Visual Studio 2017 + Xamarin + Syncfusion Webinar Q&A

On March 21, 2017, Aaron Melamed, product solutions specialist for Syncfusion, presented the webinar Visual Studio + Xamarin + Syncfusion­—a primer on how to use Xamarin and Visual Studio in conjunction with Syncfusion components.

Did you miss the webinar? Watch the recording here and download the sample Aaron used.

The following section contains all the questions asked by attendees during the webinar with answers provided by Aaron and additional Syncfusion staff.

Licensing and Purchasing

Q: Is there a special upgrade for people currently using another company’s components?           

A: Yes, we offer competitive upgrade discounts. Also, with our flat license you save 80 percent or more compared with other companies.

Q: How does your license check work with the NuGet option?  

A: We don't have runtime license checks.

Q: Is special handling required for using NuGet packages, such as license configuration or restrictions on control availability?

A: Special handling is not required. All our controls are available through NuGet.

Q: Let's say I developed a mobile app using the Syncfusion Community License. Can I publish it on Google Store to sell?     

A: Yes, you may sell your product.

Q: Are there any products or versions that are only available to a Syncfusion Global License holder which are not in the community license? Is the only difference the revenue of my company?

A: All our products are available in the Global License and the Community License.

Q: I didn’t know about Syncfusion’s Community License. Can individuals who want to experiment have it?        

A: Yes, any individual developer can have free access. Companies with less than a million dollars (US) in revenue can also.

Q: Can I create an open-source project using Syncfusion controls and share it? 

A: Yes, but you do need to sign an agreement, which is free. Contact us to sign up.

Q: How can I get the Community License for an individual developer?

A: You can get it from our Community License download page.

About Syncfusion’s Offering

Q: Is the data-entry form coming in April?          

A: Yes.

Q: Are you guys planning a previewer for the data charts?          

A: Yes, we do have plans to make our chart render in the Xamarin.Forms XAML previewer.

Q: Basic showcases with real enterprise forms would be great to add to your website.

A: Thanks for the feedback. We will take it into account.

Q: Do you have a control like Google Maps?      

A: Yes, we have a map control that can render shape files (.shp).

Q: Can I get more information about the features and capabilities of the upcoming image editor control?           

A: The image editor control will include features such as cropping, rotating, free-form drawing, shape drawing, and text annotation.

Q: Does Syncfusion provide a Xamarin.Forms-specific set of controls?   

A: Yes, you can find them on our Essential Studio for Xamarin page.

Q: Is Syncfusion planning a previewer for the data chart used in the webinar?  

A: Yes, we do have plans.             

Q: Is the image annotation control coming in April, too?              

A: Yes.

Q: Syncfusion provides controls for web, desktop, and mobile, right?    

A: Yes.

Q: Do you have multimedia controls available (e.g., video and sound with different formats supported)?

A: No

Q: When comparing Syncfusion with other available options, why should I pick Syncfusion?      

A: Syncfusion offers a huge selection of controls for every platform. Also, we have unique enterprise platforms, such as the Dashboard Platform and Big Data Platform. One unique aspect is that our license is flat and covers everyone. A company with $100 million in revenue will pay $4,000 per year for all users—less expensive than any competitor.

Q: Is there a ribbon control in your plans for Windows 10 on desktop with Xamarin.Forms for UWP?

A: We do have plans, but not for the immediate future.

Q: Is there any control available or being worked on to support P2P communication?

A: No, Syncfusion is not currently not working on anything for that.

Q: When can we expect the image editor control?          

A: The image editor will be part of our Volume 2, 2017 release coming in late April.

Q: Do you have a road map of upcoming controls and features?

A: We don't have a public road map available, but here are some items you can expect later this year.

Coming in Volume 2 this April:

  • New sunburst chart control.
  • New image editor that will let you crop, rotate, and annotate images with text, freehand drawings, and shapes.
  • PDF Viewer enhancements with text-selection and annotation capabilities.
  • New form-building control that quickly creates data forms based on objects.

