We're excited to announce that the 2015 v3 release of Xuni is already here, less than 3 months after the last major release. We’ve added several major new features that each significantly improve the mobile experience. FlexGrid now has column resizing by touch, cell freezing and its columns can be sized using star-sizing techniques made popular by the XAML Grid control. Star-sizing columns allows the control to be used in more adaptive scenarios as it’s a proportional sizing system. The FlexChart control now supports a moveable line marker feature and you can customize the axis labels to support custom formats like "2K" instead of "2,000" or display custom content in place of the labels. You can read more about each of these features and see everything else that’s new below. Download Xuni 2015 v3 >>>
Star-Sizing Columns Makes FlexGrid More Adaptive
Star-sizing allows columns to stretch and fill the available space - a useful technique for creating mobile layouts that may be run on a multitude of device sizes. This feature works like the XAML Grid control so you can size columns proportionally to one another, as well as include some fixed column widths where necessary. Star-sizing is also useful to eliminate horizontal scrolling and use FlexGrid like a list. It works by using the asterisk symbol within the width value of a column (hence the term, star-sizing). Setting the width of every column to "" will result in every column being the same width regardless of the screen size. You can even make one column twice the size of every other column by setting its width to "2". Read more: How to Proportionally Size Columns with FlexGrid (Star Sizing) >>>
Column & Row Freezing Keeps Important Cells on Screen
Another useful feature added to FlexGrid is cell freezing. Freezing columns and rows enables you to keep any number of cells frozen in view as the user scrolls. For smaller, mobile UI's this is critical because useful columns can quickly get scrolled out of view if they are not frozen. If you have an important column no longer must you let it go, let it go-oh off-screen. Freezing columns or rows is very simple - you just set the FrozenRows or FrozenColumns properties to the number you want frozen.
Resize Columns by Touch with Ease
FlexGrid now supports column resizing by touch. This enables end-users to resize columns to make the grid more readable to them. It’s a common data grid feature made popular by Microsoft Excel and the way it works in Xuni is exactly how it works in Excel on a touch device. Simply press down on the gridline between column headers and drag to the left or right. The column resizing feature honors the Column.MinWidth property so that a column can’t be resized to 0 and therefore lost. Consider this a safety mechanism for users with buttery fingers. The feature is disabled by setting the AllowResizing property.
Interactive Line Marker in FlexChart
For FlexChart the biggest new feature this release is the line marker. The line marker is very useful for mobile scenarios where you have limited screen real estate. It’s also useful if you have a lot of data because alternatives like tooltips and static labels aren’t as ideal due to the precision required by the user to select a single point. The line marker is always visible, can show data from multiple series, and it's interactive: end-users can drag the marker to reveal data point information anywhere on the plot. Read more:
- Adding Interactive Line Markers to FlexChart for Xamarin.Forms >>>
- An In-Depth look at FlexChart Line Markers in Xuni for iOS >>>
Customize the Axis Labels to Create More Efficient and Exciting Displays
Perhaps the most useful feature we added to FlexChart is the ability to customize the axis labels. In the previous versions, you could customize the format with a simple string to display decimals and currency symbols, etc. But now you can fully customize the axis labels to display a more mobile-friendly format. For instance, you can display elements such as images along the axis rather than long text. You can also abbreviate longer numbers with a custom format like "2K" to represent "2,000". When your app is run on a phone, this valuable space can now be used more effectively by the plot area itself. This topic will be discussed more in-depth in future blogs.
On-Demand Loading Adds Value to Xuni CollectionView
With the on-demand loading capability in the Xuni CollectionView, you can now more easily support this popular data virtualization technique. With on-demand loading items are loaded in pages as the user scrolls down a ListView or TableView. We included this feature in Xamarin.Forms only in the last release, but now it’s available for iOS, Android, Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android as well.
Better Performance in FlexGrid for iOS
You’ll definitely notice and appreciate the performance improvements we’ve made to FlexGrid for iOS in this release. In the previous version the Xamarin.Forms layer acted as somewhat of an overhead and resulted in poorer performance. In this release we’ve made significant improvements so you may not even notice the difference at all if you compare the pure iOS FlexGrid to the Xamarin.Forms iOS FlexGrid.
For the full list of improvements and changes, check out the change log. See all of these enhancements for yourself by downloading the control libraries and samples. You can also see the new features in action by installing our Xuni Explorer app on your smart phone. Have an idea for a feature you'd like to see in the next release? Leave a comment below.