Mobile app development is a lucrative field that has grown significantly in recent years. Of all the app development tools on the market, Xamarin is one of the most important. Or, at the very least, it is one of the most famous. Their renown skyrocketed in the mid-2010s when Microsoft bought them for hundreds of millions of dollars.
Everyone expects the investment to pay off. But why would Microsoft buy Xamarin? What makes the platform so attractive? What does it even do?
What is Xamarin?
Xamarin is a company whose framework permits cross-platform mobile application development in C#. If you know anything about app development, you understand that platforms like Xamarin are a godsend because they allow developers to share code between different platforms.
You can create applications for an iOS device using code from an Android system. The final product will work as effectively as it would have if you used the native iOS language.
This saves a lot of time because you don’t have to spend hours re-writing generic code whenever you change platforms. This is not true for every case. You cannot share code between devices and platforms in every single situation.
It is also worth noting that Xamarin isn’t necessarily the best app development tool on the market. It is simply one of the most convenient because of the cross-platform benefits it offers. You don’t have to use it every time.
In fact, it may not work for every project. But it is a valuable tool to keep on hand. One of Xamarin’s most vital attributes is its use of C#. In other words, if you know C#, you can use your existing knowledge to create apps for mobile devices. You don’t have to master a brand-new language to get ahead.
- If you want to develop Android and iOS apps, you will appreciate the fact that Xamarin has bindings for their platform SDKs. Xamarin makes them easy to use and navigate. You will record fewer runtime errors.
- Xamarin puts Java, C, C++, and the libraries of other third-party code at your fingertips, allowing you to invoke them where necessary.
- If you’ve had your fill of Java and Objective – C, you will be happy to know that Xamarin uses C#, a modern alternative. You don’t have to master a new language to use Xamarin.
- The platform makes the .NET BCL available, which, in turn, provides features such as Serialization, powerful XML, and Networking support.
- The platform uses Visual Studio. The IDE has an advanced project and solution management system and attributes like code auto-completion that app developers find appealing.
- Xamarin supports Windows, iOS, and Android, the three biggest platforms in the business.
How To Install Xamarin?
Xamarin is not for amateurs. The platform will most likely confuse you if you don’t have coding experience. But if coding is second nature to you, using Xamarin starts with installing the software, which involves the following:
Step 1. Download visual studio. The system requirements will depend on the version you want. Click here.
Step 2. Once you have the bootstrapper file, run it to install the program. The installer will ask you to read and agree with Microsoft’s privacy statement.
When the installer provides the workload options, choose ‘Mobile Development with .NET.’ If you’re ready, click ‘Install’ to begin the installation. Once the installation process completes, click ‘Launch.’
Believe it or not, this is all it takes to install Xamarin. It is part of the Visual Studio 2019 installation. If you already have Visual Studio, you can add Xamarin by re-running the installer and modifying the workloads.
Once you have Xamarin, you should access one of Microsoft’s many tutorials on the internet. They will guide you through the process of navigating and using Xamarin.
Benefits of Xamarin
- You can develop apps using a single language. Xamarin converts languages like Java into C#. You use C# to create programs that work on various operating systems.
- Xamarin has reusable code that developers can apply to new apps and platforms. This expedites the app development cycle. You don’t have to write generic code from scratch whenever you create an application for a new operating system.
- With Xamarin Studio, developers can use the native UI and features specific to particular devices to create and finetune their programs.
- The platform is cost-effective because you don’t have to buy separate tools to develop applications for every operating system that piques your interest. You can use the same tool to create apps for multiple systems.
- Maintenance and updates are easy because you can modify iOS and Android apps by simply changing the source code. This adds to the cost-effective nature of Xamarin.
- Xamarin has a strong community that includes thousands of companies that have continued to develop the platform. As such, you are guaranteed ample support.
Cons of Xamarin
- Delayed support for the latest platform updates.
- The Xamarin community is smaller than the iOS and Android communities. Locating a knowledgeable Xamarin developer is more complicated than finding an experienced iOS or Android developer.
- The resources that Xamarin developers can use are limited, especially compared to the massive source libraries at the disposal of Android and iOS developers.
- You cannot use C# alone to build iOS and Android apps from the ground up. Yes, the platform allows developers to share code. But at some point, you must use code specific to Android or iOS. Therefore, you still require a basic understanding of those technologies. You cannot rely solely on your knowledge of C# to build iOS and Android apps.
- Xamarin produces larger applications
Even though Microsoft spent $400 million on the platform, Xamarin is still growing. People are still discovering it. However, among experienced developers, Xamarin has become the go-to instrument for cross-platform application development.
It has some disadvantages, including the app file size and software overheads. But you would be hard-pressed to find better cross-platform software for mobile app development.
C# enthusiasts love it because the program gives them an edge. They can start creating applications without learning new coding skills. It is easier to find an iOS or Android developer these days. But that may change in a few years.