Coming in Volume 3 this fall:

  • New diagram control that will support laying out nodes to create diagrams, such as organizational charts. Editing capabilities will be added later.
  • Chart control enhancements with trend lines, new chart types, and 3-D charts.

Please note that this is only a rough estimate. Timelines for delivery are likely to change. Also, this list does not include several customer-requested enhancements for existing controls.

Q: Do you have any plans to create a rich text editor control?

A: Yes, but not in the immediate future since there are other higher-priority items on our to-do list.

Technical Matters

Q: Your example uses Xamarin.Forms; does that mean the UI code works between all three platforms with no changes?

A: Generally, yes, but minor checks may be needed.

Q: Can I incorporate videos into the Xamarin?

A: Currently, Syncfusion does not have a control to do this, but maybe this sample from Xamarin might help: https://github.com/xamarin/customer-success-samples/tree/master/samples/Xamarin.Forms/FormsNativeVideoPlayer.

Q: Do labels within your data grid have an auto-height option?

A: Yes, they do. Please refer to the following documentation: https://help.syncfusion.com/xamarin/sfdatagrid/row-height-customization#auto-fit-the-grid-rows-based-on-content.

Q: Do you support other markup languages?     

A: We support XAML in Xamarin.Forms and AXML in Xamarin.Android applications.

Q: Does Syncfusion for Xamarin.Forms include UWP projects?  

A: Yes, we support UWP in Xamarin.Forms.

Q: Does Syncfusion have full support for Visual Studio 2017?     

A: Yes, we fully support Visual Studio 2017.

Q: Did the demo in the webinar use Xamrin.Forms? What, if any, change would need to happen to run this on an iPhone?

A: The promise of Xamarin.Forms is that things will work across platforms.

Q: Can I use this with Visual Studio 2015 Community?  

A: Yes, we support Visual Studio 2015 Community.

Q: Is Xamarin.Forms compiled to native OS code?           

A: Yes, Xamarin.Forms apps are compiled to native OS code.

Q: How can we use MVVM commands instead of code-behind handlers?

A: In the sample, we mainly used event handlers for navigation purposes. You can bind the selected item property of the control to the view modal to be notified whenever you select an item in the control.

You can also use events to command behavior, as demonstrated in the following sample for the events that do not have commands.

https://developer.xamarin.com/samples/xamarin-forms/Behaviors/EventToCommandBehavior/

We will also investigate further and add commands where relevant.

Q: If I configure the NuGet option, I don't need to install or download the .exe file from the website, correct?

A: That is true, however, if you would like to see the tutorial samples, you might need to download the .exe or .zip files.

Q: Can DataBinding connect to different data sources, e.g. REST services, Oracle, or SQL Server corporate DBs?

A: Yes.

Q: In the demo, events were treated in the file behind the code corresponding to the XAML files. Following the MVVM pattern, these events could be handled in the ViewModel via commands. Do Syncfusion controls support commands?

A: In the sample, we mainly used event handlers for navigation. You can bind the selected item property of the control to the view modal to be notified whenever you select an item in the control. You can also use an event to command behavior, as demonstrated in the following sample for events that do not have commands.

https://developer.xamarin.com/samples/xamarin-forms/Behaviors/EventToCommandBehavior/

We will investigate further and add commands where relevant.

Q: Can you demonstrate using Syncfusion Xamarin.Forms controls in Caliburn.Micro framework?       

A: We can do that through Direct-Trac, our support channel.

Q: Do you have Xamarin samples that work with authentication like OAuth and Syncfusion MVC?

A: We don’t have samples, but you can refer to Xamarin’s CRM and sport samples for working with authentication, located at https://www.xamarin.com/prebuilt.

Q: We are a startup looking for the right tool. How we can compare Xamarin with React Native, Angular, Ionic, or Cordova?

