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Xamarin Updates, Unifies Its APIs

Unified API at root of changes that will allow developers using Xamarin tools to simplify developing for 32- and 64-bit frameworks, as well as share code between Android and Apple apps.

Xamarin Inc. has already been making cross-device development a much simpler proposition for years, but the process can always be fine-tuned even further. It's to that end that Xamarin announced some significant updates to its Xamarin.Forms toolbox, mainly having to simplify the process of development that can span 32- and 64-bit apps.

New, specifically, is the development of a Unified API for Xamarin.Mac and Xamarin.iOS. The Unified API will allow Visual Studio developers via Mono (Mono is an open source implementation of the Microsoft .NET Framework, which happens to be sponsored by Xamarin) to create and support 32- and 64-bit apps from the same source on Mac and iOs platforms. The change has been in the works, as more apps continue to be written for 64-bit frameworks, especially with the launch of the iPhone 5s in late 2013.

The coding done behind the scenes for the Unified API allows code libraries and binaries to be shared easily among 32- and 64-bit apps. Xamarin CTO Miguel de Icaza points out in his blog that it also makes working with the 64-bit frameworks that Apple has been producing over the last year much more supportable. He also said that the company has developed a Lightweight Mobile Profile that's "designed to be linkable and have a much smaller footprint on disk than the regular desktop edition." The Mobile Profile is also designed to make it easier for code sharing among Android and iOS apps.

It's currently in beta testing, according to de Icaza, and there's more work to be done, such as Binding Project Types for making calls into native libraries, and the ability to call up Xamarin Components.

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