iOS and Android are the most used platforms in Smartphones until the preface of Windows platform in them. Objective-C is used for iOS and Java is used for Android phones. As there are most exclusive features in each platform, the users of respective smartphone cannot avail the added feature in another platform. The mobile app developers felt hard to write code for multiple platforms. They found code replication in all the platforms. So they wanted to develop a toolset or an app which supports all the three mobile platforms and to reduce the repetition of code. As a result, Xamarin has invented to work successfully with the cross-platforms in the mobile devices.
Before getting started to know what is Xamarin and why it is the best option for the cross-platform mobile app development, let us take a short of different types of mobile apps.
There are three types of mobile apps that can be written by mobile application developers. They are:
- Native apps – runs reliably and solidly on the mobile device. These apps are highly interactive. The language codes are not portable and it is difficult to retain different codes for multiple platforms and it costs much.
- Web-apps – run within the confines of the Web browser. There are some restrictions in accessing the parts of the hardware. As their codes are written once, they can be accessed anywhere. They are less expensive and the codes are written using CSS, HTML, and Jscript.
- Combination Apps – A blend of both native and web apps is called as ‘combination apps’. For hardware access of the mobile, native codes are used and for web access, web codes such as CSS, HTML, and Jscript are used. Due to performance issues and poor scalability, these apps are used rarely.
What is Xamarin?
It is a product or an app that selects the unique features of the mobile platforms and persuades the mobile apps developers to take benefit of those features offered by each platform. They can share the code across any mobile operating system without affecting the systems’ quality or performance.
It is used for designing mobile apps, testing them and categorizing them to iOS App Store and Google Play. As most of the .NET developers prefer C# for its simple mode of learning and it reaches the skilled mobile apps developers, it was chosen by Xamarin.
How it works?
The mobile app developer writes user interface code on Android and iOS separately. Then they can write reusable business logic, database codes, web services codes only once on both platforms.
It powerfully integrates with Microsoft Visual Studio. The developer can choose their preferred development environment to construct mobile apps. The platforms that are supported are:
- Visual Studio on Windows
- Xamarin Studio on Windows
- Xamarin Studio on Mac
Why Xamarin for cross-platform Mobile apps development?
- If a developer is well-versed in (.NET/C#) or (JAVA/Objective-C), they can easily work with Xamarin. The reason is code of .NET and C# is compatible.
- Developers are given complete access to all the user controls and native application programming interfaces that are available in the existing OS.
- Less code – less errors – less bugs
- Creates reusable components that can be reprocessed by any of the mobile platform
- Code for accessing any services can be used again smoothly on iOS, Android and Windows platforms.
- Integrated Development Environment Xamarin Studio is a top-notch IDE. This IDE develops tests, debugs, and much more operations in the cross-platforms.
- iOS with UI and Android with SDK features creates distinct platform for each other. It take hold of the distinctive features of each platform making the apps native to their platforms.
- Xamarin core .NET classes = Platform specific .NET classes (iOS-specific .NET classes + Android-specific .NET classes). This helps the applications to share the core logic across the different platforms
- Writes user interface code for Android and iOS, then share the business logic that can be reprocessed in both platforms
- Highly transferable database code
- Reduces development time – writing few code that are unique to each platform
- Xamarin apps are assembled to native binary and always execute without any performance degradation.
- Application portability gives amazing user experiences
- Writing single set of code reduces the amount of testing and validates them for both platforms.
- Working with .NET/C#, helps the developers to focus completely and develop efficiently with the best support.
- As the shared logic created for both Android and iOS will be applicable to Windows phone and it supports them.