It’s a Good Day to Be a C# Developer

great_time_csharp_header

Recently at Connect(), Microsoft made a slew of new announcements. First, the public availability of Visual Studio 2017 Release Candidate. This just isn't a new version of the signature developer tool, it also includes the latest bits for C# 7.0. Second, Google announced they were joining the .NET Foundation. This means that Google, technically a competitor of Microsoft, wants to be actively involved in the evolution of .NET (and indirectly C#). Third, the first public release of Visual Studio for Mac. As a native environment, Visual Studio for Mac will provide the same world class tooling support for Xamarin applications, using C# and F#.

We could go on, but there is a common thread that runs between many of these announcements. As a developer, choosing C# as a part of your technology stack is an excellent decision! But what if you are not a C# developer already? How does C# compare to other popular languages such as JavaScript, Java, Python, etc?

Xamarin Forms and Google Mobile Ads for iOS: update

In my previous post I explaind how to add on your application advertising. In those days Xamarin has removed from the Component Store the component called Google Mobile Ads for iOS.

Now you have to install another component called Firebase AdMob for iOS.

Firebase_admob_ios

After installed this component you can see in your Output window a similar info without see an advert in your app:

2016-11-18 11:28:14.853 WordBankEasy.iOS[11103:2250070] <Google> You must set the rootViewController property of <GADBannerView: 0x1034702c0; frame = (-10 0; 320 50); clipsToBounds = YES; layer = <CALayer: 0x174e39d40>> before loading a request.

To fix this issue you have to find before the right UIViewController. For that you can use the following code:

    UIViewController viewController = null;
    foreach (UIWindow rootView in UIApplication.SharedApplication.Windows) {
        if (rootView != null) {
            viewController = rootView.RootViewController;
        }
    }

    adView = new BannerView(size: AdSizeCons.Banner,
                            origin: new CGPoint(-10, 0))
    {
        AdUnitID = AdmobID,
        RootViewController = viewController
    };

Happy coding!

Xamarin Forms and Google Mobile Ads for iOS

If you have a new Xamarin Project and you want to add an advertising, the simple way it is to use Google Admob. This implementation is only for Android and iOS.

One of the first things people think about when developing for a new platform / using a new technology is monetization; and in my case the question is: how easy is it to integrate AdMob? For Xamarin Forms the answer would be: “It depends” – it depends on luck & on the complexity of what you want to achieve; but I will detail this as we move along.

The first thing you need to do is add the required components to your projects. For this walktrough I will be using Visual Studio but it should be relatively the same when using Xamarin Studio. Here, things go separate ways for each of the platforms:

  • for Android – add the Google Play Services component
  • for iOS – add the AdMob component
  • for Windows Phone – download the SDK from here and add it as a reference

By now, you Android project should no longer be building & you should be receiving a COMPILETODALVIK : UNEXPECTED TOP-LEVEL error. To fix that, go into your Droid project properties, select the Android Options tab and then under Advanced modify the value for the Java Max Heap Size to 1G. Your project should now build without any errors.

Next, inside your shared / PCL project add a new Content View and call it AdMobView. Remove the code generated inside it’s constructor & it should look like this:

public class AdMobView : ContentView
{
    public AdMobView() { }
}

Add this new view to your page. In XAML you can do it like this:

<controls:AdMobView WidthRequest="320" HeightRequest="50" />

Make sure NOTHING interferes with the control. By nothing I mean – overlapping controls, page padding, control margins / spacing, etc. If you have something overlapping the ad control, ads will not display & you won’t receive an error, so be careful.

