Handling Rotation - Xamarin (2022)

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This topic describes how to handle device orientation changes in Xamarin.Android. It covers how to work with the Android resource system to automatically load resources for a particular device orientation as well as how to programmatically handle orientation changes.


Because mobile devices are easily rotated, built-in rotation is astandard feature in mobile OSes. Android provides a sophisticatedframework for dealing with rotation within applications, whether theuser interface is created declaratively in XML or programmatically incode. When automatically handling declarative layout changes on arotated device, an application can benefit from the tight integrationwith the Android resource system. For programmatic layout, changes mustbe handled manually. This allows finer control at runtime, but at theexpense of more work for the developer. An application can also chooseto opt out of the Activity restart and take manual control oforientation changes.

This guide examines the following orientation topics:

  • Declarative Layout Rotation – How to use the Androidresource system to build orientation-aware applications, includinghow to load both layouts and drawables for particular orientations.

  • Programmatic Layout Rotation – How to add controlsprogrammatically as well as how to handle orientation changesmanually.

Handling Rotation Declaratively with Layouts

By including files in folders that follow naming conventions, Androidautomatically loads the appropriate files when the orientation changes.This includes support for:

  • Layout Resources – Specifying which layout files areinflated for each orientation.

    (Video) Xamarin Android Tutorial 61 Handling Orientation Changes

  • Drawable Resources – Specifying which drawables are loadedfor each orientation.

Layout Resources

By default, Android XML (AXML) files included in theResources/layout folder are used for rendering views for anActivity. This folder's resources are used for both portrait andlandscape orientation if no additional layout resources are providedspecifically for landscape. Consider the project structure created bythe default project template:

This project creates a single Main.axml file in theResources/layout folder. When the Activity's OnCreate method iscalled, it inflates the view defined in Main.axml, which declares abutton as shown in the XML below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?><LinearLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android" android:orientation="vertical" android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="fill_parent"><Button android:id="@+id/myButton" android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:text="@string/hello"/></LinearLayout>

If the device is rotated to landscape orientation, the Activity'sOnCreate method is called again and the same Main.axml file isinflated, as shown in the screenshot below:

Orientation-Specific Layouts

In addition to the layout folder (which defaults to portrait and canalso be explicitly named layout-port by including a folder namedlayout-land), an application can define the views it needs when inlandscape without any code changes.

Suppose the Main.axml file contained the following XML:

(Video) Xamarin Forms - Rotation Animation

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?><RelativeLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android" android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="fill_parent"> <TextView android:text="This is portrait" android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:layout_width="fill_parent" /></RelativeLayout>

If a folder named layout-land that contains an additional Main.axmlfile is added to the project, inflating the layout when in landscapewill now result in Android loading the newly added Main.axml. Considerthe landscape version of the Main.axml file that contains the followingcode (for simplicity, this XML is similar to the default portraitversion of the code, but uses a different string in the TextView):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?><RelativeLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android" android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="fill_parent"> <TextView android:text="This is landscape" android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:layout_width="fill_parent" /></RelativeLayout>

Running this code and rotating the device from portrait to landscapedemonstrates the new XML loading, as shown below:

Drawable Resources

During rotation, Android treats drawable resources similarly to layoutresources. In this case, the system gets the drawables from theResources/drawable and Resources/drawable-land folders,respectively.

For example, say the project includes an image named Monkey.png in theResources/drawable folder, where the drawable is referenced from anImageView in XML like this:

<ImageView android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:layout_width="wrap_content" android:src="@drawable/monkey" android:layout_centerVertical="true" android:layout_centerHorizontal="true" />

Let's further assume that a different version of Monkey.png is includedunder Resources/drawable-land. Just like with the layout files,when the device is rotated, the drawable changes for the givenorientation, as shown below:

Handling Rotation Programmatically

Sometimes we define layouts in code. This can happen for a variety ofreasons, including technical limitations, developer preference, etc.When we add controls programmatically, an application must manuallyaccount for device orientation, which is handled automatically when weuse XML resources.

