Xamarin Designer for Android has been released as a new means for developers to work in a drag-and-drop visual environment to create native user interfaces for Android apps from within Visual Studio or Xamarin's own IDE.
The product enables the editing of properties for all native Android widgets and interface controls from within a visual designer to produce standard Android XML layout files.
"With Xamarin Designer for Android, we're helping developers with rapid prototyping and creation of native Android app interfaces," said Miguel de Icaza, chief technical officer at Xamarin. "Now developers can use a graphical interface to design native Android user experiences for portrait and landscape layouts, different screen sizes, and screen resolutions — and for different device configurations, like hardware with keyboards and search buttons."
Xamarin Designer for Android is said to follow the conventions of Visual Studio and supports Android API levels going back to 4, as well as Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and Ice Cream Sandwich release levels.
Other significant Android Designer features include control over form widgets, text fields, layouts, layout containers, images and media; support for dock-specific layout configurations including car, desk, and television; as well as view and edit layouts by language, region, country, and telephone carrier.
Xamarin is trying to entice developers with a cross-platform development environment that provides the power of the .NET framework, along with access to all of the native APIs and UI toolkits unique to each operating platform — and so, logically, allowing developers to create native (or "unique" as Xamarin would have it) experiences on each operating system.