Announcing FreshMvvm 2.0

Today we’ve published up to nuget FreshMvvm 2.0 with some very anticipated new features.

IOC Container Lifetime Registration Options

We now support a fluent API for setting the object lifetime of object inside the IOC Container.

As you can see below the IFreshIOC interface methods return the IRegisterOptions interface.

The interface that’s returned from the register methods is IRegisterOptions.

Switching out NavigationStacks on the Xamarin.Forms MainPage

There’s some cases in Xamarin.Forms you might want to run multiple navigation stacks. A good example of this is when you have a navigation stack for the authentication and a stack for the primary area of your application.

To begin with we can setup some names for our navigation containers.

Then we can create our two navigation containers and assign to the MainPage.

Once we’ve set this up we can now switch out our navigation containers.

New public methods

CurrentNavigationServiceName and PreviousNavigationServiceName are both public methods, so you can access them if you need to.

Some features (recently released)

Multiple Navigation Services
Custom IOC Containers
WhenAny
Pushing different views
Clean up after page is Popped

Summary

As always this is available on nuget now!

If you have any questions please ask on forums.xamarin.com and send me a email.

You can also find some more docs on the github repo.

Thanks

FreshEssentials for Xamarin.Forms – The must-have nuget for Forms

Ah this is one I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and I’m pretty excited about it. We use it everyday, as it’s really useful.

FreshEssentials for Xamarin.Forms has ONLY the most common elements you need for Xamarin.Forms. It’s contains the elements you need in almost every project and nothing more, things like BindablePicker, SegementedButtons, InverseBooleanConverter, TappedGestureAttached, ListViewItemTappedAttached and not much more. It’s the lightweight essentials.

Why?

Because it’s awesome and nothing else solves this problem yet. For the majority of projects there’s some missing essential pieces to the Xamarin.Forms puzzle, what I wanted to build was a nuget that filled the gaps but ONLY the essential gaps. These are code snippets I’ve been putting in the majority of my Xamarin.Forms projects, the components are stable and used regularly. These codes snippets include a BindablePicker and InverseBooleanConverter, who doesn’t use them in a project. Most people just copy them from project to project, XLabs had the idea to solve this issue but now it’s blow out and is normally too large for most Xamarin.Forms projects. Just to note, I’m a contributor to XLabs and was one one of the first to contributors but with the direction it’s now taken I’m not sure if anyone wants to maintain it, the monolith it is means it’s hard to maintain.

How to use?

nuget all the things…. Primarily you can get FreshEssentials from nuget.

https://www.nuget.org/packages/FreshEssentials/1.0.0

The code can be found on github and there’s also a sample project.

FreshEssentials on github(https://github.com/XAM-Consulting/FreshEssentials)

FreshEssentials sample on github (https://github.com/XAM-Consulting/FreshEssentialsSample)

BindablePicker

Ok so who doesn’t need a BindablePicker in a Xamarin.Forms project?

BindablePicker inherits from Xamarin.Forms.Picker, you can binding data to ItemSource as Items, and also can set which property you want to display via DisplayProperty.

If you want to use it in XAML, you need to include the namespace first.

AdvancedFrame (flexible rounded corners)

This is primary used for the SegmentedButtonGroup, it gives you more flexibility on the corner radius in the Frame. AdvancedFrame inherits from Frame, you can set corner type via Corners(There are only four type, left, right, all, none), you can also set CornerRadius and InnerBackground color

SegmentedButtonGroup

This is one that most people ask for in their first project, normally people fail to implement the segmented button in XF and crosss platform. I hope with this control people will be able to use it more often.

SegmentedButtonGroup is like iOS Segmented Controls, you can binding SelectedIndex for it

InverseBooleanConverter

Ah the amount of times people have copied this code into their project… not anymore….

ListViewItemTappedAttached

This ones is definately a project favorite, if you’re not sure what it does be sure to take a look at the samples and read this blog.

TappedGestureAttached

The easiest way to add a tap gesture to your controls.

 

That’s it! All we need. Please be sure to take a look at the samples, you can clone from github or download the zip.

Please let me know how it goes.

Thanks

Michael

 

SlideOverKit is now free and open source

I would like to announce that SlideOverKit for Xamarin.Forms is now Free and Open Source.

It’s been two months since SlideOverKit was released and the ‘business plan’ was to have the component as premium component for Xamarin.Forms. A component that we would invest in developing, people would purchase and we would continue developing. Since this release something was bugging me, I was frustrated because not enough people were buying and using the component. We had put alot of effort in building this component and we wanted people to use it.

