What is Xamarin and Why Should I Care?

Posted by Filip Ekberg on 02 Jul 2014

I've had the honour to be invited by DNC Magazine to write a bunch of articles for them over the past two years and this time I got to write a piece for their 2 year anniversary issue about Xamarin! Below is an abstract from article and I hope you'll take the opportunity to subscribe to their free magazine! The team begin DNC Magazine are truly making an excellent job putting together good and interesting articles and I hope you find my latest contribution interesting enough to keep subscribing!

The past 5-7 years has been extremely interesting in the mobile world, especially considering the release of iPhones, Androids and Windows Phones. There has been a lot going on in the mobile spectrum even outside these three different brands. These three in particular share something though; they’re all easy to create applications for. This is of course subjective, it’s easier for some than for others, but if we compare the way we create native mobile applications for these three different platforms to what we saw 10 years ago; this is easier.

Over the years we’ve seen a lot of interesting abstractions that have made the development even easier. Consider that you have an application that needs to target all the major platforms; iOS, Android and Windows Phone. In general that meant to either develop one application natively for each platform or develop the application using a shared code principle or a wrapper such as PhoneGap. Both of these strategies for cross-platform development have their ups and downs. The problem with the first approach of creating one application natively per platform is that we need a team that specializes in each platform. That means three different teams understanding the same acceptance criteria, hence three times as expensive, in general that is.

The benefit of going all-in on Native, is that we get a specialized user interface and it performs fast. Compared to the approach where we use PhoneGap or similar to write an application in HTML, CSS and JavaScript that runs everywhere, the native approach wins performance and feeling wise. You can make an application good enough using PhoneGap, Sencha or similar, but it will never beat the native experience. However, write once – run everywhere has its benefits; you have one code base. This means one team developing the application, one team understanding the acceptance criteria and this means not as expensive.

Read the entire article in the DNC Magazine Issue 13! The Magazine includes information on how you could be the lucky winner of a C# Smorgasbord ebook!

Want to know more about Xamarin and Mobile Development? Here's a link collection of presentations and articles that I've done:

Have you been using Xamarin lately? How are you finding the latest updates that include Xamarin.Forms? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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