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Xamarin Studio android layout designer is terrible

I'm working using Xamarin iOS for a long time, and all that time Xamarin Studio was quite a buggy thing. Updating to new stable versions was always playing the lottery. But when I started to code for android that was a real butthurt. Android designer doesn't show resource strings/drawables, included layouts, autocomplete in xml is buggy and doesn't suggest my resource strings/drawables, it often freezes ui for quite a long time, and thats the most annoying thing about it. Sometimes it doesn't restore from these freezes. And the worst thing is that it becomes more and more buggy over time (one year ago there was not so many bugs). I want to ask Xamarin managers, with all your money, is it so hard to hire a couple of good programmers who know some good architecture patterns, who will fix bugs but not add new ones with each "stable" release? Who knows that hard calculations in ui thread is a pure evil, and who may be even write ui tests that cover problems that I've mentioned?

I can understand when i see crappy code in xamarin samples (almost everywhere), that's not so critical, but i can't understand when i "feel" it in your main and only IDE for mac.

If you can't find such people, pls tell me how to at least disable that designer so that i can write xml without lags.

Thank you, and sorry for my bad english.


  • SebastianSeidel.9226SebastianSeidel.9226 DEInsider, University ✭✭✭✭

    You are not forced to use the build in Android Designer. Feel free to use Android Studio which has a great designer. Otherwise if you only want to write plain xml you have two options. First - rename your layout file extention from axml to xml. That way you can double click the file and it should open in xml view. Second - right click a layout file and chose open with Source Code editor.

  • I'm not forced? You also can say i'm not forced to use xamarin.

    I can't launch Android Studio from XS like i can do it with xcode (that would be a very nice feature), i need to create a new project and always synchronize all resources and layouts between them and that doesn't sound too easy.

    About xml: you could also say that i can open it in sublime or any other text editor, but i don't want to write code without any autocomplete, even if it is as bad as in XS.

  • SebastianSeidel.9226SebastianSeidel.9226 DEInsider, University ✭✭✭✭

    That is right. You are not forced to use Xamarin. ;-)
    You could open an uservoice feature request here.

    I think we can expect an improved user experience and functionality in the next time.

  • dskidski USMember

    First - rename your layout file extention from axml to xml. That way you can double click the file and it should open in xml view.

    That does not work...and right clicking every time is crazy. Why can't Xamarin just add an option to disable the Android layout designer just like VS does with the HTML designer?

  • PaulSinnemaPaulSinnema NLMember ✭✭✭

    The designer still is a mess. Nothing changed since 2015. Terrible to work with.

  • TrevorBalcomTrevorBalcom USMember ✭✭

    The recent changes made it even worse. Now you get to sit there and watch a wait cursor spin before you can even interact with the source code. Sometimes it never stops spinning.

    It's possible to bypass the designer completely. You can right click an AXML file in Solution Explorer, then click "Open With..." then select "XML (Text) Editor" and click the "Set As Default" button to bypass the Android designer. You can restore the default functionality by selecting "Android Layout file" and clicking "Set As Default" again.

  • GVxGVx USMember ✭✭✭

    @PaulSinnema said:
    The designer still is a mess. Nothing changed since 2015. Terrible to work with.

    I am finding it is worse now... 3 years ago when I first started using it, I found it pretty good... Now however it is random whether or not a layout will load.. when it doesn't its just a never ending loading bar (which happens for the most part)....

    Xamarin what has gone wrong? I purposely stopped using Forms because it is fully bug ridden... I have come back to Xamarin Android and it's in a worse state than it was 3 years ago....

  • GVxGVx USMember ✭✭✭

    @TrevorBalcom said:
    Sometimes it never stops spinning.

    Sometimes? I think you mean most of the time.... :neutral:

  • DesmondMiles.3008DesmondMiles.3008 USMember ✭✭

    Sad to see that VS 2017's Xamarin.Android's designer hasn't come even close to providing the level of DI/DX offered by Android Studio's Android Designer :/

  • kcovertkcovert Member

    2020, still lousy.

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