One of my most enjoyable projects in recent years has been the successful FreshMvvm for Xamarin.Forms, it’s amazing to see people use (and love) something that you’ve built. It’s really good to now be a Contributor to open source not just a consumer, in the past I’ve help fix bugs in jquery mobile but nothing as serious FreshMvvm.

There’s been so many open source projects that I’ve loved developing with like JSON.net, jquery, UserDialogs, MvvmCross etc, etc. I hope that one day people will use and love SlideOverKit also.

So please feel free to consume and contribute.

Links:
https://github.com/XAM-Consulting/SlideOverKit
http://www.xam-consulting.com/slideoverkit-xamarin-forms/
https://www.nuget.org/packages/SlideOverKit/

….. Fingers crossed Xamarin and Xamarin.Forms are also to follow on the open source path ….

Thanks

Michael

 

Announcing FreshMvvm 1.0.1 Release

No bugs to fix, Yay!

Only some awesome new features, actually really nice extended and very useful features. With such a big take up of FreshMvvm we’ve ramped up the development. As always we take feedback and iterate on it so let us know of anything.

WhenAny

I’ve always loved the WhenAny feature in ReactiveUI and just wanted to have it. Not to mention it’s strongly typed which makes it so much better.

So now your ViewModels (or anything with INotifyPropertyChanged) you can subscribe to the changes of a property using the WhenAny features.

Here’s how you can use it:

Pushing different views

Another awesome feature that we’ve been loving is the ability to push with a different view. This means you can have multiple views for a single ViewModel.

Here’s the signature:

So it’s as easy as:

Clean up after page is Popped

FreshBasePageModel now has a PageWasPopped event, this can be used to cleanup after a page has been Popped.

We’ve linked up all the parts within the FreshMvvm project so that the event is always called and always called once, but this might not always be the case if you use a CustomNavigationService and don’t implement correctly.

This is a breaking change on the IFreshNavigationService as it now has a NotifyChildrenPageWasPopped().

If you have a custom navigation service you will need to implement this, here’s a sample of how the builtin master detail service handles it.

As always I love your feedback, please let me know how it do

Thanks

FreshMvvm 1.0 Released

So it’s official, FreshMvvm is now 1.0 and available in nuget.

Let’s take a look at some of the new features.

  • Ability to use ViewModel naming instead of PageModel, thanks to this contribution by Olexandr Leuschenko
  • Multiple Navigation Services
  • Support for custom IOC containers
  • Ability to Push a NavigationContainer
  • It also handles async better thanks to Olexandr Leuschenko

Let’s take a look at some of the bigger features in the release.

Multiple Navigation Services

It’s always been possible to do any type of navigation in FreshMvvm, with custom or advanced scenarios were done by implementing a custom navigation service. Even with this ability people found it a little hard to do advanced navigation scenarios in FreshMvvm. After I reviewed all the support questions that came in for FreshMvvm I found that the basic issue people had was they wanted to be able to use our built in navigation containers multiple times, two primary examples are 1) within a master detail having a navigation stack in a master and another in the detail 2) The ability to push modally with a new navigation container. In order to support both these scenarios I concluded that the FreshMvvm required the ability to have named NavigationServices so that we could support multiple NavigationService’s.

Using multiple navigation containers

Below we’re running two navigation stacks, in a single MasterDetail.

PushModally with new navigation stack

Custom IOC Container

The second major request for FreshMvvm 1.0 was to allow custom IOC containers. In the case that your application already has a container that you want to leverage.

Using a custom IOC container is very simple in that you only need to implement a single interface.

And then set the IOC container in the System.

This release can be found in nuget and the source code on github.

https://www.nuget.org/packages/FreshMvvm/

https://github.com/rid00z/FreshMvvm

Thanks

 

XAML Attached Properties Tricks in Xamarin.Forms

I’m sure you know of behaviours in Xamarin.Forms but have you heard of Attached Properties?

Have you ever wondered how you define properties for a Grid on a Label, eg <Label Grid.Row=”5″, and the Grid just seems to know about it. This is attaching a piece of data onto the Label so that the Grid can reference the data.

Let’s take a look at how it works in the Grids case. In our Xaml we’d normally have something like the code above, so somehow we tell the Grid that we want to be on Row number  5. In order for this to work the Grid needs to have a static ‘attached’ bindable property. Let’s take a look at what the Grid actually has.

So yep the Grid has the attached property for Row, awesome, now how does the Grid get that data?

In order for the Grid to be able to access that data it needs a static method which will extract it as follows.

We can also see that the Grid calls this method to get the data from the child element.

So that’s some pretty cool stuff.

