Industry Insight,

Beauty in Simplicity: Xamarin for Better Mobile App Development

Building mobile apps is the core of our business. We’re experts in creating simple, elegant mobile solutions to transform the way our clients interact with their customers and employees and provide them with a seamless, uniform experience, whatever mobile device and platform they’re using, whether it’s iOS or Android.

What’s So Great About Xamarin?

Building mobile apps is the core of our business. We’re experts in creating simple, elegant mobile solutions to transform the way our clients interact with their customers and employees and provide them with a seamless, uniform experience, whatever mobile device and platform they’re using, whether it’s iOS or Android.

In the not too recent past, in order to achieve this, developers needed to write code in language specific to each operating system. For iOS, it was Swift or Objective-C; for Android, it was Java — completely different programming environments and approaches that require developers to possess a high degree of specialization. Typically, our developers would build first for iOS and work out the kinks, then write a whole second app for Android, with its own phase of testing and refining and ongoing troubleshooting (is it any wonder developers never seem to sleep?).

Xamarin has turned this siloed approach on its head. Xamarin is a Microsoft framework that allows developers to write the programming in one place and share it over different device platforms so that no matter what the device, the app is indistinguishable from its native counterpart. (Microsoft bought Xamarin in 2016, fives years after it was started by the engineers who created early-generation cross-platform tools.)

Simply, Xamarin has moved us inexorably toward a universal language and framework. Its beauty lies in its relative simplicity: It allows developers to program native apps with native user interfaces using only one programming language – C# – and one framework – .Net – and share that code across multiple platforms, providing a uniformity to the user experience no matter what device is employed.

In aggregate, Xamarin’s benefits cut project timelines for testing and implementation up to 75% — a time and cost savings we pass on to our clients.

For our clients and our programmers, this is huge plus. First, Xamarin saves a huge amount of time invested in the process of writing code. With just one language — C# — Xamarin allows a programmer to write one code base, then disseminate everywhere. Making updates and adding functionality are done in one place. Xamarin also gives us the ability to publish an application simultaneously on all platforms (rather than testing the first iteration on one platform, then incorporating lessons learned into a second version for the other platform).  

“We didn’t immediately jump on the Xamarin bandwagon. We went through a thorough analysis and vetting process to make sure it would be of value to our customers. What ultimately sold us was the cost savings for them. Saving money, saving time, and getting to market faster.” – Jesse McCabe, CEO, Solid Digital

Xamarin has transformed the way we develop apps for our clients. Learn how we employed it for our client MSCI.

Why We Love Xamarin: Our Top Five Reasons

  1. We can build apps for any mobile platform using one language and one framework. Xamarin’s cross-platform portability does the heavy lifting for our programmers by enabling them to write a single code base for any app which it then “translates” across iOS, Android, and Windows platforms. While there are other cross-platform tools available today, from our experience, C# and .Net are simply more pleasant to use — you can write large code bases, refactor code and debug easier, and have a high assurance that what you’re writing will actually work.
  2. We can build cross-platform apps that fully function as native. With Xamarin, any iOS or Android developer can write code and leverage native SDKs they’re already familiar with.
  3. We can provide a consistent user experience across all platforms. Xamarin allows us to create an app with the native look and feel of a specific platform without being completely unique to it. Because Xamarin eliminates the need to build separate apps for separate platforms, we can go to market much more quickly — which provides great value to our clients.
  4. Maintenance and updates are easier. With Xamarin’s single code base, whenever issues arise, we are able to make changes in one place rather than in multiple locations with separate code bases — a huge savings in time and headaches.
  5. Excellent tools and support. The Xamarin SDK is built on an open-source foundation, which enables continuous improvements of the tools by the developers who use them everyday. Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform and its Visual Studio App Center enables developers to have an integrated experience building and deploying an app, testing the UI, monitoring feedback and how users are experiencing it in real time, and making tweaks along the way—all toward our ultimate goal: to create the best user experience possible.
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