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Why 'Xamarin' is the future of mobile for Microsoft

That could be the answer to Microsoft's infamous "app gap" problem. To say that Microsoft has had a hard time convincing developers to develop for Windows phone and the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) would be an understatement.

The Windows Store has always lagged significantly behind the App Store and Google Play. Sadly, even after the introduction of Windows 10 and OneCore (and the anticipated boost they could have provided), the Windows Store still boasts less than half the apps Apple's and Google's platforms offer.

Developers don't love Windows. Can Microsoft mend the relationship?

The app gap trap

Data proves most people spend most of their time with just six core apps, rarely search app stores, and many of the millions of apps in the top app stores are never downloaded. Despite these facts the warehouse of apps model still dominates. As such, developers are compelled to get their apps into the App Store and Google Play, due to the hundreds of millions of mobile users to whom those stores cater.

Sadly, Microsoft has very little smartphone audience to speak of. Thus, even with over 400 million Windows users, primarily on PCs, Microsoft has not been able to make a compelling argument to mobile-motivated developers to develop for the UWP. Moreover, Microsoft's Windows on phone strategy is currently in a state of transition.

An enduring lack of new first-party devices invokes further doubts in developers' minds about the future of Windows on mobile. The past failings and the current state of Windows phone seem to solidify the notion that there are only two distinct platforms in the mobile space worth targeting: iOS and Android.

What Android and iPhone users need to know about Windows phone

Despite the challenges that Microsoft has faced in the smartphone space, I believe its leadership is convinced that it has a strategy for mobile. As a provider of a range of development tools, Microsoft is positioned to elevate Windows to the same priority level as iOS and Android in the minds of developers. With Xamarin, Microsoft can create a single mobile target and "universal" app development platform. (Xamarin is a company founded by CEO Miguel de Icaza and CTO Nat Friedman in 2012, and it gives developers the tools to use C# to share code across various mobile platforms such as Windows, iOS and Android.)

Before it does, however, it must reassure developers that Windows still has a position in mobile.

Still in the mobile game

Given the news of Microsoft's move out of producing phone hardware, the quarterly "Windows phone is dead" articles have made their ritualistic appearances. Despite what you may have read, Microsoft's Windows on phone strategy continues unhindered.

No Windows phone isn't dead and it may never die

First, Microsoft is still developing the platform that runs on mobile hardware. Thus, OEM partners such as HP, Alcatel and any other OEM who wishes to, can continue to use Windows to power mobile hardware. Second, I have persistently argued that the next phase of Microsoft's Windows on mobile vision would not be a phone, but an ultramobile PC with telephony.

Microsoft's Surface phone should be much more than a phone

This category defining, Continuum-powered device will, in my estimation, be running full Windows on ARM with Cshell. Microsoft no longer making "phone" hardware makes perfect sense from this perspective. Third, I've argued that full-Windows, always-connected cellular PCs, which are expected later this year, would serve as a segue from Microsoft's current Windows 10 Mobile phone-focused paradigm to the full Windows 10 on ARM ultramobile PCs I envision.

Cellular PCs are part of Microsoft's mobile strategy to move always-connected and eventually telephony-enabled PCs into the mobile, not smartphone, space. Thus, Windows is still a viable mobile platform for developers to build for despite the erroneous claims that Microsoft is leaving mobile.

At the Build developer conference this year, Microsoft will likely stress the coming OEM-supported category of highly mobile cellular PCs (no mention of the subsequent ultramobile PCs or Surface "phone" is expected) to draw developer attention to the company's current phase of Windows in its mobile play.

Microsoft hooking developers into the company's narrative for the mobility of Windows is key to Microsoft winning developers to its Xamarin-enabled development vision.

What is Xamarin?

Xamarin had been an active partner with Microsoft up to its acquisition by the Redmond company in 2016. Freidman said the following of the acquisition:

We founded Xamarin more than [four] years ago with the mission to make native mobile development fast, easy, and fun and to help C# developers build beautiful mobile apps and reach billions of devices. We love the native iOS, Android, and Mac APIs and we love C#, and this acquisition is an ideal next step for us and for our customers.

Nat Friedman, CEO and cofounder of Xamarin; Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group; and Miguel de Icaza, CTO and cofounder of Xamarin.

