The following guest blog was written by James Kennedy
I work for a company called GMP Software developing a mobile application named FieldStrike. FieldStrike is a Customer Relational Management (CRM) system and is available for Windows, Android, and iOS. As with any business application, there are some controls and functionality that you cannot do without; Excel, PDF, and charts are just a few. Thankfully, Syncfusion has a solution, and I will be covering a few of my favorites here.
I have been working with Xamarin.Forms for over two years now and it differs drastically to any other technology I have used in the past. Xamarin.Forms is a reasonably new Microsoft technology that allows you to write your view once using XAML and renders it natively on iOS, Android, and UWP. Because this is a relatively new technology, it is still in development and lacks the out-of-the-box customizability that other well-bedded technologies, such as WPF, provide. You can, however, extend the platform using custom renderers, but this is quite complex when starting out and can be very time-consuming. This is where Syncfusion steps in.
I have already mentioned a few libraries that Syncfusion provides, which no professional business application can be without. Excel and PDF libraries are, in my eyes, essential to any business application looking to output reports to either of those formats. Syncfusion provides these as DocIO, PDF, and XlsIO, and I am yet to find anyone else to offer these libraries for Xamarin.
There are also up to 30 other controls currently being offered that provide a more unique feel to any application, setting it apart from other apps. Currently we use around 15 of Syncfusion’s controls in FieldStrike, and I'll briefly cover a few here:
The PDF viewer is a very straightforward control and does exactly what it says on the tin: it allows you to view PDF documents. It also works well with the Syncfusion PDF library to allow you to create PDF documents at runtime and view them.
The rating control is a fun way to display a rating. We use it for rating photos within the application. This is a fun-looking control that is missing from the Xamarin.Forms control gallery, but Syncfusion has provided a great solution for.
The charts provide charting functionality that is essential to any business application. There are 26 different types of graph you can use, and they are very easy to use. We have used the chart to show a dashboard screen on first entering our application to see a quick overview of a user’s progress.
The calendar control allows a lot of customization, and we have ended up using this control in a few different places throughout our application. One of our uses is to provide our own date picker control. This allows us to have full control over the interface and data displayed.
In conclusion, Syncfusion has allowed us to customize our application, providing a much better user experience by pushing the boundary of what Xamarin.Forms has to offer. We are always ready to use and look forward to using the latest Syncfusion controls for Xamarin.Forms. Because of this, we have found some issues with early and pre-release versions; however, their support is always helpful, and they are always willing to listen to our requirements. We are very impressed with the speed at which incidents are resolved, and I am yet to find anyone else who matches the amount of controls offered by Syncfusion. If you would like to look at the other controls Syncfusion provides for Xamarin.Forms, you can find them here.