Xamarin created Mono, Mono for Android, and Monotouch, these all are the cross-platform implementation of Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) and Common Language Specification (Microsoft .NET).
Using Xamarin.Forms we can create native apps quickly for iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS and it is entirely in C#. It allows us to build mobile applications using a skill that they already have and spend less time writing code for each platform. There are lots of libraries available to enhance, extend and improve the functionality of Xamarin.Forms Application.
Table of Content
In this blog, we will discuss the Top Five Libraries for Xamarin.Forms development. These are the most beneficial libraries to develop both Xamarin iOS and Xamarin Android mobile applications.
This library provides us the latest platform specification networking libraries and custom HttpClient handlers for Xamarin applications. The main purpose of this library is to make network IO go extremely faster.
It is done by calling native platform libraries like NSUrlSession and OkHttp 1.5 for Android and iOS. It only asks that we use HttpClient and instantiate the object with either iOS or Android Handler. We can add it from the package manager by writing this line in the package manager console: Install-Package modernhttpclient-updated -Version 3.4.3 It increases HTTP request speed, it makes a noticeable difference from using the base HttpWebRequest, HttpClient, or WebClient.
It can skip through the Mono runtime bottleneck by using native libraries. We can easily use components, especially if we are using HttpClient for our request. It is simply one line new HttpClient(new NativeMessageHandler()); on each instantiate of HttpClient.
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If we want to run our application on more than one platform then MVVMCross should be used. MVVMCross is a library to implement MVVM design-pattern in mobile application development so the core code can be reused on a different platform.
MVVM stands for Model, View, ViewModel. This design pattern will separate objects into three groups: Model, View, ViewModel. The model holds the data of our application, View is the UI part of an application and ViewModel acts as a bridge between Model and View. It transfers information of model as values and that values can display on View. MVVM pattern helps developers to create a portable and maintainable code-base. MVVMCross is an all-in-one package with plugin support that will create a cross-platform development easy. We can add this library from the package manager by writing this line in the package manager console: Install-Package MvvmCross.Forms -Version 6.4.2 MVVMCross supports a wide range of platforms. For Xamarin.Forms it supports PCL (Portable Class Library), Android, iOS, and UWP (Universal Windows Project). MVVMCross provides various benefits like it provides fully customized code, it allows us to change native platform navigation, support of passing and returning objects for ViewModel to ViewModel navigation, Provides helpers and classes.
Akavache is an asynchronous, persistence key-value pair for both Applications: Desktop and Mobile. It is based on SQLite3 and C#. Akavache is very useful for storing important data and cached local data that expires. Akavache is a library that will make common patterns of applications easy and merge caching of different object types.
We can use Akavache currently with Xamarin.Android, Xamarin.iOS/ Xamarin.Mac, .NET 4.5 Desktop (WPF), Windows10 (Universal Windows Platform), Windows Phone 8.1 Universal Apps, and Tizen 4.0. There is no issue found with Xamarin.Android, Xamarin.iOS/ Xamarin.Mac, .NET 4.5 Desktop (WPF), and Tizen 4.0 platforms, but with Windows10 (Universal Windows Platform), Windows Phone 8.1 Universal Apps, we must mark our app as X86 or ARM otherwise it will through runtime error about SQLitePCL_Raw not loading correctly. And also check that Microsoft Visual C++ runtime is added to the project.
In Akavache we can add this library from the package manager by writing this in Package Manager Console: Install-Package akavache -Version 7.2.1 It is built-in on core key-value byte array store and there are some extensions are added to support Arbitrary objects via JSON.NET, for fetching and loading images and URLs from the internet and to store and encrypt user credentials automatically.
To make asynchronous and event-based programs with the use of observable sequences and LINQ style query operations this library is used. Using this library developers are able to represent asynchronous data with observable, query asynchronous data using LINQ operations, and parameterize the concurrency in asynchronous using schedulers.
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In simple word Reactive Extensions (Rx) = Observable + LINQ operation +Schedulers. We can add this library from the package manager by writing this in Package Manager Console: Install-Package System.Reactive.Linq -Version 5.0.0. Rx 5.x supports these platforms: .NET 5, .NET 5 with the Windows 10 19041 SDK, .NET Framework 4.6, UWP 10.0.16299, .NET Standard 2.0. We can represent multiple asynchronous data streams and subscribe to the event streaming using the IObserver
ReactiveUI is an MVVM design library like MVVMCross. Using this library, we are able to build reactive, testable, and composable UI code with MVVM patterns. Using ReactiveUI we can easily combine the MVVM pattern with reactive programming by providing features like WhenAnyValue, ReactiveCommand, ObservableAsPropertyHelper, WhenActivated, and Data Binding. We can add this library from the package manager by writing this in Package Manager Console: nstall-Package reactiveui -Version 13.2.2 ReactiveUI is more of the Pick and Choose framework where MVVMCross is full MVVM experience.
In Xamarin.Forms lots of libraries are available to enhance, extend and improve functionalities of the application.
In this blog, we have discussed the top five libraries that are most useful in Xamarin development. We have discussed ModernHttpClient, MVVMCross, Akavache, Reactive Extension, and ReactiveUI and also seen what are packages are used to add these libraries to our project.
These all libraries are useful to develop Xamarin.Forms applications with various functionalities. The main aim of the ModernHttpClient library to make the network IO faster. The MVVMCross library implements the design pattern of MVVM and it also supports multiple platforms. The Akavache library is useful for storing and caching data of an application. Reactive Extension is using observable sequences and LINQ style query operations for creating asynchronous and event-based programs. And the last library we have discussed ReactiveUI allows us to create reactive and testable code. It is based on the MVVM design same as the MVVMCross library.