When I had reviewed Xamarin 2, I remember thinking, ‘It definitely doesn’t get better than this!’. I was wrong. Last month Xamarin, one of the most popular cross-platform app development tools, released their latest version: Xamarin 3. This release saw the announcement of Xamarin Designer and Xamarin.Forms. Let us take a closer look into this development tool and examine what this new version brings us.
Nearly 2 years after releasing one for Android, Xamarin has finally brought out a UI designer for iOS . Xamarin Designer runs both on its own Studio IDE and on Visual Studio. This can be used instead of Xcode to design hybrid apps without losing out on the “iOS feel”. One thing that really impresses about this Designer is the intuitive event handling. You can also now see your app as you build it right on the design surface. The auto-layout, live preview of custom controls and easy usability make development hassle free.
Most importantly, you can now build your iOS application from your Windows machine without using Mac.
Xamarin was hugely successful because of the way it separated application logic from the interface. This provided the developer with the ability to use the same application logic across platforms while maintaining unique UIs for each platform giving it a native feel. However, while developing large apps this can prove to be quite cumbersome. Individually writing code for the Interface for each platform will take too much time and effort. The new API gives you about 40 different controls that are available across platforms. You can simply put together everything you want and work with it, without having to worry about each platform separately. These are linked to native controls at run-time, making your app completely native.
Xamarin 3 brings a whole new set of exciting IDE features, a new welcome screen, hundreds of new icons and a lot more. It has improved and developed its Android and iOS extensions into a single streamlined Visual Studio extension with easy installation, updates and debugging. It also provides full support for using NuGet packages, supports F#, has a complete .NET BCL documentation and has an improved code sharing system.
Xamarin 3 has permanently blurred the lines between Native and Hybrid apps by allowing you to create native apps over multiple platforms. Thus, Xamarin 3 has evolved into the ideal development tool.