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Build apps with native UI using Xamarin in


Visual Studio
Visual Studio 2015

Once you've done the steps in Setup and install and Verify your Xamarin environment, this walkthrough shows you how
to build a basic Xamarin app (shown below) with native UI layers. With native UI, shared code resides in a portable class
library (PCL) and the individual platform projects contain the UI definitions.

You'll do these things to build it:


Set up your solution
Write shared data service code
Design UI for Android
Design UI for Windows Phone
Next steps

Tip
You can find the complete source code for this project in the mobile-samples repository on GitHub.
If you have difficulties or run into errors, please post questions on forums.xamarin.com. Many errors can be resolved

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by updating to the latest SDKs required by Xamarin, which are described in the Xamarin Release Notes for each
platform.

Note
Xamarin's developer documentation also offers several walkthroughs with both Quickstart and Deep Dive sections as
listed below. On all these pages, be sure that "Visual Studio" is selected in the upper right of the page to see Visual
Studio-specific walkthroughs.
Xamarin apps with native UI:
Hello, Android (simple app with one screen)
Hello, Android multiscreen (app with navigation between screens)
Android Fragments Walkthrough (used for master/detail screens, among other things)
Hello, iOS
Hello, iOS Multiscreen
Xamarin apps with Xamarin.Forms (shared UI)
Hello, Xamarin.Forms
Hello, Xamarin.Forms Multiscreen

Set up your solution


These steps create a Xamarin solution with native UI that contains a PCL for shared code and two added NuGet packages.
1. In Visual Studio, create a new Blank App (Native Portable) solution and name it WeatherApp. You can find this
template most easily by entering Native Portable into the search field.
If its not there, you might have to install Xamarin or enable the Visual Studio 2015 feature, see Setup and install.
2. After clicking OK to create the solution, youll have a number of individual projects:
WeatherApp (Portable): the PCL where youll write code that is shared across platforms, including
common business logic and UI code using with Xamarin.Forms.
WeatherApp.Droid: the project that contains the native Android code. This is set as the default startup
project.
WeatherApp.iOS: the project that contains the native iOS code.
WeatherApp.WinPhone (Windows Phone 8.1): the project that contains the native Windows Phone code.
Within each native project you have access to the native designer for the corresponding platform and can
implement platform specific screens.
3. Add the Newtonsoft.Json and NuGet package to the PCL project, which youll use to process information
retrieved from a weather data service:
Right-click Solution 'WeatherApp' in Solution explorer and select Manage NuGet Packages for
Solution....

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In the NuGet window, select the Browse tab and search for Newtonsoft.
Select Newtonsoft.Json.
On the right side of the window, check the WeatherApp project (this is the only project in which you need
to install the package).
Ensure the Version field is set to the Latest stable version.
Click Install.

4. Repeat step 3 to find and install the Microsoft.Net.Http package.


5. Build your solution and verify that there are no build errors.

Write shared data service code


The WeatherApp (Portable) project is where youll write code for the portable class library (PCL) thats shared across all
platforms. The PCL is automatically included in the app packages built by the iOS, Android, and Windows Phone projects.
The following steps then add code to the PCL to access and store data from that weather service:
1. To run this sample you must first sign up for a free API key at http://openweathermap.org/appid.
2. Right-click the WeatherApp project and select Add > Class. In the Add New Item dialog, name the file
Weather.cs. Youll use this class to store data from the weather data service.
3. Replace the entire contents of Weather.cs with the following:
C#
namespace WeatherApp
{
public class Weather
{
public string Title { get; set; }

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public
public
public
public
public
public

string
string
string
string
string
string

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Temperature { get; set; }


Wind { get; set; }
Humidity { get; set; }
Visibility { get; set; }
Sunrise { get; set; }
Sunset { get; set; }

public Weather()
{
//Because labels bind to these values, set them to an empty string to
//ensure that the label appears on all platforms by default.
this.Title = " ";
this.Temperature = " ";
this.Wind = " ";
this.Humidity = " ";
this.Visibility = " ";
this.Sunrise = " ";
this.Sunset = " ";
}
}
}

4. Add another class to the PCL project named DataService.cs in which youll use to process JSON data from the
weather data service.
5. Replace the entire contents of DataService.cs with the following code:
C#
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using Newtonsoft.Json;
using System.Net.Http;
namespace WeatherApp
{
public class DataService
{
public static async Task<dynamic> getDataFromService(string queryString)
{
HttpClient client = new HttpClient();
var response = await client.GetAsync(queryString);
dynamic data = null;
if (response != null)
{
string json = response.Content.ReadAsStringAsync().Result;
data = JsonConvert.DeserializeObject(json);
}
return data;
}
}
}

