Colombo Xamarin Meetup – June 2017 -[Session 2] – Xamarin Forms Rich UI Controls – By : Buddhima Kudagama

Session 2 : Xamarin Forms Rich UI Controls

Hi Guys, This is our 8th Meetup of Colombo Xamarin Meetup group. I’m happy to say you that we have successfully done our meetup on 29th June 2017 in CMS , Colombo with two sessions.

I have done the 2nd session about Xamarin Forms Rich User interface controls with a demo and this article is about my session.

https://www.meetup.com/Colombo-Xamarin-Meetup/events/241017250/

 

Slide1.PNG

Image 1 : Colombo Xamarin Meetup

Click below link to Download the Slide of Session 2 –

[Xamarin forms Rich UI Controls] : Meetup20170629.Buddhima.ppt

You can have the sample App here…

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2gY_8MAQPWnQnZERi03Y0hENk0

What are the the rich UI controls available for Xamarin forms ?

I found some third party controls which are available for xamarin forms and xamarin native development and here are some main providers and their controls…

Slide3.PNG

Image 2 : Rich UI control providers

Syncfusion – https://www.syncfusion.com/products/xamarin

Infragistics – https://www.infragistics.com/products/xamarin

Telerik – http://www.telerik.com/xamarin-ui

DevExpress – https://www.devexpress.com/products/xamarin/

First of All you should have a idea about Layouts, Pages, Views and Controls in Xamain Forms Mobile applications..

So Please Use these reference to learn them…

https://developer.xamarin.com/guides/xamarin-forms/user-interface/controls/pages/

https://developer.xamarin.com/guides/xamarin-forms/user-interface/controls/layouts/

How to Design the User Interface(UI) in Xamarin Forms ?

There are two main methods :

  1. Design using XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language)
  2. using C# code in code behind

but you can design the UI using both of them…

What’s going to do ?

Syncfusion is better to develop Xamarin apps because of …

syncfusion.png

  • It gives a community license
  • and It has large number of controls than other third-party control providers.
  • Its very flexible to use
  • Good customer support etc.

How to Get the Free Community License ?

To get the community licence, go to..

https://www.syncfusion.com/products/xamarin

https://www.syncfusion.com/products/communitylicense

When you claim the license by registering with syncfusion , they will send you the licence code for the product and you have to use it in the installation of the package…

How to Get the Syncfusion Packages to the Application ?

There are two methods to get the packages..

  1. Get using NuGet
  2. Direct Download using web site

You can follow the user guide to see how to download and Install the package in both of above methods..

Click here to see the user guide for download and installation …

https://help.syncfusion.com/xamarin/introduction/download-and-installation

How to Download Syncfusion Xamarin from Nu Get ?

In Visual Studio go to …

  1. Tools -> Options -> NuGet Package Manager -> Package Sources. By default You can see default NuGet packages are there.
0. default packages.jpg

Image 3 : Add new packages to NuGet Gallery

  1. To Add Syncfusion packages, Click Add Button in the top Right side..
  2. Then Copy and paste below URL in the bottom of the window like following image..

http://nuget.syncfusion.com/nuget_xamarin/nuget/getsyncfusionpackages/xamarin

When you add the name and source, Click “Update” and then Click “OK

1. add nuget.jpg

Image 4 : Add Syncfusion Packages to NuGet Gallery

Now you can search the Syncfusion controls in the NuGet Package manager in Visual Studio..

Now right Click on the Solution -> Manage NuGet Packages for Solution -> you will see the Package Manager dialogue like below and you will see the Syncfusion packages has been added in package sources drop down list..

2 sf in pkg mgr.jpg

Image 5 : Select Syncfusion Packages

Click on Syncfusion Packages and then the syncfusion packages will be loaded to the list.

3 packages will be loaded.jpg

Image 6 : Search NuGet packages

Syncfusion Controls for Xamarin

There are many useful controls for Xamarin has been provided by Syncfusion and I have added them to my power point Slide and please see to to get them..

You can see them here in their website..

https://www.syncfusion.com/products/xamarin/chart

and their user guide..

https://help.syncfusion.com/xamarin/sfbusyindicator/animationtype

How to Manage References/Dependencies of Controls in a Xamarin Forms App ?

Here I have taken he dependencies for Syncfusion chart to explain how the dependencies need to be added to the solution.