Nat Friedman, CEO and cofounder of Xamarin; Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group; and Miguel de Icaza, CTO and cofounder of Xamarin.

The companies' shared visions are to enable developers to use a comprehensive singular development tool to develop apps for multiple platforms. "Write once, publish everywhere" is the central and ambitious vision. Microsoft's Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise group shared Microsoft's perspective of the acquisition (opens in new tab):

With today's acquisition announcement we will be taking this work much further to make our world-class developer tools and services even better with deeper integration and seamless mobile app dev experiences. The combination of Xamarin, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services, and Azure provides a complete mobile app dev solution that provides everything you need to develop, test, deliver and instrument mobile apps for every device.

With Xamarin as an integral part of its app development platform, Microsoft is positioned to provide developers with the tools to target Windows, iOS and Android as a single composite mobile platform. Such a Herculean task will require more than explaining the merits of the tools to developers, however.

Microsoft has to embrace the challenging task of composing a message that changes the way mobile is perceived by mobile-focused developers who see the term as strictly Android and iOS.

Xamarin, one mobile platform to rule them all

Microsoft has positioned itself as a platform company and has a goal to provide users with the tools to "do more." I believe that Microsoft wants to position itself as a dev box to help mobile developers do more than target the disparate mobile platforms that are iOS and Android.

The personal computing landscape is increasingly one where a user's digital experience not only transition from device to device but also moves across ecosystems. For instance, many people have a Windows PC but also use a mix of Microsoft and other apps on iPhones and Android phones.

The personal computing space is not a hodgepodge of disparate segments, as it may seem. With Microsoft's cross-platform development efforts and efforts to integrate Android and iOS into the Windows ecosystem, it is clear that the cloud-supported personal computing space is becoming less about distinct platforms.

Composing the single development platform message

I believe that Microsoft should arrest this message on the development side of the equation.

Currently, when developers think about developing for mobile, Windows is rarely a consideration. If it is considered, it's often as a second tier priority, if an individual's or company's resources will allow.

The app bridges, though well-intentioned, reinforce this thought pattern as they beckon developers to take their first-tier iOS and Android code and convert it to the "second-tier" UWP. In essence, the bridge philosophy does nothing to raise Windows to a first-tier consideration in the minds of developers. It supports the continued thinking of three distinct mobile platforms, of which iOS and Android are the targets and Windows is an "if-you-want-to-but-don't-really-have-to" platform.

Microsoft must compose a Xamarin message that eradicates the platform distinctions.

As all mobile platforms are designed to offer the same fundamental mobile experience, I submit that an ideological eradication of platform distinctions is (or should be) Microsoft's goal. In other words, Microsoft needs to change how developers think of mobile.

To raise Windows to a first-tier target the company needs to encourage developers to see mobile as a single target that is a Windows-iOS-Android composite rather than three distinct platforms. With Xamarin, Microsoft has the tools to do just that (opens in new tab):

In conjunction with Visual Studio, Xamarin provides a rich mobile development offering that enables developers to build mobile apps using C# and deliver fully native mobile app experiences to all major devices – including iOS, Android, and Windows.

Positioning the 'universal' app development platform

As an industry-wide provider of development tools, Microsoft could promote Xamarin to the millions of developers who are currently writing apps for iOS and Android, as well as Windows. Ideally, Microsoft will have put in the investments to make Xamarin a powerful, desirable, efficient and accessible development tool to encourage developers to use this single tool for cross-platform development.

If successfully positioned both technically and ideologically, Microsoft could encourage iOS and Android developers to use Xamarin to continue with their mobile development objectives while "seamlessly" incorporating Windows into that vision.

If this is Microsoft's strategy, the company likely hopes that developers who are inclined to use Windows as a development platform will be enticed to target Windows as an app platform. Though changing minds is an ambitious goal, this strategy has the potential to alter the perception that iOS and Android are synonymous with mobile.

If Microsoft is successful, "mobile" will be seen as a single Windows-iOS-Android platform, and Microsoft with Xamarin will be regarded as the industry's development platform for that newly defined mobile target.

