Why I Choose Xamarin to Build Cross-Platform Mobile Apps
But when you opt for Xamarin tools, developers can reuse code for iOS and Android versions of an application which cuts down development time and efforts by a greater extent. Mobile market is saturated with a number of devices and operating systems, which makes it a challenging task to create an application that work the same across any device. Android holds a larger share of mobile users while iOS customers spend more time on their mobile applications.
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This means developers do need to know how to build app UI for iOS, Android and Windows natively – all pulled together into a single project and referencing the shared library. This article is a part of a long content series on Chasing Success with Xamarin Apps – we explore the Xamarin technology stack, tools and services that help developers build successful mobile apps. There are several popular technologies like React Native, Ionic, Xamarin, and others for developing applications. These are the technologies that are highly used by the app developers because of code reusable features for both the platforms- iOS, Android while reducing the project’s duration, cost, and time to market. The possibility to build single-code solutions for iOS and Android is the main selling point of Xamarin and similar frameworks. Native development makes extensive use of open source technologies.
- When it comes to mobile development technologies, the consensus often goes along the lines of ‘if you can afford it, go native’.
- Also, Xamarin.Essentials library provides multiple cross-platform APIs and can be used to access native features.
- It allows you to feed your .NET production code into other programming languages.
- With the improvements made to the Forms, Xamarin now allows developers to share visual elements too using a UI toolkit making a familiar interface.
- Obviously, the Xamarin community is significantly smaller than those of native iOS or Android.
Microsoft’s Azure Load Testing rolls out with new features to create fast load tests, securely push code to test environments and… One of the main reasons that I am able to share as much code and why I am so productive is because of Xamarin.Forms. This is just one of many extensions in the Visual Studio ecosystem that builds on top of a simply amazing IDE.
⊕ Xamarin Learning Resources
Mono is also way ahead of the game in .NET implementations on future-facing platforms, like the all-important WebAssembly. So, it is safe to say that Mono is here to stay and power .NET apps across a wide variety of platforms. Xamarin does not require customized components which results in reducing the time requirements for developing the applications. One of the pros of using Xamarin for development is that it provides the same look & feel to the app for different platforms using reusable codes, however, the app quality and functionality remains the same.
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The downside of this is the fact that Xamarin-built apps are ‘heavier’ and may take up more space than native apps, simply because native apps don’t need that shared functionality. However, the Microsoft Xamarin department keeps working on it diligently, and Xamarin-based apps are getting lighter and faster with time—Forms and Essentials being the greatest aids in that so far. This reduces the time required to maintain, debug, or update code when necessary.
What is the mobile app development process?
The new version of Xamarin focuses on the development of out-of-the-box components resulting in aiding developers to spend less time in creating and customizing mobile course elements. We not only say that we deliver the best but we also offer the best. Here is a glimpse into our mobile app projects that are ruling the market.
Here’s a breakdown of several types of mobile app development technologies with information about each. I thought what better way to reflect on my 7 year anniversary as a mobile developer then to talk about why I chose Xamarin 7 years ago and why I still continue to choose Xamarin today to build all of my mobile apps. Depending on the platforms you are targeting, you will have up to 4 projects in your solution. You will learn more about the important files in that folder when you start writing code later in this tutorial.
More important though is that it provides excellent cross-platform .NET optimized SDKs for just about every service. While being native, native, native is very important what I need the most as a developer is a super optimized development experience for any application I am building. Every day I come into the office and I have to open my project, start coding, debug my application, and commit code for production. This daily developer loop has to be super optimized with the tools I actually want to use, and that are going to make me highly productive. It is not just the tools that I open up every day to code in, it is the entire ecosystem around the specific technology that can really take things to a different level.
Xamarin Native vs Xamarin.Forms
This code and library sharing strategy enabled me to share over 70% of code in the first app that I ever built and now with the amount of .NET libraries available I easily share over 90% code in all my apps. The unique part of Xamarin is that the team ported the entire .NET framework and runtime to run natively across iOS, Android, and macOS. This means that the same logic that is able to run on a desktop app or web app can be run directly in your mobile apps with Xamarin and completes the .NET story as a platform to build for anything. With the Xamarin Native approach, each platform’s UI is written separately.
Picking up one major app platform out of many, due to the benefits of Xamarin, it has secured its place among app developers when it comes to cross-platform development. Not just for its features, when it comes to how does Xamarin help in reducing app development costs, the following information will help you figure out the answer. Such UIs not only provide the user with the required feel but also the apps behave as if they were normal native apps. Below the platform-specific UI code, is the shared C# code that calls the common codebase. On their own, huge long-lived communities for ‘pure’ iOS and Android naturally outnumber anything even the best of hybrid mobile app frameworks have to show.
For custom app UI and higher performance, you can still use Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android separately to ensure excellent results. As I start to build out mobile applications I usually soon learn that I need to extend them with some cloud backend services and spice them up with some artificial intelligence. I want these services to work with any application that I am looking to build, not just my mobile applications. I work at Microsoft, so of course I am a bit bias and think that Azure is a perfect option for adding cloud to any app. Azure is constantly evolving with new services and it provides over 54 regions to deploy code into worldwide.
Keep in mind though, Xamarin.Forms is trying to solve an incredibly hard problem – a consistent UI abstraction layer that renders native UI on platforms that are uniquely different. While Xamarin.Forms has a large breadth of control coverage, the developer community and partner ecosystems fill in the gaps with cross-platform UI. Mono has always been a great natural fit as a runtime for Xamarin apps. Developers write .NET code which is compiled down to generic Intermediate Language code, and then the Mono bridge/virtual machine translates .NET IL to native assembly code for iOS/Android or other platforms. It is only recently that much of .NET became open source – prior to that, Mono painstakingly made .NET code portable and executable on other platforms. One of the popular apps leveraging Xamarin is Storyo that enables users for creating videos using photos and then presenting them with photo metadata like the place, time, and contextual information.
While there are many ways to build for mobile form factors, let’s explore what’s in it for developers if they choose the Xamarin technology stack. Any feature added or changes made to the Android or iOS apps are informed of on a continual basis. As only one codebase is used, saving Xamarin cost for app development is quite obvious. Due to the reusable feature, developing two separate apps using the same code can be done easily resulting in reducing the Xamarin cost for app development. It was first released in the year 2011 and in 2016, Microsoft takes the charge of it. Because of its widespread presence, it is easy to use as compared to other known cross-platform app development technology.
Use their feedback to refine app development and further testing. This includes testing for functionality, performance and ease of navigation. Today, the two most prominent mobile platforms are iOS from Apple and Android from Google.
Games, with all their interactive UI elements, simply don’t make room for meaningful code sharing and productivity gains. For the time being, ‘write once, play everywhere’ still remains Xamarin developers’ dream. On average, apps built with Xamarin can share anywhere between 60% and 80% of the code, mostly the business logic and some of the APIs https://wizardsdev.com/ and GUI, thanks to Essentials and Forms. The rest is platform-specific, though and, depending on the app, can grow to be too much of a hassle, canceling the code-sharing benefits. Specialization is the key to success in many app development niches, and, compared to the giants, communities for Xamarin and other similar tools are pretty limited.
These steps assume you have followed the relevant installation guide above and have all the tools required to get started. A few years ago the recommendation from Xamarin, at the time an independent company, was that if you wanted to do something graphics-intensive, for example, you were better off going with Xamarin.Native. However, with the evolution of products such as SkiaSharp, these limitations are shrinking every year—maybe even every month—and Xamarin.Forms becomes a viable option for more and more project ideas.