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Multi-Platform App Development with Xamarin

17 Mar 2015

Cross-platform mobile development is a technique to write codes/single codebase for applications that can be used on distinct operating systems. Android and iOS operating systems are architecturally distinct and often cause confusion for developers trying to make a ‘one size fits all’ app. Hybrid platforms, on the other hand, cover different platforms on the basis of a single codebase. With a single set of code, developers can create entirely native apps. This solves some common development problems such as:

  • Creating apps without the need to revise them
  • Controlling app versions without losing actual semantics and purpose
  • Writing an app for multiple platforms without tweaking the code every time

In the multi-platform development market, there are several players such as PhoneGap, Appcelerator and Kendo Mobile. While all promise a platform that permits true cross-platform development, they do not let developers use certain platform-specific functionalities when needed. This is where Xamarin as the best mobile cross-platform app development tool comes into the picture.


With Xamarin Create Native Apps for Android, iOS and Windows in C#

Major Advantages of Xamarin over Other Players Are:

  • Seamless sharing of the app logic across several platforms. The expert Xamarin developers are able to share almost 75% of the code across various operating systems. This not only saves recoding time but also reduces bug management.
  • Native UI – Xamarin Studio (IDE) supports code completion in C#. This translates into a more integrated UI coverage across platforms, improved application logic and a shared codebase.
  • A high performance assembled code with total access to native APIs makes it easier to create apps for device-specific experiences.
  • It allows building applications on C#. C# is a simple, modern, multi-purpose, object-oriented programming language. The advantages of a strong typed language, lambdas, LINQ, async programming can all be leveraged.
  • The Xamarin component store promises (boasts of) a host of free and paid components such as UI controls and cross platform libraries. This encourages developers to collaborate and share.

The developer community has expressed few reservations about Xamarin. A larger than average app overhead on a Xamarin mobile app tends to adversely affect download time and storage on devices. While the company has reduced this overhead burden, the impact on users is still noticeable. Also, a Xamarin development process does not support the design of reusable constituents beyond its own environment. For example, if a code is written for Xamarin, it cannot be used in HTML5 apps. This implies that if a team develops code using Xamarin, it cannot be shared or reused with other teams using a different tool for Android and iOS.

Despite these constraints, Xamarin continues to enjoy unprecedented support from over 700,000 developers who continually enhance this software.

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