Tyler Voss Computer Engineer

Facebook Login with Xamarin

When creating a new mobile application many things need to be taken into consideration including what technologies to use, main features, target audience, monetization, scalability, the list goes on. However before digging into any of that, every app needs two core features in order to reach a large audience:

Luckily, there are two libraries out there that give us those features for free. Xamarin takes care of cross platform capability, with the option to even target Windows phone (although who has one of those?). Facebook on the other hand allows users to log in and connect with friends who have also logged in with Facebook. That’s a lot of functionality for free, however getting the two to cooperate isn’t as straight forward as it would seem, mainly thanks to some broken versioning and disconnect between the C# used to program with Xamarin, and the Java that Facebook expects.


Xamarin Selection
Be sure to select Mobile development with .NET when installing

Creating the project

Fire up Visual Studio and select Create new project…, then select Cross Platform App from the Cross-Platform section

Cross Platform App
This is what your project selection should look like

From here you’ll be presented with three more options for your app:

For big applications, shared projects require special care or the code can become unmanageable. However they’re quicker to get up and running, so that’s what we’ll go with.

Cross Platform App
Final project configuration

Installing Packages

Now this is where things got difficult for me personally, and it all stems from bad versioning. The current version of Xamarin.Facebook.Android we want to use is, but what appears to be the current version is 4.22.0, which is not compatible with our platform. This all stems from a change in the number of versioning numbers. NuGet doesn’t understand this and assumes 4.22.x > 4.4.x.x, even though that is not the case. Fortunatly this can be solved with one command in the package manager console.

Install-Package Xamarin.Facebook

This package is versioned correctly, and will get the right version of all its dependencies. While NuGet may complain that some packages are outdated, this should be ignored.

Setting up Facebook

Everything we need is finally installed. Last thing to do before getting a login button on screen is configure our Facebook SDK. The Quick Start for Android will walk you though this whole process.

After that, go to your app settings and ensure Single Sign On is turned on.

Adding Code

Now that everything is in place, we can actually add a log in button. Open Resources/layout/Main.axml and set the layout to:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<LinearLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
        android:layout_marginBottom="30dp" />

This puts the Facebook provided LoginButton front and center in our main activity.

Next we need to make sure the button knows what to do once it’s pressed. We do this by adding the following in between the application tags in AndroidManifest.xml:

        <action android:name="android.intent.VIEW" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.BROWSABLE" />
        <data android:scheme="@string/fb_login_protocol_scheme" />
<meta-data android:name="com.facebook.sdk.ApplicationId" android:value="@string/facebook_app_id" />

This will create an activity with a translucent background that Facebook can populate, essentially making a login popup.

Next, we need to set two configuration strings that Facebook will reference. Add the following to Resources/values/String.xml:

  <string name="facebook_app_id">YOUR_APP_ID</string>
  <string name="fb_login_protocol_scheme">fbAPP_ID</string>

Replacing YOUR_APP_ID with, you guessed it, your app id. fbAPP_ID on the other hand should stay the same.

Finally, we can dig into Activity code and add some function. The final product will look like this:

using Android.App;
using Android.Content;
using Android.Runtime;
using Android.OS;
using Xamarin.Facebook;
using Xamarin.Facebook.Login;
using Android.Util;

namespace App
    [Activity (Label = "MainActivity", MainLauncher = true, Icon = "@drawable/icon")]
    public class MainActivity : Activity, IFacebookCallback

        private ICallbackManager callbackManager;

        protected override void OnCreate (Bundle bundle)
            base.OnCreate (bundle);

            // Set up facebook
            callbackManager = CallbackManagerFactory.Create();
            LoginManager.Instance.RegisterCallback(callbackManager, this);


        protected override void OnActivityResult(int requestCode, [GeneratedEnum] Result resultCode, Intent data)
            base.OnActivityResult(requestCode, resultCode, data);
            callbackManager.OnActivityResult(requestCode, (int)resultCode, data);

        public void OnCancel()
            Log.Info("FB", "Login Cancelled!");

        public void OnError(FacebookException error)
            Log.Info("FB", "Login Error!");

        public void OnSuccess(Java.Lang.Object result)
            var loginResult = result as LoginResult;
            Log.Info("FB", "Login Success!");

There are a couple of things to take notice here. First off is the ICallbackManager, which must be a member variable to be initialized in OnCreate. It allows for the result of the Facebook Activity to be processed properly in OnActivityResult.

Secondly, FacebookSdk.SdkInitialize must be called before SetContentView, otherwise the login button will be created without any idea what to do.

Lastly, IFacebookCallback can be implemented in any class. For simplicity the activity implemented it which is okay for this case. Since we know the only request being sent is a login one, in the OnSuccess method we can safely cast the result to the type of LoginResult.

Wrapping Up

That’s all there is to it! This simple app should now have a button that requests Facebook permissions when pressed, then once you accept your app should appear in your app list on Facebook. One minor hitch you may run into is a window complaining that your phone has an invalid key hash. If that’s the case, it will display your hash and you can simply add that to your app profile.

Xamarin Selection
My real profile pic looks a lot better than this I swear...

Now of course iOS is still left to be implemented, but I haven’t quite gotten there yet. Until I do, you can read up on the iOS Docs or dig deeper into the Android Docs to add some real functionality.

Good Luck!