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Xamarin's Impact on the Death of Project Astoria

Predictably, Microsoft has pulled the plug on the Windows Bridge for Android, now that the company is absorbing Xamarin. Xamarin's cross-platform development capabilities can already be used to port Windows apps to the Android marketplace.

The writing has been on the wall for some time for Project Astoria, Microsoft's Windows Bridge for Android. And with Microsoft's plan to acquire Xamarin, it looks like the project has been killed. That's according to Kevin Gallo, Vice President of the Windows Developer Platform, who blogged on the status of the project last week.

"We received a lot of feedback that having two Bridge technologies to bring code from mobile operating systems to Windows was unnecessary, and the choice between them could be confusing," said Gallo."We have carefully considered this feedback and decided that we would focus our efforts on the Windows Bridge for iOS and make it the single Bridge option for bringing mobile code to all Windows 10 devices, including Xbox and PCs." Gallo said that developers who "spent time investigaing the Android bridge" should look at Xamarin's solutions moving forward.

While lots of developer and community activity surrounded the bridge projects, like Project Islandwood for iOS, after they were introduced at the company's Build event in late April/early May 2015, Astoria had faced a number of setbacks soon after it was introduced. Even as Microsoft solicited feedback and community involvement, it already appeared that work on that specific bridge piece had effectively gone dark just a month later. Comments related to a May 10 post about the project that went unanswered only fueled speculation.

That speculation crested in November, when a report from Windows Central, which is cited in this Redmondmag.com report from Chris Paoli, noted that "multiple inside sources have confirmed that the project has been put on hold and that 'the Android app porting is not going as planned.' "

What was causing the issues is anyone's guess, but a report from ADTmag.com's David Ramel pointed to several comments on Stack Overflow and Quora that called into question dodgy emulation performance, issues that Ramel confirmed in his own work with it. As Ramel noted at the time: "That's something I -- and thousands of other Java developers working on Android apps from a Windows machine -- could have confirmed ahead of time. Android emulation using the Eclipse IDE with the Android Development Tools (ADT) plugin was horrible."

For Gallo to suggest that developer who want to continue working with Windows-to-Android app porting start to use Xamarin is a good indication that Microsoft no longer intends to ignore this important apps niche.

About the Author

You Tell 'Em, Readers: If you've read this far, know that Michael Domingo, Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief, is here to serve you, dear readers, and wants to get you the information you so richly deserve. What news, content, topics, issues do you want to see covered in Visual Studio Magazine? He's listening at mdomingo@1105media.com.

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