by Mario F
In a world where mobile devices are taking over and the desktop is becoming more and more obsolete, the need to provide users with applications that can be portable across different devices becomes a necessity. Xamarin, a cross-platform software company fills this need. They essentially provide their customers with a one stop shop to convert their applications from C# to iPod, android, windows phone or essentially any other platform. This technology although its been around for a while, has been evolving rapidly as well as changing the way we develop applications. Xamarin has set itself apart from other cross-platform providers by their user friendliness and their use of native code instead of translators.
They’re several ways to provide cross-platform services, but the two main methods are, through the use of either translators or by converting the code into native code. Translators essentially serve as a middleman in between the applications and the code helping translate the application language into the devices mobile language. The translator method provides a product sooner and it does it with less work needed since the translator essentially speaks all the languages. On the other hand compiling into native languages is much slower and also requires a different application for all the differing devices, but on the upside it makes for faster applications. Xamarin has found a way to combine both of these approaches, they convert all code into native language and provide their customers with a one stop shop to convert their code. By one stop shop I mean that a Xamarin user could essentially convert their code into other platforms with the click of a few buttons.
Although there are many companies that focus on cross-platform development, Xamarin stands out from most because of their user friendliness. The people at Xamarin seem to have gone out of their way to work with platform providers such as Microsoft and Mac. Most cross-platform software comapanies do the oposite becausemeeting with these companies takes time and money. In order to work with these big platform companies you first have to convince them thatit would be benificial for them to work with you, secondly you would have to have your team and their tema find a meeting schuedule and decide on the meeting location or meeting style. All of these choices although they seem small and irrelevant make the development prosess both more expensive and more complex leading to a projectthat takes much more time to complete.
Personally I believe Xamarin’s approach to cross-platform development will change the way we work in our field. By providing us with a one stop shop for cross platform conversion, development teams can be less diverse (there will be little need to have different platform experts on the teams). Also a smaller company will be able to deliver a working product in a shorter time frame, because they will be able to focus more of their energy on the product itself instead of worrying about platform compatibility. Also I feel that their could be a higher demand for people who know these universal languages (such as C# and F# in Xamarin’s case) and that the people who specialize in platform specific languages could end up as specialists that help the cross platform software companies to provide a better product. In short although this technology is evolving rapidly, it is of very good use at the moment. We can now develop applications at a faster rate and have someone else worry about compatibility, I do expect this technology to be far more advanced in the future and that all applications will be able to run on all devices regardless of the operating system installed on them.
Xamarin Blog. Xamarin Mobile World Congress 2012 Unofficial Conference App Released! | Xamarin Blog. Retrieved February 1, 2014 from http://blog.xamarin.com/mwc_2012/
Xamarin – Build mobile apps for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows. How it Works – Xamarin. Retrieved February 1, 2014, from http://xamarin.com/how-it-works
TechCrunch – The latest technology news and information on startups. Microsoft .NET for Mobile Company Xamarin Gets $12 Million In Series A Funding | TechCrunch. Retrieved February 1, 2014, from http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/24/microsoft-net-for-mobile-company-xamarin-gets-12-million-round-of-funding.