How to Create Control Libraries

Uno Platform, like WinUI/WinAppSDK and UWP, supports Control Libraries. Control Libraries are a way to reuse UI components across multiple projects, either inside the solution or by using NuGet to distribute to other projects.

Creating such a library will make UI Controls compatible with all Uno Platform targets as well as WinUI or UWP.

Note

Control libraries are different from "normal" libraries as they reference WinAppSDK, Uno.WinUI or Uno.UI. Those libraries are special because they have explicit dependencies on platform-specific features. "Normal" libraries (e.g. Newtonsoft.Json) do not need any special treatment to work with Uno.

You can find the full ControlLibrary sample code for this how-to in our samples repository.

Create a Control Library

  1. In your solution, create a new Uno Platform Library, name it XamlControlLibrary
  2. In your app's existing Class Library project, add a reference to your new library.

Create the Control

  1. Right-click on the project library, then Add, New Item

  2. In the Uno Platform section of C# Items, select Templated Control, name it MyTemplatedControl

    Tip

    Choose the template flavor based on your library's flavor: UWP or WinUI. If your project uses the Uno.UI NuGet package, it's UWP otherwise Windows App SDK if it uses Uno.WinUI.

  3. Right click on the project library again, then Add, New Folder, call it Themes (case sentitive)

  4. Right click on the Generic folder, then Add, New Item

  5. In the Uno Platform section of C# Items, select Resource Dictionary, name it Generic.xaml (case sensitive)

  6. In the new created file, paste the following:

    <ResourceDictionary
     xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
     xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
     xmlns:local="using:XamlControlLibrary">
    
         <Style TargetType="local:MyTemplatedControl">
             <Setter Property="Template">
                 <Setter.Value>
                     <ControlTemplate TargetType="local:MyTemplatedControl">
                         <Grid>
                             <TextBlock Text="My templated control !" />
                         </Grid>
                     </ControlTemplate>
                 </Setter.Value>
             </Setter>
         </Style>
    
     </ResourceDictionary>
    

Use the control

  1. In your application's MainPage.xaml, add the following namespace xmlns:myControlLib="using:XamlControlLibrary" in the Page element

  2. Add the following code somewhere in the page:

    <myControlLib:MyTemplatedControl />
    

Moving the control style in a separate resource dictionary

Placing XAML styles in different files can be useful to make the XAML more readable and easier to browse.

Considering the example above:

  1. Right click on the project library again, then Add, New Folder, call it Styles (case sentitive)

  2. Right click on the Styles folder, then Add, New Item

  3. In the Uno Platform section of C# Items, select Resource Dictionary, name it MyControlStyles.xaml (case sensitive)

  4. Move the contents of the Generic.xaml file into MyControlStyles.xaml to be:

    <ResourceDictionary
        xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
        xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
        xmlns:local="using:XamlControlLibrary">
    
        <Style TargetType="local:MyTemplatedControl">
            <Setter Property="Template">
                <Setter.Value>
                    <ControlTemplate TargetType="local:MyTemplatedControl">
                        <Grid>
                            <TextBlock Text="My templated control !" />
                        </Grid>
                    </ControlTemplate>
                </Setter.Value>
            </Setter>
        </Style>
    
    </ResourceDictionary>
    
  5. Finally, change the Generic.xaml file contents to be:

    <ResourceDictionary xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation">
        <ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
            <ResourceDictionary Source="ms-appx:///XamlControlLibrary/Styles/MyControlStyles.xaml" />
        </ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
    </ResourceDictionary>
    
    Note

    The path to MyControlStyles.xaml in Generic.xaml is containing the current project's assembly name. If you rename your project, you'll also need to change the path in the Generic.xaml file.

Library assets

WinUI 3 and Uno Platform (4.6 and later) Libraries support the inclusion of content assets to be used with StorageFile.GetFileFromApplicationUriAsync, as well as with the ms-appx:///[libraryname]/[assetname_file_name] format.

Important

When using library assets with non-WinAppSDK targets, the library name should also be lower cased.

Library assets can be of any type.

Library assets are supported in two configurations:

  • ProjectReference, where the library project is included in the solution with the application that uses it
  • PackageReference, where the library project is being packaged as a NuGet package, and used in a separate solution, from a NuGet feed.

In both cases, for the build system to include the assets files, the following property must be set in the library's .csproj:

<PropertyGroup>
    <GenerateLibraryLayout>true</GenerateLibraryLayout>
</PropertyGroup>
Important

WinAppSDK does not support assets if the application is using the MSIX package mode. To use the unpackaged mode, see this article.