Where are the XAML designer tools?

13

Answers

  • @ClintStLaurent said:

    @aquabay said:
    Yep, definitely needed. Developers don't want to be scratching out designs in XML.

    Please don't try to speak for all Developers like that. I've been doing XAML for over 15 years and would never use drag-n-drop. Its available in WPF and still no professional-grade developers I know would use it because of all the overhead that comes in. Every single property gets populated by default instead of how a developer would start with zero properties and only add what is needed based on the need which an IDE can't know. VS has to guess at your intentions. Do you want a control relative to some other control, or relative to the screen 0,0? Should a control be nested inside another, or is it top level?

    In my personal opinion drag-n-drop is fine for beginners while they are still learning the property names but no company I've worked with in two decades would retain someone that needs it or even uses it regularly.

    Tools such as LiveReload are far more useful since you can see your XAML changes in real time on multiple devices. A visual canvas isn't going to show you how it looks on iOS and Android and UWP all at the same time. Its not going to show you both landscape and portrait at the same time. But I can do that with LiveReload by watching the changed update on an Android tablet and an iOS phone every time I hit Save.

    PS. We don't make UI in XML here.

    Yeah, and VI is the optimal editor, right?

    It is so obvious that developers and everyone else want to have the same capabilities designing XAML for Xamarin as they have desisigning XAML everywhere else in the Microsoft world. Blend should of course work as well as the built in XAML designer in VisualStudio.
    Designers want it for their work. It is needed for designing accurate screens for prototyping and for showing customer how things might look when done early on in the process, not only developers are involved in this.

  • ClintStLaurentClintStLaurent USUniversity ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ThereIsNoUsername said:
    Yeah, and VI is the optimal editor, right?

    "VI" ? Not sure what you're referring to there.

    Blend should of course work as well as the built in XAML designer in VisualStudio.

    I don't disagree there. But it means getting Xamarin XAML and WPF XAML on the same code. Hence the push for "XAML Standard" that is in the works. Nothing happens overnight. Its a big undertaking even for Microsoft to absorb the Xamairn company and all their code and fold it into the existing MS eco-system while not breaking everyone's existing work. It would be a lot easier and faster if they just said "Throw out all your old work. Everything after 01 January has to be like this" - but that's not going to win the hearts and minds of anyone. So it has to be a transition.

    Designers want it for their work. It is needed for designing accurate screens for prototyping and for showing customer how things might look when done early on in the process, not only developers are involved in this.

    True... But again, you have to show it on multiple devices for it to be accurate or its meaningless. And you have to show it at runtime because design-time doesn't have but 20% of all the work and code that affects the layout and rendering and display. Most of the time, design-time wouldn't even include resources from styles, ControlTemplates and so on that only get applied at runtime.

  • @ClintStLaurent said:

    @ThereIsNoUsername said:
    Yeah, and VI is the optimal editor, right?

    "VI" ? Not sure what you're referring to there.

    Blend should of course work as well as the built in XAML designer in VisualStudio.

    I don't disagree there. But it means getting Xamarin XAML and WPF XAML on the same code. Hence the push for "XAML Standard" that is in the works. Nothing happens overnight. Its a big undertaking even for Microsoft to absorb the Xamairn company and all their code and fold it into the existing MS eco-system while not breaking everyone's existing work. It would be a lot easier and faster if they just said "Throw out all your old work. Everything after 01 January has to be like this" - but that's not going to win the hearts and minds of anyone. So it has to be a transition.

    Designers want it for their work. It is needed for designing accurate screens for prototyping and for showing customer how things might look when done early on in the process, not only developers are involved in this.

    True... But again, you have to show it on multiple devices for it to be accurate or its meaningless. And you have to show it at runtime because design-time doesn't have but 20% of all the work and code that affects the layout and rendering and display. Most of the time, design-time wouldn't even include resources from styles, ControlTemplates and so on that only get applied at runtime.

    None of your arguments are valid,

    • Blend an VC can be modified to handle different XAML dialects.
    • There's no need for it to display on multiple devices at all, prototyping is for providing proof of concept, and ease communication with the customer.
    • Styles or whatever can be loaded and used whenever the design tool choses to load and use them. nothing prevents them from doing so! Whit Roslyn everything is known at designtime.
    • All developers who have done EPR systems would disagree with you, most of their gui is visible in their static screens. And the same goes for most data entry forms and applications, which are the most common custom enterprise applications. so i don't know where you get 20% from, but it's nowhere near there for a lot off systems.
    • vi editor
  • ClintStLaurentClintStLaurent USUniversity ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ThereIsNoUsername said:
    None of your arguments are valid,

    Great way to have a conversation. Just tell the other person their experiences and opinions are worthless since they don't mesh with your own.

