Gorilla Player for Xamarin Forms was released!
From the Beginning
On February 2016, after having an intense training, I was immersed on my first Xamarin project. At the beginning all went well, but once I had to design the project’s xaml views, all the great mobile world disappeared because I invested several hours trying to show what I wanted (in both platforms), but it was not an easy job.
After a few days I discovered a tool which had been developed in my country, Uruguay. It’s called “Gorilla Player” and it was on its beta phase (see the tweet below👌). Basically It allowed you to have a preview of the xaml you were working on. It helped me a lot in the project and also I could increase my knowledge and understanding about the design in Xamarin Forms.
This week on July 18: Gorilla Player 1.0 was released for free!
Yesterday I attended the Xamarin Meetup Uruguay and saw a presentation facilitated by Leonardo, co-founder of UXDivers which is the company behind Gorilla Player.
He told us the history of the tool, how it is coming out in the present and we could also see a demo.
Below I would like to tell you a bit more about the set up of this amazing tool, if you are interested in using it as well!
We have to download the installer for Windows or Mac, which will work as server and also add a plugin on Visual Studio.
Download link: http://gorillaplayer.com/download.html
Finally we should download Gorilla Player Client application from the store in our devices (available in Google Play and App Store).
You can download the Gorilla Player app now, or you can do it using the QR code shown in the Walkthrough later when you run Gorilla en your machine.
First of all you will need a Gorilla account. If you don’t have one, you can create a new one on this link:
Run Gorilla Player on Mac or Windows…
Once you finish the walk through, the Gorilla server will be running and you only have to configure your app on the device/s you want to see the rendering.
Run Gorilla App Client on your mobile phone…
Usually the Gorilla server automatically appears on the servers list without any other action needed. However, if it does not appear in the list, we can add it by searching the IP (keep the port number because it is the default port used in this connection). Anyway you can find an icon in the task bar which will show you all the Gorilla server info and also you could modify the connection port in the Visual Studio preferences.
When you are connected to VS you will see this:
Now you are ready to work on your designs and check the look & feel on each change you do 💪, goodbye compilations!
Note: I used the slow Android emulator because the other one gave me an error and I wanted to show both platforms running in parallel. But I assure you that it usually works very fast like the Iphone emulator shown here. I promise be uploading the new gif very soon.
About the Gorilla
- Easy way to connect
- Instant previewer on Saving xaml document
- Works on Android and iOS
- Run previewer in parallel for several devices
- Gorilla Player SDK available
Almost all the items below are important, but I think the last one is fundamental for saving time. I can’t remember a single project in which I didn’t need to go back to fix issues in the platform I was not working on at the moment. So imagine a simple situation where you would have the Gorilla Player running on an Android and also on an iOS device and you could fix each design issue for both platforms at the same time! This is great, right?
Also, having the Gorilla Player SDK could be very useful for us because It gives us the possibility of having another version of the Gorilla Player app in which we could extend the assemblies list and this way we can work with other custom renderers, static resources, etc.
Playing with the Gorilla
- Derived Pages
- External assemblies
- Styling done directly in the Xamarin Forms host platform
- Controls Templates
- MergedWith ResourceDictionaries
- ListView support
- Some Converters like the boolean negation converter (implemented with IValueConverter) are not supported.
- Gorilla Player have to be used with WiFi connection and also both tools should be running in the same network.
- Be careful when you try to connect Gorilla player (filling the Ip by hand) because the Ip shown on the Gorilla server (Gorilla icon on task bar > About Gorilla Player) is not your current ip, you should check your network preferences to get your ip.
- In some cases if you load a new project, you should reopen VS in order to see the design on your device.
- The client app has tiny bugs like:
- On iOS you can’t scroll when you fill the IP address by hand
- On Android you can open as settings view as tap you do in the settings icon.
At the end…
Gorilla Player appeared when there was nothing to help us with the xaml design. Some time ago, other two tools came into play, but personally they have never worked on my machine so they are not trustworthy for me. Based on that and also in all the improvements the tool has had, I use and recommend Gorilla Player for the phase of design.
Thanks Gorilla team for helping us to save time! 👍