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Xamarin: One for All (Part I)
A well developed mobile application can help businesses increase customer satisfaction and engagement by allowing the company to be available to their target audience, generate revenue and create additional channels for marketing. It is unsurprising, given the widespread use of mobile devices, that Emarketer.com predicts that by 2017 more than one third of the population of the world will be smartphone users.
People use many different types of mobile hardware, and it is imperative to build a mobile application that flawlessly functions across a diverse set of operating systems.
Being experts at building cross-platform mobile applications for all major platforms, our software developers at *instinctools believe that today Xamarin is a cure-all for operating systems.
Launched in 2011, Xamarin is a tool used to develop cross-platform mobile applications. It works through the Mono framework to communicate with the Application Program Interface (API) of common mobile device functions including contacts, camera, and geo-location for popular iOS, Android, and Windows operating systems. It allows developers to build robust applications using the C# programming language that runs on the .NET Common Language Infrastructure (CLI).
Sure enough, Xamarin has its positives and negatives and in this article (part 1) we will go through 5 main perks of Xamarin platform.
1. Write once, run everywhere
Xamarin is integrated with SDKs of all of the different operating systems. You have the ability to utilize native controls that exist for the iPad, Android or Windows but only coded once. Linked files, conditional compilation, and portable class libraries make it possible for developers to share the code. The ability to reuse 60-80% of the code cuts the development time in half. That obviously saves time & money to both customers and service providing companies on the app’s multi-channel distribution. Additionally, a single codebase dramatically reduces costs for support and new features introduction.
2. Native API
Xamarin delivers high performance compiled code with full access to all the native APIs so you can create native apps with device-specific experiences. Anything you can do in Objective-C or Java, can be done in C# with Xamarin.
3. Native UI
Xamarin allows you to keep Native UI in all 3 platforms, therefore preserving Native Performance while enjoying full API coverage, shared codebase and application logic. It also allows to re-use skills, teams, tools and most importantly – the CODE! And as a result, it saves your time and resources.
4. Fewer bugs
The number one reason that Xamarin tends to result in fewer bugs: we write less code. As a general rule, the less code we write the fewer errors we’re likely to commit.
Xamarin also reduces errors by providing the opportunity for greater test coverage. Any given project has a finite amount of time available for testing. Rather than spending that time writing two sets of largely duplicate tests, we can write a single, more comprehensive set of tests that validate the code for both platforms.
Such program allows you to test automatically your iOS and Android apps on hundreds of devices. It offers continuous integration, beautiful reports, test for fragmentation, and object-based UI testing.
Xamarin is gaining more attention everyday and with good reason. Today, nearly 500,000 developers and such world-know companies as Microsoft, Bosch, Tesco, HP (and many others) are already taking their advantage of creating awesome apps on Xamarin.
And for real, in a world where a variety of mobile platforms coexist, we do need a toolset that allows us to support multiple platforms with minimal duplication of work. This just what we get with Xamarin.