Build Items

Build items control how a Xamarin.Android application or library project is built.

AndroidAsset

Supports Android Assets, files that would be included in the assets folder in a Java Android project.

AndroidAarLibrary

The Build action of AndroidAarLibrary should be used to directly reference .aar files. This build action will be most commonly used by Xamarin Components. Namely to include references to .aar files which are required to get Google Play and other services working.

Files with this Build action will be treated in a similar fashion to the embedded resources found in Library projects. The .aar will be extracted into the intermediate directory. Then any assets, resource and .jar files will be included in the appropriate item groups.

AndroidAotProfile

Used to provide an AOT profile, for use with profile-guided AOT.

It can be also used from Visual Studio by setting the AndroidAotProfile build action to a file containing an AOT profile.

AndroidBoundLayout

Indicates that the layout file is to have code-behind generated for it in case when the AndroidGenerateLayoutBindings property is set to false. In all other aspects it is identical to AndroidResource described above. This action can be used only with layout files:

<AndroidBoundLayout Include="Resources\layout\Main.axml" />

AndroidEnvironment

Files with a Build action of AndroidEnvironment are used to initialize environment variables and system properties during process startup. The AndroidEnvironment Build action may be applied to multiple files, and they will be evaluated in no particular order (so don't specify the same environment variable or system property in multiple files).

AndroidFragmentType

Specifies the default fully qualified type to be used for all <fragment> layout elements when generating the layout bindings code. The property defaults to the standard Android Android.App.Fragment type.

AndroidJavaLibrary

Files with a Build action of AndroidJavaLibrary are Java Archives ( .jar files) which will be included in the final Android package.

AndroidJavaSource

Files with a Build action of AndroidJavaSource are Java source code which will be included in the final Android package.

AndroidLibrary

AndroidLibrary is a new build action for simplifying how .jar and .aar files are included in projects.

Any project can specify:

<ItemGroup>
  <AndroidLibrary Include="foo.jar" />
  <AndroidLibrary Include="bar.aar" />
</ItemGroup>

The result of the above code snippet has a different effect for each Xamarin.Android project type:

This simplification means you can use AndroidLibrary everywhere.

This build action was added in Xamarin.Android 11.2.

AndroidLintConfig

The Build action 'AndroidLintConfig' should be used in conjunction with the $(AndroidLintEnabled) property. Files with this build action will be merged together and passed to the android lint tooling. They should be XML files which contain information on which tests to enable and disable.

See the lint documentation for more details.

AndroidManifestOverlay

The AndroidManifestOverlay build action can be used to provide additional AndroidManifest.xml files to the Manifest Merger tool. Files with this build action will be passed to the Manifest Merger along with the main AndroidManifest.xml file and any additional manifest files from references. These will then be merged into the final manifest.

You can use this build action to provide additional changes and settings to your app depending on your build configuration. For example, if you need to have a specific permission only while debugging, you can use the overlay to inject that permission when debugging. For example, given the following overlay file contents:

<manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android">
  <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.CAMERA" />
</manifest>

You can use the following to add this for a debug build:

<ItemGroup>
  <AndroidManifestOverlay Include="DebugPermissions.xml" Condition=" '$(Configuration)' == 'Debug' " />
</ItemGroup>

This build action was introduced in Xamarin.Android 11.2.

AndroidNativeLibrary

Native libraries are added to the build by setting their Build action to AndroidNativeLibrary.

Note that since Android supports multiple Application Binary Interfaces (ABIs), the build system must know which ABI the native library is built for. There are two ways this can be done:

  1. Path "sniffing".
  2. Using the Abi item attribute.

With path sniffing, the parent directory name of the native library is used to specify the ABI that the library targets. Thus, if you add lib/armeabi-v7a/libfoo.so to the build, then the ABI will be "sniffed" as armeabi-v7a.

Item Attribute Name

Abi – Specifies the ABI of the native library.

<ItemGroup>
  <AndroidNativeLibrary Include="path/to/libfoo.so">
    <Abi>armeabi-v7a</Abi>
  </AndroidNativeLibrary>
</ItemGroup>

AndroidResource

All files with an AndroidResource build action are compiled into Android resources during the build process and made accessible via $(AndroidResgenFile).

<ItemGroup>
  <AndroidResource Include="Resources\values\strings.xml" />
</ItemGroup>

More advanced users might perhaps wish to have different resources used in different configurations but with the same effective path. This can be achieved by having multiple resource directories and having files with the same relative paths within these different directories, and using MSBuild conditions to conditionally include different files in different configurations. For example:

<ItemGroup Condition="'$(Configuration)'!='Debug'">
  <AndroidResource Include="Resources\values\strings.xml" />
</ItemGroup>
<ItemGroup  Condition="'$(Configuration)'=='Debug'">
  <AndroidResource Include="Resources-Debug\values\strings.xml"/>
</ItemGroup>
<PropertyGroup>
  <MonoAndroidResourcePrefix>Resources;Resources-Debug</MonoAndroidResourcePrefix>
</PropertyGroup>

LogicalName – Specifies the resource path explicitly. Allows “aliasing” files so that they will be available as multiple distinct resource names.