Build 2017 is around the corner. Along with a push of project Centennial to bring Win32 apps to cellular PCs and eventually an ultramobile PC, I expect a strong push toward Xamarin this year.

What are your thoughts on a potential positioning of Xamarin as a universal app development platform?

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

72 Comments
  • Thanks for reading folks! Xamarin is potentially Microsoft's way of creating a single Windows-iOS-Android development platform and mobile target. If successful this would elevate Windows to the same priority level as iOS and Android in the minds of developers since they will see "mobile" as a single composite mobile target rather than three disparate platforms. Combined with a Project Centennial push to modernize Win32 apps as I argued last year: https://twitter.com/JLTechWord/status/859050749749284865 I expect MS to stress Xamarin at this years Build. What are your thoughts? LET'S TALK!!!
  • Here's the issue: There are only two platforms developers bother to target (iOS, Android), so the theoretical maximal benefit one could get from adopting something like Xamarin is 50%.  Of course, even right now, most assets can be used on both platforms, and so the benefit is much, much less than 50%.  Combine that with the fact that Xamarin is woefully limited in its "write once, run anywhere" capabilities--can't write a "good" app in Xamarin that will run anywhere--and it this strategy makes no sense.
  • Xamarin is much like Cordova, a great way to do some apps efficiently. And it does somewhat lower the barrier for creating a UWP app, but I doubt most will still bother, not yet anyway.
  • Agreed. When MS starts developing MOST of their own apps with Xamarin, including their most important properties, that's when I think articles like this become believable. That's when we'll be able to consider Xamarin a generally applicable solution. Until then the opinion expressed here is IMO just wishful thinking. MS currently can't even convince themselves to use Xamarin on a wider scale. Right now, that says everything developers need to know. It's not useless, but at least for now, it's a niche solution.
  • I disagree Xamarin is much like Cordova.  While the end goal is the same, how the two platforms go about it is vastly different... so much so that we're rewriting our existing Cordova app in Xamarin.
  • @ajj3085 Your second scentence starts off with "while the end goal is the same". It could be argued that means you actually do agree with Bloodbed. The goal is, after all, more important than the technicalities of how we get there. In that way Cordova is much like Xamarin. IMHO Xamarin is a great solution for a limited set of scenarios. Cordova and Xamarin are also similar in that way.
  • When I hear assets (I'm a software developer), I think things like icons, images, sounds, etc.  Not code.  And code is going to be around 99% of the application.  Cutting development time in half IS a huge deal.  We're actually using Xamarin now to (re)develop our b2b app for iOS and Android.  And while we're not planning to release the UWP app to the Windows store at this point, its actually what we're using to run the application locally as its the least friction way to run and debug.  In what what is Xamarin "woefully limited?"  If there's something you need to do that's not exposed by Forms, you can access the Android/iOS APIs through the .Net wrappers.
  • I'll be at //build and am hoping they have some cool surprises, but the problem with Xamarin historically is that for basic apps with lists you scroll through, buttons, etc. it's great. As your app gets more complex you need to override the Xamarin rendering to be a native one for particular views (e.g. Objective-C, Java, Swift, etc.) and depending on the number of those views you start turning your app into separate apps that have code native to iOS, native to Android, native to Windows and have some small amount of common C# code. For the work my mobile coworkers do, that was still too fragmented. They used Xamarin for a while, but shifted to common/shared C++ libraries instead of C#/Xamarin and otherwise going native to each platform. There's a huge market out there for apps that don't need to be super complex, but unless/until Xamarin can do a lot more, a good chunk of apps don't make sense to develop with it.
  • I think, that when we start thinking mobile Windows as tablets and laptops with touch screens, we start to see the light. Many commentets are fixed to WP and WM...
    iPad is not a phone, and boy, does it have apps. Phones are just a part (though big part) of mobile development and usage.
  • I mentioned in one of your earlier articles as well. Xamarin is not a magic tool its quite limited for any complex development and devs would prefer to go native to have full control.
  • You can make native views and code behind using Xamarin + MvvmCross.
    The behavior and the logic of the app (the biggest part, usually) are still shared.
  • Hi techiez I aware Xamarin has limitations, but my analysis considers the fact that settings such as BUILD are opportunities where MS shares work that it has done on it's platform to bring improvements to recognized limitations or shortcomings of is tools. It is with the following excerpt from the article that I attempted to acknowledge that I realize there are limits and MS role in address them: "Ideally, Microsoft will have put in the investments to make Xamarin a powerful, desirable, efficient and accessible development tool to encourage developers to use this single tool for cross-platform development. If successfully positioned both technically and ideologically, Microsoft could encourage iOS and Android developers to use Xamarin to continue with their mobile development objectives while "seamlessly" incorporating Windows into that vision."
  • Well no one cares abt windows store so irrespective of what ms does with xamarin it will not help. Just look at win10s. Both wc n the fans are looking at it as an cheap way to upgrade to pro but dont want to look at it as it is i.e. an store apps only OS. Why?? Simple - lack of apps..
