Taking C# and Xamarin Everywhere
From Visual Studio Live!: Microsoft's Xamarin guy James Montemagno described the combination of C# and Xamarin as the perfect mobile platform.
Certain combinations just make sense, and C# and Xamarin are certainly one of those combinations. James Montemagno is widely known as the Xamarin guy and his message during his keynote session at Visual Studio Live! was quite clear--he wants C# and Xamarin to be running everywhere. Montemagno delivered the Wednesday morning keynote at the Anaheim Visual Studio Live! event, which ran from September 26-29 at the Anaheim Hyatt Regency.
Montemagno, a principal project manager on the Xamarin team for Microsoft, started off his keynote introducing his background in Xamarin and C#. "I started building Xamarin apps five years ago," he says. "One thing hasn't changed: I love C#. It's the best language ever. I took a class in C# once and then fell in love with it. We have an amazing community of developers."
He had a similar experience when he was first introduced to Xamarin. "From the first time I had written my first mobile app in C#, I nearly fell over," he says. "I couldn't believe all this was possible all from within my favorite IDE, Visual Studio."
Montemagno describes the combination of C# and Xamarin as the perfect platform for mobile development. "Think about what C# and Xamarin did. We made C# the best language for all mobile development on every single platform by giving you the ability to create truly native apps across iOS, Android, and Windows. You can share code across everything, but never lose that native goodness and access to every single API for iOS, Android and Mac."
He continued describing the primary benefits of C# and Xamarin for mobile development: access to plug-ins and any other feature of Visual Studio, and the ability to share code and the extension across platforms, among them. "Anything you want to do, you can do. You can use all the power of your IDE using all your favorite plugins. If you want the Azure plugin, you have it. Everything is available to you immediately."
Sharing code is another compelling factor. "Who wants to write the same HTTP request three different times in three different languages and test it with three different testing frameworks?" he asks.
And there's the ability to create code for multiple platforms. "You can think about it like this," Montemagno says. "Xamarin embraced and extended .NET and brought C# to every single device we could possibly want to deploy on, whether it's on our wrist, TV or iPad. It brings C# truly everywhere."
And it's not a watered down version of anything that extends across platforms. "So we have .NET and the .NET runtime we've been coding against for years, and we've been restricted to the Windows platform," he says. "What Xamarin did was bring all that .NET goodness over to iOS so you get all that .NET that's shared across all platforms. It's still .NET tried and true and enterprise grade, but running on that tiny phone or android device."
After extolling the virtues of C# and Xamarin, Montemagno moved into some live demonstrations that showed the introductory workbook exercises and creating a cross-platform app. "Sharing .NET code is great, but we also wanted to share all those APIs. So now that Xamarin is part of Microsoft, we've extended that story everywhere humanly possible. We've brought C# everywhere," he says. "We have C# and .NET everywhere and it's going to run amazing. Everything I'm going to show you today is free--completely free. And not only is it free, but it's all open source."
Montemagno then led the crowd through a couple of the workbook exercises that come with the self-guided Xamarin University, creating a .NET app within the browser and a WPF app. He pointed out the ability to learn by doing with these workbooks. "We have all these workbooks available. Just start playing around with it," he says. "You saw how to build an iOS and Android app in Xamarin studio by playing around with workbooks. We want to take C# everywhere, and the one thing we do with Xamarin is give you same technology we use."
The next Visual Studio Live! event take place as part of Live! 360, which also includes TechMentor, SQL Server Live!, the newly renamed Office and SharePoint Live!, Modern Apps Live! and the new AppDevTrends conference. Live! 360 takes place in Orlando, FL December 5-9. For more information, check here.
Lafe Low has been a technology editor and writer for more than 25 years. Most recently, he was the editor in chief of TechNet magazine. He has also held various editorial positions with Redmond magazine, CIO magazine and InfoWorld. He also launched his own magazine entitled Explore New England, and has published four editions of his guidebook The Best in Tent Camping: New England.