This is the archetypal acknowledgment from XAML enthusiasts aback they’re told that Xamarin.Forms XAML can now be styled with CSS. Yes, we’re talking acceptable old Bottomward StyleSheets (CSS). Meant for web, but now able to be acclimated to appearance built-in cross-platform Xamarin.Forms apps. Sure, it sounds a little awe-inspiring at first. But it’s important to accede that CSS administration for XAML has some different advantages (as do other web technologies). This commodity explores the affiance of administration Xamarin.Forms apps with CSS and what lies ahead. This is a new alternative way to appearance your Xamarin.Forms XAML beheld elements, area there’s not abundant to lose and affluence to gain!
First up, if you are a cynic of any web technologies, you charge to accord up the action adjoin bringing CSS abutment to Xamarin.Forms. It is happening. And although it’s not in a abiding Xamarin.Forms absolution yet, the pull appeal was alloyed into adept in backward 2017. The CSS parser is about a mapping aback to XAML styles in use aural Xamarin.Forms.
So, why would Microsoft alike try to accompany CSS advantage from the web apple over to Xamarin.Forms? Turns out, there are some absolute advantages to actuality able to appearance built-in Xamarin.Forms apps with the affluence that CSS provides. Here’s an breezy rundown:
Here are a few allowances that CSS provides for administration Xamarin.Forms:
While the affiance of CSS administration and cipher administration can be enticing, it is important to bethink that these are still aboriginal days. These are some things to accumulate in mind:
Time to see how this works. So, how would you go about abacus CSS abutment to your Xamarin.Forms apps? First, you charge about-face to a Beta absolution of the Xamarin.Forms NuGet amalgamation to advance CSS. These releases are accessible by blockage the box to see pre-release packages. Anything 2.6.0 onward should assignment – latest being 3.0.0 Pre 3. Accomplish this about-face in your new or absolute Xamarin.Forms activity – in .NET Standard/PCL library as able-bodied as any platform-specific projects.
Next up, let’s add a all-encompassing CSS book – this can alive in a /Styles folder if you apprehend the charge to accumulate all your styles organized.
Just accomplish abiding to mark the CSS book as an embedded resource – this way it is included for parsing in all platform-specific app packages.
That’s it! We are now accessible to accredit to the CSS in our XAML. Artlessly actualize a Resourcefor your ContentPage and point to the CSS book in your directory.
You may additionally amount up the CSS as an anchored adeptness from C# code, but XAML is the added adopted and accustomed abode to tie in CSS. Now, over in our CSS file, let’s address the aboriginal bit of cipher to appearance our XAML beheld tree, like so:
The caret attribute (^) selects all elements with ContentPage as the base class, including ContentPage itself. While the blow of CSS administration is the aforementioned as what you do for web, this is the alone selector that isn’t allotment of CSS blueprint – this is appropriate for Xamarin.Forms only. Accept assurance and run your app – you’ll see that after alteration annihilation in the absence Xamarin.Forms template, we accept CSS administration our ContentPage. One baby band of code, one behemothic bound in code-sharing prospects!
Now the CSS file(s) in your Xamarin.Forms projects can be formed on any way you adopt – both Beheld Studio for Windows and Mac will action acceptable abutment with IntelliSense. You are additionally chargeless to use your admired CSS tool. Except for the caret attribute (^), it should be business as usual.
While the affiance of actuality able to appearance Xamarin.Forms UI with CSS may be exciting, you may accept that acrimonious activity in your gut: “Is this absolutely CSS? Like, absolutely what we use for HTML?” Yep, this is CSS in all its celebrity and best of its appearance artlessly work.
One of the actual allowances is the all-encompassing abutment for beheld aspect properties. CSS can adeptness aloof about any administration acreage for XAML elements. Actuality are some of the best accepted administration backdrop accustomed to XAML developers:
CSS selectors behest which elements to act on and these acreage ethics can be set aloof how you would set them from XAML. For precedence, styles with analogous selectors are applied, one by one, in analogue order. Styles authentic on the beheld aspect itself are consistently activated last. Speaking of selectors, let’s booty a attending at some accepted book to accept XAML beheld elements – CSS absolutely shines in adaptability here.
As you adeptness expect, you can accredit a CSS style class to XAML elements and ascertain the appearance in your CSS book – in case of acreage amount conflicts, the aftermost appearance wins. Accept the afterward XAML:
The Label has the .MyLabel class applied, which is as follows:
Here’s how it looks at runtime:
You can accredit to any XAML beheld aspect by their all-encompassing name as CSS selectors, but you may additionally abatement aback to x:Name to analyze alone elements out of the beheld tree. For example, accept the afterward XAML:
You can map this Label using its Name property through an ID selector in CSS:
Here’s how it looks at runtime:
If you accept any circuitous administration needs, you are about consistently brash to accept your styles authentic in a abstracted CSS book – XAML beheld timberline analogue and its administration can be pulled calm at runtime. For actual simple scenarios, however, you accept the advantage of defining your CSS styles inline aural your XAML file:
Here’s how it looks at runtime:
Let’s get to the bottomward allotment of CSS styling. This is area CSS shines with accessible “trickle-down” effects. Accept you appetite all Labels within a StackLayout to accept a assertive style. You can accredit to absolute accouchement application the element>element selector.
Assume the afterward XAML:
Let’s appearance the absolute accouchement of the StackLayout using the element>element selector:
You can alpha to acknowledge the adeptness and adaptability that CSS abutment in Xamarin.Forms provides:
Now, what if you capital all adolescent elements to accept a specific style, alike admitting they do not accede from a absolute parent? Artlessly use the element element selector! Again, let’s accept some XAML:
Let’s use the element element selector to appearance the on:
You may alarm it a adventurous outlier move, but CSS administration for Xamarin.Forms is actuality to stay. CSS brings to the table the adeptness to appearance XAML in a beneath bombastic and added able way. And the better advantage is cipher administration amid your web and Xamarin.Forms apps.
It doesn’t booty a apperception clairvoyant to assumption your aing set of questions. Now that we accept CSS, could we booty things to an avant-garde akin and absolutely acquire the benefits? Could I be application CSS pre-processors like Sass and Less in Xamarin.Forms administration and get abundance benefits? If I accept a XAML appearance template, could I use CSS to adapt it? I’m using Telerik UI for Xamarin for polished, performant UI – could I appearance them with CSS or adapt the built-in theme? The acknowledgment to all your questions is an absolute YES! But for the accident of active TL;DR, we’ll save this altercation for addition article. Until then, break chic and appearance your Xamarin.Forms apps aloof the way you like. Cheers!
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