    I'm bowing out of this discussion now since it is no longer an actual discussion.

    I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

  • stanleybroostanleybroo USMember ✭✭
    edited September 2018

    Live Reload works great for fast prototyping XAML gui (Xamarin Forms) (nice job works better than live previewer)

    However edit and continue C# is cruical since deploying to Android Emulator (VS2017 Hyper-V or Android HAXM) takes way too long now (with the latest updates for Xamarin.Forms and VS2017) even a Xamarin Forms blank template project takes way too long 45sec!! before something actually shows up on the emulator.

    UWP just works, just make "developing" Xamarin.Forms with C# the same pleasure not a pain.
    All the fancy stuff behind the scenes ;-) can be done when actually deploying .apk to a real device.

    I know it's hard, ..it must be since it has taken years. just getting something that works for Xamarin.Forms (Live Reload) ..or is the focus somewhere else

    I don't want to learn React Native, I really don't ;-) ..well the truth is of course time limitations and dead-lines and working as fast as you can with the skills you know by heart.

    I think this pretty much sum it up "deployment time.."

    Xamarin left behind in favor of...

    I must say a lot of things have happend since 2016, ..but deployment time is still very bad. Should I've shifted earlier taken all those wasted hours and given the .js libs a chance? Time will tell..have not shifted yet.

  • dapugdapug USMember ✭✭
    edited September 2018

    I would rather have real Xaml support in Xamarin instead of Xamarin Forms "Flavor" of Xaml, and then Blend would work just fine as it is :)

    ^ No, I'm not being sarcastic. Parity with UWP Xaml... that is a blissful future compared to Blend supporting XF.

    +1000 on NOT using another platform like React. Holy crap, have we not learned, C# is superior to JS in EVERY way in terms of development speed, debugging, maintenance, sanity.... just stop me there! :)

  • NMackayNMackay GBInsider, University mod

    https://github.com/Microsoft/xaml-standard

    Haven't heard much for a while though.

  • stanleybroostanleybroo USMember ✭✭
    edited September 2018
    Live Reload together with "Instant run" for Xamarin Forms would do for a very long time if implemeted ..or edit and continue.

    https://medium.com/google-developers/instant-run-how-does-it-work-294a1633367f
  • stanleybroostanleybroo USMember ✭✭
    edited September 2018

    Don't know if I have gone crazy, but it seems like the Forms previewer works really good!?

    ..the deployment time was so bad (VS Proffesional 15.8 .2 stable ..so I went with the VS2017 Prof. 15.9.0 preview.
    Big difference 20sec deployment to emulator instead of 45sec ..and got the previewer integrated.

    I'm loading a blank Xamarin.Forms project and work on my pages there using Forms previewer and Live Reload ...and after I'm done I move it to the real project.

    It's not a designer but you can use the toolbox and type your xaml and immediately see it in the preview window.

  • ClintStLaurentClintStLaurent USUniversity ✭✭✭✭✭

    @stanleybroo said:
    Don't know if I have gone crazy, but it seems like the Forms designer works really good!?

    Screenshot??

  • NMackayNMackay GBInsider, University mod

    Forms previewer still does not support constructor injection so it's useless for stuff like Prism apps. LiveReload shows more promise, I wish they'd pick just one and fix it :'(

  • ClintStLaurentClintStLaurent USUniversity ✭✭✭✭✭

    @NMackay said:
    Forms previewer still does not support constructor injection so it's useless for stuff like Prism apps. LiveReload shows more promise, I wish they'd pick just one and fix it :'(

    I thought they had. I thought Previewer was abandoned and LiveReload was the current (and only) project for this need. Not counting XAML.Standard in an effort to standarize the language making all tools capable.

  • stanleybroostanleybroo USMember ✭✭
    edited September 2018

    LiveReload works pretty good, if only could add Live Visual Tree to it so that one gets redirected to the XAML line in question when selecting something in the emulator. We had it for sometime now for WPF and UWP :-)

    But edit and continue is the most important of course.

