Xamarin has updated its core product to version 3 with improved code sharing and IDE enhancements. The cross-platform mobile development tool vendor ships with its own Studio IDE and is said to be tightly integrated with Microsoft's Visual Studio IDE.
What is probably most interesting here is that Xamarin 3 concentrates on cross-platform development with the C# language — and this will allow software application developers to target Windows Phone devices as well as iOS and Android.
"Xamarin enables our entire developer ecosystem to extend their skills and build apps for all modern device platforms," said Mitra Azizirad, GM of developer tools marketing & sales at Microsoft. "We are very happy to be working closely with Xamarin to ensure that developers targeting any platform can do so with Visual Studio and C#."
The release introduces the Xamarin Studio IDE and the Xamarin Component Store. The product's main features are summarized as follows:
- Xamarin.iOS for Visual Studio — with Xamarin, Visual Studio users can now build iOS, Android, and Windows apps in their favorite IDE.
- Xamarin Studio — a new IDE built from the ground up for multiplatform native mobile design, development, debugging, and deployment.
- The Xamarin Component Store — an app store for code, where developers add third-party libraries, and predesigned native UI controls and themes to their apps with a few lines of code (this makes developers much better app designers says the company).
- Starter Edition — a free tier that makes it easy for individual developers to get started and experience the power of the platform.
Al Hilwa, program director, software development research at IDC, says that the multiplatform toolset, which focuses on developers from the large Microsoft ecosystem, is bulking up with significant new functionality.
"Providing a common way to handle forms across the three mobile platforms is a first for Xamarin and it is done in a way that adapts well to the native look-and-feel of each platform. We are seeing more and more enterprises adopting a mobile-first orientation for their app dev investment and so these tools are coming at just the right time as enterprise negotiate these challenges. Xamarin 3 also brings a bag of goodies for Visual Studio developers that bring them more deeply into the multiplatform world. Providing a native interface UI build for iOS with Visual Studio is a treat for Microsoft ecosystem developers who want to take their skills to a much broader base of devices," said Hilwa.
"While not acquired by Microsoft, Xamarin is operating from the outside and is helping the Microsoft ecosystem immensely as a partner. The work happens to be in great alignment with Microsoft's new mobile strategy," he added.