MvvmCross – FlyoutNavigation, Hamburger Menu, Sliding Menu for Android and iOS


Provide a unified architecture for a FlyoutNavigation/Hamburger Menu/Sliding Menu across Android and iOS using MvvmCross.


Source Code


FlyoutNavigation, Hamburger Menus, and Sliding Menus (from here on out I’ll refer to this type of control as a slide out menu) all describe a popular method on mobile devices of navigating application windows via a menu that slides/flies out onto the screen providing a user multiple choices on which screen they want to navigate to next.

In my own app Goal Weight I used the popular Xamarin component FlyoutNavigation to show/hide access to settings, set goals, and view weight history.


For my latest project I’ve started development of a time tracking application that will run on Android and iOS. Thus, I found myself needing a cross platform slide out menu.

Existing Work

After Googling and researching StackOverflow I had a couple of contenders for an out of the box solution:

The only rub was neither one of these methodologies shared a common MvvmCross .Core project, and I didn’t want to support multiple/different .Core projects for different platforms. I also had experience with the FlyoutNavigation component and wanted to use it for the iOS solution. Thus I set out to create a unified architecture.

Source Code Walkthrough

The source code up on GitHub is used to demo this unified architecture…think of it as a road map on how to implement a cross platform MvvmCross slide out menu.

The demo application has four ViewModels:

Android Architecture

##### Background -

Source -

Android has a slide out menu built into later versions of Android called a Navigation Drawer. James Montemagno does an amazing job implementing the Navigation Drawer on Android in his blog post, so I decided to use his code as a starting point/inspiration for my .Core and .Android projects.

For a full detailed breakdown of the Android architecture read James’ blog. The short version is the HomeViewModel holds the slide out menu items and EnterTimeView and CreateNewJobView are fragments that are swapped in and out of the View as commanded by the slide out menu.

I tore through James’ GitHub code and re-implemented it in my example application to ensure I understood it well enough to keep moving forward. I liked the idea of having one ViewModel to hold all of the menu data and carried this idea over to the iOS application.

iOS Architecture

#### Warning - Although the iOS architecture works, it doesn’t “feel correct”, i.e. it has a little code smell than I would not normally feel comfortable living with. However I’m happy enough with the solution for now.

With the iOS architecture the idea is simple, construct a FlyoutNavigationController and build up the Views that will populate it in the HomeView.

First build the FlyoutNavigationController and add it to the View.

public override void ViewDidLoad()
    NavigationController.NavigationBarHidden = true;
    Title = "Home";
    this.View = new UIView { BackgroundColor = UIColor.White };

    navigation = new FlyoutNavigationController();


One key point here is NavigationController.NavigationBarHidden = true;, for Views that will be managed from the FlyoutNavigationController we want to use the FlyoutNavigationController’s navigation bar and not the one supplied by MvvmCross.

Next, we’ll build up the ViewModels and menu elements for the FlyoutNavigationController. Data for the ViewModels and their names are held in the HomeViewModel

//names of the views shown in the flyout
var flyoutMenuElements = new Section();
//views that will be shown when a menu item is selected
var flyoutViewControllers = new List<UIViewController>();
var homeViewModel = ViewModel as HomeViewModel;
if (homeViewModel != null)
    //create the ViewModels
    foreach (var viewModel in homeViewModel.MenuItems)
        var viewModelRequest = new MvxViewModelRequest
            ViewModelType = viewModel.ViewModelType

        flyoutMenuElements.Add(new StringElement(viewModel.Title));
    navigation.ViewControllers = flyoutViewControllers.ToArray();

    //add the menu elements
    var rootElement = new RootElement("")
    navigation.NavigationRoot = rootElement;

Creating the UIViewControllers in CreateMenuItemController

private UIViewController CreateMenuItemController(MvxViewModelRequest viewModelRequest)
    var controller = new UINavigationController();
    var screen = this.CreateViewControllerFor(viewModelRequest) as UIViewController;
    controller.PushViewController(screen, false);
    return controller;

Lastly, we need to listen to two messages that will be emitted by all Views that the FlyoutNavigationController will show. One message to toggle the FlyoutNavigationController’s menu, and another to show and hide the MvvmCross navigation bar.

var messenger = Mvx.Resolve<IMvxMessenger>();
navigationMenuToggleToken = messenger.SubscribeOnMainThread<ToggleFlyoutMenuMessage>(message => navigation.ToggleMenu());
navigationBarHiddenToken = messenger.SubscribeOnMainThread<NavigationBarHiddenMessage>(message => NavigationController.NavigationBarHidden = message.NavigationBarHidden);

One last item needs to be addressed in our HomeView, setting the size of the Views that will be shown in the FlyoutNavigationController.

public override void ViewWillAppear(bool animated)
    navigation.View.Frame = UIScreen.MainScreen.Bounds;
    navigation.View.Bounds = UIScreen.MainScreen.Bounds;

If we fail to set the FlyoutNavigationController View.Frame and View.Bounds the FlyoutNavigationController will draw all of our views at 2x the Frame size than they should be.

Our HomeView is now complete, let’s take a look at EnterTimeView.


The EnterTimeView is going to show the slide out menu button that when toggled will show the slide out menu, plus it will show another view, the AddHoursEntryView with a button on the upper right of the navigation bar. We’ll add two buttons to the navigation bar with delegates to send message back to the HomeView to perform these actions.

public override void ViewDidLoad()
    View = new UIView { BackgroundColor = UIColor.Blue };

    Title = "Enter Time";
    NavigationItem.LeftBarButtonItem = new UIBarButtonItem(UIBarButtonSystemItem.Pause,
                                       //message to show the menu
                                       var messenger = Mvx.Resolve<IMvxMessenger>();
                                       messenger.Publish(new ToggleFlyoutMenuMessage(this));
    NavigationItem.RightBarButtonItem = new UIBarButtonItem(UIBarButtonSystemItem.Add,
                                       //hide MvvmCross navigation bar and show next view
                                       var messenger = Mvx.Resolve<IMvxMessenger>();
                                       messenger.Publish(new NavigationBarHiddenMessage(this, false));
                                       var viewmodel = ViewModel as EnterTimeViewModel;
                                       if (viewmodel != null) viewmodel.ShowFirstView();


Since we are showing the navigation bar for MvvmCross when we show AddHoursEntryView we need to send a message back to the HomeView to hide it again once AddHoursEntryView is dismissed by the user via the back button.

public override void ViewWillDisappear(bool animated)
    if (!NavigationController.ViewControllers.Contains(this))
        // Back button was pressed.  We know this is true because self is no longer
        // in the navigation stack, hide MvvmCross's navigation menu
        var messenger = Mvx.Resolve<IMvxMessenger>();
        messenger.Publish(new NavigationBarHiddenMessage(this, true)); 

With this last step we have a working slide out menu in iOS that shares a common .Core solution with the Android project.


I have the warning about the iOS code smell because of the extra steps we need to take in the Views to toggle the menu and show/hide the MvvmCross navigation bar. I can’t place my finger on the exact code smell, the solution works…but to me just doesn’t feel “correct” in an Ivory Tower sort of way.

That being said, I believe the extra messaging is a small price to pay to use the FlyoutNavigation component without modification, and to have iOS and Android share a common .Core project.

Go grab the code and try it out,