New Xamarin Toolset Links Visual Studio, iOS Development

The company said Xamarin 2.0 offers a bridge between one of the largest developer bases in the world and the two most successful mobile operating systems.

"The Microsoft developer ecosystem is sizeable and most would appreciate the ability to leverage their hard-earned C# development skills to write apps for iOS and Android," said IDC analyst Al Hilwa, in an email to CRN. "The new [integrated development environment] is a significant step forward for Xamarin and for those developers who are plugged into the Visual Studio IDE. There is now support for them with the new offering."

[Related: New Progress OpenEdge Release Expands Mobile App Development Options ]

With its first release, Xamarin built up a base of 230,000 developers who use the toolset to build native mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. A great deal of application development work today has shifted from desktop PCs to mobile devices: Gartner forecasts that by 2015 the ratio of mobile app development vs. PC app development will be four-to-one.

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Xamarin said many mobile software development projects are delayed because of both the technical complexities inherent in cross-platform development and a "severe shortage of developers" skilled in the specific development languages of each mobile platform.

Xamarin unifies native iOS, Android and Mac development in the C# programming language. The 2.0 release brings Microsoft developers into the picture with the new Xamarin.iOS for Visual Studio, which lets Visual Studio programmers build iOS, Android and Windows apps using one toolset.

Also new in the 2.0 release is the Xamarin Studio integrated development environment, which is integrated with the new Xamarin Component Store to provide a way for developers to acquire code and native user-interface controls from third-party libraries. Xamarin is also offering a free "starter edition" of the development toolset.

Xamarin launched a partner program four months ago and the company has enlisted more than 35 consulting partners.