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Posted 23 Mar 2013

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MvvmCross TipCalc - Step 1: Creating the Core Portable Application

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26 Mar 2013Ms-PL6 min read
Step 1 in the TipCalc tutorial for MvvmCross v3 - Hot Tuna


This article is step 1 in the TipCalc tutorial for MvvmCross v3 - Hot Tuna!

Let's Go Portable

MvvmCross applications are normally structured with:

  • one shared 'core' Portable Class Library (PCL) project
    • containing as much code as possible: models, view models, services, converters, etc.
  • one UI project per platform
    • each containing the bootstrap and view-specific code for that platform

Normally, you start development from the core project - and that's exactly what we'll do here.

To create the core, you can use the Visual Studio project template wizards, but here we'll instead build up a new project 'from empty'.

Create a Portable Library

Using Visual Studio, create your new PCL using the File|New Project wizard.

Call it something like TipCalc.Core.csproj.

When asked to choose platforms, select all of WindowsPhone, WindowsStore (.NET 4.5), Xamarin.Android and Xamarin.iOS - this will ensure that the PCL is in Profile104. This profile defines a small subset of .NET that contains parts of the assemblies for:

  • mscorlib
  • System.Core
  • System.Net
  • System.Runtime.Serialization
  • System.ServiceModel
  • System.Windows
  • System.Xml
  • System.Xml.Linq
  • System.Xml.Serialization

Importantly for us, this Profile104 includes everything we need to build our Mvvm applications.

Delete Class1.cs

No-one really needs a Class1. Smile | <img src= " align="top" src="" />

Add References to the CrossCore and MvvmCross Assemblies

Use 'Add references' to add links to the 2 Portable Class Libraries.

  • Cirrious.CrossCore.dll
    • core interfaces and concepts including Trace, IoC and Plugin management
  • Cirrious.MvvmCross.dll
    • Mvvm classes - including base classes for your MvxApplication and your MvxViewModels

Normally, these will be found in a folder path like {SolutionRoot}/Libs/Mvx/Portable/.

Add the Tip Calculation Service

Create a folder called 'Services'.

Within this folder, create a new Interface which will be used for calculating tips:

public interface ICalculation
    double TipAmount(double subTotal, int generosity);

Within this folder, create an implementation of this interface:

public class Calculation : ICalculation
    public double TipAmount(double subTotal, int generosity)
        return subTotal * ((double)generosity)/100.0;

This provides us with some simple business logic for our app.

Add the ViewModel

At a sketch level, we want a user interface that:

  • uses:
    • our calculation service to calculate the tip
  • has inputs of:
    • the current bill (the subTotal)
    • a feeling for how much tip we'd like to leave (the generosity)
  • has output displays of:
    • the calculated tip to leave

To represent this user interface, we need to build a 'model' for the user interface - which is, of course, a 'ViewModel'.

Within MvvmCross, all ViewModels should inherit from MvxViewModel.

So now, create a ViewModels folder in our project, and in this folder, add a new TipViewModel class like:

using Cirrious.MvvmCross.ViewModels;

namespace TipCalc.Core
    public class TipViewModel : MvxViewModel
        private readonly ICalculation _calculation;
        public TipViewModel(ICalculation calculation)
            _calculation = calculation;

        public override void Start()
            _subTotal = 100;
            _generosity = 10;

        private double _subTotal;

        public double SubTotal
            get { return _subTotal; }
            set { _subTotal = value; RaisePropertyChanged(() => SubTotal); Recalcuate(); }

        private int _generosity;

        public int Generosity
            get { return _generosity; }
            set { _generosity = value; RaisePropertyChanged(() => Generosity); Recalcuate(); }

        private double _tip;

        public double Tip
            get { return _tip; }
            set { _tip = value; RaisePropertyChanged(() => Tip);}

        private void Recalcuate()
            Tip = _calculation.TipAmount(SubTotal, Generosity);

For many of you, this TipViewModel will already make sense to you. If it does, then skip ahead to 'Create the Application'. If not, then here are some simple explanations:

  • The TipViewModel is constructed with an ICalculation service:

    private readonly ICalculation _calculation;
    public TipViewModel(ICalculation calculation)
        _calculation = calculation;
  • After construction, the TipViewModel will be started - during this, it sets some initial values.

    public override void Start()
        // set some start values
        SubTotal = 100.0;
        Generosity = 10;
  • The view data held within the TipViewModel is exposed through properties.

    • Each of these properties is backed by a private member variable.
    • Each of these properties has a get and a set.
    • The set accessor for Tip is marked private.
    • All of the set accessors call RaisePropertyChanged to tell the base MvxViewModel that the data has changed.
    • The SubTotal and Generosity set accessors also call Recalculate()

      private double _subTotal;
      public double SubTotal
          get { return _subTotal; }
          set {  _subTotal = value; 
          	RaisePropertyChanged(() => SubTotal); Recalculate(); }
      private int _generosity;
      public int Generosity
          get { return _generosity; }
          set {  _generosity = value; 
          	RaisePropertyChanged(() => Generosity); Recalculate(); }
      private double _tip;
      public double Tip
          get { return _tip; }
          private set {  _tip = value; RaisePropertyChanged(() => Tip); }
  • The Recalculate method uses the _calculation service to update Tip from the current values in SubTotal and Generosity.

    private void Recalculate()
        Tip = _calculation.TipAmount(SubTotal, Generosity);

Add the App(lication)

With our Calculation service and TipViewModel defined, we now just need to add the main App code.

