With its Microsoft acquisition in February 2016, Xamarin has evolved into the most sought after cross-platform development framework among all the others. Over the last couple of years, the entire mobile landscape has gone through a serious paradigm shift and the demand for cross functional mobile apps has surged dramatically.
The main reason why Xamarin is chosen is because it integrates smoothly in all the three dominant mobile platforms – iOS, Android and Windows Phone. In this article, we examine how Xamarin became the ultimate leader in cross platform development.
Eventually, other cross-platform based technologies like Sencha Touch and Apache Cordova were released, but when it came to factors like performance and user experience, they seriously fell short of expectations. And that’s when Xamarin entered the scene and started picking up speed.
When developers heard that Xamarin can be used for writing mobile apps for iOS, Windows and Android, many of them were a little shocked because Windows Phone supported only C# language. However, Xamarin works with the open source implementation of Microsoft .Net Framework, Mono runtime as it incorporates C# bindings to native iOS and Android API to create cross-platform apps.
Now let’s examine some of the reasons why Xamarin is the most preferred choice for developers.
It Serves the Purpose Delivered by Native Frameworks
One of the major complaints of Apache Cordova and the like was, though they were used by developers for making cross-platforms apps, they still had severe problems. This was solved by Xamarin and its unique approach.
Thankfully, Xamarin Studio allowed for code completion in C#, and provides for native performance along with access to device specific performance and the benefit of native UI. Since you can share the same code along all the main platforms, you get to enjoy shorter development cycles.
Shared App Logic
Once the coding is done in C#, it can be shared across various platforms with only minor changes in them. It is said that developers can share about 75% of the code and they can save coding time, because when the application logic underlying the UI layer is coded once in C#, there is less work to be done.
This application logic includes input validation, database interactions, web service calls and backend enterprise integrations. The biggest advantage is that developers no longer have to write separate code for each platform.
Xamarin can bind the same APIs and UI controls
Another benefit of using Xamarin is that it allows you to bind the same APIs and UI controls for Android, iOS and Mac apps. When you are making apps for Windows phone, you can make use of Windows 8 and Windows Phone applications offered through Microsoft Visual Studio. This code will then be shared using Portable Class Libraries (PLC), conditional compilation and linked files.
The Benefits of very Powerful IDEs with Xamarin
Developers can leverage the benefits of very powerful IDEs or Integrated Development Environments to enable improved support process. In cross-platform, you are creating two sets of platform codes, for example, Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Droid.
Though you still work on the code and user interface design separately, you can still share generic platform independent classes, where you can share utility classes and business logic and then import them into the platform folders of both.
Seamless Designs with Xamarin Forms
The user interface for apps is written in a new universal format, Xamarin Forms. This helps you to create not only seamless designs, but would save a lot of time to prepare the UI.
Get to Enjoy the Benefits of C#
We all know that C++ is a simple object-oriented programming language that is both modern and general purpose. C# is the modernized version of C++ and it can enjoy type free errors that might make your program flawed.
With its simplified syntax, you don’t have to use pointers and headers, while periods replace namespace and reference operators. This makes C# one of the best programming languages used in cross-platform development.
Multiple Device Testing
Xamarin allows for testing across several devices. And that’s not all. You can detect bugs that might hinder user experience. Besides that, the developer can make use of performance detection capabilities integrated within Xamarin to check for any issues that might arise when the app is in the hands of the user. Many of these tests are automated, depending on user preferences and requirements.
A Situation where you cannot use Xamarin
Xamarin must be the best thing in the market now, but you cannot use it as a tool to port apps. If you have developed native apps on various apps, you cannot use Xamarin to convert them into cross-platform apps.
Though Xamarin seems like a dream come true for developers looking for cross-platform app development, it is a bit expensive. The developers who work dedicatedly on Xamarin make the best use of all the features offered through it, including native APIs, and this doesn’t come cheap.
When Xamarin was first introduced into the market, it was not considered to be popular, and developers were still trying to figure out whether to go for native vs web vs cross-platform apps. But Microsoft’s acquisition of Xamarin changed it all and with its front end cross-platform development approach, developers can deliver successful apps in half the time.
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