Starting with Xamarin Forms
Thinking of dipping your toes into Xamarin Forms but don’t know where to begin? Starting out can always be intimidating, but don’t worry we have got your back – we’ve been there and want to share some of our thoughts with you.
A good place to start is the Xamarin Forms templates that are available online. There are so many templates predefined that you can spin up and get a feel for Xamarin Forms UI.
A good starting point is the official Xamarin Forms templates themselves. Getting familiar with the templates will really give you a good basic grasp of what is on offer from Xamarin Forms UI as a tool. Though they are not styled very well, they do give you the best vision of what can be achieved functionally through Xamarin Forms. Because of this, we recommend this as the best starting point for anyone who is thinking of using Xamarin Forms.
Once you have become familiar with what’s on offer, only then would we recommend you start to dig deeper into how good you can get it looking. Because let’s be real, good looking apps are what it’s about these days. And if your app doesn’t look good, who will use it?
Xamarin Forms UI Templates
There are a few options in this space of Xamarin Forms UI templates and they are similar. Some companies with offerings in this space are Syncfusion, Grialkit and Telerik.
What sets these apart is more so the pricing and support offerings rather than what you are buying. How we recommend you get started is with a free trial on each of these. Download the sample apps for each and get an idea of the look and feel of the templates available from each of the offerings. Even if you were of the opinion that you would rather use self styled templates over 3rd party offerings, this is still a good exercise.
It gives you a great sense of how you can style a good public facing app with Xamarin Forms. You will be able to take something from each of the offerings and see how they have used Xamarin Forms to create each of their templates.
What Syncfusion offers is a simple out of the box approach for UI. While you don’t have access to any source code like Grialkit, you get everything in terms of style and functionality out of the box, and it is a good plug and play for a complete UI solutions for your app.
Syncfusion does offer a community free license option which is useful.
Not available in app store right now.
What Grialkit offers is nice looking UI templates and the source code for the same. This is great because you can really see how the Xamarin Forms UI is created by them. If using in a commercial app, we would download the demo app and have a look to see if you would be reusing most of the templates.
What Grialkit doesn’t include is UI functionality like Syncfusion, i.e. if you use a list view from Grialkit it won’t include any functionality by default, as it is simply a styled UI template.
Telarik is more alike to Syncfusion. While Syncfusion offers more controls as part of its solution, it also has more bugs and in terms of support they are slower to come back to you.
Interested in hearing more ? Why not join us for Dublin’s first Xamarin meetup in our offices? Our experienced developers will be sharing more on Xamarin cross platform development. Sign up or find out more here.