Programming, Xamarin

ListView improvements in Xamarin Forms

Since becoming open source, it has become possible to find out potential upcoming features in Xamarin Forms by just poking around the active branches in the repository (macOS support was visible in the repo before any announcement).

One of them is lv2spike.

From just reading the commit messages, it seems this is a new CollectionView, based on UICollectionView for iOS and RecyclerView for Android.

This is something that has been needed for a while, but is a big enough undertaking that I understand why it has taken a while. After all the branch suggests this is still just a spike.

There are quite a lot of feature requests for the Xamarin Forms ListView that are just not possible (like this one for horizontal layout) mainly because the iOS implementation is based on UITableView. This will open lots of possibilities. My biggest concern is that despite the push forward with features, Xamarin Forms is accruing bugs even faster, and with the expanded platform support this could just get worse…

Android, Programming, Xamarin

[SOLVED] Xamarin Android and “–no-version-vectors”

TLDR: An error containing “–no-version-vectors” is probably fixed by updating your Android SDK Build Tools to at least 23.

I recently upgraded a project to the latest version of Xamarin Forms and got the following error:

/Library/Frameworks/Mono.framework/External/xbuild/Xamarin/Android/Xamarin.Android.Common.targets: Error: Tool exited with code: 2. Output: ERROR: Unknown option '--no-version-vectors'

A quick $ grep -ri "no-version" . on the project revealed it was being used in a dependency brought in by the Forms update:

./packages/Xamarin.Android.Support.Vector.Drawable.23.3.0/build/Xamarin.Android.Support.Vector.Drawable.targets: $(AndroidResgenExtraArgs)--no-version-vectors

Long story short, this parameter is for the aapt tool in the Android SDK Build Tools from at least version 23. Updating through the Android SDK manager fixed it.

Android, Entertainment, Games

Betrayal at House on the Hill – Betrayal Character Cards for Android

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a board game published by Avalon Hill and designed by Bruce Glassco. The game is split into two parts. In the first, the players become trapped in a haunted house which they must explore, revealing rooms as they do. At some point the second part, the “haunt”, begins in which one player (generally) becomes a traitor and everyone plays out one of 50 scenarios pitting the traitor against the others.

An important part of the game involves tracking each of the player’s attributes (each character has a different range of possible values for each attribute). Since the included cardboard trackers can be loose and tend to slip out of place, a few different smartphone apps have appeared to help the situation.

The earliest Android version is Betrayal Character Cards. This app does the bare minimum needed. You can see a list of characters, see their attribute ranges and select the current value for each. As a small extra it also includes the birthday and hobbies of each character (which has a minor gameplay purpose).

Out of the apps available this is the simplest and has the least features. On the other hand this should run on the widest range of devices.

Android, Technology

Swype is amazing!

One of the things that worried me about touchscreen phones (before I got one) was typing with an onscreen keyboard. Therefore, the first touchscreen phone I got was the T-mobile G1, a phone with a hardware keyboard.

Since then I had an opportunity to get a Nexus One which I couldn’t ignore. And I generally dislike the onscreen keyboard as much as I expected.

That has just changed however.

I just downloaded the beta of Swype for my Nexus One and the improvement is tremendous. Instead of tapping letters, you press and hold the first letter and then drag over the other letters. With a combination of seeing when you pause and a dictionary lookup, it picks up the word you wanted to type (it works a lot better than you’d expect). There are a few issues, specifically it has difficulty with very short words (mainly because there are generally more possibilities) and there is the pathological case of pit/pot/put being difficult to differentiate. But on the whole, it’s definitely an improvement.

By the way, I typed most of this on my Nexus One (using the official WordPress App). I added the links afterwards.

Here are some videos.

Android, Entertainment, Games, Video Games

Heli Rescue now available for Android

Our recently released iPhone game, Heli Rescue, is now available for Android handsets!

It’s almost identical to the iPhone version. There are fewer sounds and no clouds, but the highscores work (and are shared across both versions). Also, Android 1.6 or better isrequired since we make use the native OpenGL ES bindings.

To quote the Android Market:

If you’ve been looking for a ‘Flight Control’ style game then this is it!

Join the elite team of Search & Rescue helicopter commanders and save lives. Take control of up to 4 helicopters and direct them to people in need of rescue by drawing a path with your finger. You’ll need to manage the flight paths and fuel load.