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Generate an Android App Bundle for your Xamarin.Forms Application with Visual Studio 2017


How to Generate an APK File from Xamarin.Forms Project Using Visual Studio 2017




Xamarin.Forms is a cross-platform UI framework that allows you to create native applications for Android, iOS, and Windows using a single codebase. With Xamarin.Forms, you can share not only your business logic but also your user interface across different platforms.


An APK file is an Android application package that contains all the files and resources needed to run an app on an Android device. Generating an APK file from your Xamarin.Forms project is necessary if you want to distribute your app to users via Google Play Store or other channels.




generate apk xamarin visual studio 2017



In this article, you will learn how to generate an APK file from your Xamarin.Forms project using Visual Studio 2017. You will need the following prerequisites before you start:



  • A Xamarin.Forms project that targets Android as one of its platforms



  • Visual Studio 2017 with Xamarin tools installed



  • An Android SDK with at least one API level installed



  • A valid keystore and alias for signing your APK file



Step 1: Specify the Application Icon




The application icon is a graphical representation of your app that appears on the device's home screen and app drawer. It is strongly recommended that you specify an application icon for your Xamarin.Forms project, as some markets, such as Google Play Store, require it.


To specify the application icon, you can either set the Icon property in the Android manifest section of your project properties, or declare it in the AssemblyInfo.cs file of your Android project. For example:


[assembly: Application (Icon = \"@drawable/icon\")]


In both cases, @drawable/icon refers to an icon file that is located at Resources/drawable/icon.png in your Android project. Note that you should not include the .png extension in the resource name. You can also use different icon files for different screen densities by placing them in subfolders such as drawable-hdpi, drawable-xhdpi, etc.


Step 2: Version the Application




version your application by setting the Version Name and Version Code properties in the Android manifest section of your project properties, or by declaring them in the AssemblyInfo.cs file of your Android project. For example:


[assembly: AssemblyVersion (\"1.0.0\")] [assembly: AssemblyFileVersion (\"1.0.0\")]


The Version Name is a string that represents the user-friendly version of your app, such as 1.0.0 or 2.1.5. The Version Code is an integer that represents the internal version of your app, and it must be incremented for each release. You can use semantic versioning to keep track of your version numbers, such as major.minor.patch.


How to create an apk file from Xamarin.Forms project using Visual Studio


Preparing an application for release with Xamarin and Visual Studio 2017


Developing Xamarin.UI tests with Visual Studio and apk files


Export Android package (.apk) from Xamarin.Android project in Visual Studio


Archive and distribute Xamarin.Android app using Visual Studio 2017


Sign and publish Xamarin.Android apk with Visual Studio tools


Use fast deployment and linker options for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio


Protect and obfuscate Xamarin.Android app code with Visual Studio 2017


Set application icon and version for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio


Optimize and shrink Xamarin.Android apk size with Visual Studio tools


Create Android App Bundle from Xamarin.Android project in Visual Studio 2017


Debug and test Xamarin.Android apk on device or emulator with Visual Studio


Use ProGuard to reduce Java bytecode in Xamarin.Android apk with Visual Studio


Add anti-debug and anti-tamper features to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio 2017


Use native compilation to improve performance of Xamarin.Android apk with Visual Studio


Manage Android manifest and packaging properties for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio


Use Android SDK manager and build tools for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio 2017


Configure build variants and flavors for Xamarin.Android app in Visual Studio


Use Android resource manager and designer for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio


Add splash screen and launch icons to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio 2017


Use Android support libraries and NuGet packages for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio


Add Firebase and Google Play services to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio 2017


Use Android NDK and C++ code for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio


Add localization and internationalization support to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio 2017


Use data binding and MVVM pattern for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio


Add notifications and background services to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio 2017


Use Android Jetpack components and architecture for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio


Add camera, media, and storage access to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio


Use AndroidX libraries and migration tool for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio 2017


Add authentication and security features to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio


Use Android App Links and deep linking for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio 2017


Add widgets, shortcuts, and app actions to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio


Use Android WorkManager and JobScheduler for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio 2017


Add accessibility and adaptive features to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio


Use Android Wear and TV extensions for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio 2017


Add maps, location, and geofencing to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio


Use Android Auto and Car extensions for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio 2017


Add sensors, gestures, and touch input to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio


Use Android Enterprise and work profile features for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio 2017


Add networking, web, and cloud features to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio


Use Android Instant Apps and dynamic features for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio 2017


Add animations, transitions, and graphics to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio


Use Android Slices and templates for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio 2017


Add testing, profiling, and performance tools to Xamarin.Android app with Visual Studio


Use Android App Bundles command-line tools for Xamarin.Android apk in Visual Studio 2017


Step 3: Shrink the APK




The size of your APK file can affect the download time and storage space of your app on the user's device. Therefore, it is advisable to shrink your APK file as much as possible by removing unused code and resources from your app.


To shrink your APK file, you can use the Xamarin.Android linker and ProGuard tools that are integrated with Visual Studio 2017. The linker analyzes your app and removes any assemblies, types, methods, and fields that are not referenced by your app. ProGuard obfuscates and optimizes your Java code and libraries by renaming classes, variables, and methods, and removing unused code.


To enable the linker and ProGuard for your Xamarin.Forms project, you can either set the Linking and Enable ProGuard properties in the Android Options section of your project properties, or edit them in the csproj file of your Android project. For example:


<PropertyGroup Condition=\" '$(Configuration)$(Platform)' == 'ReleaseAnyCPU' \"> <AndroidLinkMode>SdkOnly</AndroidLinkMode> <AndroidEnableProguard>True</AndroidEnableProguard> </PropertyGroup>


The Linking property can be set to None, SdkOnly, or Full. None means no linking is performed, SdkOnly means only the SDK assemblies are linked, and Full means both the SDK and user assemblies are linked. The Enable ProGuard property can be set to True or False. True means ProGuard is enabled, and False means ProGuard is disabled.


Step 4: Protect the Application




Protecting your application from reverse engineering and tampering is important for ensuring the security and integrity of your app and its data. Although shrinking your APK file can make it harder for hackers to analyze your app, it is not enough to prevent them from modifying or extracting sensitive information from your app.


To protect your application from reverse engineering and tampering, you can use various techniques such as disabling debugging, obfuscating the managed code, adding anti-debug and anti-tamper features, and using native compilation.


Disabling debugging prevents hackers from attaching a debugger to your app and inspecting its behavior at runtime. You can disable debugging by setting the Debuggable property to False in the Android manifest section of your project properties, or by declaring it in the AssemblyInfo.cs file of your Android project. For example:


[assembly: Application (Debuggable = false)]


Obfuscating the managed code makes it harder for hackers to understand the logic and functionality of your app by renaming classes, methods, variables, and parameters with meaningless names. You can obfuscate the managed code by using tools such as Dotfuscator Community Edition, which is included with Visual Studio 2017.


Adding anti-debug and anti-tamper features prevents hackers from debugging or modifying your app at runtime by detecting if a debugger or a tamper tool is attached to your app and taking appropriate actions such as exiting or crashing the app. You can add anti-debug and anti-tamper features by using tools such


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