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Xamarin Adds Mobile App Security Features with IBM MobileFirst Protect

Xamarin Inc. is teaming up to integrate its cross-platform mobile development tools with IBM MobileFirst Protect security software.

Xamarin specializes in helping developers build apps targeting iOS, Android and Windows Phone (soon to be Windows Universal) platforms with a shared C# code base. The company last fall partnered with IBM to integrate with the MobileFirst solution portfolio for creating and continuously delivering mobile apps, with functionality for code scanning, testing and quality assurance.

The pact resulted in an IBM MobileFirst SDK for Xamarin, featuring a library of prebuilt software components that can be embedded in apps for connectivity, security and management functionality, along with MobileFirst add-ons for the Xamarin Studio and Visual Studio IDEs that help developers configure and access the IBM Worklight server from one environment.

Now the companies are expanding upon that initial integration to incorporate the MobileFirst Protect security features, available now.

"We've established interoperability with IBM MobileFirst Protect to provide our customers with more comprehensive methods for securely delivering high quality native iOS and Android apps," Xamarin exec Steve Hall said in a blog post last week. "This capability allows enterprises to wrap their Xamarin apps and leverage IBM MobileFirst Protect capabilities, such as: requiring an application PIN when using the protected application, jailbreak detection and using MobileFirst app tunneling for secure access to corporate data."

Developers will use the integration by uploading iOS and Android code packages to MobileFirst Protect to incorporate security policies for containerization and configuration. The protected apps are then distributed through the MobileFirst Protect portal.

"Developers write their apps in C#, and seamlessly connect them to IBM MobileFirst's data integration, notification, security and analytics capabilities -- all in C#, using IBM's native libraries for iOS and Android," Xamarin said.

Xamarin said MobileFirst Protect can also let coders restrict the ability of users to cut, copy, paste, or print content or use "open in" functionality in apps that aren't whitelisted.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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