In the Microsoft Build Day 2 Keynote last Thursday, Terry Myerson demonstrated iOS development with our new Xamarin Live Player and Visual Studio 2017 live on stage. We simultaneously released previews for Visual Studio 2017 and Visual Studio for Mac, with support for Xamarin Live Players for iOS and Android. To help answer the flood of questions we’ve received since this announcement, we’ve created the following FAQ.

What is the purpose of the Xamarin Live Player?

The Xamarin Live Player apps enable you to write, execute, and debug code continuously on an iOS or Android device straight from the IDE. The purpose of the Xamarin Live Player is to provide an easier and faster way to work and iterate on applications with C# and Xamarin in Visual Studio without the need to commit to downloading gigabytes of SDKs and provisioning different devices to get up and running.

As your project gets more advanced, you’ll want a fully configured development environment to do more advanced work, such as customizing your applications with app icons, loading screens, and additional functionality such as launch screens, app extensions, and widgets. Visual Studio makes it easy to finish installing and configuring dependencies at that time, and you’ll be able to continue working with the same iOS and Android project files you used with the Xamarin Live Player.

How do I get started using the Xamarin Live Player?

To get started using the Xamarin Live Player for iOS and Android, follow our setup guide or check out our video walkthrough:


Does the Xamarin Live Player remove the Mac requirement for iOS development with Xamarin?

No. To completely develop your app for iOS, you’ll need to install and configure a complete Xamarin development environment, which requires a Mac for iOS tools, including storyboard designers, app extension development, app packaging/signing, and more. With Visual Studio 2017 on Windows, we make it easy to develop for iOS using a Mac on your network to stay in a familiar IDE on Windows.

Does the Xamarin Live Player remove the Java and Android SDK requirements for Android development with Xamarin?

No. To completely develop your app for Android, you will need to install and configure complete Xamarin development environment, which requires Java and Google’s SDKs for Android development, including Android layout designers, app packaging and signing, and more.

Does my source code get uploaded to a server to then deploy to the device?

No. Visual Studio and the Xamarin Live Player use a server to find each other and set up the initial connection. Once Visual Studio and your device are paired, they communicate directly with each other over the network.

Does Xamarin Live Player support development with Xamarin.Forms?

Yes. Xamarin.Forms is the primary focus of this initial preview, and the iOS and Android apps both have support for Xamarin.Forms development in C#, F#, and XAML. Many advanced Xamarin.Forms features are supported in this release, including data binding, DependencyService, and MessagingService.

What development features and limitations are there when developing with the Xamarin Live Player on iOS?

On iOS, the Xamarin Live Player works best with Xamarin.Forms apps developed in C#, F#, and XAML, and for apps developed with native UI elements constructed in C# or F#.

The Xamarin Live Player has limited support for rendering iOS storyboards; however, storyboard editing requires a Mac. You cannot change setting found in the Info.plist, modify rotation restrictions, or work on platform features that require provisioned devices or features that require entitlements. The player also has limited support for reflection that affects some popular NuGets, like SQLite and Json.NET, though many other NuGets are compatible.

Visit the Xamarin Live Player page for a complete, up-to-date list of limitations. We’ll be updating this list as we improve the app and the Visual Studio extensions, so keep checking back.

What development features and limitations are there when developing with the Xamarin Live Player on Android?

On Android, the Xamarin Live Player works best for apps developed in C#, F#, and XAML with Xamarin.Forms.

The Xamarin Live Player does not currently have support for rendering Android layouts in XML files (AXML). The player also has limited support for reflection that affects some popular NuGets, like SQLite and Json.NET, though many other NuGets are compatible. The app is currently an open beta on the Android Play Store so please give us feedback if you run into any issues.

Visit the Xamarin Live Player page for a complete, up-to-date list of limitations. We’ll be updating this list as we improve the app and the Visual Studio extensions, so keep checking back.

Are third party libraries (NuGets, Components) supported?

Third party libraries and NuGets are supported; however, some limitations, such as limited support for reflection and use of custom resources, can cause issues for popular libraries including SQLite and Json.NET. A complete, up-to-date list of limitations for the the Xamarin Live Player can be found here.

I just updated to the preview version (15.3) of Visual Studio 2017, but I don’t see the Xamarin Live Player option.

To get the preview bits for Visual Studio 2017, which includes support for Xamarin Live Player, make sure to follow the instructions on in our troubleshooting docs on how to add in the Xamarin Updater to Visual Studio 2017.

Are there any good samples to demonstrate development with Visual Studio and the Xamarin Live Player?

Yes! We have a repository of samples that work with the Xamarin Live Player hosted here:
https://github.com/xamarin/mobile-samples/tree/master/LivePlayer

I’m running into a problem, can you help?

Make sure to check out the Troubleshooting and Limitations pages first. If you’re still running into problems, let us know on the Bugzilla or the Xamarin Live Player subforum.

For more details on how to try out the Xamarin Live Players, head on over to the setup page and be sure to check out Miguel’s blog post for more information.