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API Integrator Releases Xamarin SDKs for Visual Studio

API integration specialist CloudRail released SDKs for Xamarin developers coding Android and iOS apps in Visual Studio.

The German company added support for the cross-platform Xamarin platform to its existing portfolio of API integration services already available for native Android and iOS coding. CloudRail's SDKs are designed to simplify API management, enabling developers to quickly leverage a universe of third-party services in one consistent manner.

Helping to do that is the company's universal API approach -- or Unified Interfaces -- that bundles multiple, similar services into just one API. So, from within one app, developers can easily integrate their apps with services like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and Box, for a cloud storage example.

The company claims the universal API feature lets coders integrate with multiple providers in one category -- like storage -- in less time than otherwise would be required for just one integration. Single-service API integrations are also offered by the company.

API Integration Categories
[Click on image for larger view.] API Integration Categories (source: CloudRail).

In adding Xamarin to its product mix, CloudRail pointed out some perceived shortcomings of the Xamarin platform.

"While Xamarin makes it easy to develop cross platform, it's hard to develop well connected application on the platform," company CEO Felix Kollmar said in a blog post Wednesday. "Most apps today rely on several integrations with 3rd party service like Dropbox, Stripe, Facebook and many more.

"Native app developers can leverage several solutions and well maintained libraries to integrate these services very easily. On Xamarin it's a pain, since the only easy way doing it are so called Components, which only exist for a few services and are usually not well maintained. Of course there is also the possibility to call APIs directly, but this is so error prone and time consuming that most developers don't consider it an option."

Using the new Xamarin SDKs -- separated into Android and iOS versions -- involves downloading .dll files and adding them to a project via the solution References feature in Visual Studio.

CloudRail said it offers its SDKs for free without any limitations -- though OAuth services are branded in the free plan -- along with feature-added paid plans.

Using CloudRail still requires that developers sign up for the services being integrated in order to secure API keys to be used with the CloudRail APIs, though devs don't need to install the provider SDKs also.

In his own post titled "Why Xamarin Matters to Us," company developer evangelist Carsten Jacobsen said CloudRail added Xamarin to its portfolio in response to developer requests.

"Xamarin has experienced a very rapid growth, and about 1.4 million developers are now creating apps on the Xamarin platform," Jacobsen said. "Some of the benefits are shared code base for both iOS and Android apps, large C# developer community, fast time to market, cost effective, native-like user experience, close ties to the OS' API and since Xamarin was acquired by Microsoft, it has been adopted into their developer ecosystem -- like integration in Visual Studio."

SDKs for Android and iOS can be downloaded from GitHub.

The SDKs cover cloud storage, social profile, payment, e-mail, SMS and point of interest (POI) categories, with specific services including: Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, Facebook, GitHub, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Slack, Twitter, Windows Live, Yahoo, PayPal, Stripe, Mailjet, Sendgrid, Twilio, Nexmo, Google Places, Foursquare and Yelp.

About the Author

David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.

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