We recap the Progress Xamarin webinar on native to cross-platform mobile development. Catch the replay and check out the extended Q&A we couldn't get to live.
For most parts of the world, summer is slowly coming to an end. You’ve made some memories and hopefully refreshed yourself with some travel. Time to get back to work with renewed energy and get things done. And if you have kids, they’re probably heading back to school, buying you just a little extra time each day. Perfect time to brush up on that hobbyist mobile app that you were plotting. Or get cracking on that enterprise LOB mobile app that your company desperately needs.
If you’re a .NET developer, Xamarin offers a really enticing way to build mobile apps. You get to write apps that are truly native and truly cross-platform—all from a single codebase of C# and XAML, if using Xamarin.Forms. And we at Progress, continue making the best Telerik UI for .NET ninjas, like yourself—we’re in the business of making developers successful. And sure enough, we love Xamarin and will help you augment your development experience to ship apps faster.
On Aug 16th, Xamarin MVP Matthew Soucoup and yours truly Sam Basu, co-hosted a webinar for mobile developers—in particular, those on the Xamarin technology stack. Yes there were slides, but demo gods were happy with us as well. We talked about various mobile strategies, like Mobile Web, Native, Hybrid, JS Native and Xamarin. Mobile app UIs discussed ranged from native to completely cross-platform with platform abstractions—and solutions that straddle the line between two. As for Xamarin, we broke down some myths about Xamarin.iOS/Android vs Xamarin.Forms and talked about edge solutions like Native Embedding or Custom Renderers.
If you joined us for the webinar, a sincere thank you and hope you enjoyed the hour-long honest developer conversations. In case you missed it, you can relive the webinar in its entirety—high definition recording available now.
What’s a Progress webinar without some awesome prizes? Most geeks are into aviation and it’s an awesome time to be alive when you can fly around your personal sophisticated drones. So our picks for prizes this time were two awesome drones—each with its own character.
Congrats winners. Hope you enjoy your prizes!
Hosting webinars is hard work. We did it because we’re excited about mobile development on Xamarin stack and want fellow developers to be successful. One of the most enjoyable aspects of our webinars is the audience interaction and Q/A all throughout. We appreciate developers bringing up real-world questions and concerns on the latest technologies.
While we tried to answer as many questions as we could on air, here’s an excerpt of some short Q/A topics that were important to resurface:
Q: What’s the difference between Xamarin and NativeScript?
Q: Do you fully support UWP platform?
A: Yes, Xamarin as a platform and Telerik UI for Xamarin suite both have full support for UWP. This means your Xamarin apps with polished Telerik UI can run on any Windows device.
Q: How do Xamarin apps handle platform-specific device sensor APIs?
A: Use the vast collection of Xamarin Plugins or grab reusable bits from the Xamarin Component Store.
Q: Is performance a concern for Xamarin apps?
A: Xamarin apps are truly native to each platform and performance shouldn’t be an impediment. Xamarin apps are cross-compiled down to native iOS/Android/Windows binaries for Store deployment and UI renders native controls for each platform. That said, developers should always be attentive to not add overheads with app’s business logic and UI that is complicated to render.
Q: Can I render web assets inside a WebView for Xamarin apps?
A: Technically, yes, But you should not overdo it since that is not the purpose of Xamarin. If you are invested into web technologies, you should look at JS Native apps.
Q: Can I target BlackBerry with Xamarin?
A: While there are some solutions like MonoBerry, we also stand by to give you free hugs if you’re having to support BlackBerry devices.
Q: Can Native Embedding be done in Xamarin PCL projects?
A: For now, you can do Native Embedding from Shared projects for your Xamarin apps, since PCLs do not support platform-specific #if-defines.
Q: Is Xamarin.Forms only for simple LOB apps?
A: While that was the initial goal, Xamarin.Forms as a technology has come a long way and the community is stepping up as well. With native embedding and custom renderers, Xamarin.Forms can help you build sophisticated UI across platforms.
Q: Does Xamarin.Forms offer a GUI designer like Blend?
A: No. However, there is now a pretty good XAML Previewer built into Visual Studio—helps to see the UI tree render as you type up XAML. GUI tools also have limitations when it comes to complex UIs, while XAML is very powerful.
Q: When will .NET Standard 2.0 be supported in Xamarin.Forms?
A: .NET Standard library consumption is already supported in Xamarin.Forms. .NET Standard 2.0 just came out and it covers a much larger API surface area. Expect Xamarin.Forms support to catch up soon.
Q: Are any of the demos shown hosted online?
A: Sure thing—here and here.
Q: Does Telerik UI for Xamarin support smart watches and TVs?
A: Telerik UI for Xamarin provides polished UI controls for Xamarin.iOS/Android and Xamarin.Forms, all rendering native UI for each platform. Xamarin, as a framework, supports smart watches and TVs—you just need to design your apps for the form factor, and yes, you can use Telerik UI everywhere.
Q: Thanks for your time! Webinar was really informative! #HeyTelerik – via tweet.
A: Appreciate the love.
There are tons of useful links to point out, but it is sometimes best to start @ the main technology pages. From there, you can drill down to features, demos and docs. So here goes:
Xamarin has truly democratized mobile development for .NET developers. With the new .NET and cross-platform tools, you can target apps running on any platform and get code re-usability. With advancements in Xamarin.Forms, your app UI can be completely abstracted or straddle the line between native or cross-platform. Native embedding and custom renderers allows for versatility and building sophisticated UI for each mobile platform.
And as you are building professional Xamarin apps, Telerik UI for Xamarin is here to augment your development experience. Stop reinventing the wheel and ship your apps faster with polished performant UI out of the box. Stay classy and have fun building your mobile apps!
Sam Basu is a technologist, author, speaker, Microsoft MVP, gadget-lover and Progress Developer Advocate for Telerik products. With a long developer background, he now spends much of his time advocating modern web/mobile/cloud development platforms on Microsoft/Telerik technology stacks. His spare times call for travel, fast cars, cricket and culinary adventures with the family. You can find him on the internet.