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Xamarin’s Mono for Android Now Includes a Visual Designer

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Xamarin has announced a visual designer for their Mono for Android development tool integrated with Visual Studio or MonoDevelop.

Xamarin Designer for Android is a drag and drop development tool for creating the interface of Android applications. The tool comes as a Visual Studio or MonoDevelop plug-in. The designer can be used to layout all native widgets and controls –including layout containers, images and media –, and to modify their properties, generating an .axml file. The designer supports customizing layouts based on language, region, country and phone carrier.

The designer has the following sections:

Design Surface – shows in preview form how the interface will appear when running on the target device.

Toolbox – contains a list of widgets and layouts that can be dragged and dropped onto the design surface.

Property Pad – shows the properties for the selected widget.

Outline View – displays the widgets as a tree allowing the see the containment hierarchy.

Xamarin Designer works with Android 2.2 and up to 4.0.3, creating and editing interfaces for various screen sizes, resolutions, layouts –portrait or landscape-, and device configurations, such as physical keyboard or additional hardware buttons.

The updated Mono for Android 4.2 comes with a device toolbar allowing selecting the default device to deploy the application edited with the designer in a non-modal emulator. The latest version of Xamarin’s tool for Android has project templates for Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich, a signing wizard, integrated Logcat, Java binding libraries tool, a 50% smaller shared runtime, bug fixes an others.

Xamarin does not offer the designer separately but it has included it with Mono for Android, current customers being able to download it based on their annual subscription.

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