(Video) Screen Orientation Android - Xamarin Forms

Adding Controls in Code

To add controls programmatically, an application needs to perform thefollowing steps:

  • Create a layout.
  • Set layout parameters.
  • Create controls.
  • Set control layout parameters.
  • Add controls to the layout.
  • Set the layout as the content view.

For example, consider a user interface consisting of a singleTextView control added to a RelativeLayout, as shown in thefollowing code.

protected override void OnCreate (Bundle bundle){ base.OnCreate (bundle); // create a layout var rl = new RelativeLayout (this); // set layout parameters var layoutParams = new RelativeLayout.LayoutParams (ViewGroup.LayoutParams.FillParent, ViewGroup.LayoutParams.FillParent); rl.LayoutParameters = layoutParams; // create TextView control var tv = new TextView (this); // set TextView's LayoutParameters tv.LayoutParameters = layoutParams; tv.Text = "Programmatic layout"; // add TextView to the layout rl.AddView (tv); // set the layout as the content view SetContentView (rl);}

This code creates an instance of a RelativeLayout class and sets itsLayoutParameters property. The LayoutParams class is Android's wayof encapsulating how controls are positioned in a reusable way. Once aninstance of a layout is created, controls can be created and added toit. Controls also have LayoutParameters, such as the TextView inthis example. After the TextView is created, adding it to theRelativeLayout and setting the RelativeLayout as the content viewresults in the application displaying the TextView as shown:

Detecting Orientation in Code

If an application tries to load a different user interface for eachorientation when OnCreate is called (this will happen each time adevice is rotated), it must detect the orientation, and then load thedesired user interface code. Android has a class called theWindowManager, which can be used to determine the current devicerotation via the WindowManager.DefaultDisplay.Rotation property, asshown below:

protected override void OnCreate (Bundle bundle){ base.OnCreate (bundle); // create a layout var rl = new RelativeLayout (this); // set layout parameters var layoutParams = new RelativeLayout.LayoutParams (ViewGroup.LayoutParams.FillParent, ViewGroup.LayoutParams.FillParent); rl.LayoutParameters = layoutParams; // get the initial orientation var surfaceOrientation = WindowManager.DefaultDisplay.Rotation; // create layout based upon orientation RelativeLayout.LayoutParams tvLayoutParams; if (surfaceOrientation == SurfaceOrientation.Rotation0 || surfaceOrientation == SurfaceOrientation.Rotation180) { tvLayoutParams = new RelativeLayout.LayoutParams (ViewGroup.LayoutParams.FillParent, ViewGroup.LayoutParams.WrapContent); } else { tvLayoutParams = new RelativeLayout.LayoutParams (ViewGroup.LayoutParams.FillParent, ViewGroup.LayoutParams.WrapContent); tvLayoutParams.LeftMargin = 100; tvLayoutParams.TopMargin = 100; } // create TextView control var tv = new TextView (this); tv.LayoutParameters = tvLayoutParams; tv.Text = "Programmatic layout"; // add TextView to the layout rl.AddView (tv); // set the layout as the content view SetContentView (rl);}

This code sets the TextView to be positioned 100 pixels from the topleft of the screen, automatically animating to the new layout, whenrotated to landscape, as shown here:

Preventing Activity Restart

In addition to handling everything in OnCreate, an application canalso prevent an Activity from being restarted when the orientationchanges by setting ConfigurationChanges in the ActivityAttribute asfollows:

(Video) Xamarin Forms Button Rotation Animation

[Activity (Label = "CodeLayoutActivity", ConfigurationChanges=Android.Content.PM.ConfigChanges.Orientation | Android.Content.PM.ConfigChanges.ScreenSize)]

Now when the device is rotated, the Activity is not restarted. In orderto manually handle the orientation change in this case, an Activity canoverride the OnConfigurationChanged method and determine theorientation from the Configuration object that is passed in, as inthe new implementation of the Activity below:

