Most enterprise mobile apps require enterprise-level authentication mechanism. In that case, people use tried and tested Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL) or Microsoft Authentication Library (MSAL). ADAL is in GA and it works fine with cross-platform mobile apps built using Xamarin. However, MSAL is in ‘preview’ and it offers nightly builds to try out. I wanted to try the latest nightly build (ver: 1.1.1-alpha0417) as it uses updated Android Support Package and old preview bits of MSAL (ver: 1.1.0-preview) were not compatible with latest Xamarin.Forms anymore. Here, I was trying to build one app over holidays and I got stuck on one interesting issue. Let’s discuss it in this blog post.
When you create a blank Xamarin.Forms app, it automatically references Xamarin.Forms NuGet along with all the required dependencies.
At this time, when you’ll try to install MSAL, you may get stuck at this issue of versioning.
The reason being Xamarin.Forms NuGet requires a specific version of Android Support Packages whereas Microsoft Authentication Library requires anything above Ver. 25.3.1.
Sometimes, things are very simpler than it looks. I spent a lot of time on solving this issue but was unable to fix it. Thanks to my friend Nish, who helped me with his ‘ problem-solving skills’ and we got this working.
The solution is simple:
- Remove all NuGet packages from Android project. For the sake of it, close and restart Visual Studio.
- Open the solution and Install MSAL NuGet package first.
- After installing MSAL NuGet, install Xamarin.Forms NuGet package.
Now you can build Xamarin.Forms apps with Microsoft Authentication Library. If you want to know more about how to use the SDK, follow the blog post here on Xamarin blog.
Even though I’m talking about Xamarin.Forms and MSAL here, this blog post is very much applicable wherever you’re trying to use any NuGet package which has updated dependency on Android Support Package.
Visual Studio Enterprise 2017 Preview (15.5.2)
Microsoft Authentication Library (1.1.1-alpha0417)
During Evolve 2016, Xamarin released Xamarin Studio (XS) for Mac as a Release Candidate. This release of XS provides more goodness like Visual Studio on Mac. Let’s see some of the features that are available in this release.
1. Dark Theme
For people like me, who work late at night, this is a boon. You can easily switch the theme and get ‘Dark Theme’ for your IDE. You can change the theme by going to
Xamarin Studio > Preferences > Environment > Visual Styles
You’ll need to restart the IDE to see the effects.
2. New Icons and Graphics
You can see lot of new improvements in terms of graphics and icons when you open a project.
3. Roslyn Support with IntelliSense / Code Completion
XS is rewritten to support Roslyn. It allows code- refactoring and better IntelliSense in IDE. This is like a ReSharper for me :)
4. Xamarin.Form Previewer
Xamarin.Forms Previewer will allow you to see your XAML design right next to it. It is live, so changes in XAML can reflect in UI. You can see the UI results for iOS and Android for both Phone and Tablet mode in both Portrait or Landscape mode. To see the preview, click on ‘Preview’ button on top right corner.
Note: You’ll need Xamarin.Forms v2.3x Pre NuGet package to get this working.
5. Better NuGet Support
You could always add specific version of NuGet package in XS by appending ver in query string while on ‘Add Packages’ window. However, now it has became more easier as XS provides a drop-down for version selector. Small feature, but very helpful.
These are the top 5 features which I can think about when it comes to new Xamarin Studio release. There are many more and you can read about them in release documentation. I’m sure, you’ll enjoy this release.
When you create a Xamarin.Forms project, chances are there will be updates available for Xamarin.Forms libraries and associated packages. You can check for updates to NuGet packages manually or these will be restored before “build”.
When you create a new Xamarin.Forms app or open existing one, if you’ve fresh formatted machine with fresh VS and Xamarin installation, the build may last for longer than expected. The reason for this being, it downloads NuGet packages along with its dependencies like Android Support Packages. If in between, VS hangs or there are interruptions in network, you’ll see some errors in build like this:
Well, at first you may think it is issue with Xamarin or Visual Studio or NuGet. But this all has to do with lot of NuGet packages and their dependencies download. So it all depends on machine config and network connectivity. If ever you see above errors follow the below steps:
1) Start from fresh. Close Visual Studio instances and delete everything under %appdata%local/Xamarin (e.g. C:\Users\mayur\AppData\Local\Xamarin)
2) Launch Visual Studio and open the solution. Right click each project and update NuGet packages. Android is the one which will take longer to update.
3) Wait till all packages are downloaded. Make sure the %appdata% folder contents all the necessary directories and files.
4) Build the solution. And if you still get issues about some missing some resources. Open Android SDK Manager from Tools > Android and make sure right API levels (in this case API Level 23) is installed.
Now run the project and it should run without any issues.