6. Add a third class to the PCL named Core where youll put shared business logic, such as logic that forms a query

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string with a zip code, calls the weather data service, and populates an instance of the Weather class.
7. Replace the contents of Core.cs with the following:
C#

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using System;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
namespace WeatherApp
{
public class Core
{
public static async Task<Weather> GetWeather(string zipCode)
{
//Sign up for a free API key at http://openweathermap.org/appid
string key = "YOUR KEY HERE";
string queryString = "http://api.openweathermap.org/data/2.5
/weather?zip="
+ zipCode + ",us&appid=" + key + "&units=imperial";
//Make sure developers running this sample replaced the API key
if (key == "YOUR API KEY HERE")
{
throw new ArgumentException("You must obtain an API key from
openweathermap.org/appid and save it in the 'key' variable.");
}
dynamic results = await
DataService.getDataFromService(queryString).ConfigureAwait(false);
if (results["weather"] != null)
{
Weather weather = new Weather();
weather.Title = (string)results["name"];
weather.Temperature = (string)results["main"]["temp"] + " F";
weather.Wind = (string)results["wind"]["speed"] + "
mph";
weather.Humidity = (string)results["main"]["humidity"] + " %";
weather.Visibility = (string)results["weather"][0]["main"];
DateTime time = new System.DateTime(1970, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0);
DateTime sunrise = time.AddSeconds((double)results["sys"]
["sunrise"]);
DateTime sunset = time.AddSeconds((double)results["sys"]
["sunset"]);
weather.Sunrise = sunrise.ToString() + " UTC";
weather.Sunset = sunset.ToString() + " UTC";
return weather;
}
else
{
return null;
}
}
}
}

8. Replace YOUR KEY HERE in the code with the API key you obtained in step 1 (it still needs quotes around it).
9. Delete MyClass.cs in the PCL because we won't be using it.

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10. Build the WeatherApp PCL project to make sure the code is correct.

Design UI for Android


Now, well design the user interface, connect it to your shared code, and then run the app.

Design the look and feel of your app


1. In Solution Explorer, expand the WeatherApp.Droid>Resources>layout folder and open Main.axml. This
opens the file in the visual designer. (If a Java-related error appears, see this blog post.)

Tip
There are many other files in the project. Exploring them is beyond the scope of this topic, but if you want to
dive into the structure of an Android project a bit more, see Part 2 Deep Dive of the Hello Android topic on
xamarin.com.
2. Select and delete the default button that appears in the designer.
3. Open the Toolbox with View > Other Windows > Toolbox.
4. From the Toolbox, drag a RelativeLayout control onto the designer. You'll use this control as a parent container
for other controls.

Tip
If at any time the layout doesn't seem to display correctly, save the file and switching between the Design and
Source tabs to refresh.
5. In the Properties window, set the background property (in the Style group) to #545454.
6. From the Toolbox, drag a TextView control onto the RelativeLayout control.
7. In the Properties window, set these properties (note: it can help to sort the list alphabetically using the sort button
in the Properties window toolbar):

Property

Value

text

Search by Zip Code

id

@+id/ZipCodeSearchLabel

layout_marginLeft

10dp

textColor

@android:color/white

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Property

Value

textStyle

bold

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Tip
Notice that many properties dont contain a drop-down list of values that you can select. It can be difficult to
guess what string value to use for any given property. For suggestions, try searching for the name of a property
in the R.attr class page.
Also, a quick web search often leads to a page on http://stackoverflow.com/ where others have used the same
property.
For reference, if you switch to Source view, you should see the following code for this element:
XML
<TextView
android:text="Search by Zip Code"
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/ZipCodeSearchLabel"
android:layout_centerVertical="true"
android:layout_marginLeft="10dp"
android:textColor="@android:color/white"
android:textStyle="bold" />

8. From the Toolbox, drag a TextView control onto the RelativeLayout control and position it below the
ZipCodeSearchLabel control. You do this by dropping the new control on the appropriate edge of the existing
control; it helps to zoom the designer in somewhat for this.
9. In the Properties window, set these properties:

Property

Value

text

Zip Code

id

@+id/ZipCodeLabel

layout_marginLeft

10dp

layout_marginTop

5dp

The code in Source view should look like this:


XML
<TextView

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android:text="Zip Code"
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:layout_below="@id/ZipCodeSearchLabel"
android:id="@+id/ZipCodeLabel"
android:layout_marginTop="5dp"
android:layout_marginLeft="10dp" />

10. From the Toolbox, drag a Number control onto the RelativeLayout, position it below the Zip Code label. Then
set the following properties:

Property

Value

id

@+id/zipCodeEntry

layout_marginLeft

10dp

layout_marginBottom

10dp

width

165dp

Again, the code:


XML
<EditText
android:inputType="number"
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:layout_below="@id/ZipCodeLabel"
android:id="@+id/zipCodeEntry"
android:layout_marginLeft="10dp"
android:layout_marginBottom="10dp"
android:width="165dp" />

11. From the Toolbox, drag a Button onto the RelativeLayout control and position it to the right of the zipCodeEntry
control. Then set these properties:

Property

Value

id

@+id/weatherBtn

text

Get Weather

layout_marginLeft

20dp

layout_alignBottom

@id/zipCodeEntry

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Property

Value

width

165dp

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XML
<Button
android:text="Get Weather"
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:layout_toRightOf="@id/zipCodeEntry"
android:id="@+id/weatherBtn"
android:layout_marginLeft="20dp"
android:layout_alignBottom="@id/zipCodeEntry"
android:width="165dp" />

12. You now have enough experience to build a basic UI by using the Android designer. You can also build a UI by
adding markup directly to the .asxml file of the page. To build the rest of the UI that way, switch to Source view in
the designer, then past the following markup beneath the </RelativeLayout> tag (yes, that's beneath the
tag...these elements are not contained in the ReleativeLayout).
XML
<TextView
android:text="Location"
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceSmall"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/locationLabel"
android:layout_marginLeft="10dp"
android:layout_marginTop="10dp" />
<TextView
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceMedium"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/locationText"
android:layout_marginLeft="20dp"
android:layout_marginBottom="10dp" />
<TextView
android:text="Temperature"
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceSmall"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/tempLabel"
android:layout_marginLeft="10dp" />
<TextView
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceMedium"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/tempText"
android:layout_marginBottom="10dp"
android:layout_marginLeft="20dp" />
<TextView
android:text="Wind Speed"
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceSmall"

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android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/windLabel"
android:layout_marginLeft="10dp" />
<TextView
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceMedium"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/windText"
android:layout_marginBottom="10dp"
android:layout_marginLeft="20dp" />
<TextView
android:text="Humidity"
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceSmall"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/humidtyLabel"
android:layout_marginLeft="10dp" />
<TextView
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceMedium"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/humidityText"
android:layout_marginBottom="10dp"
android:layout_marginLeft="20dp" />
<TextView
android:text="Visibility"
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceSmall"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/visibilityLabel"
android:layout_marginLeft="10dp" />
<TextView
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceMedium"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/visibilityText"
android:layout_marginBottom="10dp"
android:layout_marginLeft="20dp" />
<TextView
android:text="Time of Sunrise"
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceSmall"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/sunriseLabel"
android:layout_marginLeft="10dp" />
<TextView
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceMedium"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/sunriseText"
android:layout_marginBottom="10dp"
android:layout_marginLeft="20dp" />
<TextView
android:text="Time of Sunset"
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceSmall"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"

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android:id="@+id/sunsetLabel"
android:layout_marginLeft="10dp" />
<TextView
android:textAppearance="?android:attr/textAppearanceMedium"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/sunsetText"
android:layout_marginBottom="10dp"
android:layout_marginLeft="20dp" />

13. Save the file and switch to Design view. Your UI should appear as follows:

14. Open MainActivity.cs and delete the lines in the OnCreate method that refer to the default button that was
removed earlier. The code should look like this when you're done:

protected override void OnCreate (Bundle bundle)


{
base.OnCreate (bundle);
// Set our view from the "main" layout resource
SetContentView (Resource.Layout.Main);

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15. Build the Android project to check your work. Note that building adds control IDs to the Resource.Designer.cs file
so that you can refer to controls by name in code.

Consume your shared code


1. Open the MainActivity.cs file of the WeatherApp project in the code editor and replace its contents with the
code below. This code calls the GetWeather method that you defined in your shared code. Then, in the UI of the
app, it shows the data that is retrieved from that method.
C#
using
using
using
using

System;
Android.App;
Android.Widget;
Android.OS;

namespace WeatherApp.Droid
{
[Activity(Label = "Sample Weather App", MainLauncher = true, Icon =
"@drawable/icon")]
public class MainActivity : Activity
{
protected override void OnCreate(Bundle bundle)
{
base.OnCreate(bundle);
SetContentView(Resource.Layout.Main);
Button button = FindViewById<Button>(Resource.Id.weatherBtn);
button.Click += Button_Click;
}
private async void Button_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
EditText zipCodeEntry = FindViewById<EditText>
(Resource.Id.zipCodeEntry);
if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(zipCodeEntry.Text))
{
Weather weather = await Core.GetWeather(zipCodeEntry.Text);
FindViewById<TextView>(Resource.Id.locationText).Text =
weather.Title;
FindViewById<TextView>(Resource.Id.tempText).Text =
weather.Temperature;
FindViewById<TextView>(Resource.Id.windText).Text = weather.Wind;
FindViewById<TextView>(Resource.Id.visibilityText).Text =
weather.Visibility;
FindViewById<TextView>(Resource.Id.humidityText).Text =
weather.Humidity;
FindViewById<TextView>(Resource.Id.sunriseText).Text =
weather.Sunrise;
FindViewById<TextView>(Resource.Id.sunsetText).Text =

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weather.Sunset;
}
}
}
}

Run the app and see how it looks


1. In Solution Explorer, make sure the WeatherApp.Droid project is set as the startup project.
2. Select an appropriate device or emulator target, then start the app by pressing the F5 key.
3. On the device or in the emulator, type a valid United States zip code into the edit box (for example: 60601), and
press Get Weather. Weather data for that region then appears in the controls.

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Tip
The complete source code for this project is in the mobile-samples repository on GitHub.

Design UI for Windows Phone


Now well design the user interface for Windows Phone, connect it to your shared code, and then run the app.

Design the look and feel of your app


The process of designing native Windows Phone UI in a Xamarin app is no different from any other native Windows
Phone app. For this reason, we won't go into the details here of how to use the designer. For that, refer to Creating a UI
by using XAML Designer.
Instead, simply open MainPage.xaml and replace all the XAML code with the following:
XAML
<Page
x:Class="WeatherApp.WinPhone.MainPage"
xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
xmlns:local="using:WeatherApp.WinPhone"
xmlns:d="http://schemas.microsoft.com/expression/blend/2008"
xmlns:mc="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/markup-compatibility/2006"
mc:Ignorable="d"
Background="{ThemeResource ApplicationPageBackgroundThemeBrush}">
<Grid>
<StackPanel HorizontalAlignment="Left" Height="40" Margin="10,0,0,0"
VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="400">
<TextBlock x:Name="pageTitle" Text="Weather App" FontSize="30" />
</StackPanel>
<StackPanel HorizontalAlignment="Left" Height="120" Margin="10,40,0,0"
VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="400" Background="#FF545454">
<TextBlock x:Name="zipCodeSearchLabel" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="Search by
Zip Code" FontSize="18" FontWeight="Bold" HorizontalAlignment="Left"
Margin="10,10,0,0"/>
<TextBlock x:Name="zipCodeLabel" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="Zip Code"
Margin="10,5,0,0" FontSize="14" Foreground="#FFA8A8A8"/>
<StackPanel Orientation="Horizontal">
<TextBox x:Name="zipCodeEntry" Margin="10,10,0,0" Text=""
VerticalAlignment="Top" InputScope="Number" Width="165" />
<Button x:Name="weatherBtn" Content="Get Weather" Width="165"
Margin="20,0,0,0" Height="60" Click="GetWeatherButton_Click"/>
</StackPanel>
</StackPanel>
<StackPanel Margin="10,175,0,0">
<TextBlock x:Name="locationLabel" HorizontalAlignment="Left" FontSize="14"
Foreground="#FFA8A8A8" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="Location" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
<TextBlock x:Name="locationText" Margin="10,0,0,10"
HorizontalAlignment="Left" FontSize="18" TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
<TextBlock x:Name="tempLabel" HorizontalAlignment="Left" FontSize="14"

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Foreground="#FFA8A8A8" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="Temperature" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>


