Microsoft Build 2018 has finally arrived which means exciting news for developers about Microsoft products and technologies, including Xamarin. For those following along at home, we’ve rounded up all of our announcements below, highlighting all of the Xamarin news from Build that we are sure will delight developers in a single place.
Hyper-V Android Emulator Support
We announced a preview of the Google Android emulator that’s compatible with Hyper-V when running the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. Amazing work was done by the Windows Hyper-V team, with help from the Xamarin team, to make this happen. This enables developers to use Google’s hardware-accelerated Android emulator side-by-side with other Hyper-V based technologies, including Hyper-V VMs, Docker tooling, the HoloLens emulator, and more. Now, any Android developers on Windows can use a fast Android emulator that will always support the latest Android APIs and works with Google Play Services out-of-the-box.
For more information on configuring the Hyper-V emulator, and for a listing of known issues, visit our documentation.
We’re excited to release Xamarin.Forms 3.0 stable. This version brings new layout and styling power, with features such as Visual State Manager, Flex Layout, Style Sheets, and Right-to-Left support. It also includes several bug fixes and amazing community contributions, so be sure to check out the full release notes. Coupled with the fantastic improvements up and down the Xamarin stack, this is our fastest and richest release to date!
Visual Studio Tools for Xamarin
Xamarin.Forms XAML IntelliSense
Xamarin.Forms developers using Visual Studio 2017 version 15.7 will find a vastly improved IntelliSense experience. It’s now powered by the same IntelliSense engine from WPF and UWP bringing several enhancements including improved matching, binding/commanding completion, resource completion, markup extension completion. The engine also enhanced light bulb suggestions, code navigation, and linting.
Automatic iOS Device Provisioning
To continue making things as simple as possible for developers, we’re introducing automatic iOS device provisioning in Visual Studio 2017 version 15.7. This feature streamlines the experience of requesting a development certificate while generating a signing key, adding a device in the Developer Center and creating a provisioning profile, all from within Visual Studio.
Improved Android SDK Management
Figuring out what Android SDKs to install for development can take time, so we added a new Android SDK manager that takes the guesswork out of it. When you open an Android project that compiles against an SDK version you don’t have installed, a notice will appear to help you download and install the SDK in the background for you. This feature is off by default, but can easily be enabled by going to Tools > Options > Xamarin > Android Settings > Enable Auto Install Android SDKs.
Updated iOS & Android Project Templates
Project templates are an important part of the app building journey, so we have rebuilt and reorganized our native iOS and Android project templates to make them easier to find in the File -> New window. Templates were also added for new user experience patterns in Android, like flyout menu and bottom tabs so you can start building modern-day apps even quicker.
We’re now distributing the Android Oreo SDK (Android API level 27), Android SDK Tools 26, and the Xamarin Android Device Manager in Visual Studio 2017 and Visual Studio for Mac. Additionally, in Visual Studio 2017 you’ll see reduced waiting time for your app appear on screen by deploying the Xamarin runtime to your device or emulator while your app compiles.
Our iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS applications now feature a fully static type system, which results in the following benefits:
- Smaller Applications: The linked Xamarin.iOS.dll is 30–50% smaller, since information (e.g. custom attributes) needed only at build time can be removed. This also allows the linker to remove more code than before since less code is being referenced.
- Faster Application Startup: More registration work is done at build time instead of runtime. Removing the need to use (slow) reflection on custom attributes to register types and methods.
- Reduced Memory Usage: With this work, we also reduced the memory required for applications. The initial (startup) memory requirement is down 30% for a minimal application and 20% for extensions, making it easier to create extensions where iOS imposes memory limits (for example, 16MB for Today extensions).
Xamarin.Forms 3.0 is available now on NuGet. You can also get the Visual Studio 2017 version 15.7 update today via the notification hub in Visual Studio. Also be sure to download the Xamarin Android Device Manager for Android Oreo. Try them out, and don’t forget to continue sending us your feedback!