  • I'm guessing you don't actually DO software development.  I'm ok giving up control if it means I don't have to maintain two separate applications in two different languages.  I'm willing to bet there are a lot of other developers that agree.
  • There isn't the magic bullet. Xamarin helps, but not like it will reverse things. First of all, even top Windows apps earn less than 100$ a month. At that point it is questionable whethere someone will bother to create screenshots and the store description etc. Second, Xamarin has two tastes - Xamarin.Forms and Xamarin that really uses the native interface. Only the first can fairly easily (but far from automatic in most cases) build UWP apps together with other platforms. But it is fairly limited and ends up with ****** apps - may work for Pepsi but not if you build a real app, not just an extension of your business. Last fully native Xamarin is a very hard way - you have to know native Android, iOS and Windows very well. Most devs don't. You will probably fist build iOS app see how it works and then switch to other systems. Your gain is only if you really switch to other systems. If you don't then it is harder than if you used swift. Anyway, I use Xamarin and I can see there is a great interest among devs around, so it will clearly help. Just wanted to point out that you still shouldn't expect any miracles.
  • I think Xamarin is still in its ifancy and has a long way to go before it will become all we hope and dream it to be. Maybe that's why MS took so long to buy them.
  • Please, have a Look to PWA.
    https://blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/2017/03/10/progressive-web-apps-educ...
    Maybe the future is not Native anymore...
  • That has been the line for the last 10 years. Maybe also Windows Mobile will be the market leader next year.
  • Ugh, no.  HTML + JS is a horrid way to build an "application."  People starting doing it because it offered an easier way to deploy applications and updates, but the web wasn't really ever meant to be an app platform, and it shows. App stores solve the deployment / update problem nicely, and native apps in my experience are far easier to develop.  
  • Xamarin is good and all but as soon as web apps get access to native features, it will be a problem. Basically C# & XAML vs the web in my OPINION.
  • It's a long long route....
  • Xamarin needs a lot more work if it wants to be mass adopted. If you use Xamarin Forms, which is the real "Develop once, run everywhere" then your app will be capped and wont be able to use some native features of each platform. In the other hand, if you program for ios or android then the amount of code you reuse is not worth changing your code to c# or the huge amount of dependency problem we currently have. You go to NuGet, install a dll and your code breaks, debug in Xamarin is a pain too.
  • Years of false dawns and missplaced optimism lead me to suspect that this will be no different to all the other failed initiatives.
  • Xarmin is great and all , but here is your problem. c# C# is directly tied to microsoft and .net ( open or closed). C# is not used for anything else but really just windows, yes there are other apps on ios and android that are built with c# but are very few and far inbetween. the reason for this like i have said in several posts, is that windows developers have moved on. they are now using electron to build multiplatform apps, that are build using web techonologies. they are using java for some security apps. The problem here like everything else is that people have moved on, and microsoft has the upward battle to convince devs that windows and its technologies are still the best out there. the prblem is that once a dev has a liking for other open source works cahnces of comming back are very slim. If you wna tt see how dire it is.  just go on to indeed, monster or craigslist and search for c# jobs. most of these jobs are located in tthe NY , texas or LA and to make matters worse they are mainly finiancial industry backed. This is the battle microsoft has, they have to convice the new small startups that c# is a language to be used. right now only enterprise is really behind c#. 
  • Your title is quite accurate 'for Microsoft'. All our projects are already written, optimized, documented, published. We will not waste time to start from scratch for no reason, learning new things and go through all the bugs, problems that went before. Keeping things as they are are way more cost effective at this point in the game. As for desktop we went full webapp with everything. We even test in Edge for those enthusiast out there and have a pinnable tile icon. That's as far as we go though.
  • "Microsoft's Windows on phone strategy continues unhindered." As a skydiver, that's what has me worried. The ground is coming up fast.
  • Nah, the delusion in this article is that they haven't hit the ground yet, that happened at the beloved retrenchment point.
  • As a developer myself I would say Microsoft biggest problem is their store, it's just terrible for Consumers and for Developers.
    - It takes about a week from releasing a product (as in after Microsoft has approved it) to it actually showing up on Microsoft store lists, compared to Android where it under 2 hours.
    - The lists rarely update
    - The layout and filtering is very poor
    - There a whole bunch of game categories that are completly empty on the store
    - The Windows 10 store and Xbox One store are very clunky and slow to navigate often becoming unresponsive for multiple seconds.
    - Too much focus is on free games as apposed to games that are selling well (I have a game that's in the top 40 under revenue & most popular, yet the lists default to "Top Free" which seems to be mainly downloads & rankings based. Bottom line if you want developers to release their software on your platform you need to make sure they going to make a return on investment.
     
