Top Advancements in Xamarin Framework You Should Know
Xamarin is a software company, a subsidiary of Microsoft, established in May 2011. Xamarin is also a well-known and powerful open-source app development framework being used widely to create apps for multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, and Windows created by this company.
Be it reusable codebase, rich UI library, or added functionalities of the .NET platform; the Xamarin framework has it all to enchant developers and propel them to create unique apps in minimal time.
According to Statista, Xamarin is one of the top five choices of software developers as a framework for creating cross-platform apps. In this post, we will be discussing Xamarin and some of its recent updates and advancements.
What is Xamarin?
Xamarin, as mentioned earlier, is an open-source app development framework that has been an ideal platform for developers to create excellent and robust cross-platform apps. The framework comes with a software development kit, an extension of the .NET framework which allows developers to build apps in C# and F# languages using Microsoft's Visual Studio IDE.
The platform also consists of a set of smaller frameworks or tools such as Xamarin. Forms, Xamarin.Essentials, Xamarin.Android, Xamarin.iOS, and many more. These tools make Xamarin a more inclusive SDK and help build cross-platform apps that feel and perform exactly like native apps with up to 90% code reusability across multiple platforms.
Brief History of Xamarin
Xamarin originally was a company established in 2011 that provided tools to create cross-platform apps using the C# language. The company created a set of products for building software for multiple platforms, including Mono, Mono for Android, and MonoTouch for iOS. Mono for Android allowed developers to create apps for Android in C# language, whereas MonoTouch assists in building apps for iOS in C# language.
In February 2016, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Xamarin, and since then, it has been integrated with Microsoft's Visual Studio and .NET framework. Visual Studio by Microsoft is an IDE (integrated development environment) that provides a set of tools to developers for creating apps and other software.
.NET is also an open-source platform that helps create cross-platform apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux, using a range of languages for any device. C#, F#, and Visual Basic are the three languages that this platform supports. Developers can use .Net to write and run apps for any device written in the three mentioned languages.
After the acquisition by Microsoft, there have been drastic changes and improvements in the old Xamarin framework. This infographic will give you more details about the key advancements added to the Xamarin framework that every developer must know.
Key Xamarin Updates Every Developer Must Know
Xamarin has seen many updates in recent years with astounding results and improvements for the developers. In this section, we'll be looking at some of the most recent advancements and alterations made in Xamarin frameworks. Before moving forward, let's talk about Xamarin.Forms, one of the most used and successful products by Xamarin.
Xamarin.Forms is one of the most successful products by Xamarin in the market today. Xamarin.Forms, according to the creators, is an open-source UI framework for devices like mobile, tablets, and desktops which supports multiple operating systems such as Android, iOS, and windows.
Xamarin.Forms integrated with Visual Studio allows developers to create native and cross-platform apps in minimal time thanks to its capability of code reusability by 90% across multiple platforms. Xamarin.Forms enable developers to write apps in C# and use it across various platforms.
Xamarin.Forms helps developers to build cross-platform apps that feel and perform like native apps. The integrated platform renderers convert UI elements into native controls for the Xamarin version respective to the platform, such as Android, iOS, or UWP.
Let's take a closer look at the most recent update in Xamarin.Forms and its key features.
Xamarin.Forms 5 is the latest version of Xamarin.Forms which comes with an astounding set of features that allow developers to create beautiful apps that provide rich interactive experiences. Let's check out some of the striking features or advancements implemented in Xamarin.Forms 5.0:
- The all-new features such as brushes, shapes and paths, platform graphics API, and many more bring a set of opportunities to the developers to create unique UI. Circle image has been quite a trend these days, and geometries can be used by clipping the unwanted element.
Moreover, features such as shapes and paths allow you to draw any element you wish to make your UI more creative and rich. The best part about this platform graphics APIs is that they don't contribute to increasing the overall size of the mobile app.
- RadioButton is a tool that developers can use in their codes when they want the users to choose a set of options from a range of items. Moreover, developers can provide images representing the set of options to choose from to make the UI more interactive and accessible.
- CarouselView is an important feature that allows developers to make their UI more distinctive and exciting. When implemented in the database, this feature will display the contents under this control by default in horizontal orientation. A single item is shown on the screen, which can be clicked to access its contents in more detail. Other items may be partly visible on the screen, which can also be accessed by swiping left or right to make them appear on the main screen.
- Features like SwipeView, a container control that wraps the content and provides users with a menu of those items that can be accessed by a swipe gesture. Another feature that makes the UI super controllable for the users is the Drag-and-Drop gesture, which allows users to drag an element from one onscreen location to another.
Xamarin.Android is a product by Xamarin that allows developers to build native Android apps in visual studio in either of the C# or F# languages for Android operating systems. Let's check out some of the recent advancements implemented in the newest version, Xamarin.Android 12.
Xamarin.Android 12 is the latest and most advanced version of Xamarin.Android. This version extends its support to Android 12, thus allowing developers to create compatible xamarin apps and reap the benefits of the latest and most advanced operating systems.
Xamarin.Android allows developers to use the native features of the Android 12 operating system and an all-new set of features such as more robust security, enhanced protection, and a more dynamic and brilliant UI. The new features that come with Android 12 are bold text, area magnification, extra dim, location privacy, and much more.
Just as Xamarin.Android provides Android SDK to the developers for Android app development, Xamarin.iOS provides iOS SDK to developers to build apps compatible with the iOS operating system. With the support of the .NET framework's Base Class Library, developers can create interactive and unique apps.
Moreover, Xamarin.iOS, unlike Xamarin.Android provides two IDEs for developers to work with, Visual Studio and Visual Studio for Mac. Xamarin.iOS 14 is the latest version of this framework for iOS. Let's talk about some of the most important features and changes brought by Xamarin for this platform.
Xamarin.iOS 14 is the latest version of Xamarin.iOS that brings the best features of iOS 14 for the developers in this app development framework. Some of the best features in this version are as follows:
- Addition of a new UI toolkit control, UIColorWell. UIColorWell is a UI controller that allows developers to pick the color easily they want using a dropper or by entering the values corresponding to that color.
- Xamarin.iOS 14 allows developers to embed WidgetKit extensions built from Swift language into the iOS apps.
- Xamarin.iOS 14 also supports watchOS 7, a version of the apple watch released in late 2020.
What Makes Xamarin So Special?
Just like every framework has some benefits and drawbacks, Xamarin too has a range of benefits and, at the same time, some loopholes. But the Xamarin group has, through the years, solved most of these loopholes in their frameworks with the release of every new update.
Today with constant updates and meaningful and innovative additions in the framework, Xamarin has emerged as a leading framework suitable for affordable native and cross-platform app development. Let's check out some unique features of Xamarin SDK;
Top Alternatives to Xamarin
Several robust and efficient open-source cross-platform app development frameworks are available in the market apart from Xamarin. Ionic, react native, apache Cordova and Flutter are some of the prominent cross-platform app development frameworks. Let’s check out some major differences between these platforms.
GoodFirms Opinion: Xamarin is an ideal framework for native and cross-platform app development in minimal time and cost.
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