Preview Apps as You Write Them with Xamarin Live Player

One of the major announcements at Microsoft Build 2017 in regard to Xamarin is the launch of the Xamarin Live Player. The Xamarin Live Player is available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store, and gives you an easy way to preview your app as your write it. It doesn’t require any saving, recompiling, or building, as soon as you add code, it appears in the app.

When you combine using the Infragistics AppMap, which is part of the Ultimate UI Controls for Xamarin, you can drag and drop a mobile app design with navigation in minutes, and then instantly preview that design directly on a mobile device. No packaging, deploying, and for iOS: no Mac required!

While this doesn’t completely eliminate the need for having emulators or devices to test your app, this gives you a quick and easy way to preview your code as you write it on just about any device. The big piece here is that it includes being able to test directly on an iOS device. You’re probably aware of some of the headaches and hoops to jump through to build and deploy an app to an iOS device, especially if you’ve been developing on Windows.

To get started with the live player, download it from the app store on your device or from xamarin.com/live. After you’ve downloaded the app, connect your device to your dev machine and launch the app. You’ll also need the 15.3 Preview version of Visual Studio to be able to run the live player, which you can get from the Visual Studio website.

This version of Visual Studio also needs the Xamarin Updater. And yes, you can install the preview version of Visual Studio side-by-side with your full version. You’ll just need to reinstall any extensions for the second version of Visual Studio.

Now we’re ready to open our solution and try out the live player. Let’s create a new Xamarin.Forms solution in Visual Studio. After you create the solution, you’ll need to update the Xamarin Preview extension for Visual Studio. You can do this from Tools -> Extensions and Updates, where you might notice a new option under Updates for Xamarin Preview.

Make sure that everything has been updated before proceeding, you might have to go through the update process a couple times before its at the latest version.

The first step that you must take is to pair your device with Visual Studio. Launch the Live Player app from your device, then click Pair to Visual Studio.

From Visual Studio, run the app using the Live Player option.

You’ll be prompted to either scan the QR code, or enter in the code that is displayed on your device’s screen. At this point you’ll also want to make sure that your mobile device is on the same network as the computer that is running Visual Studio.

And just like that, your device is connected to Visual Studio. Within a couple seconds, the app will be displayed on the screen.

From Visual Studio, click Tools, select Xamarin Live Player, then click Live Run Current View.

Now you can make changes to the code and it will be displayed immediately on your device. When you combine the Xamarin Live Player with the Infragistics AppMap, you can create a new project, use a drag and drop design, and preview it on your mobile device in minutes. Download your free trial of the Ultimate UI Controls for Xamarin to design and preview a mobile app with AppMap and Xamarin Live Player today!