A: Xamarin results in real, native apps. React Native also produces native apps, but we feel that at this point, the Xamarin ecosystem is richer. Ionic apps are hybrids, so there will be user-perception differences and performance differences.

It comes down to a preference between using JavaScript versus C# when choosing between React Native and Xamarin.

Q: For each type of OS compatibility, is there a minimum OS version?  

A: Our understanding is that the most popular versions will work.

Q: Do you have multilingual support?

A: Yes, all static text in our controls can be localized.

Q: Can I install separate packs if I only need MVC controls?

A: Yes, separate packages are available from Syncfusion.

Q: Why do we need a studio? If these are just controls, we could add references to assemblies to use them.

A: You can also choose to work with NuGet packages to avoid installing anything.

Q: Do you have support for Xamarin.Mac?

A: Currently, we don’t support Xamarin.Mac, but we will consider adding support if we receive sufficient customer requests.

Q: Can I use these controls with the Prism framework?

A: Yes.

Education and Resources

Q: In your opinion, what is the best way to learn and master Xamarin.Forms? Does Syncfusion have a special approach?

A: Definitely look at our e-book Xamarin.Forms Succinctly. We also recommend Charles Petzold’s guide on Xamarin.Forms.

Q: Where can I get a Syncfusion quick-start project for Xamarin?             

A: Several samples ship with our download, and you can also find our Xamarin samples online.

Q: Do you plan to expand the level of detail in your documentation?

A: Yes, we are constantly updating our documentation.

Q: Syncfusion e-books are a great way to learn, but can you please upload videos on Syncfusion controls for Xamarin?

A: Yes, we will add more videos.

Q: Does Xamarin come with emulators for common operating systems and devices?    

A: Yes.

Q: I am new to coding; should I learn the basics first or is there an option where no coding is required?

A: Currently, there is no way to develop Xamarin apps without coding. Hence, you should have knowledge about the programming language and the platform.

Q: Where can I find Syncfusion’s series of e-books?       

A: More than 100 titles are available for free at our Technology Portal, including a title covering Xamarin.

Q: I’d appreciate you including a book on WPF.

A: An updated version of WPF Succinctly was recently published.

Q: How can I find your documentation?

A: You can find Syncfusion’s documentation at https://help.syncfusion.com.

Q: How much learning curve is needed to get our hands on Syncfusion products?            

A: That depends on the platform. A couple of days is typical for most people.

About the Webinar

Q: Where will we be able to download the sample solution from this webinar?

A: You can download the sample at https://github.com/syncfusion/Xamarin-ExpenseAnalysis.

Q: Is there going to be another webinar where you show these controls using code-based examples only? XAML is just too confusing. I've actually found Xamarin.Forms is easier to implement in straight code rather than XAML and code-behind. For example, take this webinar: The presenter had to jump all over the place just to show a simple page display.    

A: Since most developers prefer XAML, we will not have a webinar exclusively on Xamarin.Forms with straight code. We will, however, be happy to set up an individual demo for you.

Q: Will there be a webinar about the environment setup, like sending to an emulator or a device?         

A: We will consider that.

Q: What is Xamarin-Syncfusion? I thought this was a Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 webcast.      

A: This sample application was completely developed on Visual Studio 2017. Visual Studio 2017 provides the only option to develop for iOS, Android, and UWP within the same IDE. We wanted to highlight that. All our controls are fully compatible with Visual Studio 2017.

Miscellaneous

Q: Who founded Syncfusion and what is your mission?

A: We have been around for 16 years. Our mission is to create components for every dev's toolbox. Learn more about us at https://www.syncfusion.com/company/about-us.

Q:  Is Xamarin.Forms the future of mobile development?           

A: Yes, we think so. Xamarin.Forms Mac support is under development, and there is also talk of WPF being supported, so Xamarin is emerging as the most powerful cross-platform development solution.

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