4 references.jpg

Image 7 : Dependencies

I have highlighted Syncfusion.SfChart.XForms.dll in Green color here and It has been added to all projects in the solution. The reason is the dll contains the common xamarin forms features and behaviors of Chart controls for all projects. So it should be added to all.

And in Yellow color, I have highlighted the platform specific dll(class library) files that we have to be added to native projects.

The best practice is follow the Syncfusion user guide when adding dependencies to any of their controls.

You can have the List of dependencies here…

https://help.syncfusion.com/xamarin/introduction/control-dependencies

You have to take care of dependencies when you are adding the references manually to your projects.

But when you are adding any controls from NuGet, it automatically installed the necessary dependencies itself.

Lets Develop a Demo App

In the session I did show you how to add Syncfusion Auto Complete Control and how to customize it.

Now lets do from the scratch.. !

Lets add dependencies to the project..

I’m using Visual Studio 2017 for the demo and OS is Windows 10.

Open Visual Studio and Go to File -> New -> New Project

Select Cross-platform in the right side of the window and select Cross Platform app (Xamarin) in Left side which shows project templates..

Then Give a Name to the app. I’ll give “DemoApp” as the Name. and Click “OK”

6 Create project.jpg

Image 8 : Select Project type to create

Now you will see another window to Select the Project Template, UI technology and code sharing strategy.

I’ll select Blank app as Template, Xamarin forms as UI technology and PCL(Portable class library) as code sharing technology for my demo.

7 select type of ui.jpg

Image 9 : Select Template

Now the project will be created and you will see it like below… The project consists of PCL, Android, iOS and a UWP project.

8 default project.jpg

Image 10 : Created Solution with projects

Then I’ll add here three folders to separate Models, View Models and Views and then the project will be like below.

5 create project.jpg

Image 11 : Model, View and ViewModel folders Create

Now Lets Install the dependencies for Syncfusion Auto Complete Control (SfAutoComplete).

SfAutoComplete is a control just like a Combo box that we use in Windows and web application.

Syncfusion Auto Complete for Xamarin.Forms provides a simpler way to complete the text based on the letters that the we entered on the box. It also provides option to choose a suggestion from drop down or append a suggestion to the text directly.

For more info, Go to …

https://help.syncfusion.com/xamarin/sfautocomplete/overview

Install using NuGet

Right Click on the Solution and -> Manage NuGet Packages

Then Select the SfAutoComplete control, Add it to all project by check the check boxes in the right side of the window.

And then Click install… And follow below steps to add the package…

9 instal control.jpg

Image 12 : Add SfAutoComplete from NuGet

10 instal control.jpg

Image 13 : Conform install the package

11 instal control.jpg

Image 14 : Accept licence

Now you can see the SfAutoComplete libraries has been added to the projects inside the solution..

I’m going to create a Android application and so I’ll show here how the references has been added to PCL and Android projects..

12 added to pcl.jpg

Image 15 : SfAutoComplete reference has been added to PCL

13 added to android.jpg

Image 16 : SfAutoComplete references has been added to Android

Now, Lets Start Coding…

Create Model

First I’ll create a Model inside of the Model Folder which “Student”..

namespace DemoApp.Model
{
public class Student
{
private int id;
public int ID
{
get { return id; }
set { id = value; }
}
private string name;
public string Name
{
get { return name; }
set { name = value; }
}

private string image;
public string Image
{
get { return image; }
set { image = value; }
}
}
}

Create View Model

And will Create A ViewModel inside the ViewModel folder as “StudentViewModel”. and I have created a Collection of Stundets in it as “StudentCollection”.


namespace DemoApp.ViewModel
{
public class StudentViewModel
{
private List<Student> studentCollection;
public List<Student> StudentCollection
{
get { return studentCollection; }
set { studentCollection = value; }
}

public StudentViewModel()
{
studentCollection = new List<Student>();
studentCollection.Add(new Student() { ID = 1, Name = "Buddhima", Image = "Student.png"});
studentCollection.Add(new Student() { ID = 2, Name = "Buddhika", Image = "Student.png"});
studentCollection.Add(new Student() { ID = 3, Name = "Dickson", Image = "Student.png" });
studentCollection.Add(new Student() { ID = 4, Name = "Janith", Image = "Student.png"});
studentCollection.Add(new Student() { ID = 5, Name = "Vidura", Image = "Student.png"});
studentCollection.Add(new Student() { ID = 6, Name = "Charitha", Image = "Student.png" });
studentCollection.Add(new Student() { ID = 7, Name = "Vimukthi", Image = "Student.png"});
studentCollection.Add(new Student() { ID = 8, Name = "Buddhi", Image = "Student.png"});
studentCollection.Add(new Student() { ID = 9, Name = "Buwaneka", Image = "Student.png"});
}
}
}

in the above code you can see there is a property called “Image” which is a image to show the student. So I have added an  Image in the Android project.