  • I am dev too, and I agree.
  • I'm a consumer and I third this. The store is an absolute mess.
  • Xamarin is pure garbage.
  • " An enduring lack of new first-party devices invokes further doubts in developers' minds about the future of Windows on mobile. " The mobile platform, as has been discussed ad nauseum, has many issues, but this is one of the major ones.   If there isn't new flagship hardware to run the OS on, continuing development with mobile is largely academic and moot. And no, despite, cellular capability in Windows on ARM PCs, nobody's going to be holding up 8 inch tablets to their face to make phone calls.  Or get giant cargo pants pockets to carry them around in.  And those belt holster cases!
  • My only counterargument to this would be, if Xamarin could bring the same experience to all platforms. Why the f* would I choose Microsoft suddenly? What more could it bring to me? Nothing. The same as on all other platforms. If I wanted to have the same garbage experience using a mobile platform that iOS and Android can provide, I had been over there for years by now. App gap should be a problem for those who want the latest selfie fine tuning sh*t on their mobile every day. I am just fine with my Back button doing some back action and seeing my live tiles tailored on my Start screen.
  • I feel like every year there is a new thing that is going to "bridge the app gap", but it still hasn't happened yet.
  • Yeah, agreed, we've seen this movie, and its sequels, before, over the last how many years since WP7's launch? Oh, THIS is what'll close the app gap, code once run everywhere, blah, blah, blah.   Right.
  • can xamarin work with unreal or unity to make some 3d stuff?
  • Possibly, but wouldn't be easy. There are a few other 3D engines that have been integrated to it, but I have no idea how well they work.
  • It's about time Ward woke up and smelled the coffee! UWP will go away as Xamarin gets the focus. Buying Xamarin is the smartest move MSFT has made in years. It's the only chance MSFT has to remain relevant in the mobile world (a slim chance, but the best one). They need to aggressively push it to devs and make it the best x-platform system with the highest performance.
  • Xamarin makes UWP apps...
  • Another puff piece for yet another failed acquisition by Microsoft LOL
  • Seems like a good stategy for Windows 11 Mobile (as Windows 10 is done), yeah I can definelty see this working.  Would make developemnent easier and more effiecent.  Get to it :-)  
  • Windows 10 is the final version of Windows.
  • Just a question, is Xamarin incorporated into visual studio?
  • Just a question, is Xamarin incorporated into visual studio?
  • Yes, for free, they said on Build 2016.
  • Yes.
  • Nothing more difficult than changing perceptions.
  • I thought this article was from early 2016 😅
  • The xaml part of Xamarin Forms (the true cross platform toolset of Xamarin) is radically different from the XAML of UWP. It requires learning. I tried it once and abandoned it after I found this out. UWP needs to loose 'Windows' part of it and arrive on android and iOS/macOS for Microsoft to succeed in bringing more developers to the platform.
  • Make a phone or die Microsoft!
  • Just check whether or not Microsoft is using Xamarin for developing their own iOS and Android apps. If not, it won't probably have a great future.
  • Have you even used xamarin? I have and i hated it. Until you have a design view (and not havr to compile and run just to see what your app looks like) noone is going to use it as their primary form of app development
  • Actually, I use it everyday and I like it, a lot.
    About the design view, check the Forms Previewer:
    https://blog.xamarin.com/visual-studio-loves-mobile-developers/
    By the way, if you use MvvmCross, for instance, you can make different views for each platform.
    It's much better and faster than Xamarin Forms and you have a design view.
  • I use it too, and like it alot as well.  I actually haven't found lack of a desiger to really matter.
  • Windows phone is already been discontinued. Microsoft is working on an Android phone. Cordova already does what xamarin does but more, faster, with less code that more people know. This article is garbango beans
  • Well clearly Jason has no idea abt Xamarin he drinks the MS Kool aid and tries to sell the rest of it here.
  • Cordova breaks everytime Apple or Google update their webview components.  Its exteremly flakey, and we're having constant issues with plugins.  Which is why we're dumping it for Xamarin.
