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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Kevin Jackson, Peter Silva, Greg Wind

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Xamarin 3 Breaks New Ground in Native Mobile App Development

Xamarin, the company that empowers more than 600,000 developers to build fully native mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows, today announced the availability of Xamarin 3. This release brings a groundbreaking new alternative to Apple’s Xcode Interface Builder for designing iOS apps in Xamarin. In addition, Xamarin 3 provides developers with the world’s first mobile API for building app UI for iOS, Android and Windows Phone using shared code that delivers fully native apps with no compromise to the user experience.

Enterprise mobility, BYOD and the proliferation of smart devices create compound challenges for developers. Businesses are mobilizing operations at a rapid pace; according to analyst firm Gartner, the ratio of projects focused on mobile vs. PC app development is expected to reach a ratio of 4:1 by 2015. With high expectations for mobile user experiences and growing momentum for emerging device form factors, like Google Glass, Android Wear and Amazon Fire TV, it is becoming increasingly difficult for developers to deliver on every demand.

Xamarin solves these challenges by unifying native mobile development for iOS, Android and development in C#, the language used by an estimated six million developers worldwide. The introduction of Xamarin 3 accelerates native mobile app development, vastly improving the mobile app design process, and providing more code-sharing possibilities than any other solution in the market, while still delivering apps with completely native UI, behavior and performance fidelity. Xamarin achieves this while allowing businesses to leverage existing in-house developer skills, code and tools, such as Visual Studio, to build native mobile apps that share source code across device platforms, essentially transforming existing teams into mobile developers virtually overnight.

"Mobile is an increasingly strategic channel for us to engage with our readers," said Ian Rosen, Vice President and General Manager, MarketWatch and SmartMoney at Dow Jones. "Xamarin made it possible for our team to build an app much more quickly than we otherwise could have."

Xamarin 3 Features:

Xamarin 3 builds on the company’s unique approach to native development in C# with the following new features.

  • Xamarin Designer for iOS: Integrated into Xamarin’s supported IDEs—Visual Studio and Xamarin Studio—the Xamarin Designer for iOS is a powerful alternative to Apple’s Xcode Interface Builder and enables developers to stay in a single development environment for the entire app development process. The Xamarin Designer for iOS enables developers to create and modify iOS 6 and 7 storyboard files and includes support for auto-layout. Going beyond Xcode, the Xamarin Designer for iOS has very simple and intuitive event handling, and is the only iOS designer in the world that previews custom controls, so that developers see in the Xamarin Designer exactly what will be on the screen in their iOS apps.
  • Xamarin.Forms: Xamarin.Forms is a simple API enabling developers to quickly and easily build shared user interface code for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Xamarin.Forms apps are completely native, and it is easy to mix-and-match Xamarin.Forms shared code UI with platform-specific nuances for complete control on each platform. Xamarin.Forms includes more than 40 controls, layouts, and other essential classes for developing compelling native user interfaces with shared code.
  • Improved code-sharing options for Xamarin apps: Xamarin 3 introduces two great new code-sharing techniques for cross-platform apps:
    • Shared Projects: Introduced at last month’s BUILD conference, Shared Projects provide a simple, clean approach to code sharing for cross-platform application developers. Xamarin developers can now use Shared Projects to share code across iOS, Android, and Windows in either Xamarin Studio or Visual Studio.
    • Portable Class Libraries: Portable Class Libraries offer a powerful mechanism for building libraries that are consumable across a diverse range of .NET runtimes, including Xamarin.iOS, Xamarin.Android, and Xamarin.Mac, as well as Windows Phone, Windows Store, and other .NET platforms. Xamarin Studio and Visual Studio support both the creation and consumption of PCLs in Xamarin projects.
  • Major enhancements to Xamarin Studio and Visual Studio
    • NuGet: Xamarin 3 includes full support for using NuGet packages in your mobile apps - in Visual Studio or Xamarin Studio - enabling you to take advantage of the many NuGet packages which are now shipping with Xamarin compatibility.
    • .NET BCL Documentation: Full documentation for the .NET Base Class Libraries (BCL) is now integrated into Xamarin Studio.
    • F# Support: Xamarin Studio now ships with built-in support for building iOS and Android apps using the increasingly popular F# functional programming language.

“Today, a large part of every business process and customer transaction happens on a mobile device,” said Nat Friedman, CEO and cofounder, Xamarin. “Xamarin’s unique approach of giving developers full native power combined with code-sharing agility, has already helped thousands of businesses successfully deliver on their mobile strategy. Xamarin 3 makes it even faster for developers to reach mobile users on all major platforms.”

For additional information on Xamarin 3, benefits and pricing visit: blog.xamarin.com where you can also sign up for an Introduction to Xamarin 3 webinar.

About Xamarin

Xamarin is the new standard for enterprise mobile development. No other platform enables businesses to reach 2.6 billion iOS, Android, Mac and Windows devices with 100 percent fully native apps from a single, shared code base. Xamarin is used by over 600,000 developers from more than 100 Fortune 500 companies to accelerate the creation of mission-critical consumer and enterprise apps. Xamarin’s global customer base in 120 countries includes Dow Jones, Bosch, McKesson, Halliburton, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cognizant, GitHub, Rdio and WebMD. Xamarin is a Visionary in Gartner’s 2013 Magic Quadrant report for Mobile Application Development Platforms. For more information, please visit: xamarin.com or follow us @xamarinhq.

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