  • This code will sit in a single class within the root folder of our PCL core project.
  • This class will inherits from the MvxApplication class.
  • This class is normally just called App.
  • This class is responsible for providing:
    • registration of which interfaces and implementations the app uses
    • registration of which ViewModel the App will show when it starts
    • control of how ViewModels are located - although most applications normally just use the default implementation of this supplied by the base MvxApplication class.

'Registration' here means creating an 'Inversion of Control' - IoC - record for an interface. This IoC record tells the MvvmCross Framework what to do when anything asks for an instance of that interface.

For our Tip Calculation app:

  • we register the Calculation class to implement the ICalculation service:

    Mvx.RegisterType<ICalculation, Calculation>();

    this line tells the MvvmCross framework that whenever any code requests an ICalculation reference, then the framework should create a new instance of Calculation

  • we want the app to start with the TipViewModel:

    var appStart = new MvxAppStart<TipViewModel>();

    This line tells the MvvmCross Framework that whenever any code requests an IMvxAppStart reference, then the framework should return that same appStart instance.

So here's what App.cs looks like:

using Cirrious.CrossCore.IoC;
using Cirrious.MvvmCross.ViewModels;

namespace TipCalc.Core
    public class App : MvxApplication
        public App()
            Mvx.RegisterSingleton<IMvxAppStart>(new MvxAppStart<TipViewModel>());

Note: What is 'Inversion of Control'?

We won't go into depth here about what IoC - Inversion of Control - is.

Instead, we will just say that:

  • within each MvvmCross application, there is a single special object - a singleton
  • This singleton lives within the Mvx static class.
  • The application startup code can use the Mvx.Register methods in order to specify what will implement interfaces during the lifetime of the app.
  • After this has been done, then later in the life when any code needs an interface implementation, then it can request one using the Mvx.Resolve methods.

One common pattern that is seen is 'constructor injection':

  • Our TipViewModel uses this pattern.
  • It presents a constructor like: public TipViewModel(ICalculation calculation).
  • When the app is running, a part of the MvvmCross framework called the ViewModelLocator is used to find and create ViewModels
  • When a TipViewModel is needed, the ViewModelLocator uses a call to Mvx.IocConstruct to create one.
  • This Mvx.IocConstruct call creates the TipViewModel using the ICalculation implementation that it finds using Mvx.Resolve.

This is obviously only a very brief introduction.

If you would like to know more, please look up some of the excellent tutorials out there on the Internet - like this one.

The Core Project is Complete Smile | <img src= " align="top" src="" />

Just to recap the steps we've followed:

  1. We created a new PCL project using Profile104.
  2. We added references to two PCL libraries - CrossCore and MvvmCross.
  3. We added a ICalculation interface and implementation pair.
  4. We added a TipViewModel which:
    • inherited from MvxViewModel
    • used ICalculation
    • presented a number of public properties each of which called RaisePropertyChanged
  5. We added an App which:
    • inherited from MvxApplication
    • registered the ICalculation/Calculation pair
    • registered a special start object for IMvxAppStart

These are the same steps that you need to go through for every new MvvmCross application.

Moving On

Next, we'll start looking at how to add a first UI to this MvvmCross application.

The Articles


  • 22nd March, 2013 - First submission  


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)


About the Author

Software Developer Cirrious Ltd
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Developing software since 1982. Currently engrossed in both cloud and mobile technologies. Currently spending far too much time on MvvmCross... and loving every second of it Smile | :)

Comments and Discussions

QuestionMvx. does not exist Pin
Mikep225-Nov-13 15:49
MemberMikep225-Nov-13 15:49 
AnswerRe: Mvx. does not exist Pin
Mikep225-Nov-13 16:15
MemberMikep225-Nov-13 16:15 
QuestionMVVMCross & MVC? Pin
StriderGax1-Oct-13 18:29
MemberStriderGax1-Oct-13 18:29 
AnswerRe: MVVMCross & MVC? Pin
slodge9-Oct-13 0:54
Memberslodge9-Oct-13 0:54 
QuestionStatus of Visual Studio Designer for iOS and Android? Pin
BSalita25-Mar-13 11:17
MemberBSalita25-Mar-13 11:17 
AnswerRe: Status of Visual Studio Designer for iOS and Android? Pin
slodge29-Mar-13 8:28
Memberslodge29-Mar-13 8:28 
QuestionVisual Studio Templates for MvvmCross? Pin
BSalita25-Mar-13 10:56
MemberBSalita25-Mar-13 10:56 
AnswerRe: Visual Studio Templates for MvvmCross? Pin
BSalita29-Mar-13 0:24
MemberBSalita29-Mar-13 0:24 
QuestionMvvmCross and MEF Pin
BSalita25-Mar-13 6:33
MemberBSalita25-Mar-13 6:33 
Is there any reason to prefer Register/IoC features of MvvmCross as opposed to MEF? I believe MEF is compatible with PCL and thus an option.
AnswerRe: MvvmCross and MEF Pin
slodge29-Mar-13 8:25
Memberslodge29-Mar-13 8:25 
GeneralRe: MvvmCross and MEF Pin
BSalita30-Mar-13 1:11
MemberBSalita30-Mar-13 1:11 

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