Skip to content
Simple sample showing and describing the best process to reuse iOS views created in Xcode and import them to Xamarin.iOS project
Branch: master
Clone or download
Latest commit ad8c899 Nov 5, 2017
Permalink
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.
MedAppImportXcodeViewsSample.UITests
MedAppImportXcodeViewsSample Delete MedAppImportXcodeViewsSample.csproj.user May 23, 2017
images/MedApp added images for readme May 20, 2017
.gitattributes :neckbeard: Added .gitattributes & .gitignore files May 20, 2017
.gitignore updated .gitignore May 23, 2017
LICENSE create license Nov 5, 2017
MedAppImportXcodeViewsSample.sln
README.md

README.md

Xamarin-Import-Xcode-Views-Sample

Simple sample showing and describing the best process to reuse iOS views created in Xcode and import them to Xamarin.iOS project

Simple step by step instruction for importing Storyboards from Xcode to Xamarin Studio:

  1. Add the Xcode Storyboard file to Xamarin Studio Xamarin.iOS project

  2. For each View in that imported Storyboard go to Identity properties and repeat steps 3 to 6

  3. Ctrl+X the value of Class property

  4. Remove the value of Module property

  5. Ctrl+V the original value of Class property back to the text field

  6. Press Enter to trigger the change of value and automatically generate a .cs and .designer.cs files for your ViewController

  7. For each of the newly generated *.cs files make sure to create an implementation of all the Actions declared as partial void methods in corresponding *.designer.cs files



Detailed description

Reusing existing Storyboards from Xcode to Xamarin Studio Xamarin.iOS project

As you can see in screenshot bellow, CarnaLife iOS application developed by MedApp with Swift in Xcode already consists multiple views developed with Storyboards.

CarnaLife Lite iOS application written in Swift in Xcode
CarnaLife Lite iOS application written in Swift with Xcode

We decided that it will save us a lot of time if we could import those views from Xcode to Xamarin Studio. Our first thought was that somebody probably already done that and so we searched for any kind of documentation or tutorials on the internet. We were surprised to find out that there is nothing to be found in that subject and so we decided to try to find our own way to deal with it.

After a quick research we found out that Storyboards and XIB files are defined by XML and what's even more interesting, both Xcode and Xamarin/Visual Studio share the exact same scheme for those XMLs which in theory means that Storyboards and XIB files can be used interchangeably between Xcode and Xamarin/Visual Studio.

Storyboards XML source
Storyboards and XIB views are defined in XML

For the POC purpose we prepared a simple Storyboard in Xcode with only 4 views defined inside.

Simple Storyboard in Xcode
Simple Storyboard with 4 ViewControllers for POC purpose

After creating a new Xamarin.iOS project in Xamarin Studio we simply added that MainCopy.storyboard file into the solution.

Adding MainCopy.storyboard to Xamarin.iOS project
Adding MainCopy.storyboard to Xamarin.iOS project

The whole process went pretty smooth and we were able open that storyboard inside Xamarin Studio without any issues. All the views and controls where there and everything looked ok.

Xcode Storyboard opened in Xamarin Studio
Xcode Storyboard opened in Xamarin Studio

ViewControllers details
ViewControllers details

It looked so good we decided to give it a test run... which ended up with an exception...

Exception
Exception after first test run

This one was on us though... we simply forgot to change Main Interface property in Info.plist file.
We fixed it quickly by setting it to the newly imported Storyboard and gave it a shot.

Editing Info.plist file
Editing Info.plist file

Another test run, another fail...
That NSUnknownKeyException bothered us for a really long time and we struggled for hours to get it right and find the right approach for it.

NSUnknownKeyException
NSUnknownKeyException

After a while we figured out that we're definitely missing some code behind files for ViewControllers defined in that Storyboard.
Instead of creating them from scratch we found out that there is an easy way of generating them automatically with Xamarin Studio.
In order for Xamarin Studio to regenerate that ViewController class it is crucial to change the value of Class property and either press enter or change focus from that text field to something else and then put the original value back to that text field and press enter again. That somehow triggers Xamarin Studio to automatically generate a .cs file for that ViewController.

Generating ViewController
Generating ViewController

After a while we discovered that the best approach is to simply:

  1. Ctrl+X the value of Class property
  2. Press Enter to trigger the change and notify Xamarin Studio about it
  3. Ctrl+V the original value of Class property back to the text field
  4. Press Enter to trigger the change of value and automatically generate a .cs file for your ViewController

Generating ViewController
Generating ViewController

What Xamarin Studio generates for us is a *.cs file and *.designer.cs file.

  • *.cs file implements a partial definition of ViewController class. That's basically our code behind

  • *.designer.cs file also includes a partial definition of ViewController class but what it also does is that it registers that class to work with native Obj-C libs and it also holds a definition of all the controls and actions defined in a View so we can reference them from code behind by simply using their names

*.designer.cs file
*.designer.cs file with definitions of controls and actions linked with the View

As you can see in the picture above and below, these definitions are linked 1:1 between Storyboard and ViewController designer class and now whenever I make any change in the name of any control in that View it will automatically update my *.designer.cs file.
And that means we shouldn't make any changes in designer files because they might be regenerated and our changes will be lost.

Sample control with Name property set to loginImageLabel
Sample control with Name property set to loginImageLabel value

Even though we managed to generate that ViewController class properly we still faced the same error.
After countless tries, creating new projects, starting from scratch multiple times, trying out different names and namespaces for the project we were not moving forward at all.

NSUnknownKeyException
NSUnknownKeyException

After few hours of investigation we finally found the source of that exception.
The true reason of that error to show up was caused by a value set for Module property of ViewController.
It turned out that this value was somehow screwing up Xamarin.iOS application.

Module property
Module property

Luckly there was a very simple solution to that and all we had to do was to remove that value from Module field.

Deleted value of Module property
Deleted value of Module property

After that fix our application run successfully for the first time.
The whole UI was in place and everything seemed to work well... except for the buttons...

First successull run
First successull run

Whenever we tried to click a button it caused the application to crash with following exception:

NSInvalidArgumentException
NSInvalidArgumentException

Luckly for us we managed to find the root of this issue pretty fast.
It turned out that all the actions/events from our View were defined as partial void methods without any implementation.

Designer and actions definitions
Designer and actions definitions

What we had to do in order to solve this was to create implementations for those actions in ViewController class definition.

Creating emergencyLoginTapped action implementation
Creating emergencyLoginTapped action implementation

Implementations for all the actions
Implementations for all the actions

That last fix made our UI to finally work and behave as we would expect it.

Final running application
Running application

You can’t perform that action at this time.