A new layout designer lets Android developers create layouts for their apps from within Visual Studio and MonoDevelop. It is included in Mono for Android 4.2 and MonoDevelop 3.0 both of which have also been released.
Android user interfaces can be created declaratively by using XML files, or programmatically in code. The new Xamarin Android Designer allows developers to create and modify declarative layouts visually, without having to hand-edit XML files. It also provides real-time feedback, eliminating the step of redeployment to validate changes, which speeds up UI development in Android.
This video gives a brief overview of the new designer which lets developers use C# and the .NET Base Class Library (BCL) to write native Android applications.
Android Designer follows the conventions of Visual Studio and supports Android API levels going back to 4, as well as Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich release levels.
Other features include:
Control over form widgets, text fields, layouts, layout containers, images and media
Support for dock-specific layout configurations including car, desk and television
View and edit layouts by language, region, country and telephone carrier
Other new features in Mono for Android 4.2 are:
Support for binding arbitrary Java libraries (.jar files) and related template, the Java Bindings Library Project
a new device toolbar
integrated logcat for Visual Studio
The major focus of MonoDevelop 3.0, the latest version of the .NET IDE, is a new C# code completion engine, which provides more accurate and reliable code completion and navigation, semantic highlighting for C# files, and an on-the-fly code formatter. Details of other improvements can be found in What’s new in MonoDevelop 3.0.