Novell has renewed its efforts in the mobile arena by today announcing the availability of Mono for Android, a set of tools for developing .NET applications for the Android platform using Microsoft Visual Studio. Following the Mono Project's core tenet of making Microsoft .NET applications capable of running cross-platform, Novell says that it is now enabling Visual Studio, .NET, and C# developers to utilize a common code base to create applications for the industry's most widely-used mobile devices, including Android-based phones and tablets, Apple iPad, Apple iPod Touch, and Apple iPhone.
Making a bid for the MSDN's weighty membership base, Novell's message to Visual Studio developers is that they will be able to stay within their preferred IDE and use their existing skills and the extensive .NET ecosystem of code, libraries, and tools to use the C# and .NET languages to create mobile applications for Android-based devices.
In terms of form and function, Novell says that Mono for Android consists of the core Mono runtime, bindings for native Android APIs, a Visual Studio 2010 plugin (to develop Android applications with), and a software development kit that contains tools to build, debug, and deploy applications. With the Visual Studio 2010 plugin, engineers can develop, debug, and deploy their applications to an Android simulator, an Android device, or the Android Application Store.
According to Novell, "Mono for Android complements MonoTouch, Novell's solution for developing applications for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch using the Microsoft .NET framework. Developers utilizing Mono for Android and MonoTouch can save time and money by sharing common code between iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android phones and tablets, as well as Windows Phone 7, Windows desktops, and Windows Server. There is also a Mono for Android add-in for MonoDevelop users that prefer to develop on OS X."