Android

Add a new class called AdMobRenderer with the code below. Make sure to keep the ExportRenderer attribute above the namespace, otherwise the magic won’t happen.

using WordBankEasy.Droid.Renderers;
using WordBankEasy.Views.AdMob;
using Xamarin.Forms;
using Xamarin.Forms.Platform.Android;

[assembly: ExportRenderer(typeof(AdMobView), typeof(AdMobRenderer))]

namespace WordBankEasy.Droid.Renderers {
    public class AdMobRenderer : ViewRenderer<AdMobView, Android.Gms.Ads.AdView> {
        protected override void OnElementChanged(ElementChangedEventArgs<AdMobView> e) {
            base.OnElementChanged(e);

            if (Control == null) {
                var ad = new Android.Gms.Ads.AdView(Forms.Context);
                ad.AdSize = Android.Gms.Ads.AdSize.Banner;
                ad.AdUnitId = "ca-app-pub-4381168884554284/2250461656";

                var requestbuilder = new Android.Gms.Ads.AdRequest.Builder();
                ad.LoadAd(requestbuilder.Build());

                SetNativeControl(ad);
            }
        }
    }
}

Next, you need to modify your AndroidManifest.xml file to add the AdActivity & required permissions for displaying ads: ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE, INTERNET; just like in the example below (see also http://puresourcecode.com/dotnet/post/Android-required-permissions).

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android">
    <uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="15" />
    <application>
    <activity android:name="com.google.android.gms.ads.AdActivity" 
            android:configChanges="keyboard|keyboardHidden|orientation|screenLayout|uiMode|screenSize|smallestScreenSize" android:theme="@android:style/Theme.Translucent" />
    </application>
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />
</manifest>

That’s it. Your Android build should now display ads inside the AdMobView content view.

iOS

This, I haven’t got the chance to test yet as I don’t have a Mac around but people say it works, so I’ve added it for reference. Same as before, just add a new class called AdMobRenderer and copy-paste the code below but before you have to add a component.

In your iOS project click on “Components” (as in the picture)

Components

and click on “Get More Components…”. Then search admob and install it.

Google-Admob-Xamarin

using Xamarin.Forms;
using CoreGraphics;
using Xamarin.Forms.Platform.iOS;
using UIKit;
using WordBankEasy.Views.AdMob;
using WordBankEasy.iOS.Renderers;
using Google.MobileAds;

[assembly: ExportRenderer(typeof(AdMobView), typeof(AdMobRenderer))]
namespace WordBankEasy.iOS.Renderers {
    public class AdMobRenderer : ViewRenderer {
        const string AdmobID = "ca-app-pub-4381168884554284/5843056458";

        BannerView adView;
        bool viewOnScreen;

        protected override void OnElementChanged(ElementChangedEventArgs<Xamarin.Forms.View> e) {
            base.OnElementChanged(e);

            if (e.NewElement == null)
                return;

            if (e.OldElement == null) {
                adView = new BannerView(size: AdSizeCons.Banner, origin: new CGPoint(-10, 0)) {
                    AdUnitID = AdmobID,
                    RootViewController = UIApplication.SharedApplication.Windows[0].RootViewController
                };

                adView.AdReceived += (sender, args) => {
                    if (!viewOnScreen) this.AddSubview(adView);
                    viewOnScreen = true;
                };

                adView.LoadRequest(Request.GetDefaultRequest());
                base.SetNativeControl(adView);
            }
        }
    }
}

Here you can receive an strange error like:

Foundation.MonoTouchException: Objective-C exception thrown. Name: NSInvalidArgumentException Reason: -[AppDelegate window]: unrecognized selector sent to instance 0x7ffee9cdd4d0

Native stack trace:

