Happy Friday everyone!
Whilst Europe is going through a heatwave, here in Melbourne, Australia it's freezing cold. As such, I've been suffering from a dreaded "man-cold" but things are looking better just in time for the weekend.
Speaking of weekends, hope you all have an amazing one. Enjoy the issue.
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Introducing Steven Thewissen
It seems appropriate that heading towards the end of #XamarinUIJuly that this month's Xamarin Introduction is Steven Thewissen. The irony is that Steven is probably someone in the Xamarin community that needs no introduction, but here we are. ;-)
For those of you don't know Steven, he is a Xamarin developer and keen community contributor based in the Netherlands.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
Steven Thewissen; Microsoft MVP, wrote a book about Xamarin.Forms and like blogging about it as well. I've been a Xamarin developer for about 6 years now and besides building apps I also love tinkering with their UI and everything related to it. You can find me hanging out on Twitter quite often. Creator of the infamous PancakeView, DebugRainbows and EasyLoading NuGet packages.
Tell us one thing we probably don't know about you?
There's probably a lot you don't know. One of them is that I have 2 guitars and still have the ambition to one day be able to play them properly. Problem is that there's so many things fighting for my attention that I usually don't get around to it. Lame excuse, I know.
How did you first get into Xamarin development?
The company I worked for at the time was looking to expand into app development. Since that was a .NET-oriented company Xamarin quickly became the first choice. I started looking into it and slowly got more and more excited about it. When at some point along the way Xamarin.Forms came around I was hooked.
What has been the most enjoyable project you have built using Xamarin?
That's a tricky one. I usually have fun on most projects I do, but obviously they're also never 100% awesome. I did do a few projects that I'm proud of which are rolled out to a rather extensive user base. The fact that a lot of people can see your work adds additional pressure, but if you pull it off the satisfaction is equally great. One of the apps is a public app for a geographical region spanning around half a million potential users, the other an internal app that will be rolled out to markets across Europe. The latter one, about which I can't share too much, has multiple designers in the team, so I can really use my knack for UI to the fullest.
What advice would you give someone looking at getting started with Xamarin development?
There's a lot of information out there to get started. Sometimes maybe even too much. Sample apps, blogs etc. are all good starting points. Especially fully built apps like the BikeSharing sample or similar ones provided by Microsoft. I do think taking a look at Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android first for starters is very important. Sure, Xamarin.Forms makes things easier, but getting the basics for each platform under your belt will help you a lot along the way.
What are the MUST HAVE tools, resources and libraries that you use when building Xamarin apps?
Truly must have are definitely MFractor and LiveXAML. For someone who tinkers with UI a hot-reload of some sort is such a time saver. MFractor also offers a lot of features and Matthew is always looking to improve it. NuGets that I tend to use a lot are FFImageLoading, FreshMVVM, Refit and obviously PancakeView (🥞 cheap plug).
Where do you think mobile will be in 5 years?
Oof, this is a tough one. I usually don't go full visionary (you never go full visionary) and just follow along with the flow of where Xamarin takes us. I definitely think the whole Xamarin.Forms abstraction layer will be expanded upon even further as time progresses. However, I also think at some point we will hit a limit with it. In 5 years Xamarin.Forms will be 10 years old. It may not even be around at that point and be replaced by a completely new way of working. Who knows? I'm curious to see where it all goes though.
Any other things you would like to share or promote?
I'd love to invite everyone to take a look at my NuGet packages (GitHub linked below or just lookup my last name on NuGet) to see if they can be of value to you. Also feel free to suggest improvements, I'm always open to taking a look at implementing new features. While I'm at it: https://www.snppts.dev is a platform we've recently relaunched where developers can publicly share cool user interfaces they've created. We accept any and all comers, so don't be afraid and contribute!
A big thanks to Steven for sharing a little bit about himself, and of course all the amazing packages he provides freely to the Xamarin community. Stay up to date with everything that Steven is working on (and that's a lot of things) at the following locations: