What’s New in Xamarin Forms 5?

Sebastián Pérez

It was 2019 when the launch of .NET 5 was announced at the annual event for developers (Microsoft Build). At the same time, it was announced that all platforms would be integrated into one. This integration included Xamarin as part of the .NET platform, something expected since Microsoft had acquired the framework. This also implied the appearance of a new Framework within .NET known as “MAUI” (Multi-platform App User Interface) as a replacement for the well-known Xamarin Forms.

Unfortunately, the epidemic of the year 2020 caused this integration to be delayed to be included in the launch of .NET 6 scheduled for November 2021. So what happened to Xamarin in 2020? Xamarin Forms 5.0. To understand the impact of this new version, I prepared a list of new features and improvements:

  • Brushes: We now have different strokes to simulate what it would be like to paint with a brush. Available styles are Solid, Linear Gradient and Radial Gradient. More info
  • CarouselView: This visual element (that was already available as a preview)represents a set of views that are navigated in the form of a “carousel”. More Info
  • Drag and drop: This gesture is widely used in web development: we can “drag” objects over a view to execute events. More Info
  • IndicatorView: This control is attached to the CarouselView that allows us to identify which view of the carousel we are currently in and allows us to navigate directly to another view. More Info
  • Radio Button: Another control that was widely used in web development. Allows you to select a value from a set of values. They can also be customized using templates. More Info
  • Shapes and Paths: A new type of view that allows us to give them a new shape as circles, triangles or polygons. We can also combine them with the brushes for the borders and fill. More Info
  • SwipeView: A new type of view that works as an expandable menu by a swipe gesture. Currently widely used in applications to view emails. More Info
  • UIWebView: This is a change required by Apple to continue using WebViews in iOS environment. Xamarin Forms now uses WKWebView instead of UIWebView. More info

Other features that were announced alongside Xamarin Forms 5 that may be relevant are:

  • Hot Reload 2.0: A new version of the hot reload that works better and also supports UWP. More Info
  • Deploy iOS from Windows: now it is possible to test on iOS devices from Windows without being connected to a mac. More Info

As we can see, Xamarin Forms 5 brought us many new features but none of them are impressive. It is understandable as work is underway on integration with .NET and the release of MAUI. This makes us ask the question: is Xamarin Forms 5 worth it or is it better to wait for MAUI? We will be analyzing this in the next posts.