Let’s talk about Xamarin Studio

What is Xamarin Studio?

Xamarin Studio is a mobile application development tool used in developing cross platform apps which includes Android, iOS, and windows phone platforms. Sure there are a lot of tools for mobile application development, but if you are the type of developer who likes to hit two birds with one stone then this is the tool for you.

Studio uses C# as its main programming language. If you have tried using Visual Studio for developing Windows or .NET applications then you should be happy to see this IDE. It’s almost the same as Visual Studio but instead it’s used for developing mobile applications, so there will be some differences.

Know anything about NuGet that is available in Visual Studio? If not then let me give you a brief description of it. NuGet is an extension on Visual Studio that allows you to easy to pull in libraries, components, and most importantly their configuration into your visual studio project. This tool is installed with MVC 3 and is used to bring in various components, called NuGet Packages, to make developing on MVC easier. NuGet Packages can include .NET assemblies, JavaScript files, HTML/Razor files, CSS files, images, and even files that can add configuration to your project’s web.config. The main purpose of NuGet is to make bringing in or updating a component in your existing projects hassle-free.

See how useful NuGet packages are? They’re so cool because there will be times when you’ll say, “I can’t develop all of these major components for this project!”. Well don’t worry, because you can try and search for NuGet packages you can use to help you with your tasks. Anyway, the point here is GOOD NEWS! You can also browse for packages when using Xamarin Studio! You can browse for lots of packages that can help you depending on your needs. It can be components for In-App purchasing, UI/UX designing, Cloud Storage packages like AWS, Couchbase or Parse SDK and other useful stuff!

How do developers use Xamarin Studio?

As I mentioned earlier, developers can use Xamarin Studio for developing mobile applications on Android, iOS, and Windows phone platforms. Here at Project Assistant, we use Xamarin Studio for developing Android and iOS only. Not that we aren’t interested in supporting Windows phones, it’s just that based on what we’ve researched Windows phones are as popular in the market yet.

Let me give you an overview on how we use Xamarin Studio at Project Assistant.

Many clients want their apps to be developed natively. Mostly people say that native app development for mobile platforms is best when it comes to performance. Xamarin IDE also allows you to develop apps using a Hybrid method. What I mean by Hybrid is that you can develop apps for all three platforms (Android, iOS, Windows) with just a single solution. If you are aware of Phonegap or Ionic then you probably understand what I am saying here. In Xamarin Studio, developers can use Xamarin.Forms to develop mobile applications for all platforms easily. Xamarin.Forms is a cross-platform UI toolkit that offers developers an easy way to create native user interface layouts that are shareable across Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

Yes Xamarin.Forms is a really handy piece of technology, but again we think that developing apps natively is still the best way to go.

In developing Android or iOS mobile applications with Xamarin Studio, things are very similar to using Android Studio or Xcode but instead you use C# programming language. Yes, you read that right, only C#. So that means you don’t have to google how to develop ios apps in Xcode using Objective C and Swift, or how to develop android apps in Android Studio or Eclipse using Java. It is very handy and convenient to be able to develop mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms using only a single programming language! Obviously that will save you a lot of time and money when it comes to the development and debugging stage.

Xamarin Studio also offers you more useful products that can help you and and your company in developing apps. There’s Xamarin Test Cloud that can give you the ability to automate testing on all sorts of devices! Xamarin Insights for monitoring your app after making it available in app stores like iTunes and Google Play. More than that, Xamarin gives you the chance to train and educate yourself in using their products. So give Xamarin Studio a try and let me know what you think! Good luck!

Mark Anthony Lumbao

Mark Anthony Lumbao

Mark is a developer who likes to test his skills on the new stuff. He loves to play and develop games and mobile apps. Mark also likes to shred the GUITAR every time he starts daydreaming. He can play the bass, rhythms and sometimes lead licks too. Mark loves heavy music as much as he loves classical and acoustic.