[Activity (Label = "CodeLayoutActivity", ConfigurationChanges=Android.Content.PM.ConfigChanges.Orientation | Android.Content.PM.ConfigChanges.ScreenSize)]public class CodeLayoutActivity : Activity{ TextView _tv; RelativeLayout.LayoutParams _layoutParamsPortrait; RelativeLayout.LayoutParams _layoutParamsLandscape; protected override void OnCreate (Bundle bundle) { // create a layout // set layout parameters // get the initial orientation // create portrait and landscape layout for the TextView _layoutParamsPortrait = new RelativeLayout.LayoutParams (ViewGroup.LayoutParams.FillParent, ViewGroup.LayoutParams.WrapContent); _layoutParamsLandscape = new RelativeLayout.LayoutParams (ViewGroup.LayoutParams.FillParent, ViewGroup.LayoutParams.WrapContent); _layoutParamsLandscape.LeftMargin = 100; _layoutParamsLandscape.TopMargin = 100; _tv = new TextView (this); if (surfaceOrientation == SurfaceOrientation.Rotation0 || surfaceOrientation == SurfaceOrientation.Rotation180) { _tv.LayoutParameters = _layoutParamsPortrait; } else { _tv.LayoutParameters = _layoutParamsLandscape; } _tv.Text = "Programmatic layout"; rl.AddView (_tv); SetContentView (rl); } public override void OnConfigurationChanged (Android.Content.Res.Configuration newConfig) { base.OnConfigurationChanged (newConfig); if (newConfig.Orientation == Android.Content.Res.Orientation.Portrait) { _tv.LayoutParameters = _layoutParamsPortrait; _tv.Text = "Changed to portrait"; } else if (newConfig.Orientation == Android.Content.Res.Orientation.Landscape) { _tv.LayoutParameters = _layoutParamsLandscape; _tv.Text = "Changed to landscape"; } }}

Here the TextView's layout parameters are initialized for bothlandscape and portrait. Class variables hold the parameters, along withthe TextView itself, since the Activity will not be re-created whenorientation changes. The code still uses the surfaceOrientartion inOnCreate to set the initial layout for the TextView. After that,OnConfigurationChanged handles all subsequent layout changes.

When we run the application, Android loads the user interface changesas device rotation occurs, and does not restart the Activity.

Preventing Activity Restart for Declarative Layouts

Activity restarts caused by device rotation can also be prevented if wedefine the layout in XML. For example, we can use this approach if wewant to prevent an Activity restart (for performance reasons, perhaps)and we don't need to load new resources for different orientations.

To do this, we follow the same procedure that we use with aprogrammatic layout. Simply set ConfigurationChanges in theActivityAttribute, as we did in the CodeLayoutActivity earlier. Anycode that does need to run for the orientation change can again beimplemented in the OnConfigurationChanged method.

Maintaining State During Orientation Changes

Whether handling rotation declaratively or programmatically, allAndroid applications should implement the same techniques for managingstate when device orientation changes. Managing state is importantbecause the system restarts a running Activity when an Android deviceis rotated. Android does this to make it easy to load alternateresources, such as layouts and drawables that are designed specificallyfor a particular orientation. When it restarts, the Activity loses anytransient state it may have stored in local class variables. Therefore,if an Activity is state reliant, it must persist its state at theapplication level. An application needs to handle saving and restoringany application state that it wants to preserve across orientationchanges.

For more information on persisting state in Android, refer to theActivity Lifecycleguide.


This article covered how to use Android's built-in capabilities to workwith rotation. First, it explained how to use the Android resourcesystem to create orientation aware applications. Then it presented howto add controls in code as well as how to handle orientation changesmanually.

(Video) Xamarin.Forms: Orientation Change - Kym Phillpotts - Xamarin University Lightning Lecture

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1. Xamarin.forms Basic Controls and event handling
(John Okoroafor)
2. Blazor on Xamarin Android. Rotating the screen.
3. Prevent Orientation change in Xamarin Android Application - C#
(Solutions Cloud)
4. Xamarin.Forms 3.0 - FlexLayout
(John Okoroafor)
5. Demo of Xamarin iOS plugin for works with device orientation on runtime.
(Yauheni Pakala)
6. Using class Matrix for rotating and scaling 2d Clock C# Xamarin

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