While the entire India was busy watching the Apocalypse at Wankhede last night, Microsoft on the other hand was holding its Developer Conference – Build 2016. Being on Twitter I saw many Twitteratis finding it tough to follow both – the match and the conference – at the same time and tweet ! Hats off to those who managed to do that. Well, we all know that the world is leaning towards openness and by openness I mean either using more open source softwares or doing away with licenses on few products. We saw how Apple last year around decided to make Swift open so that everyone could develop apps for the largest app store.
Continuing on the same lines, Microsoft too decided to open the gates for everyone to use Xamarin. For all those who aren’t aware of Xamarin – it’s an IDE that allows developers to develop native Android, iOS and Windows app with a single C# code base. So if you are well versed with C#, then you can now build native Android and iOS apps right from Visual Studio on your Windows / OSX machine. Microsoft deciding to provide Xamarin in Visual Studio at no extra cost is a big move in the right direction. Xamarin will now be included in every edition of Visual Studio including the widely used community edition for individual developers.
I remember starting off with my first android app – Mileage Calculator – using Xamarin. [A friend of mine told me about this] The reason was simple, I had lost touch in Java and was working predominantly on C#. Thus considering the fact that I was more comfortable in C#, Xamarin was the perfect choice to allow me to develop my app. However there were lot of restrictions in the free version like no 3rd party libraries could be used, the app size was restricted to name a few. Because of this I had to switch to Android Studio and develop the app from scratch. But with Microsoft providing Xamarin for Free along with Visual Studio, it opens up a new world of cross platform app development.
Why use Xamarin to develop Android/iOS apps ?
Based on my experience using Xamarin and the fact that it is free now, here’s why I would suggest using Xamarin:
- The C# code base for Android / iOS is extensive so there’s literally no feature that you cannot implement.
- It’s very easy to use for someone who is well versed with C#. The APIs and Methods included ensure you get to make the most of the targeted platform.
- The UI is clean, and it allows the developer to easily understand the flow of the program. Be it Android or iOS, the developer gets great native UIs of Android and iOS alike.
- Also, the Xamarin Test Cloud allows you to test your app on 2000+ real devices. Of course this comes with some additional fees, but that would be worth if you are into some serious app development.
So Microsoft deciding to provide Xamarin for free is a magnificent move. This will make way for the C# devs to use their skills to develop native Android and iOS apps right from their favourite IDE – Visual Studio. Now that it is free, I would definitely try coming up with a native android app (If I get time) using xamarin.
You can read more here.
Happy Coding !