When it comes to choosing between native app development or cross platform app development, developers prefer native apps for their look and feel and more importantly, because a native app can access native features of the phone. By making this choice, developers lose out on the enormous reach a cross platform app can provide. If you want to experience the best of both worlds, native experience and a wide reach, Xamarin is the tool for you. You can now create a ‘native’ app in every platform in the same time you would take to build one in a single platform.
Xamarin is a cross platform app development tool which can be used to build ‘native’ apps across the platforms Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. It allows you to create the feel of a native app by implementing native user interfaces specific to each platform. At the same time, you will be able to use the non-interface related code across platforms significantly reducing the amount of coding you will have to do. All you have to do is write a single shared C# codebank.
Xamarin brings Xamarin Studio for you, an free IDE for mobile app development for Mac and Windows. It boasts of unified search, powerful debugging support, code completion and so much more. You can also just use Visual Studio for Android and iOS. Xamarin supports all the tools, libraries and patterns that you are used to working with.
Xamarin however, does have it drawbacks. One major issue is that Xamarin apps have a built in overhead which significantly increases size. Hence it takes up more space on the device and takes longer to download. Another drawback of Xamarin, is the lack of portability of code outside the Xamarin environment. You cannot reuse tools you created using code you wrote for Xamarin for an HTML5 or native app. This can prove to be quite a handicap.
Xamarin has created a niche for itself in the cross platform app development community. With a large documentation and support system embracing Xamarin is now easier than ever before. The era for cross platform ‘native’ apps has begun.