  • NMackayNMackay GBInsider, University mod

    @stanleybroo

    I do hope they concentrate their efforts on LiveReload

  • stanleybroostanleybroo USMember ✭✭

    Yep, the only way to push something fwd is to send detailed feedback through VS ..recording the bug or issue.

  • ManniATManniAT ATMember ✭✭

    VS with preview works well for me, although it would be great to have UWP (Windows) preview too.
    But what I really miss are properties.
    In UWP / WPF (native) I most of the time write xaml - but I use the properties windows to select values and find properties which I "guess they are there" but don't know the exact name.

  • batmacibatmaci DEMember ✭✭✭✭✭

    LiveReload progress is super slow here. I am not sure if it is even officially taken care. I am still waiting 2 major fix for more than 6 months
    1) ContentView changes arent displayed unless you reload the page.
    2) it doesnt work when full linker is enabled and it seems to be that there is no workaround or skip assemblies possible. it was confirmed long time ago.
    these 2 are claimed to be fixed when i asked but i dont get why they arent pushed to nuget.

    BONUS; recently i founded out that LiveReload only works if you a Wifi connection. There is no way to run it offline. Why is it important. Sometimes you want to do xaml work on the way where no Wifi is possible.

  • dapugdapug USMember ✭✭
    edited September 2018

    @NMackay , Xaml Standard is dead. Or rather, it really was never a thing, nobody at MS sponsored it. MS has decide to embrace a cluster !*#$ of other, wildly out of control frameworks over Xaml. See here:
    https://github.com/Microsoft/xaml-standard/issues/230

    Sad.

    I'm going to get back on the "Blend for Xamarin Forms" bandwagon now, since Xaml Standard has no hope. That said, my guess is there is no hope for Blend either.

  • ClintStLaurentClintStLaurent USUniversity ✭✭✭✭✭

    @batmaci said:
    Sometimes you want to do xaml work on the way where no Wifi is possible.

    How is it impossible to have a wifi network if you have your laptop presumably to do the coding on?
    • Create an ad-hoc network from the laptop then connect the tablet to the ad-hoc network

  • batmacibatmaci DEMember ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ClintStLaurent said:

    @batmaci said:
    Sometimes you want to do xaml work on the way where no Wifi is possible.

    How is it impossible to have a wifi network if you have your laptop presumably to do the coding on?
    • Create an ad-hoc network from the laptop then connect the tablet to the ad-hoc network

    i havent tried that but livereload becomes annoying recently. i dont get why they dont make it open source. now there is another issue with the latest RX libraries and looks like not easy to solve.

    is there anyone tried Gorilla player recently? how is this one doing? i am thinking to give it a try.

  • ClintStLaurentClintStLaurent USUniversity ✭✭✭✭✭

    @batmaci said:
    is there anyone tried Gorilla player recently? how is this one doing? i am thinking to give it a try.

    I tried it when it came out but not recently. I really didn't care for it and couldn't make it work on anything 'real world design'. As soon as you started having StaticResource styles and ControlTemplates for pages it bombed out.

  • batmacibatmaci DEMember ✭✭✭✭✭

    I read on twitter that people are happier with the latest version. one thing i didnt like about it was that i have to install an app on my pc and on my phone. it was way too much work

  • CharwakaCharwaka INMember ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2018

    IMPORTANT

    Hi @DavidOrtinau @PaulDiPietro @LandLu @JGoldberger @ColeX @JonathanDick @TheRealJasonSmith

    Why Xamarin Team is Not Able to put some efforts in making a Fluid and Responsive Designer? **What are challenges currently team facing now in making a Designer like UWP ? , i know this question was asked very often, but there will be no reply from team members .i fee like this topic being skipped. every time i need debug and check for for design output.half of the day will be wasted spending time on debugging and checking for UI. please give a road map for this. Thanks.

  • @Charwaka said:
    IMPORTANT

    Hi @DavidOrtinau @PaulDiPietro @LandLu @JGoldberger @ColeX @JonathanDick @TheRealJasonSmith

    Why Xamarin Team is Not Able to put some efforts in making a Fluid and Responsive Designer? **What are challenges currently team facing now in making a Designer like UWP ? , i know this question was asked very often, but there will be no reply from team members .i fee like this topic being skipped. every time i need debug and check for for design output.half of the day will be wasted spending time on debugging and checking for UI. please give a road map for this. Thanks.