0 CoreFoundation 0x000000010a12ed85 __exceptionPreprocess + 165

1 libobjc.A.dylib 0x000000010a5e3deb objc_exception_throw + 48

2 CoreFoundation 0x000000010a137d3d -[NSObject(NSObject) doesNotRecognizeSelector:] + 205

3 CoreFoundation 0x000000010a07db17 forwarding + 487

4 CoreFoundation 0x000000010a07d8a8 _CF_forwarding_prep_0 + 120

5 WordBankEasyiOS 0x0000000100bc65e4 GADiTunesMetadataForFileAtPath + 4181

6 WordBankEasyiOS 0x0000000100c2d484 hasRequiredParams + 10260

7 WordBankEasyiOS 0x0000000100bc5f06 GADiTunesMetadataForFileAtPath + 2423

8 WordBankEasyiOS 0x0000000100bc1c35 GADCategories_NSURL_GADNSURLUtilities + 4438

9 WordBankEasyiOS 0x0000000100c00fde GADDispatchAsyncSafeMainQueue + 45

10 libobjc.A.dylib 0x000000010a5e4bff _class_initialize + 679

11 libobjc.A.dylib 0x000000010a5eacc5 lookUpImpOrForward + 176

12 libobjc.A.dylib 0x000000010a5f98bb objc_msgSend + 187

13 WordBankEasyiOS 0x0000000100bbe0ff GADCategories_DFPBannerView_CustomRenderedAd + 18074

14 WordBankEasyiOS 0x0000000100bbe382 GADCategories_DFPBannerView_CustomRenderedAd + 18717

15 WordBankEasyiOS 0x0000000100bbe527 GADCategories_DFPBannerView_CustomRenderedAd + 19138

16 ??? 0x000000011d368a0e 0x0 + 4785080846

17 ??? 0x000000011d36843b 0x0 + 4785079355

18 ??? 0x000000011d364d88 0x0 + 4785065352

19 ??? 0x000000011c51bbd6 0x0 + 4770085846

20 ??? 0x000000011c51b138 0x0 + 4770083128

21 ??? 0x000000011c51b138 0x0 + 4770083128

22 ??? 0x000000011c51b138 0x0 + 4770083128

Don't worry! I received the same error and I spend a lot of time to understand and fix it. There is a workaround that seems working fine.

In your iOS project, open AppDelegate.cs and add this code:

/// <summary>
/// Gets the window.
/// </summary>
/// <returns>UIWindow.</returns>
[Export("window")]
public UIWindow GetWindow() {
   return UIApplication.SharedApplication.Windows[0];
}

A complete example of this class is:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;

using Foundation;
using ImageCircle.Forms.Plugin.iOS;
using UIKit;

namespace WordBankEasy.iOS {
    // The UIApplicationDelegate for the application. This class is responsible for launching the 
    // User Interface of the application, as well as listening (and optionally responding) to 
    // application events from iOS.
    [Register("AppDelegate")]
    public partial class AppDelegate : global::Xamarin.Forms.Platform.iOS.FormsApplicationDelegate {
        //
        // This method is invoked when the application has loaded and is ready to run. In this 
        // method you should instantiate the window, load the UI into it and then make the window
        // visible.
        //
        // You have 17 seconds to return from this method, or iOS will terminate your application.
        //
        public override bool FinishedLaunching(UIApplication app, NSDictionary options) {
            global::Xamarin.Forms.Forms.Init();

            ImageCircleRenderer.Init();

            LoadApplication(new App());

            return base.FinishedLaunching(app, options);
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// Gets the window.
        /// </summary>
        /// <returns>UIWindow.</returns>
        [Export("window")]
        public UIWindow GetWindow() {
            return UIApplication.SharedApplication.Windows[0];
        }
    }
}

After that you can start you app and see you advertising without problem. For now :)

Happy coding!

How to Track Downloads & Outbound Links in Google Analytics

Since Google Analytics does not track file downloads, email, telephone or other outbound link clicks automatically, we saw an opportunity to provide this code to the community.

Dynamically Track Downloads & Other External Links

For those who have a lot of links and would like to dynamically detect clicks on links to file downloads, we have provided updated code below.  As before, this code requires the jQuery JavaScript library to be set before the code.

We have updated the code to make it more manageable and easier to extend.  In addition, we are using the jQuery on() method for attaching the click event handler to links.  Since we are using the on() method you will need to use jQuery v1.7+.  If you are using an earlier version of jQuery the .live() method can be used instead.

The primary benefit of using the on() method is performance.  Instead of looping through all ‘a’ elements on a page after the page loads (takes processing power on pages with lots of links), we instead listen for any clicks on the ‘a’ elements and invoke our custom JavaScript on the fly.

