The privileges of using Xamarin, C# and .NET for Native and Cross Platform Developers
In today’s world of 2.4 billion smartphone users, the role of mobile applications as an avenue through which businesses and customers can connect has never been more critical. In 2017, the monthly count of mobile app downloads has reached 197 billion worldwide. Investing in mobile applications is therefore a prudent decision that, when done right, can drive a business to success.
Whereas classical mobile app development entailed developing different versions of an app for different operating systems, this quickly proved too time-consuming and expensive, so many cross-platform solutions have emerged. One of the most popular ones is Xamarin, a C#-based cross-platform app development tool that supports Windows, Android, iOS, and MacOS, among others. One of its greatest advantages compared to its competition is that it can match, or sometimes even exceed, the performance of natively written apps, whereas most other solutions are simply wrappers that perform very poorly.
Xamarin is used by over 1.4 million developers and 15,000 companies from over 120 countries around the globe, and over 8.3% of all developers worldwide use the technology. You may read more details about the Xamarin technology and hiring Xamarin developers from our blog. In this article, we take a closer look at the technologies that Xamarin is made of: C# and .NET. Moreover, we take a look at some of the other technologies that developers typically use in combination with Xamarin.
Xamarin C# and .NET: Base Technologies
Let’s examine the two base technologies that Xamarin runs on so we can see just why these technologies work so well together.
Microsoft’s very own programming language, C# was aimed at being a vast improvement over C and C++. First released in 2000, the design for the C# language was driven by the principles of the Common Language Infrastructure or CLI. Simply put, the CLI is a technical standard also designed and developed by Microsoft that describes an architecture in which different high-level programming languages may be used and executed on different operating systems without having to be re-written in their native languages.
Aside from being platform-agnostic, C# brings the many advantages of object-oriented programming to the table, such as strong type-checking, array bounds checking, and automatic garbage collection. In addition to object-oriented programming, C# also supports many other programming paradigms such as declarative, imperative, and functional programming. Moreover, it is also very portable and has out-of-the-box support for internationalization. All these advantages make Xamarin C# highly suited as Xamarin’s base programming language.
The .NET framework, also developed by Microsoft, is a software framework that provides developers with a large set of libraries to perform a lot of essential software functions. Initially released in 2002, .NET also implements the Common Language Infrastructure, and one of its main goals was language interoperability, meaning that code written in different programming languages can use and interact with code written in other languages. Although .NET is deeply integrated with C#, and most C# applications also use .NET, the framework supports other programming languages such as C++, Visual Basic, and F#, among many others.
In addition to language interoperability and independence, which are two of the most defining features of the .NET framework, it also offers several other important benefits. For instance, .NET has its own set of security mechanisms that add an additional layer of security over what is already offered by an application. It is, for example, able to identify the source of a file and judge whether or not it is likely to be malicious. In addition, .NET has an efficient memory management system that automatically handles memory allocation and deallocation so developers need not worry about it. .NET also uses just-in-time compilation, which can yield significant performance improvements to applications. As such, Xamarin .NET proves very suitable as the framework for Xamarin, in conjunction with Xamarin C#.
Xamarin Technology Stack
Xamarin app development entails the use of other technologies in addition to Xamarin, C# and .NET. Here are some of the other technologies that a Xamarin mobile developer must be skilled at.
Xamarin mobile application development requires the use of an Integrated Development Environment where a developer can write code, run them, and in the case of Xamarin cross platform development, test them on different devices and operating systems. The standard IDE for Xamarin development is Visual Studio, which is available on both Windows and MacOS.
In order to develop a Xamarin iOS app, some additional tools are needed. For development in MacOS, Xcode is the standard IDE to develop apps for Apple’s suite of operating systems such as iOS and MacOS, as well as watchOS and tvOS. For development on Windows, downloading the iOS Simulator for Windows, which is an add-on to Visual Studio, is required. Moreover, connection to a Mac machine is required for iOS development on Windows, although full development may be done on the Windows machine.
For developing Xamarin Android apps, an Android emulator is needed. For development on Windows, the Visual Studio Android Emulator and Android SDK Emulator are standard options, while for development on Mac machines, Genymotion is among the most popular choices.
Although it is possible to develop cross-platform mobile apps with Xamarin and still use each operating system’s native UI components, this will take a lot of time. In addition to Xamarin, developers can also opt to use Xamarin Forms, which allows the creation of Xamarin native UI that requires just one piece of code. Xamarin will then map this UI into each operating system’s native UI components. Strong knowledge in this technology will therefore be highly beneficial.
Sample Xamarin Projects
Here are some sample projects that were built using Xamarin, C# and .NET:
- Olo – A food app that lets users locate and browse nearby restaurants, see their menu, and make orders
- NovariumDX – A medical application that allows users to read and share medical test results, and can connect patients to doctors
- Alaska Airlines App – The mobile app of Alaska Airlines; it allows you to book flights and manage bookings on your phone.
- PictureX – A community photo sharing app that lets users share photos on different events and compiles photos of the same events from different users
- Vanderlande – A mobile app for a Netherlands-based logistics process automation company that caters to airports and parcel delivery businesses
Hire Xamarin Developers Now
We’ve seen Xamarin in the technical context of its base technologies, C# and .NET, and the benefits that these technologies bring to Xamarin mobile application development. If you’re looking for a Xamarin development company, or if you’re looking for great Xamarin developers, we’re the perfect partner for you! As a Ukrainian provider of dedicated developers, we at Mobilunity provide only the most talented Xamarin developers across the whole Europe, and our rates are among the lowest throughout the continent, too. With us, you’ll get the perfect balance of excellence and affordability.