I hope that everyone has been having a wonderful holiday season. Over the last month I have had one large goal; to create a plethora of Plugins for Xamarin. This desire to create plugins started a long time ago when I created my very first NuGet packages for cross platform settings. Once I iterated on the plugin and saw how successful and helpful it was I knew right away that I wanted to create more, which is where the idea of a cross platform text to speech plugin came from. I didn’t stop there though as more ideas came to my mind and we even launched a holiday contest with awesome prizes for anyone who also wanted to create a plugin. Here is a recap of the last few weeks:
An Easier Way to DevelopImmediately I realized that setting up projects for iOS, iOS Unified, Android, WP, WP RT, Windows Store, and the PCLs was a big pain if you had to do it all manually, so I wanted to solve this. With a bit of hard work and help from @Kzu I was able to introduce brand new Visual Studio templates for creating plugins and nuspecs. This makes it so you are immediately productive with a full project setup so you can start coding.
Vibrate!(/content/images/2017/07/plugin_vibrate_1.png) Have you ever wanted to tap into the vibration feature of your mobile device from a common API? Well here it is, simply call Vibration(int milliseconds); and you are done! Simple and effective.
Device Info!(/content/images/2017/07/plugin_device_2.png) When using Xamarin.Forms I really enjoyed that I could execute specific functionality by checking the platform type from a PCL or shared code. So why shouldn’t you be able to do this normally? Device Info was born and also brought to the table the ability to get firmware version, device model, unique Id, and more.
Image Circle Control Plugin
Next up was something a bit different; a control plugin for Xamarin.Forms. I really like circle images, I mean I really like them a lot. In fact, I keep talking about them on dates that I go on and I even blogged about them over on the Xamarin Blog. So the Image Circle control plugin for Xamarin.Forms was introduced so no one else would ever have to write code to create circle images from scratch.
Connectivity!(/content/images/2017/07/plugin_connectivity_4.png) Creating online/offline mobile apps can be a bit tricky and each platform has a different way of figuring out if the device has connectivity. So instead of writing this code over and over again I decided to take it to the next level and create a connectivity plugin so you could just check to see if there is an internet connection. Even better is that you can subscribe to be notified when your user is disconnected!
Battery Status!(/content/images/2017/07/plugin_battery_5.png) This plugin started as a fun little project on my plane ride from Seattle to Austin for the holidays and ended up with me coding, testing, and releasing this plugin on Christmas Day! Check the current batter percentage left, the devices power source, and of course register for notifications when anything changes.
I love plugins for xamarin and they don’t just work on iOS and Android they all work on Windows Phone and most work on Windows Store as well. I hope that everyone will find these useful and inspire you to create your own plugin. If you are interested to see how I created these be sure to see the entire source code on my GitHub!