To add Images we have to go to Resources folder in Android project and there are separate folders to add images for different dimensions of devices which are drawable, drawable-hdpi, drawable-xhdpi, drawable-xxhdpi. The image has to be added to all folders according to compatible sizes with the same name.

14 Image added.jpg

Image 17 : Add Images

Design the View/User Interface

Right Click on Views folder and Click Add..

Select Xamarin forms -> and Content page as template -> Give a name -> Click OK

15 add view.jpg

Image 18 : Add a View

Then the View will be added inside of the folder with its default template with a XAML UI and a C# code behind class. (StudentView.xaml and StudentView.xaml.cs).

StudentView.xaml may be like below code…


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<ContentPage xmlns="http://xamarin.com/schemas/2014/forms" xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2009/xaml" x:Class="DemoApp.View.StudentView">
<ContentPage.Content>
<StackLayout>
<Label Text="Welcome to Xamarin Forms!" />
</StackLayout>
</ContentPage.Content>
</ContentPage>

StudentView.xaml.cs may be like below code…


using Xamarin.Forms;
using Xamarin.Forms.Xaml;

namespace DemoApp.View
{
[XamlCompilation(XamlCompilationOptions.Compile)]
public partial class StudentView : ContentPage
{
public StudentView()
{
InitializeComponent();
}
}
}

[XamlCompilation(XamlCompilationOptions.Compile)] annotation use to increase the performance of the UI in compiling which has been designed using XAML.

Now lets add the SfAutoComple to the View.

To Add any third-party Control to the XAML UI, we have to add its namespace into the Header of the Page.

So, I’ll add the namespace of SfAutoComplete  to the header of the Content Page.

xmlns:autocomplete=”clr-namespace:Syncfusion.SfAutoComplete.XForms;
assembly=Syncfusion.SfAutoComplete.XForms”

And I’ll add the control inside a Stack layout.. The design of the view should be add inside the  tag.

We can call the control by the namespace that we have added to the page header and here you can see how we can call the SfAutoComplete control.


<autocomplete:SfAutoComplete>
</autocomplete:SfAutoComplete>

And then the Code of the view like below. You can see a label also inside the Stack layout which has added when create the form.


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<ContentPage xmlns="http://xamarin.com/schemas/2014/forms" xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2009/xaml" xmlns:autocomplete="clr-namespace:Syncfusion.SfAutoComplete.XForms; assembly=Syncfusion.SfAutoComplete.XForms" x:Class="DemoApp.View.StudentView">
<ContentPage.Content>
<StackLayout>
<Label Text="Auto Complete control" />
<autocomplete:SfAutoComplete>
</autocomplete:SfAutoComplete>
</StackLayout>
</ContentPage.Content>
</ContentPage>

Then Lets Bind Data to the SfAutoComplete control

I’m going to bind Student Collection as data to the control using MVVM pattern. and there are two ways to Bind data using MVVM (Model View ViewModel).

  1. using XAML
  2. using C# in code behind

SfAutoComplete Control allow us to Bind a List of Strings or a List of Business Objects as the DataSource. In this Example I’m binding a List of Students to the control.

To learn more about MVVM in Xamain Please follow these links..

https://developer.xamarin.com/guides/xamarin-forms/creating-mobile-apps-xamarin-forms/summaries/chapter18/

https://developer.xamarin.com/guides/xamarin-forms/xaml/xaml-basics/data_bindings_to_mvvm/

In this example, I’ll bind data using XAML.  And will set the Binding context to the View using code behind.

Now I’mm Bind the Student View Model to the StudentView Page. We have to set the binding context inside the constructor of the view page.