    I wouldn'd get your hopes up. It looks like Microsoft might have abandoned Xamarin in the same way they did with Silverlight.
    Internally, Microsoft now use HTML frameworks like Electron rather then Xamarin which produce native code. So if Microsoft rather take the hassle with a HTML framework with Chromium and single threaded Node.JS with JavaScript, rather than .NET, C# and XAML based on Xamarin, it kind of say a lot on where Xamarin will end up.

  • igorkr_10igorkr_10 Member ✭✭✭

    The visual designer is not thing that we really need. Its better to have improved IntelliSense in xaml (I want to see a list of properties in BindingContext when using Binding). Nobody of professional developers doesn't use visual constructors (only in WinForms, but for desktop it is possible). So better vote for another more useful features in Xamarin.

  • ClintStLaurentClintStLaurent USUniversity ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Charwaka said:
    IMPORTANT

    Hi @DavidOrtinau @PaulDiPietro @LandLu @JGoldberger @ColeX @JonathanDick @TheRealJasonSmith

    Why Xamarin Team is Not Able to put some efforts in making a Fluid and Responsive Designer? **What are challenges currently team facing now in making a Designer like UWP ? , i know this question was asked very often, but there will be no reply from team members .i fee like this topic being skipped. every time i need debug and check for for design output.half of the day will be wasted spending time on debugging and checking for UI. please give a road map for this. Thanks.

    Personally it sounds like you're mixing up visual designer and debugging tools.
    Visual Studio has extensive debugging tools, memory mapping and tracking, etc.

    As for the 'need' for visual design for XAML - that's a hotly debated topic. Most people that do XAML stop using the drag-n-drop tools very quickly because they bloat the XAML.

    On the other hand, the killing of LiveReload was a horrible kick to the guts for productivity. The ability to see the changes in real time on multiple platforms was/is wonderful.

  • ClintStLaurentClintStLaurent USUniversity ✭✭✭✭✭

    @igorkr_10 said:
    The visual designer is not thing that we really need. Its better to have improved IntelliSense in xaml (I want to see a list of properties in BindingContext when using Binding).

    Do you mean like the one that is already there?

    ... To be fair... Maybe that's something ReSharper improves on. Maybe give ReSharper a test drive.

  • NMackayNMackay GBInsider, University mod

    @ClintStLaurent said:

    @igorkr_10 said:
    The visual designer is not thing that we really need. Its better to have improved IntelliSense in xaml (I want to see a list of properties in BindingContext when using Binding).

    Do you mean like the one that is already there?

    ... To be fair... Maybe that's something ReSharper improves on. Maybe give ReSharper a test drive.

    It does, couldn't do without Resharper. MFractor is coming to Visual Studio which might be interesting but Resharper does a lot of good stuff for code refactoring, way better than the out of the box VS.

  • NMackayNMackay GBInsider, University mod

    When I used MVVM Light I could bind to viewmodel properties in XAML with Resharper is you use a ViewModelLocator but I'd only do that for a design time data service these days.

  • GVxGVx USMember ✭✭✭

    @Charwaka said:
    IMPORTANT

    Hi @DavidOrtinau @PaulDiPietro @LandLu @JGoldberger @ColeX @JonathanDick @TheRealJasonSmith

    Why Xamarin Team is Not Able to put some efforts in making a Fluid and Responsive Designer? **What are challenges currently team facing now in making a Designer like UWP ? , i know this question was asked very often, but there will be no reply from team members .i fee like this topic being skipped. every time i need debug and check for for design output.half of the day will be wasted spending time on debugging and checking for UI. please give a road map for this. Thanks.

    Agreed. It would be nice to at least know why it isn't possible. I can only imagine there is something very low level in the Forms system that just does not allow this.

    The last couple of weeks I have been working on a Flutter app full time. Finished it. Have now come back to the mobile app we have with Forms and suffering all this pain again just to get some nice looking UI on the screen. :neutral:

    Anyhow, Microsoft peeps how about you just write up a blog talking about why a real time designer isn't possible with Xamarin Forms. The one you have with Xamarin.Android is fantastic. Why isn't Xamarin Forms capable of the same thing ?

  • igorkr_10igorkr_10 Member ✭✭✭

    The visual designer is not thing that we really need. Its better to have improved IntelliSense in xaml (I want to see a list of properties in BindingContext when using Binding). None of > @GVx said:

    @Charwaka said:
    IMPORTANT

    Hi @DavidOrtinau @PaulDiPietro @LandLu @JGoldberger @ColeX @JonathanDick @TheRealJasonSmith

    Why Xamarin Team is Not Able to put some efforts in making a Fluid and Responsive Designer? **What are challenges currently team facing now in making a Designer like UWP ? , i know this question was asked very often, but there will be no reply from team members .i fee like this topic being skipped. every time i need debug and check for for design output.half of the day will be wasted spending time on debugging and checking for UI. please give a road map for this. Thanks.