Now for the Trick

Considering this is a bindable property we can actually attach anything to this static property, our own object or even a command. We can also get notifications when the property changes, during that notification we can obtain references to both the Element and the bindable property. This means we can link up custom behaviours without even using behaviours.

Say for instance we wanted to attached a TapGesture for a View to a Command? Normally this is fairly verbose to add in Xaml but setup correctly it can become just a property on the View.

So what’s TappedGestureAttached? Let’s take a look.

Below we have a Static property called CommandProperty, that property name is Command, has a return type of ICommand and a declaring type of View. You can also see it’s linked to  the OnItemTappedChanged command, which means when the property changes that event gets called.

Below we have the OnItemTappedChanged command, as I mentioned before we have access to both the View and the Command hence we can wire up the TapGestureRecognizer.

There we have it wiring up a TapGestureRecognizer in less than a line.

Here’s the full code.

We can also use this to hook up events that are directly on the control without using the code behind of the Xaml. Below we link up the ListView.ItemTapped event to a Command, which will be inside our ViewModel rather than codebehind.

 

Announcing SlideOverKit for Xamarin.Forms

I’m very happy to announce XAM Consulting’s first Premium component release, SlideOverKit for Xamarin.Forms. As I’ve discussed before at XAM Consulting we have a goal to contribute to the Xamarin ecosystem and help companies build great things, our premium components are one part of this goal.

This component is something we’ve been working on for a while after being frustrated with the lack of high quality sliders in Xamarin.Forms.

This component is flexible enough to create any type of Slider you might like, some examples might be a Large Menu that slides from the top of the screen, a small draggable context menu from the right/bottom of the screen or even a right side master detail. There’s a large amount of options that you can tweak to allow you to get your menu looking just right. In this component we’ve done all the slider code in Native (eg we’ve done the hard native work), this means that the component is… 1) it’s super quick 2) you don’t need to use the slow Xamarin.Forms layouts 3) the touch/gesture support is very smooth.

In some ways we would love to give it away for free but after consideration we would prefer to offer a higher quality product with support rather than a half finished product with no support, hence why it’s a ‘Premium Component’. If you would like to read more about our thoughts in regards to pricing components please take a look at this blog post on Pricing Xamarin.Forms Components.

SlideOverKit is available in nuget right now and is available for purchase @ $100 USD. Please head over the the SlideOverKit for Xamarin.Forms website to get more details on how to get started. We have a github repository with a bunch of samples for the component.

Take a look below to see some of the awesome options available for the SlideOverKit.

So check it out SlideOverKit for Xamarin.Forms.








So check it out SlideOverKit for Xamarin.Forms.

How to price Xamarin.Forms components

This post is primarily documenting my thought process when trying to come up with pricing for two premium components that we’re about to release at XAM Consulting. We’re very excited about releasing these components. We’re looking forward to contributing to the Xamarin ecosystem and helping developers build great things. Many companies I’ve worked for have clearly stated that their whole company has been built on the back of great component vendors like DevExpress and Telerik. It’s pretty amazing to know that something you’ve built has also helped build an amazing company or change the world.

The first component we are releasing is called SlideOverKit. This is a powerful component that allows you to slide over from anywhere on the screen, with nice smooth animations. It can be used to create slide menus such as a Right Side Master Detail, Mini Context Menu’s or the display of Contextual Information. The key advantage of this menu is that internally we’ve built the code using Native APIs and therefore it is has the advantages of not only being incredibly quick but it also supports swipe/touch gestures. (Note* that when I refer to Native APIs, that’s only from our internal perspective, from a developer’s perspective the component is built completely from Xamarin.Forms). To illustrate its performance and ease of use, I’ve included some samples below with the SlideOverKit component.

The second component, called TEditor, is a rich/html text editing component designed for Xamarin.Forms. It is intended to be used for the editing, importing and exporting of HTML documents. As such, it supports the majority of rich text editing functions such as Bold, Italic to text color. Like the first component, it takes only a few lines of code to include this component in a project.

So what price do I sell it for?

This is a very hard question; if you price it too high then people won’t see it’s value and if you price it too low then you won’t have enough money to continue it’s development. It’s important to me that we have continued development on the components that we sell. Nobody wants a component vendor that’s not committed.

