Imagine you wanted to prompt your user with a popup alert dialog (which is also transparent, because its cool! lol) 😉 asking them to enter some value and you want to await the whole task (make it awaitable) while you’re at it, so the execution will halt until the user enter the value, and then retrieve the user entered value to the point of origin? 😀
And just to add some sugar to it, may be you wanted to customize and decorate the appearance of the input view?
Something like this?
Seems pretty cool yeah! That’s what I’m gonna share today!
Right outta Xamarin.Forms?
Now there’s no way you could do either of those things in that scenario right out of Xamarin.Forms! Nope, not with a Modal Popup, which doesn’t support transparency, and not even with DisplayAlerts or ActionSheets, since the’re not customizable, they don’t allow text input or any kind of custom input view, only multiple button selections.
So how could I do it?
Let me explain fellas!
So for transparency and ultimate flexibility of setting up custom popup views, we are going to use the awesome Rg.Plugins.Popup library for Xamarin.Forms and to make the whole Task awaitable let’s use a TaskCompletionSource (Thank you dot net)! 😉
So the trick here for adding custom input views to the popup page, is by creating our Xamarin.Forms custom views using a ContentView and set them to the Content of popup page.
Alright then time for some coding!
Let the coding begin…
But first, setting up!
First thing first create a Xamarin.Forms PCL project in Visual Studio. 🙂
Then install Rg.Plugins.Popup library for Xamarin.Forms through Nuget Package manager.
I’ve actually written a blog post about Rg.Plugins.Popup in my blog right here: So I created a Popup with Transparent background in Xamarin Forms… 😉
Create the Transparent Popup Page…
Once you’re done with that, let’s create our custom Transparent Popup Page using the Rg.Plugins.Popup we just installed.
Something to keep in mind,
- We should allow it to use Generic data types as for the return data type. 😀
- Popup page provides us with many cool features, including Page background click handling and back button press handling, which we will override as of disable page background click to dismissal and disable back button press cancellation.
- Pass in a View and set it to the PopupPage’s Content property, which we will attach the custom input view we want to use in our popup page.
- Set the transparency level to 0.4 of alpha value.
Let’s call it InputAlertDialogBase.
There you go, over to the next step!
Configure the await-able Task properties…
So let’s create a Task and TaskCompletionSource inside our InputAlertDialogBase, to handle await-ability of our “Transparent, Custom, Popup Input Dialog” as I’ve mentioned in the blog title! 😉
Note that how we are initializing the TaskCompletionSource in the Constructor.
Alright, now our Transparent Popup is ready. Next we need to construct the Custom Input View, that we are going to pass into the InputAlertDialogBase to display and retrieve data input (text or any kind) from the User. 😀
Create your Custom Input View! 😀
Alright this step is totally up to your desires, you could construct any kind of a Custom Input View to be displayed on top of the InputAlertDialogBase we just created above, and retrieve the User’s inputs.
So for this example, let’s create a simple View with Title Label, Text Entry and Ok button yeah! 😉 Also let’s add a simple validation Label inside it to show up if the User tries to leave the Text Entry empty and hit the ok button to quit.
As you can see we have created a simple ContentView with a custom Text input view! 😀
Notice that we have explicitly named all the elements and added a button click event, this is to make it easy to set custom textual values to the elements and to handle the OK button’s click event as for the closing of the Popup Page. 🙂
Pretty simple yeah, next let’s handle the back end of this custom View to manage the Textual values, Ok button’s click event and validations.
Let’s manage code-behind of Custom Input View…
Now this is important, if you consider a ContentView, all it’s Child elements are private to it’s class scope, so we can’t observe or interact with any of the property value changes or behaviors from outside of the View.
Therefore we need to create custom properties that will expose those required values and events to the public.
Something to keep in mind here,
- In order to customize the values displayed in the Child elements of the ContentView (Label,Button, etc..) we should pass in the values to the Constructor and set them to the Child elements there.
- We should create a public EventHandler to handle the Ok Button’s click event from outside the View and add a public string Propery to expose the text Entry’s value to the public.
- Subscribe to the Entry’s TextChanged event to reflect the value the public string property.
- Create a public bindable Boolean property to display or hide Validation label in the ContentView. Or you could handle this internally in the View on the Ok Button’s click event as well, but it would be nice if we could expose the Validations to public so we could handle it outside the View.
So you can see we are passing in all the required values to set to our Child element’s we are passing in to the Constructor and setting them up there. Also we are subscribing to the Ok Button’s OnClick event and text Entry’s TextChanged event.
Inside the CloseButton_Clicked() event we are invoking the public EventHandler CloseButtonEventHandler if it’s being subscribed to by outside.
As well as the Entry’s InputEntry_TextChanged() event we are updating the public TextInputResult to reflect the Entry’s text value to the public.
Don’t forget to handle Validations…
Oh and here’s the Bindable Boolean property you should include inside the TextInputView code behind to handle the Validations from outside the View.
Now speaking of the bindable IsValidationLabelVisibleProperty, we are updating the Validation Label’s visibility based on its value changes accordingly. 🙂
Following this method, you can create any kind of custom Input Views to be attached to our Transparent Popup Page. 🙂 All you need to do is expose the required Values and Events to the public.
Alright next step…
Time to assemble everything and consume it!
Now we are going to put everything together and get it to be used as our “awaitable Transparent, Custom, Popup Input Dialog”! 😉
Somethings to keep in mind here,
- We need to initialize our TextInputView by passing in the parameters we would like the necessary child elements to display
- Create an InputAlertDialogBase<string>(), yes of type string, since we are going to return a string from the Popup Alert.
- Subscribe to the CloseButtonEventHandler of TextInputView’s instance to handle validation and reflect the Text input value to the TaskCompletionSource.
- Push the popup page instance to Navigation Stack and await the page’s Task
- Upon result retrieval Pop the page from Stack and return the user inserted value.
Alright let’s do it…
There you go, step by step as I explained before you can see how it’s being consumed. Specially inside the CloseButtonEventHandler, every time the event fires we are checking the TextInputResult property and enabling or disabling the IsValidationLabelVisible property, as well as updating the PageClosedTaskCompletionSource property value if a text value is being entered by the User, which will in return update the awaiting PageClosedTask and task will proceed to completion state, then return the value after popping the Page. 😀
There you go! 😀 How straight forward is that! 😉
Keep in mind like I said before you can add any kind of a customized View on top of our Transparent Popup Page, and retrieve any kind of result as you expect from the User following the same steps. 😀
Let’s see this in action…
Look at that coolness right! 😉
Since it’s full on Xamarin.Forms, and doesn’t have a single line of native code, you could straight up run this implementation on all Android, iOS, UWP, WinPhone as you wish! 😀
I want more! 😮
Alright now that’s just a little bit of basic head start of what you could do, whereas if you get creative and smart you could do a lot more cool stuff like this…
There you have it, some cool stuff I played around with my implementation. 😉
You can grab the Github code from here: github.com/UdaraAlwis/XFCustomInputAlertDialog
Well fellas, that’s it for now!
Enjoy! 😀 Share the love!
-Udara Alwis 😀