    Agreed. It would be nice to at least know why it isn't possible. I can only imagine there is something very low level in the Forms system that just does not allow this.

    The last couple of weeks I have been working on a Flutter app full time. Finished it. Have now come back to the mobile app we have with Forms and suffering all this pain again just to get some nice looking UI on the screen. :neutral:

    Anyhow, Microsoft peeps how about you just write up a blog talking about why a real time designer isn't possible with Xamarin Forms. The one you have with Xamarin.Android is fantastic. Why isn't Xamarin Forms capable of the same thing ?

    Ok. How exactly do you want to place items in page? By using absolute layout, grid or relative layout? What exactly layout do you want as standard layout for visual constructor?
    Visual constructor in android is not panacea. Most of professional android developers never use it.
    But you need to know that android xml is only xml without any data binding. XF xaml is more complex, it uses data bindings, and often pages don't have parametless constructors. How do you want to display components in these cases? You can say about WPF visual constructor but it is not clear. Often it shows invalid results in constructor. In my opinion drag and drop can be used only for pc developing because that absolute values generated by visual constructor don't fit in mobile applications.

  • GVxGVx USMember ✭✭✭

    It isn't about drag and drop. It is about being able to view your layout straight away. Currently to change the color of text you have to compile the code.. 30 seconds... deploy 45 seconds... Tap through to the screeen.. Look at the text and see that color doesn't work so now stop the app.. Change the color.. compile... 30 seconds... deploy 45 seconds.... No, don't like that color either...

    Whereas using Xamarin.Android, iOS story boards, Flutter, Windows Phone (yes back in the day) you see the layout instantly.... 1-2 seconds...

  • GiampaoloGabbaGiampaoloGabba USMember ✭✭✭

    @GVx said:
    It isn't about drag and drop. It is about being able to view your layout straight away. Currently to change the color of text you have to compile the code.. 30 seconds... deploy 45 seconds... Tap through to the screeen.. Look at the text and see that color doesn't work so now stop the app.. Change the color.. compile... 30 seconds... deploy 45 seconds.... No, don't like that color either...

    Whereas using Xamarin.Android, iOS story boards, Flutter, Windows Phone (yes back in the day) you see the layout instantly.... 1-2 seconds...

    For this you can already use LiveXaml (born in mid 2017) or LiveReload (discontinued but still functional). Plus new opensource projects are in development.

    Hot reload for UI is already here, for livexaml you have to buy a license but its worth it.

  • CharwakaCharwaka INMember ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @GiampaoloGabba
    Hot reload for UI is already here what do you mean by this ? LiveXaml is Dead , in my way i cant see it working upto crest.

  • GiampaoloGabbaGiampaoloGabba USMember ✭✭✭

    @Charwaka said:
    Hi @GiampaoloGabba
    Hot reload for UI is already here what do you mean by this ? LiveXaml is Dead , in my way i cant see it working upto crest.

    https://www.livexaml.com/ is alive and kicking :)

    Live Reload from Xamarin has been discontinued but the extension is still available for VS 2017

  • ClintStLaurentClintStLaurent USUniversity ✭✭✭✭✭

    @GiampaoloGabba said:
    in my way i cant see it working upto crest.

    You'll need to try to re-translate that to English for the rest of us. It doesn't mean anything

  • CharwakaCharwaka INMember ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ClintStLaurent said:

    @GiampaoloGabba said:
    in my way i cant see it working upto crest.

    You'll need to try to re-translate that to English for the rest of us. It doesn't mean anything

    Upto mark !!! Done :)

  • ClintStLaurentClintStLaurent USUniversity ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Charwaka said:

    @ClintStLaurent said:

    @GiampaoloGabba said:
    in my way i cant see it working upto crest.

    You'll need to try to re-translate that to English for the rest of us. It doesn't mean anything

    Upto mark !!! Done :)

    Ummm... Still doesn't make any sense. "Not working up to mark".
    How about "LiveReload doesn't work for me"? Are you saying LiveReload doesn't work for you? At all?

  • CharwakaCharwaka INMember ✭✭✭✭✭

    OK

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