How to Build a Mobile Application with Xamarin

Xamarin is a development software that assists in the creation of native and cross-platform mobile applications. Users can design and build apps using the tools available in the Xamarin store, which includes both free and paid tools - like full-featured Integrated Development Environment (IDEs) for iOS and Windows computers, and Xamarin SDK. The platform features Git integration and OSS development. Ideal for those with an understanding of the popular C# language and .Net framework, Xamarin has been touted as a quick and simple tool for embarking on your app-building journey.

Getting Started

Much like Microsoft Visual Studio or Android Studio, Xamarin developers can intuitively navigate the Studio software and begin building their app right after installation. The Studio is where you'll be able to experiment with language, create algorithms and discover new APIs all from one place. The platform offers a training and tutorial website where you can create a sample to-do application called Tasky. You can see the anatomy of Tasky as it is separated into layers. Add simple functionality and customize Tasky's appearance with clear step-by-step instructions. This sample gives developers a taste of what it's like to delve into Xamarin, and how to share C# code across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8. The Xamarin team vouches for C#, claiming it is less verbose, simplifying the use of lambdas and asynchronous programming.

Cross-Platform Development

Cross-platform tools are growing in popularity, according to a report by the State of the Developer. In 2015, estimates showed cross-platform tool usage rising from 23 percent to 30 percent in just six months. And as developers know, building cross-platform applications can be challenging due to the varying requirements and languages used. This is one of the major reasons users decide to try Xamarin, as it dramatically simplifies the process of developing cross-platform mobile apps. Xamarin mobile application development involves reusing an average of 75 percent of the same code, while achieving the desired effect on each different platform. A process that would have taken hours in the past is now reduced to the time span of one project. Through the development of native UIs on each platform, apps look and feel the way you want without extensive code change. Xamarin.Forms allows you to build apps with native UI with 100-percent shared code.

Useful Features

IOS developers can use Xamarin's automatic binding generator to utilize pre-existing Objective-C code. IOS users can also access any API and send app bundles directly to the app store using the Ahead-of-Time compiler. Xamarin offers similar features to Android developers, like bundle shipping, access to any Android API and the ability to utilize pre-existing Java code. Debugging is streamlined in the Studio, which gives suggestions for improvement as you review your code. Xamarin development companies can integrate with various backends, such as Salesforce, and create business apps for customers. The platform also features a component store, which you can browse to find components to add to your app before finalizing. Ideal for small teams, Xamarin allows users to remain flexible, collaborate and switch between platforms easily with just one codebase. Finally, Xamarin can be used for enterprise mobile app development, a field that is expected to grow dramatically by 2017.

Training and Testing

Aside from its practical design software, "Xamarin University" offers paid unlimited online training for developers as well as a "Xamarin Testing Cloud" for iOS and Android apps. For developers looking for support throughout the entire process of learning, creating and testing, Xamarin features an excellent toolbox to keep the productivity flowing and the confusion at a minimum. To learn more ways to build mobile apps, read our other post How to Build a Mobile Application with Titanium.

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