<TextBlock x:Name="tempText" Margin="10,0,0,10" HorizontalAlignment="Left"
FontSize="18" TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
<TextBlock x:Name="windLabel" HorizontalAlignment="Left" FontSize="14"
Foreground="#FFA8A8A8" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="Wind Speed" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
<TextBlock x:Name="windText" Margin="10,0,0,10" HorizontalAlignment="Left"
FontSize="18" TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
<TextBlock x:Name="humidityLabel" HorizontalAlignment="Left" FontSize="14"
Foreground="#FFA8A8A8" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="Humidity" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
<TextBlock x:Name="humidityText" Margin="10,0,0,10"
HorizontalAlignment="Left" FontSize="18" TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
<TextBlock x:Name="visibilityLabel" HorizontalAlignment="Left" FontSize="14"
Foreground="#FFA8A8A8" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="Temperature" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
<TextBlock x:Name="visibilityText" Margin="10,0,0,10"
HorizontalAlignment="Left" FontSize="18" TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
<TextBlock x:Name="sunriseLabel" HorizontalAlignment="Left" FontSize="14"
Foreground="#FFA8A8A8" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="Time of Sunriweatherse"
VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
<TextBlock x:Name="sunriseText" Margin="10,0,0,10" HorizontalAlignment="Left"
FontSize="18" TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
<TextBlock x:Name="sunsetLabel" HorizontalAlignment="Left" FontSize="14"
Foreground="#FFA8A8A8" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="Time of Sunset"
VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
<TextBlock x:Name="sunsetText" Margin="10,0,0,10" HorizontalAlignment="Left"
FontSize="18" TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
</StackPanel>
</Grid>
</Page>

In the design view, your UI should appear as follows:

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Consume your shared code


1. In the designer, select the Get Weather button.
2. In the Properties window, choose the event handler button (

).

This icon appears in the top corner of the Properties window.


3. Next to the Click event, type GetWeatherButton_Click, and then press the ENTER key.
This generates an event handler named GetWeatherButton_Click. The code editor opens and places your
cursor inside of the event handler code block. Note: if the editor doesn't open when pressing ENTER, just
double-click the event name.
4. Replace that event handler with the following code.
C#
private async void GetWeatherButton_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
{
if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(zipCodeEntry.Text))
{
Weather weather = await Core.GetWeather(zipCodeEntry.Text);
locationText.Text = weather.Title;
tempText.Text = weather.Temperature;
windText.Text = weather.Wind;
visibilityText.Text = weather.Visibility;
humidityText.Text = weather.Humidity;
sunriseText.Text = weather.Sunrise;
sunsetText.Text = weather.Sunset;
weatherBtn.Content = "Search Again";
}
}

This code calls the GetWeather method that you defined in your shared code. This is the same method that you
called in your Android app. This code also shows data retrieved from that method in the UI controls of your app.
5. In MainPage.xaml.cs, which is open, delete all the code inside the OnNavigatedTo method. This code simply
handled the default button that was removed when we replaced the contents of MainPage.xaml.

Run the app and see how it looks


1. In Solution Explorer, set the WeatherApp.WinPhone project as the startup project.
2. Start the app by pressing the F5 key.
3. In the Windows Phone emulator, type a valid United States zip code into the edit box (for example: 60601), and
press Get Weather. Weather data for that region then appears in the controls.

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https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn879698(d=printer).aspx

Tip
The complete source code for this project is in the mobile-samples repository on GitHub.

Next steps
Add UI for iOS to the solution
Extend this sample by adding native UI for iOS. For this youll need to connect to a Mac on your local network that has
Xcode and Xamarin installed. Once you do, you can use the iOS designer directly in Visual Studio. See the mobile-samples
repository on GitHub for a completed app.

21-11-2016 21:56

Build apps with native UI using Xamarin in Visual Studio

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https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn879698(d=printer).aspx

Also refer to the Hello, iOS (xamarin.com) walkthrough. Note that on this page, be sure that "Visual Studio" is selected in
the upper right corner of pages on xamarin.com so that the correct set of instructions appear.
Add platform-specific code in a shared project
Shared code in a PCL is platform-neutral, because the PCL is compiled once and included in each platform-specific app
package. If you want to write shared code that uses conditional compilation to isolate platform-specific code, you can use
a shared project. For more details, see ode Sharing Options (xamarin.com).

See Also
Xamarin Developer site
Windows Dev Center
Swift and C# Quick Reference Poster
2016 Microsoft

21-11-2016 21:56