Xamarin Designer brings visual Android UX development to C#, .NET

.NET software development tool company Xamarin on Monday launched Xamarin Designer for Android, a drag-and-drop visual environment for creating native user interfaces for Android apps from within Visual Studio or within the Mono for Android IDE.

Xamarin is a young company made up of more than twenty ex-Novell team members who built the Mono open source .NET development framework. So far, the company is responsible for releasing Mono for Android, and MonoTouch for iOS.

Mono for Android lets developers use C# and the .NET Base Class Library (BCL) to write native Android applications. This is accomplished by executing applications in an instance of the Mono runtime VM, which co-exists on devices along with Google’s Dalvik VM. Xamarin Designer for Android, available today, is included with Mono for Android 4.2, and is available immediately to current licensees of the software.

Xamarin Designer for Android follows the conventions of Visual Studio, concentrating on the .NET framework, but including the native APIs and UI toolkits from Android going back to API level 4, which includes all the bells and whistles of Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich. It is composed of a design surface for visual construction of UIs, a toolbox of widgets and layouts, a property pad, and an outline view.

It lets app developers control form widgets, text fields, layouts, layout containers, images and media; it supports dock-specific layout configurations (for webtop, car, or television applications); and view and edit layouts by language, region, country and telephone carrier.

Xamarin Designer for Android is available now as a part of the Mono for Android package, which is available to individuals and companies with fewer than 10 employees for $399, and to larger enterprises beginning at $999.

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