving needs of our users. We are committed to this continuous improvement, driven by feedback from our community and our aspirations for excellence.

Looking Forward

As we look to 2024, our focus is on two themes: enablement and productivity. These themes are at the heart of our commitment to enriching the developer experience and fostering a more robust Avalonia community.

Developing Community-Centric Products

In pursuing these goals, we are excited to share that we are developing our first products tailored specifically for the Avalonia community. These are designed with a singular aim: to enhance the productivity of developers building with Avalonia. By providing tools and solutions that directly address the needs of our community, we aim to streamline workflows, simplify complex tasks, and open new avenues for generating the revenue needed to continue developing Avalonia. 

Launching a Partner Program

A key initiative for the upcoming year is establishing a partner program. This program is designed to connect enterprises with trusted and vetted Avalonia development experts. By creating this network, we aim to provide a reliable source for high-quality Avalonia development services, ensuring that those who choose Avalonia have access to the best resources and support.

Embracing the Excitement of the Future

The excitement for 2024 and beyond is palpable within our team and community. We are optimistic that the growth and progress witnessed in 2023 are just the beginning of an even more dynamic and innovative phase for Avalonia UI.

In closing, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to our community – developers, contributors, partners, and enthusiasts, for your unwavering interest and support. It is your engagement and feedback that drive us to push boundaries and continue improving. Thank you for being an integral part of this journey, and we eagerly look forward to what we will achieve together in the years ahead.