How to get rid of Xamarin Android Designer in VS

Hello Xamarin,

we hand craft all of our .axml Layouts in plain XML. Unfortunately it seems to be impossible to disable the Xamarin Android Designer in Visual Studio. Even when right-clicking a .axml file and choosing "Open With" and "XML (Text) Editor" (or "Source Code (Text) Editor"), the Xamarin Android Designer is opened. Also, trying to associate the "XML (Text) Editor" with the file extension .axml in the Visual Studio Options does not work. No matter what I try, .axml files are always opened in the Xamarin Android Designer. I assume that this is a bug in the Xamarin Visual Studio extension.

The problem we have with the Xamarin Android Designer is that opening a .axml file with it is very very slow. Also, the designer completely fails on all our manually built .axml files anyway.

I know that changing the file suffix to .xml would solve the problem. Unfortunately we have literally hundreds of .axml layout files and changing the file suffix on all of them is just no option.


  • kentuckerkentucker USMember ✭✭✭✭✭

    Why does opening your manually created .axml files fail? Cant you leave the .axml designer is source view so it does not try and draw the screen.

    Not sure I consider not being able to replace the default designer for axml a bug

  • AndreasSelleAndreasSelle DEBeta ✭✭

    I can edit in source view, that is what I am doing now. However, it is very very slow to load and save. Also, for whatever reason (updates?) Visual Studio from time to time tries to open in designer view. All I want is a quick and simple XML text editor.

  • VictorGarciaAprea.9996VictorGarciaAprea.9996 USXamarin Team Xamurai

    Hi @AndreasSelle ,

    Thank you for taking the time to report this, and sorry to hear your experience with the designer is not a good one.

    We are making some improvements to the designer integration into VS, which should help a lot with your scenario:

    1) we won't show the [Designer]-[Source] tabs at the bottom of the file when you select to use the XML editor for editing your files.
    2) we are also avoiding some costly operations when using the XML editor, like creating a designer session which is not really needed in this case.

    I believe when 1) and 2) in place, your experience editing hand-tuned axml files should be much better.

    These changes are being worked on right now, so most probably they will be available as part of our Cycle 9 release.


  • AndreasSelleAndreasSelle DEBeta ✭✭

    Thank you very much! I am looking forward to the Cycle 9 release.

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