<ItemGroup Condition="'$(Configuration)'!='Debug'">
  <AndroidResource Include="Resources/values/strings.xml"/>
</ItemGroup>
<ItemGroup Condition="'$(Configuration)'=='Debug'">
  <AndroidResource Include="Resources-Debug/values/strings.xml">
    <LogicalName>values/strings.xml</LogicalName>
  </AndroidResource>
</ItemGroup>

AndroidResourceAnalysisConfig

The Build action AndroidResourceAnalysisConfig marks a file as a severity level configuration file for the Xamarin Android Designer layout diagnostics tool. This is currently only used in the layout editor and not for build messages.

See the Android Resource Analysis documentation for more details.

Added in Xamarin.Android 10.2.

Content

The normal Content Build action is not supported (as we haven't figured out how to support it without a possibly costly first-run step).

Starting in Xamarin.Android 5.1, attempting to use the @(Content) Build action will result in a XA0101 warning.

EmbeddedJar

In a Xamarin.Android binding project, the EmbeddedJar build action binds the Java/Kotlin library and embeds the .jar file into the library. When a Xamarin.Android application project consumes the library, it will have access to the Java/Kotlin APIs from C# as well as include the Java/Kotlin code in the final Android application.

Since Xamarin.Android 11.2, you can use the AndroidLibrary build action as an alternative such as:

<Project>
  <ItemGroup>
    <AndroidLibrary Include="Library.jar" />
  </ItemGroup>
</Project>

EmbeddedNativeLibrary

In a Xamarin.Android class library or Java binding project, the EmbeddedNativeLibrary build action bundles a native library such as lib/armeabi-v7a/libfoo.so into the library. When a Xamarin.Android application consumes the library, the libfoo.so file will be included in the final Android application.

Since Xamarin.Android 11.2, you can use the AndroidNativeLibrary build action as an alternative.

EmbeddedReferenceJar

In a Xamarin.Android binding project, the EmbeddedReferenceJar build action embeds the .jar file into the library but does not create a C# binding as EmbeddedJar does. When a Xamarin.Android application project consumes the library, it will include the Java/Kotlin code in the final Android application.

Since Xamarin.Android 11.2, you can use the AndroidLibrary build action as an alternative such as <AndroidLibrary Include="..." Bind="false" />:

<Project>
  <ItemGroup>
    <!-- A .jar file to bind & embed -->
    <AndroidLibrary Include="Library.jar" />
    <!-- A .jar file to only embed -->
    <AndroidLibrary Include="Dependency.jar" Bind="false" />
  </ItemGroup>
</Project>

JavaDocJar

In a Xamarin.Android binding project, the JavaDocJar build action is used on .jar files which contain Javadoc HTML. The Javadoc HTML is parsed in order to extract parameter names.

Only certain "Javadoc HTML dialects" are supported, including:

  • JDK 1.7 javadoc output.
  • JDK 1.8 javadoc output.
  • Droiddoc output.

This build action is deprecated in Xamarin.Android 11.3, and will not be supported in .NET 6. The @(JavaSourceJar) build action is preferred.

JavaSourceJar

In a Xamarin.Android binding project, the JavaSourceJar build action is used on .jar files that contain Java source code, which contain Javadoc documentation comments.

Prior to Xamarin.Android 11.3, the Javadoc would be converted into HTML via the javadoc utility during build time, and later turned into XML documentation.

Starting with Xamarin.Android 11.3, Javadoc will instead be converted into C# XML Documentation Comments within the generated binding source code.

$(AndroidJavadocVerbosity) controls how "verbose" or "complete" the imported Javadoc is.

Starting in Xamarin.Android 11.3, the following MSBuild metadata is supported:

  • %(CopyrightFile): A path to a file that contains copyright information for the Javadoc contents, which will be appended to all imported documentation.

  • %(UrlPrefix): A URL prefix to support linking to online documentation within imported documentation.

  • %(UrlStyle): The "style" of URLs to generate when linking to online documentation. Only one style is currently supported: developer.android.com/reference@2020-Nov.

LibraryProjectZip

In a Xamarin.Android binding project, the LibraryProjectZip build action binds the Java/Kotlin library and embeds the .zip or .aar file into the library. When a Xamarin.Android application project consumes the library, it will have access to the Java/Kotlin APIs from C# as well as include the Java/Kotlin code in the final Android application.

Note

Only a single LibraryProjectZip can be included in a Xamarin.Android binding project. This limitation will be removed in .NET 6.

LinkDescription

Files with a LinkDescription build action are used to control linker behavior.

ProguardConfiguration

Files with a ProguardConfiguration build action contain options which are used to control proguard behavior. For more information about this build action, see ProGuard.

These files are ignored unless the $(EnableProguard) MSBuild property is True.