It is not a very fresh recent news anymore, but still we'd like to dive into some more details about why the acquisition of the company Xamarin earlier this year by Microsoft is advantageous and exciting for us and our clients.
Who is Xamarin? What do they do?
Xamarin is a young company, about three years old but growing very fast, which its primary business is to create tools to let developers build native desktop and mobile applications for non-Microsoft platform by using Microsoft modern tools and languages as Visual Studio and C#.
With the increased popularity and adoption of mobile devices and mobile apps, obviously a pure Microsoft developer is in trouble having to build a native mobile application for either iOS, Android or both platforms.
Any of these would require not only knowing the specifics of each different system well, but also adopting different toolsets and languages for each platform to support. Furthermore, this type of development is in contrast with modern methodologies which help delivering custom Apps in shorter time, to be more reliable, and with possible more frequent updates and upgrades.
Having to manage a single team of developers and make use of one unique toolset, fully supported and evolved, is a huge advantage in developing a cross-platform mobile application, and for sure Xamarin's strong point.
Why the acquisition has been positive?
Xamarin used to be a commercially licensed product, with yearly subscription licenses to be acquired for developers. Especially for this reasons, and despite what you would think if you go read about the history behind Xamarin (started in reality about 15 years ago with Mono project), it was indeed a pretty closed source and commercial product.
During this year's MS Build Developers Conference, the partnership has been publicly announced, together with some revision on the licensing model of Xamarin, opening it to wider audience, and publication of most Xamarin's source code on GitHub. This has generated a big increase indeed in the interest and adoption of Xamarin widely.
Finally, the merge can be of course only advantageous to get Xamarin's tools still better and better integrated with the rest of MS development tools.
Are there alternatives? Is it the best?
In cross-platform mobile development, so when having to create a mobile application for multiple mobile OS, two main 'worlds' exist: native Apps vs. hybrid Apps.
Native apps, as the name suggests, run native on the platform where they're running on, getting the best of performance and possibility to make use of all specific platform capabilities.
In many cases it's very hard to notice with type has been chosen when using an App we have downloaded or obtained in other ways, and many apps have been recently changed from hybrid to native (don't know any that has done the opposite path) without the users can notice because interface and experience remained pretty the same.
As mentioned earlier native apps are anyway in general more performant, even if harder to create with a single toolset, where Xamarin is for sure leading and few other minor competitors.
At Rapid Circle we think native apps and Xamarin are the best, and probably Microsoft thinks that too :)
Can Rapid Circle help my business creating a mobile app with Xamarin?
Absolutely. We've been developing custom mobile apps for our clients using Xamarin since 2014, and since then Rapid Circle is as well an authorized Xamarin Consulting Partner.
The Apps we've been developing normally connects with LoB or Azure environments, having the possibility to fully work in case of lack of intermittent network connectivity, or other such features based on customer's needs; but they'll always run native!
Our preference are off course Office 365 and Azure, and for this I'd suggest you to check out some of the Apps we've published in the App stores:
We'd love to hear your feedback on them.
What to say more… I am myself also a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer for the second year now. This certification can be obtained by subscribing to Xamarin University and passing needed exams. As last (but not least), one of our former colleagues in India, software engineer, is now working as engineer at Xamarin, or better to say Microsoft.
We have then proven experience if you need to build a custom mobile application, and we can respond to all your question or needs about Xamarin apps, Xamarin Forms, Xamarin Test Cloud, Application Insights, HockeyApp, and more..