Again, feel free to customize this code to suite your needs.  It can be placed in its own .js file and should be placed in the <head> of your pages.  This script automates the following:

  • Tracks file downloads as events for the following extensions: .zip, .exe, dmg, .pdf, .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx, .mp3, .txt, rar, wma, mov, avi, wmv, flv, wav (again feel free to modify the list)
  • Tracks outbound clicks as events if the href value contains http:// or https:// and the domain value doesn’t match the current domain
  • Tracks mailto email clicks
  • Tracks Tel telephone clicks
<script type="text/javascript">
if (typeof jQuery != 'undefined') {
  jQuery(document).ready(function($) {
    var filetypes = /\.(zip|exe|dmg|pdf|doc.*|xls.*|ppt.*|mp3|txt|rar|wma|mov|avi|wmv|flv|wav)$/i;
    var baseHref = '';
    if (jQuery('base').attr('href') != undefined) baseHref = jQuery('base').attr('href');

    jQuery('a').on('click', function(event) {
      var el = jQuery(this);
      var track = true;
      var href = (typeof(el.attr('href')) != 'undefined' ) ? el.attr('href') :"";
      var isThisDomain = href.match(document.domain.split('.').reverse()[1] + '.' + document.domain.split('.').reverse()[0]);
      if (!href.match(/^javascript:/i)) {
    	var elEv = []; elEv.value=0, elEv.non_i=false;
        if (href.match(/^mailto\:/i)) {
          elEv.category = "email";
          elEv.action = "click";
          elEv.label = href.replace(/^mailto\:/i, '');
          elEv.loc = href;
        }
        else if (href.match(filetypes)) {
          var extension = (/[.]/.exec(href)) ? /[^.]+$/.exec(href) : undefined;
          elEv.category = "download";
          elEv.action = "click-" + extension[0];
          elEv.label = href.replace(/ /g,"-");
          elEv.loc = baseHref + href;
        }
        else if (href.match(/^https?\:/i) && !isThisDomain) {
          elEv.category = "external";
          elEv.action = "click";
          elEv.label = href.replace(/^https?\:\/\//i, '');
          elEv.non_i = true;
          elEv.loc = href;
        }
        else if (href.match(/^tel\:/i)) {
          elEv.category = "telephone";
          elEv.action = "click";
          elEv.label = href.replace(/^tel\:/i, '');
          elEv.loc = href;
        }
        else track = false;

       	if (track) {
          _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', elEv.category.toLowerCase(), elEv.action.toLowerCase(), elEv.label.toLowerCase(), elEv.value, elEv.non_i]);
          if ( el.attr('target') == undefined || el.attr('target').toLowerCase() != '_blank') {
            setTimeout(function() { location.href = elEv.loc; }, 400);
            return false;
	  }
	}
      }
    });
  });
}
</script>

The script sets download, email and tel link clicks as interaction events while the external site clicks are non-interaction which can be adjusted if desired.

As before, the script will detect if the link is opening in a new window or not and automatically uses setTimeout() for 400ms if you are not. This is to allow time for the hit request to process before taking the user to the new page.

Inline Download & Other External Links Tracking

If you’d rather not use the above method to place a single javascript file on your site and automate the tracking for all link elements, you can use the manual inline approach by tagging each link element individually.  The inline approach can be time consuming and is not scalable.

The original syntax for adding the code inline remains the same.

New window/tab
For links that open a new window or tab (such as using target=”_blank” for example) you will want to use the code below:

<a onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','Download','PDF','Description']);" 
   href="my-file.pdf" target="_blank">
   Download my file
</a>

In current window
For links that open within the same window, replacing the current page, you will want to use the code below:

<a onclick="var that=this;_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','Download','PDF',this.href]);
   setTimeout(function(){location.href=that.href;},400);
   return false;" 
   href="my-file.pdf">
   Download my file
</a>

These type of links require a slight delay to allow time for the hit request to process before taking the user to the new page.

Detailed Download & External Link Reports

After all of your hard work you will have event tracking reports with neatly organized data around file downloads, external link, email link, and telephone link clicks.  From these reports you can gauge the usage and usefulness of your file downloads and various links.

events_report1

 

By diving into the download category and selecting event label as the primary dimension you are able to see a report on all of the individual files downloaded from your site.

events_downloads

 

Lastly, since events are associated with the page they were fired on, you are able to apply a secondary dimension of page to find out which page contained the download or external link click that occurred.

Advertsing

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