To investigate further, I researched the components supplied within the ecosystem. There’s the many big vendors like DevExpress and Telerik, who sell their components at over $1000 per year. I’ve also know about the MR.Gestures component developed by Michael Rumpler, who sells it at a very affordable $10. That’s a huge difference in pricing, so I wanted to reach out to Michael and see if he could provide any insights based on his experiences. Michael mentioned that the amount of demand was much less than was suggested on the uservoice website for his component. He also mentioned that at the price of $10, combined with the amount of sales, it wasn’t anywhere near the amount of effort he had to put in to develop it. Michael confirmed a few suspicions that I had:

1) there’s likely to be a much lower demand than you think for a component and

2) there’s a reason companies like telerik must charge so much for their components. eg. component development is hard and it’s very time consuming.

I’ve been in software long enough to know there’s a lot of hidden time and costs in software. At a minimum you need to calculate:

  • Initial development costs
  • Costs in writing documentation
  • Costs in handling support requests (per sale)
  • Maintenance development costs

Xamarin.Forms is a fast moving target, not only because of the speed of development from the Xamarin team, but also because of the rapidly changing underlying platforms (iOS, Android and Windows). The other issues we also encounter is that most components need to use the Native APIs on the platforms.

So far we’ve spent ~150 hours on each of the components, and on top of this there is a yearly maintenance of ~50 hours. Adding these up, based on an estimate of $75 per hour development cost, leads to a cost of $11,250 in the first year and $3,750 each year after that.

It would be nice if the components were to break even in the 24 months. In order to calculate this, we need to guesstimate the amount of sales each component will generate each year. Given that each component is a niche component inside Xamarin.Forms, which is a niche in Xamarin, which is a niche in Native Apps, which is a niche in the software world. I’m really not expecting a huge amount of sales each year, for SlideOverKit. I don’t think that I would expect more than 50-100 sales per year. Assuming 75 sales in 12 months, the costs are $15,000 in the first 2 years, then $15,000 / 150 = $100 per component. Now the RichTextEditor is an even more Niche component, which I’m only expecting a few sales each per year. Assuming 10 sales per year, then $15,000 / 20 = $750.

Shouldn’t it be free and open source like in XLabs and other components?

Open source software is great, I get a lot from the open source community and love contributing to the open source community, I spent a lot of time developing the FreshMvvm Framework. The problem with projects like XLabs, is that many of the components are not feature complete or are half finished (or are implemented on only a single platform). The reason for this is that most of us contributors to XLabs, also have full-time jobs and can only work on the project in our spare time.

XLabs works great if you’re an expert in Forms, Android, or iOS and don’t mind getting your hands dirty delving deep into code. Many developers and business don’t have all day and night to be working on building components.

So I wanted to put in the effort up front so that I can help time-poor developers and businesses, so we invest in developing production ready components that are easy to use, feature rich, well documented and production ready and developers can just build awesome stuff.

If you would like early access to any of the components please feel free to contact me anytime.

Thanks

Michael

 

 

FreshMvvm 1.0 Preview Release

Since the first release of FreshMvvm it’s been a wild ride, the up take of FreshMvvm has been very impressive it’s really good to see others having success using FreshMvvm. While I’ve been using and loving FreshMvvm for a long long time, even since before it was called FreshMvvm, it’s great to see others also enjoying the Framework.

Since this release has a few large features and breaking changes I’ve decided bump the version up to 1.0 preview. Please see below of a description of the features.

Multiple Navigation Services

It’s always been possible to do any type of navigation in FreshMvvm, with custom or advanced scenarios were done by implementing a custom navigation service. Even with this ability people found it a little hard to do advanced navigation scenarios in FreshMvvm. After I reviewed all the support questions that came in for FreshMvvm I found that the basic issue people had was they wanted to be able to use our built in navigation containers multiple times, two primary examples are 1) within a master detail having a navigation stack in a master and another in the detail 2) The ability to push modally with a new navigation container. In order to support both these scenarios I concluded that the FreshMvvm required the ability to have named NavigationServices so that we could support multiple NavigationService’s.

Using multiple navigation containers

Below we’re running two navigation stacks, in a single MasterDetail.

PushModally with new navigation stack

Custom IOC Container

The second major request for FreshMvvm 1.0 was to allow custom IOC containers. In the case that your application already has a container that you want to leverage.

Using a custom IOC container is very simple in that you only need to implement a single interface.

And then set the IOC container in the System.

Breaking Changes

Please remember whenever you register a IFreshNavigationService it now has to have a name.

Please find this pre-release in nuget. – https://www.nuget.org/packages/FreshMvvm/1.0.0-pre1

FYI – This nuget is a pre-release nuget and you’ll need to have the ‘pre-release’ option selected on nuget.

The main repo for FreshMvvm can be found on github – https://github.com/rid00z/FreshMvvm.

Please post any issues on the github repository.

Thanks

Michael