Cross-platform app development is the rage now! And to add fuel to the fire, Xamarin has released its latest cross-platform toolkit upgrade. The latest stable release of Xamarin Forms 3 is here!
Version 3 hosts new layout and styling updates to improve how developers build UI. These include updates to Visual State Manager, Flex Layout, Style Sheets, and Right-to-Left support to name a few. XAML compilation has also received specific attention with build times reduced by as much as 88% in some benchmarks. Let us look at each of the above features in detail.
Visual State Manager
Visual State Manager is now available in Xamarin Forms. The VSM provides a structured way to make visual changes to the user interface from code. The VSM introduces the concept of visual states. Visual states are collected in visual state groups. Developers can now define the various states for layouts and controls declaratively in XAML or C# and easily update their UI.
The Xamarin.Forms Visual State Manager defines one visual state group named “CommonStates” with three visual states:
FlexLayout is a new layout inspired by the web’s Flexbox. FlexLayout promotes flat, performant, and flexible UIs. It is ideal for handling distribution and spacing of content within layouts. It also provides control of the direction of layout, the justification, and alignment among other properties.
FlexLayout defines six public bindable properties and five attached bindable properties that affect the size, orientation, and alignment of its child elements.
Xamarin.Forms 3.0 introduces the ability to style an app using CSS. StyleSheets come in companionship with Flex Layouts. A style sheet consists of a list of rules, with each rule consisting of one or more selectors and a declaration block. They can be added as separate CSS files or inline with Resources. In Xamarin.Forms, CSS style sheets are parsed and evaluated at runtime, rather than compile time, and are re-parsed on use.
Xamarin.Forms 3.0 are now equipped with FlowDirection property to make it easier to flip layouts to match language direction. This is especially beneficial to Arabic and Hebrew scripts that flow from right-to-left. FlowDirection property apart from supporting right-to-left layouts also offers flexibility to customize layouts as seen fit by developers.
Xamarin.Forms 3.0 is now available on NuGet. Read the full release notes for the list of entire bug fixes.
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