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The ability to collaborate seamlessly between designers and developers can make a significant impact on the quality and speed of delivering software products. For .NET developers, integrating Figma into their development process can be a game-changer, especially when working with cross-platform applications.
This article will provide an overview of Figma, its features, and how .NET developers can leverage it with Uno Platform to streamline their design-to-development workflows. We will cover the basics of getting started with Uno Figma and demonstrate how to export designs into XAML code using the Uno Platform plugin. By the end of this article, you will understand how to integrate Figma into your .NET development workflow and enhance your team’s collaboration and productivity.
Now for those unfamiliar with Figma, it is a free, collaborative interface design tool that has rapidly become the go-to choice for designers. That’s why we chose to integrate a Figma plugin that helps make the designer-developer handoff process smooth and seamless by allowing developers to easily access the complete design files.
In the Microsoft ecosystem, we have been using the likes of Expression Blend, Adobe XD, Sketch, and InVision. But Figma has skyrocketed in adoption among designers, as seen by a UX Tools survey.
Even a quick Twitter poll we conducted in October 2021 showed Figma as one of the leading design tool choices among developers. However, given the UX Tools poll above, we can conclude that Figma is yet to get even more adoption among .NET developers.
In our opinion, Figma stands out above other options for the following reasons:
With Figma, multiple team members can work on a single project in real-time. This makes the process fast and pleasant. As a side effect of this collaborative process, the resulting design has automatic buy-in from everyone on the team and becomes the ‘single source of truth for everyone on the team to adhere to.
The design-developer handoff process with Figma is exceptionally smooth. Software developers have excellent and free access to the designs and can easily extract information about typography, redlines, colors, measurements,
One of the key reasons we think Figma works so well compared to Sketch + Zeplin Duo is that Figma is a platform-agnostic web-based tool while Sketch is MacOS only and requires a 3rd party to share designs with non-mac-based developers. Figma does this neat, all-in-one package.
Figma has made it extremely easy to create and distribute Figma plugins. They have also nurtured a fantastic community that provides free plugins and ready-made designs you can easily ‘duplicate.’ There are thousands of options at Figma Community Files.
What if we could take that already improved process provided by the Figma tool and make our workflow even more efficient? You probably wonder, “But how do I do it if I’m a developer, not a designer…”? That is where Uno Platform for Figma comes in. A plugin allows pixel-perfect XAML export, bringing your design to XAML code in seconds.
One of the most significant benefits for users using Figma was the possibility of being able to create prototypes and share them with other colleagues while being able to make changes at the same time. However, it does not end there. Developers now have greater access to the designs and can extract information such as font, redlines, colors, and measurement, among other things.
Uno Platform for Figma philosophy takes it one step further, allowing you to make your Figma design the single source of truth on which end-users, designers, and developers can agree on. As a designer, you continue working in Figma, and developers retain 100% control over the crucial code they care about. With Uno Toolkit Material Library and Live Preview, you get instant feedback on the controls you use for your designs. In addition, one click for XAML code and assets files means no more back and forth for assets export and management.
Similarly, Blend for Visual Studio helps you design XAML-based Windows and Web applications and create aesthetically appealing UIs for WPF and Silverlight applications and, once upon a time, Windows Phone apps. However, the most significant benefit of Expression Blend is that it allows designers to concentrate only on design while developers focus on programming.
While coding XAML in the Visual Studio IDE is simple for small-scale applications, developers prefer using XAML authoring tools like Expression Blend for big projects. However, even though Blend allows you to create apps by sketching controls and graphical objects like rectangles and ellipses or adding images and multimedia. The problem is Expression Blend and Visual Studio. Though they can work on the duplicate solution/project files, they remain two separate IDEs. It is common for certain functionalities to work correctly in the Visual Studio design-time environment and throw an error in the Expression Blend one.
It is now possible to use Figma to design and build Uno Platform applications. Designers can use the highly collaborative Figma environment to fine-tune the User Experience (UX) while putting in place the building blocks of an application following the Material Design language. Using the Uno Platform Figma Plugin, it is possible to visualize how the application will render and export actual XAML to use in Visual Studio to build your application. This application is also ready for localization and accessibility and can optionally use Uno Extensions (Reactive, Navigation).
The aim is to minimize the time to transition from design to code. With Uno Platform for Figma, you can efficiently convert detailed Figma designs into XAML code that is easily understandable to developers. In addition, you can generate packages readily applicable to your projects and take advantage of our plugin’s XAML exports, reducing the time needed to commence new projects or create app screens by up to 50%.
By creating easy-to-use packages for your projects, you can convert high-fidelity Figma designs into developer-friendly XAML code that can be quickly expanded and improved. In addition, the time it takes to start new projects or app screens is again reduced by up to 50% when you use our plugin’s XAML export.
We included a pre-configured UnoToolkit Material components library to rapidly develop your application. In addition, all controls may be readily customized using variations, allowing you to watch your app come to life even in design. To create a skeleton for your app, start with pre-built app pages.
Use the Live Preview feature of the plugin to interact with your app before even coding it and gain insight into how the actual content integrates with your app and get a sense of its overall user experience.
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In an effort to enhance the discoverability and accessibility of Uno Platform for Figma, we have begun releasing a variety of resources. These include a sample commerce app, comprehensive documentation, and an expanding blog series. By taking advantage of our “Get Started” documentation, and sample applications, you can easily begin exploring the potential of Uno Platform for Figma.
Experience the design-to-XAML handoff with Uno Platform. If you’re interested in converting your high-fidelity Figma designs into XAML code, visit us on the Figma Community page to download Uno Platform for Figma and follow the instructions.