[XamlCompilation(XamlCompilationOptions.Compile)]
public partial class StudentView : ContentPage
{
public StudentView()
{
InitializeComponent();
this.BindingContext = new ViewModel.StudentViewModel();
}
}

And then need to Bind the DataSource to the SfAutoComplete Control. In XAML page, bind StudentCollection List in the StudentVoewModel to the DataSource Property as below.


<autocomplete:SfAutoComplete DataSource="{Binding StudentCollection}">
</autocomplete:SfAutoComplete>

Set the Student View Startup page …

Set the main page to StudentView in App.xaml.cs in PCL project..


public App()
{
InitializeComponent();

MainPage = new DemoApp.View.StudentView();
}

But when you run the android app, it will not show the data inside of the control.

The reason is you haven’t bind the display value to it.

Then Lest set the additional attributes..

Now we can set which value can be show inside the Control and what will be the Selected Value of the control.

DisplayMemberPath – What should me the display member

SelectedValuePath – what should be the selected value


<autocomplete:SfAutoComplete DataSource="{Binding StudentCollection}" DisplayMemberPath="Name" SelectedValuePath="ID">
</autocomplete:SfAutoComplete>

Lets compile and run the app  and it will show the list of students when searching..  By default it suggest data by the starting characters that we are typing.

Image

16 basic data binding.png

Image 18 : Simple SfAutoComplete with Data Binding

So, we have to set the Suggestion mode too. And also we can set the Autocomplete Mode too.

Lets Do it ..

There are 8 main suggestion modes and I’ll select “StartsWith”

17. suggession mode.jpg

Image 19 : Suggestion modes in SfAutoComplete

There are 3 Auto Complete modes and I’ll select “Suggest”.

18 auto complete mode.jpg

Image 20 : Auto Complete modes in SfAutoComplete

Now Lets Customize the AutoComplete control..

now I want to show Student’s image, Name inside the control when searching..

So, I’ll add a data template to the AutoComplete control now.

to do it, we can use the autocomplete:SfAutoComplete.ItemTemplate tag. and we can and we can design the template inside it. in this example I’ll use a Grid View to design the template and below you can see the code. Also I have bind data to the controls which are in the grid.


<StackLayout>
<Label Text="Welcome to Xamarin Forms!" />
<autocomplete:SfAutoComplete DataSource="{Binding StudentCollection}" DisplayMemberPath="Name" SelectedValuePath="ID" SuggestionMode="StartsWith" AutoCompleteMode="Suggest" >
<autocomplete:SfAutoComplete.ItemTemplate>
<DataTemplate>
<Grid>
<Grid.RowDefinitions>
<RowDefinition Height="Auto"/>
</Grid.RowDefinitions>
<Grid.ColumnDefinitions>
<ColumnDefinition Width="Auto"/>
<ColumnDefinition Width="*"/>
</Grid.ColumnDefinitions>
<Image Grid.Row="0" Grid.Column="0" Source="{Binding Image}" WidthRequest="30" VerticalOptions="FillAndExpand"/>
<Label Grid.Row="0" Grid.Column="1" Text="{Binding Name}" HorizontalOptions="FillAndExpand"/>
</Grid>
</DataTemplate>
</autocomplete:SfAutoComplete.ItemTemplate>
</autocomplete:SfAutoComplete>
</StackLayout>

Lets Run the app…

19 custom auto complete.png

Image 21 : Customized SfAutoComplete

It runs successfully…

For more details about SfAutoComplete control please go to this link and you will be able to learn more about it… Including events, Customize the design etc…

https://help.syncfusion.com/xamarin/sfautocomplete/overview

You can have the sample App here…

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2gY_8MAQPWnQnZERi03Y0hENk0

References

https://help.syncfusion.com/xamarin/introduction/overview

Thank you !

How to Check the App is running for the First time – in Xamarin Forms (Android/iOS/Windows)

Objective

In one of my Xamarin Forms apps, I wanted to check is the app running for the first time after the installation or the app is already installed and according to that Load different pages in the app

 How to Install Xamarin in Visual Studio 2017…

Furthermore,

  1. If the App is running for the first time, I wanted to a Quick Start Guide to the user.
  2. If all has already installed, app will show the Login Form.

pags

Then I looked for a solution and James Montemagno‘s  SettingsPlugin gave me the solution…

If you want to learn more, Click above links to go to GitHub and  MotzCod.es.

How I did it ?