  • The problem Xamarin is up against is there is no Windows Phone platform with millions of devices.   if there were, then having THREE viable and vibrant mobile platforms - Android, iOS and Windows Phone - would create a need to streamline app development, and then Xamarin's value proposition would be more meaningful. With just iOS and Android, teams can legitimately handle developing in two dev efforts. Three would be too many. So, ironically Xamarin is dealing with MSFT's failure with Windows Phone. Having said this, Nat, Miguel and Joseph are three of the nicest people you might meet running a software company. The biggest complaint devs had with Xamarin before MSFT was the software was deemed too expensive, they said. Anyway, the beat thing MSFT can do to help Xamarin is to make techies go WOW, THATS COOL about MSFT technology again. Inspire us. And we'll look at your stuff. Inspire us consistently with a vision we also believe in, and we'll follow you.
  • This how it always should have been. You should be able to write an app and deploy to the web, Windows/Xbox, Mac/ iOS, Linux and Android. Literally 1 code base to manage, so there are no excuses for not developing for a platform. If a developer doesn't choose the option to deploy to a specific platform during deployment, then it would be more about their personal bias at that point. I'm not a fan of Linux, nor does it have the mindshare or market share with Joe Everyday User, but with this I could easily take care of his/her needs without worrying about support issues. I'm not a developer, but this makes sense, no?
  • Why do think Java is more popular,??
  • Hmm, well it has disadvantages. Currently windows (and to a tiny degree ios) has exclusivity on app power/quality. If they made the platform universal, they could lose that market edge, that could be leveraged later to completely dominate marketshare. On the other hand, that would be the quickest way to destroy the notion of ecosystems and remove the app gap, getting into the market properly. But if windows on desktop, doesn't have its software advantage, it's giving up advantages in the _desktop_ space. I can't see that being a good idea. Whatever MS pitches to developers, it _has_ to be panos. That guy has the gift of vision and sale, he's like steve jobs. He believes, and you believe.
  • So Jason tries a non click baity article and gets only 44 comments??
  • Hi techiez. Actually, none of the content I write is click-bait. 🙂 I wouldn't waste the precious little time we have on this earth typing, researching, editing, formating, rereading, etc, just for a click. The tone of this piece is just as thoughtful, thorough and well- referenced as other pieces I've written and will continue to write. Just a point of information about most of the titles on my pieces, I do not write those titles. We have an editorial team here and titles I suggest are often not what ultimately publishes and that's fine. But I thought it helpful to inform you since you (and others) inaccurately assume we are producing click-bait articles. From one of my favorite childhood cartoons GI Joe, "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle."😉 Also, different topics engender a different response from the audience, and that's also fine.🙂 Phone topics, since our base here are the "Windows Phone Central" folks, are passionate about phone topics. So you all have a lot to say on those pieces. Other pieces which are important to the ecosystem which I have written and will continue to write about like Cortana, AI, IoT, Mixed Reality and more, don't and won't likely ever get the the type of commentary phone peices do, and that's also ok. It's still important for me and the team to supply information and analysis on those topics. Furthermore, this piece was published yesterday a half hour before the event, everyone, including myself was anticipating what was coming 30mins later.🙂 Even if inclined to comment, or folks saw the notification of a new piece, ppl may have been getting focused on setting up the stream etc and just didn't feel like commenting. Or the topic, may be one folks digest and appreciate the info but don't desire to respond. Who knows, but I'm glad you're still coming and decided to add your voice to the 44😉👍🏿 See you next piece?!😎
  • It's not because of click-bait vs non-click-bait. It's because this article focuses on software development related issues. Few people here understand or care about that.
