Complete Guide On Xamarin - MobileAppDaily
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Complete Guide On Xamarin: Cross-Platform App Development

Xamarin holds a total of $50 million investment as a cross-platform app development framework

https://dk2dyle8k4h9a.cloudfront.net/Complete Guide On Xamarin: Cross-Platform App Development

In recent years, we have seen that the field of cross-platform app development is reaching new heights and this also includes the rise in popularity of the Xamarin platform. This is the main reason that has motivated us to write a descriptive Xamarin guide on cross-platform development with Xamarin that even consists of the plus points as well as the shortcomings of the Xamarin mobile app development platform.

A majority of businesses are now looking for effective ways to reduce their overall costs associated with cross-platform app development while at the same time making sure that the user experience and overall quality remain high.

This is the part where native apps for iOS, Android and Windows come into force as they offer unparalleled performance and user experience. But not all companies like budding startups have a large number of resources to develop natively for each mobile or Web application.

This has also resulted in a shift from the development of native mobile applications to cross-platform apps, especially for large enterprise applications that require native cross-platform apps to work seamlessly across multiple platforms and devices as well.

Now, let’s answer some of the most common questions like ‘what is Xamarin’, ‘why do we reckon it’s the best cross-platform app development platform to use’, ‘what are the key benefits of using Xamarin’ etc.

What is Xamarin?

Xamarin basically is a popular framework that is to build cross-platform mobile applications using the programming language C#. Apart from the Xamarin cross-platform development platform, there are many other frameworks that offer cross-platform app development services which mainly use languages like HTML and JavaScript.

Even though Xamarin is a relatively new development tool, there is already a community of over one million developers using the Microsoft technology stack to create mobile apps. The Xamarin cross-platform development tool was acquired by Microsoft in 2016 and since then it has quickly become one of the most used software options for developing native cross-platform apps.

In other words, we can say that Xamarin enables various C# developers to build native iOS, Android and even Windows apps using native user interfaces and a shared codebase across various platforms. The web and mobile apps developed in Xamarin have many immediate benefits like faster development times and reduced costs due to the single shared codebase. We will be discussing these benefits of Xamarin in the points mentioned below.

Main Components Of Xamarin

When it comes to the Xamarin framework, it is incorporated of many different offerings that are primarily designed to cater the need of different stages of the app development procedure. Here are the four main components, which are as follows:

xamarin tutorial

  • Xamarin Forms: This is an API that is used to design an app experience across iOS, Android and Windows platforms by leveraging the native controls.
  • Xamarin Test Cloud: The next component is the Xamarin Test Cloud, which allows Xamarin developers to run automated testing on apps on more than 2000 devices as well as building, testing and monitoring the app's performance in the cloud.
  • Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android: These are the application development environments which are used to build as well as deploy platform specific C# code.
  • HockeyApp: The last component is a Xamarin DevOps support tool, which allows Xamarin app developers to distribute Beta versions to get real feedback from users and collect live crash reports for analyzing test coverage.   

Apart from this, feel free to have a look at the comparison of two of the widely used frameworks i.e React Native vs Xamarin platforms.

Benefits of Xamarin Framework

Now its time to take a look at the various pros of Xamarin cross-platform development framework:

1. Shared App Logic

A shared codebase radically reduces the time and resources that are required to complete the Xamarin development process. The shared codebase also makes it easier to develop across all three platforms which are iOS, Android and Windows respectively. The application logic underlying the UI layer such as database interactions and backend enterprise integration are also all coded only once in C#.

App developers can share more than 75 percent of the entire app development code across multiple operating platforms. This not only saves time but also helps in reducing the number of bugs during the mobile app development process.

For instance, if you were creating a native mobile app on their different app development platforms then this would essentially require double effort as well as time to complete. That’s why building a cross-platform app in Xamarin is a no-brainer in this aspect, especially for large enterprise applications that need to run seamlessly across different platforms and devices.

2. Native Performance

Although native apps undoubtedly provide a superior User Experience (UX), cross-platform app development such as Xamarin are now also offering a native-like app performance. With the help of Xamarin Forms, the User Interface is rendered completely with native controls allowing the user to end up with a great native UI experience.

xamarin tutorial

Xamarin also consists of UI design environments for Xamarin Studio and Visual studio which provides specialized UI and UX tools to the app developers and helping them in creating a flawless user experience.

3. API Integration

Xamarin mobile app development platform also allows developers to combine the same APIs and UI controls that are used for developing Android, iOS and Mac application in their respective platform-specific programming languages i.e Java, Swift, and Objective-C. Its unique binding approach also facilitates support for new features right after they are introduced into a particular device’s operating system.

4. Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD)

The Rapid mobile app development (RMAD) is one of the major benefits because of which more and more businesses are turning towards Xamarin for cross-platform app development. Using Xamarin for native app development means that the entire process can be completed faster and at a reduced cost in comparison to other app development platforms.

Xamarin applications can easily satisfy various business requirements by offering a native app experience across multiple devices and platforms whilst providing an excellent user experience at the same time.

5. Simplified Maintenance

Xamarin cross-platform development framework greatly simplifies the app maintenance requirements. For example, in case of any updates or changes required, Xamarin developers can simply deploy these changes to the source code across all the platforms at once. This shared codebase also limits the number of bugs, however when bugs are found they can be easily fixed across the different platforms.

6. Full Hardware Functionality

Xamarin apps allow users to utilize native-level app functionality which helps in eliminating all hardware compatibility issues using plugins and specific APIs, in order to work with common device functionalities across different platforms.

7. Cost Effective

Let’s consider an example that you own a well know taxi app. Now, let’s assume you want to build apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone as well. Doing it the old way, you would have to write and design three separate applications from scratch.

But with Xamarin, you can build a base for those three different platforms. And depending on how much your apps will rely on the device’s physical capabilities such as file system, geolocalization or cache, you can save from 40 percent to 66 percent of your total budget.

Drawbacks of Xamarin Framework

Next, we will be discussing what to watch for while dealing with Xamarin framework. Because with so many positives, there are some downsides to this cross-platform app development platform. When it comes to Xamarin mobile app development, there are the following cons of Xamarin you should consider:

1. Xamarin App File Size

While being beneficial in many ways, Xamarin is also slightly accused of consuming more time for the additional job of adjusting the app file size. This is mainly because of the generous use of Xamarin’s core libraries and functionality that burdens the app stores with unjustifiable app file size. The size margin in the app stores may range from 3MB to 15MB.

2. Software Overheads

Although Xamarin mobile application development saves time by creating a single app for multiple platforms, on the other hand, it also involves code linkage and referencing between target OS environments of different devices in use-end .Net frameworks. This implies that such efforts can add to the total time taken for initiation and downloading of the app.

3. Xamarin Apps are Native Apps

Cross-platform app development software and tools have come a long way in the last few years and have created a flexible, alternative approach to app development.

xamarin tutorial

To provide you with some detailed understanding, we have displayed above an in-depth app development model of Xamarin.

Many of our recent client projects at xDesign an award-winning app development agency in the UK have been built in Xamarin, a cross-platform software tool that generates native apps with platform-specific User Interfaces (UI) across iOS, Android and Windows.

So these were the pros and cons of Xamarin framework for cross-platform app development. With this being covered, the question that still remained unanswered is ‘Why should we choose Xamarin platform’?

Reasons To Use Xamarin

Here is the list of some of the crucial reasons to use the Xamarin platform:

1. It provides a huge collection of class libraries.

2. This framework also provides robust compile-time checking which leads to fewer runtime errors and high-quality applications.

3. Xamarin apps are developed a modern language i.e. #C which also has various improvements over programming languages like Objective-C and Java.

4. This cross-platform development framework reduces the time and cost of the application development process.

5. Xamarin offers cross-platform support for three major mobile platforms including Android, iOS and Windows where an application can share up to 90 percent of their code base.

6. With Xamarin, app developers also get the option to directly include Objective-C, Java and C++ libraries. By which will they can reuse many the third-party code bases in languages like Java, Objective-C and C++.

Final Thoughts

With time, Xamarin cross-platform development is likely to gain more attention across the globe and that too for good. At this time, when there are already various mobile app development frameworks and tools existing in the market, there comes the requirement of a platform that can support multiple platforms with minimal efforts and that’s where Xamarin can come in handy.

In this battle of native vs cross-platform applications, I think we can all agree that there are a number of compelling benefits in favor of Xamarin app development framework and xDesign have seen a sharp rise in the number of apps being built and deployed with Xamarin.

Choosing whether to go with native app development or cross-platform development with Xamarin will depend entirely on your business requirements and what you’re trying to achieve. The best thing to do in this case is to consult with a skilled, experienced mobile app development company that can guide you through the right type of app development for your project and help you in hiring excellent Xamarin developers.

For more Xamarin insights like Xamarin tutorials, make sure you follow MobileAppDaily by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ button and never miss another interesting update from the mobile app industry.

Vikram Khajuria
Written By
Vikram Khajuria

Jack of all trades. Covering the journalism field, Vikram writes at MobileAppDaily and keeps surfing the trends to understand tech and inventions better. Don’t forget his driving skills, he is a professional car rallyist. Life has just got better. Breathe it!!

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