First I went through the Instruction of the above references and I installed the plugin using NuGet..

Here I’ll explain how I did it.. and Here is my project at the beginning.

1-project

1. First Install the Settings Plugin using NuGet packages.. Search  “Xam.Plugins.Settings”

2-download-settings

2. Apply The package to all projects or selected projects.. (But I’m managing the settings from the PCL project) and Install the package..

3-select-all-projects

3. Then Conform the installation..

4-conform-installa-tion

4. When the packages has installed, It will generate a folder which is “Helpers” and a class onside it “Settings.cs” to manage settings.

It will added to all selected projects.

5-helpers-settings

The default Settings class includes below C# code to manage settings..


using Plugin.Settings;
using Plugin.Settings.Abstractions;

namespace FirstTimeUse.Droid.Helpers
{
///
&amp;lt;summary&amp;gt;
/// This is the Settings static class that can be used in your Core solution or in any
/// of your client applications. All settings are laid out the same exact way with getters
/// and setters.
/// &amp;lt;/summary&amp;gt;

public static class Settings
{
private static ISettings AppSettings
{
get
{
return CrossSettings.Current;
}
}

#region Setting Constants

private const string SettingsKey = "settings_key";
private static readonly string SettingsDefault = string.Empty;

#endregion
public static string GeneralSettings
{
get
{
return AppSettings.GetValueOrDefault&amp;lt;string&amp;gt;(SettingsKey, SettingsDefault);
}
set
{
AppSettings.AddOrUpdateValue&amp;lt;string&amp;gt;(SettingsKey, value);
}
}

}
}

To read the more about the Settings class go to:  https://github.com/jamesmontemagno/SettingsPlugin

I’m going to store my value in the SettingsKey property. So I’ll change the default value of the SettingsKey property to “yes”. Which means the app is running for the first time.

6-change-settings-key


private static readonly string SettingsDefault = "yes";

5. Now I’m going to use the Settings in the application..

I’m checking the app status in the App.xaml.cs class. Because the app navigating to the Main page happens in the constructor in App.xaml.cs class.

The default code of the App class is… And there are not properties in this class…


public partial class App : Application
{
public App()
{
InitializeComponent();
MainPage = new MainPage();
}

protected override void OnStart()
{
// Handle when your app starts
}

protected override void OnSleep()
{
// Handle when your app sleeps
}

protected override void OnResume()
{
// Handle when your app resumes
}
}

Now I’ll add a Property to App class to Manage App Settings. The property name is “IsFirstTime” and type is String.

7-add-isfirsttime


///
&amp;lt;summary&amp;gt;
/// Get and Set value to General settings
/// &amp;lt;/summary&amp;gt;

public string IsFirstTime
{
get { return Settings.GeneralSettings; }
set
{
if (Settings.GeneralSettings == value)
return;
Settings.GeneralSettings = value;
OnPropertyChanged();
}
}

6. Now I’ll add another page to use for log in to system if the app has already installed.

Page name is “LoginPage.xaml”.

8-added-2-pages

7. Now Lets Write code in App.xaml.cs to check the app status…

The page is initialize in the constructor of the App class. So I’m going to check the status of the app inside of the constructor.

And Here is the code. In the Settings class, I have set the default value as “yes“. So the app runs for the first time, the value should be “yes“. Then  the MainPage page will open. And when the app ran for the first time, it  sets the “IsFirstTime value to “no“.

Then when the user run the app after the first time, it will load the second page which is Logging Page.

9-check-first-time


public App()
{
InitializeComponent();

// Check is the app running for the first time
if (IsFirstTime == "yes")
{
// if this is the first time, set it to "No" and load the
// Main Page ,which will show at the first time use
IsFirstTime = "no";
MainPage = new FirstTimeUse.MainPage();
}
else
{
// If this is not the first time,
// Go to the login page
MainPage = new FirstTimeUse.LoginPage();
}
}

8. The Build and run the app using emulator. I’m using my Samsung Galaxy J7 as the emulator. And the App was run  successfully.

screenshot_20170219-173522

First time it will open the Main Page

screenshot_20170219-173745

And When I run the app after the first time, It loads the Login page..

 

References…

https://github.com/jamesmontemagno/SettingsPlugin

https://components.xamarin.com/gettingstarted/settingsplugin

 

Thanks !