In the modern world dictated by digital devices, people generally never leave their mobile phones. Humans of the current century are interested in doing almost everything using their phones. It is because of this phenomenon that major companies have introduced their business on the mobile platforms. The mobile market is shared by Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS and then Microsoft’s Windows. It is up to the mobile app developer and the companies to decide which of these platforms they want to use to run their apps.
Making this choice may be difficult, but it’s surely not the tricky part. What happens when you make your app using one of these platforms only to realise that you want to run your app on a different platform from which it was designed for? This change brings the requirement for learning a new language, APIs and other information requirements along with it. Hearing about the problems associated with this change, many companies decide to rather stick to their previous platform. When you are a company trying to cope up with the changing environment, not making this change can be damaging to your company. This is where Xamarin comes in. With the help of Xamarin, you can build a cross-platform application that will work in a similar way to the native applications.
What is Xamarin
Xamarin is a software company founded in 2011 and acquired by Microsoft in 2016. The company’s mission is to provide developers with the tools required to build cross-platform mobile applications. The programming is majorly done in C#, the necessary tools can be easily downloaded with Visual Studio. Using Xamarin may be easy, but the questions that majority of the developers have is whether they will miss out on any functionality they receive from a native application. Xamarin tackles this problem by providing its users with a large set of features which can be used to provide all the various functionalities that you would otherwise receive with a native app.
Apart from this, Xamarin allows its user to develop the applications for wearable devices like Android and apple watch. Using the Xamarin store, you can also add functionalities you wouldn’t otherwise receive using various plugins.
How Does Xamarin Work
This feature of having a common code that can be used for different platforms may seem interesting, but it also leads to suspicion. Developers are mostly concerned about how this is possible. At a very basic level, Xamarin has converted the entire existing Android and iOS SDK to C# allowing you to code in a familiar language. You can access almost any iOS or Android API in C# with the Xamarin tools.
Apart from this, the UI for the application is made separately for different platforms and you can then bind the UI to the common codebase. There are actually two different ways to build the UI. You can use the above mentioned method or you can use Xamarin.Forms. These forms let you build UI for all the different platforms at once.
How to Start Working on Xamarin
To start using Xamarin, you need to install Visual Studio on your windows. You can start by downloading the Visual Studio Community for free or purchase a premium license if you don’t have one. To make the process smooth, you can download Visual Studio from the Xamarin website which is already configured with Xamarin tools. After downloading the software, you can create a new ‘Cross-Platform App’ project and start with your development process.
You will get a better insight into the process once you follow these steps and start experimenting with Xamarin.