  • Xamarin?  Seriously?  Microsofts "promises" are no longer meaningful when it comes to mobile (at least to me.)  They've shown over and over again their lack of committment and/or sound strategy in this area, and burned their most loyal fans.  This is just like a relationship where one partner continues to abuse (MS) and the other (loyalists) continues to accept those abuses.  Time to move on from this abusive relationship.
  • Xamarin's integration into the MS ecosystem is still in early days, but must get a rocket lit under it SOON. To succeed long term, Xamarin must make it both really easy (and not just for people who think sideways like programmers!) and as transparent as possible to target any major platform. Although they've got a decent starting place, they have a LONG way to go, and they really need the full backing of Microsoft to pull this off. AI assistance leveraging a huge integrated library of best practices is almost required. There is very little time to get this right, as software development tools don't mature nearly as fast as they tend to get replaced - Angular had to reinvent itself entirely just to remain relevant That said, a true win here could secure Microsoft's position for another 10-15 years, while failure and a retrenchment to desktop Windows could lead being as irrelevant as the Commodore 64 as soon as 5-10 years. (BTW, surface Studio, Hub, HoloLens, etc. are likely to keep that from happening...)
  • How can I help support Xamarin? Can I donate? I have a 950XL, Are there apps I can buy that support Xamarin?
  • Xamarin is owned by MS. You don't have to donate. You already supported them by buying a 950XL. BTW: the downvote was not from me.
  • I am not a developer and don't play one on the Web. Having said that, isn't C# a managed version of Java and/or Objective-C? If so, wouldn't Xamarin be transcompiling code to fit the native OS environments? I will be paying attention to Build to see what their plans are on the aforementioned transpiling concept. If this comes to pass, then the language that makes personal sense to me, Python, can be used in this regard. Or for that matter, any language that is capable of translations.
  • No. It is incorrect to say that C# is a managed "version" of anything else. C# is a managed programming language however, meaning the resulting programs require an intermediate layer to run (the manager so to speak). This intermediate layer is called a runtime environment, which handles some of the (complicated and error prone) technical details, potentially at the cost of some runtime performance and temporal determinism. A transpiler is a software program that converts source-code in one language to source-code in another language. However, on none of the platforms supported by Xamarin is a transpiler part of the equation. On Android and Windows, C# is always compiled to IL code. On iOS, C# is compiled either to IL code or to ARM assembly code. Both IL code and ARM assembly code are binary formats intended for execution, either directly by hardware (the CPU), or the runtime environments (ART, CLR). Anything that translates source-code into a format intended for execution is called a compiler, not a transpiler. On iOS or Android, if you're deploying an IL code based version of your C# program, you must also package up the Mono CLR along with your program. The CLR is the runtime environment for .NET based programs like C#. On all platforms the CLR is a C/C++ based program (for performance reasons). On Windows, the CLR is already shipped as part of the OS.  
  • The truth is, HTML5 + CSS is more powerful than XAML, and there is a huge ecosystem of EcmaScript libraries. Microsoft is already in the business to make EcmaScript typed, manageable (via TypeScript) and ultimately performing better (via WebAssembly). Google is basically heading in the same direction. Things I have done using Plotly in the open would require a couple of thousands € sunk in third party tools. As soon as there is a usable, basic Electron-project template in Visual Studio, an awful lot of activity will just turn to doing just that. Visual Studio Code being the best example. Microsofts problem here is a bit offering tools and best wishes, but when it comes to dogfooding, they turn a blind eye and revert to writing crappy C++, which is a huge reason for their lack of speed and progress in the mobile domain.
  • Why would I, as a Swift coder, want to move to C#? Not gonna happen.