There’s an awesome breakthrough for programmers who are overtly familiar with Microsoft’s Visual Studio IDE, and looking to kick-off with iOS app development.
With Xamarin version 2.0, you can now code iOS apps using C#. The software leverages the Mono. Net runtime, allowing you to develop cross-platform apps on all the three major mobile app platforms- iOS, Android, and Windows. The new version updates most of the core features, but the highlight is, quite apparently, the ability to develop iOS apps using C#.
Why Xamarin version 2.0 is a great initiative?
Starting with iOS app development is rough, especially if you’re a novice beginner. You need to familiarize yourself with XCode, the IDE for developing iOS apps. Over and above that, you need to also learn Objective C. Though learning Objective C should not be an uphill task for developers who understand the OOPS concepts well, mastering the language is one thing and merely understanding it is another.
So, if you’re a .NET developer who understands C# fairly well, Xamarin 2.0 is your shortcut to developing iOS apps. Also, you can reduce the effort by half, as with same piece of code, you can develop apps for three diverse mobile platforms- iOS, Windows and Android. Sharing the same piece of code just got easier and simpler with Xamarin 2.0.
How easy is to get started?
In case you doubt how easy it would be to use Xamarin Studio, here’s a reality check. It’s just a plugin for Microsoft Visual Studio, and is tightly integrated with iOS and Android SDKs. The plugin allows you to build, test and debug apps on simulators and real devices.
The modern development environment is well complemented by an advanced code completer, a powerful debugger, and interface builder. Interfaces for Android can be designed using the native UI builder, while interfaces for iOS apps can be designed using Apple’s Xcode Interface Builder.
To help developers come up with intuitive designs, Xamarin developers have also launched a Xamarin Component Store that hosts some amazing UI controls, intuitive graphs, beautiful themes, cloud services, and more such powerful features. Xamarin Component Store is designed to work with Visual Studio and Xamarin Studio. So, you can install powerful features from the component store in just a few clicks. However, we have to take note of the fact that most components are not free, and are tied to paid services, and would have to be purchased through the component store.
What about testing, packaging and distributing apps?
The most crucial phase of app development is testing, packaging and distributing apps. Well, Xamarin Studio allows you test your app on simulators and real devices, and also allows you to package and distribute apps right from the IDE. That includes integrated support for TestFlight, which is a testing service for iOS and Android.
Xamarin realizes the fact that it’s important for developers to get the feel of the IDE before they start developing apps. So, they’re offering the starter edition for FREE. The Starter Edition allows you to get a taste of mobile app development using C#, and you can develop, test, and publish small apps using the starter edition.
The Paid version of the plugin is priced at $299 per platform/year for individuals and $999/ year for organizations.
We think this is an amazing initiative that allows you to develop apps for three different mobile platforms (iOS, Android, and Windows), using a language that is relatively easy to master (C#), and using an IDE that the developer community is well familiarized with. Not only does it reduce the effort on the development side, but it also helps developers create consistent looking apps and mitigates the learning curve.
Please note that, although, you can develop apps using Visual Studio, you would need a Networked Mac to build and deploy iOS apps.