October 8, 2014

Introducing Xamarin Insights: Real-time Monitoring for Your Apps

By

Crash reporting and analytics are a vital component to any application’s success. An ideal solution has a few key requirements:

  • Insight into how users are interacting with your apps with events
  • Comprehensive error reporting, including stack traces for both native and managed exceptions
  • Tools to prioritize key issues that customers are experiencing
  • Full cross-platform support with portable class library support
  • Integration of analytics and crash reporting

Last year, at Xamarin Evolve 2013, we announced Xamarin Test Cloud, allowing you to test your app on thousands of devices to ensure the best possible experience for your users. This year is no different.

Xamarin Insights logo

Today, we are pleased to announce the preview for Xamarin Insights, a real-time monitoring system that will enable you to identify, report, and track issues that are impacting users with a simple and effective API.

Report

You can add Insights into your application with just a single line of code. Insights will gather and report any uncaught native or managed exceptions. In addition, you will be able to track both past and active sessions, with full access to device statistics such as operating system and screen resolution. If you want a deeper level of control, you can simply “report” any caught exception, along with any additional data that will help you diagnose the issue, using Insights’ simple API.

Xamarin Insights - Reports

Track

In addition to crash reporting, Insights enables you to easily track any event that occurs in your application with a single method call. From page views to button clicks, Insights’ event tracking can handle the job. You can even track performance by reporting how long operations take to complete. Insights’ tracking is great for seeing which features of your app are being utilized or neglected.

Xamarin Insights Stacktrace

Identify

Reproducing bugs is hard. At some point, you’re sure to have experienced a tester or customer report an issue that they had in an app, but you have no information about their device, or any way to determine the steps necessary to reproduce the issue. Insights can combine event tracking with user identification to dive into any specific details you wish, and even make a customer happy by sending them an email when their issue has been resolved.

Xamarin Insights Identify

Integrate

All of this information is easily browsable from the Insights dashboard. However, as developers we need real-time feedback. To help, Insights easily integrates with services such as GitHub, HipChat, Visual Studio Online, Campfire, and many more, allowing you instant notifications on information that matters to you.

Xamarin Insights Integrate

Get Insights Today

Xamarin Insights is available today for all active Xamarin subscribers at no additional charge for the next few months as a preview. Pricing will be announced at the end of the preview, but a generous plan will be included for Xamarin subscribers at no additional charge.

TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedInEmail

New Xamarin Test Cloud Features

By

Today, we are very excited to announce some major improvements and enhancements to Xamarin Test Cloud.

Xamarin.UITest

Xamarin.UITest is our new automated UI testing framework capable of testing any mobile app. Xamarin.UITest enables you to harness the power of the C# language to create beautiful, readable, first-class test code with all the power of the .NET framework and IDE at your disposal. Local tests with Xamarin.UITest run against your simulator or device and can report results of test runs directly into Xamarin Studio or Visual Studio.

UI Tests in C#

Xamarin.UITest is based on Calabash, one of the world’s most popular automated testing frameworks for mobile apps. This framework presents a uniform interface to cross-platform testing for any iOS or Android app, including non-Xamarin applications and even hybrid apps that leverage HTML and CSS in WebViews.

While exceptionally powerful in a local environment, the true power of Xamarin.UITest lies in the fact that you can take a working local test case and push it to Xamarin Test Cloud with no modifications, scaling out your testing efforts across a pool of more than 1,000 real, non-jailbroken Android and iOS devices in a cloud environment built for performance and stability.

We encourage you to check out Xamarin.UITest from NuGet and start writing your local tests today. Here’s the docs to help get you started.

Improved Capture Tools

Xamarin Test Cloud generates screenshots of the app as your test progresses through its steps. This way, you can ensure that your app still looks great even on resolutions you’re not familiar with. However, some user experiences aren’t fully captured by screenshots alone.

For this reason, we are announcing a preview of screen recording in Xamarin Test Cloud. With screen recording, you will be able to see video playback of your app running through its test cases. It captures the full testing flow, including animations. It will be available as a preview for Android 4.0 and above at first, and it fully integrated inside the Xamarin Test Cloud web portal.

Screenshot of a Test Cloud failure report

Test Execution Enhancements

One of the most exciting announcements for Xamarin Test Cloud is hyper-parallel test execution. Currently, when you submit a test run to 10 unique devices, those tests already happen at the same time across all those devices, but the individual tests run one after the other. Hyper-parallel test execution takes this to the next level.

Our lab contains many copies of the same device, so we can split a test suite into chunks and execute the chunks in parallel on equivalent devices. In the end, the results are stitched together to form a test result as if the test had been executed serially on a single device – and your test results will come back much, much faster.

We use Xamarin Test Cloud ourselves to ensure the quality of our products. The Xamarin.Forms team, for example, has one of the largest test suites that we service. When run with Xamarin Test Cloud’s default serial configuration, the suite takes around 2.5 hours to execute. When run with hyper-parallelization, the execution time drops to just 12 minutes.
 
We are delighted to preview these great features, and we’re confident that they will help your team achieve its mobile quality goals, such as: moving to faster release cycles, gaining the ability to release at any time, protection against regressions, and most importantly, achieving the peace of mind and confidence that your developers need to create the best mobile app possible.

TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedInEmail

Xamarin Platform Previews

By

We just announced previews for three exciting Xamarin platform features we’re introducing to make your development experience more enjoyable.

We’re making these previews available immediately to get feedback from our community and to help us focus our efforts.

Xamarin Android Player

We decided to tackle the single greatest pain point all Android developers face every day — the outdated, slow and clunky experience provided by the Android emulator. Our new Xamarin Android Player runs with hardware-virtualization on your Windows or Mac desktop to give your apps the shortest startup time and best possible performance through hardware-virtualization and hardware-accelerated graphics.

Xamarin Android Player

The Android Player is built using Xamarin.Mac on OSX and WPF on Windows, and sports native user interfaces that have been customized for each platform following the idioms of Mac and Windows respectively. We have provided a great user interface to help you simulate battery state condition as well as the GPS location as well as integrating directly into ADB, allowing any existing Android tool to work directly with our high performance emulator.

We have made it very simple for developers to install Android APKs and to add Google Play Services. Merely drag and drop the APK into your Xamarin Android Player and have it run.

This current preview ships with Android KitKat 4.4.2, API Level 19 and a single form factor, and is free Free for current Xamarin subscribers. By launch, we will be distributing Android images for all the major API levels and form factors as well as a few nice surprises.

Sketches

Sketches make C# and F# more accessible than ever.

We wanted to improve upon the standard write, build, deploy, test cycle, and Sketches does just that. Start writing code and watch it run; you can see both the intermediate results for the code that you are writing, as well as the effect that they have on the user interface.

Sketches in C#

Sketches are ideal to learn new APIs, prototype ideas, and quickly iterate on designs. When you find code that works for you, it’s easy to copy it into your app. Or, you can take snippets from your open solution and study them in an isolated live coding environment. This is an incredibly powerful tool for debugging.

Sketches are available today for iOS, Android, and Mac as a preview in the Xamarin Studio Beta Channel, and are coming soon to Visual Studio for Android, iOS and Windows.

To learn more, check out our Sketches documentation.

Profiler

Profiling is detective work. It’s like solving a mystery or diagnosing a patient – developers have to use their skills to piece together the whole picture, but a good diagnostics tool, like a good magnifying glass or a stethoscope, can help the developer by gathering the clues required to solve the puzzle. That’s why we’re extremely excited to introduce the Xamarin Profiler for your Xamarin mobile apps.

Profiler in Xamarin Studio on Mac

The Xamarin Profiler is a tool that helps you dissect, analyze, and polish your C# mobile applications. The profiler collects information about the managed side of your Xamarin iOS and Android applications and helps you to figure out where to spend the most time making improvements. You can it to find memory leaks, resolve performance bottlenecks, and add polish to your applications before getting them out the door.

The Xamarin Profiler comes in two native versions – Mac and Windows – that integrate seamlessly with your existing Xamarin toolchain. It is available for a public preview download here.

TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedInEmail

Enterprise Component Vendors Join Xamarin.Forms Ecosystem

By

On stage at Xamarin Evolve 2014 just now, Miguel shared the amazing work that has been done by six major component vendors in order to ship support for Xamarin.Forms.

ComponentVendors

A major feature of our Xamarin 3 release earlier this year, Xamarin.Forms gives mobile developers the ability to build native UIs for iOS, Android and Windows Phone from a single, shared C# codebase. Xamarin.Forms is incredibly extensible, enabling developers to share code while always maintaining access to the power of underlying native platform.

SyncfusionShowcase_NB

Today, we are announcing a major expansion of the Xamarin.Forms ecosystem: Six major .NET component vendors have transformed over 140 existing charts, graphs, gauges, and grids into cross-platform mobile controls, giving Xamarin developers powerful and expressive controls for advanced data visualization.

Our component vendor partners have created beautiful UI controls that enable mobile developers to create native user experiences that meet the increasing demands of mobile enterprise apps, while saving countless hours developing these views for multiple platforms.

More details of Xamarin.Forms support availability can be found on each vendors’ product page:

All components will be available in the Xamarin Component store this year. SyncFusion and Telerik components are available today.

TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedInEmail

IBM and Xamarin Partner to Accelerate Enterprise Mobility

By

We are proud to announce a partnership today with IBM to help developers build great native mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phones that easily connect to enterprise data and systems.

IBM and Xamarin Logos

Enterprise apps must have a consumer-grade front-end, an enterprise-grade back-end, and a comprehensive mobile software development lifecycle.

IBM has built a portfolio of enterprise mobility solutions, called IBM MobileFirst, to connect, secure and manage mobile apps. One of IBM’s flagship offerings of their portfolio is IBM Worklight, which is a middleware platform to secure mobile apps, manage their lifecycle, and integrate them into the enterprise.

Our first integration includes:

  • IBM MobileFirst SDK for Xamarin: A pre-built software library that Xamarin and IBM developers can embed in their mobile apps to connect, secure and manage the apps using IBM Worklight, a part of the IBM MobileFirst portfolio.
  • IBM MobileFirst Add-Ons for Xamarin Studio and Visual Studio: Extensions that enable developers to configure and access the IBM Worklight server from a single environment.

The IBM MobileFirst Platform SDK and IBM MobileFirst Platform studio add-ons are available immediately at http://xamarin.com/ibm.

TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedInEmail

Join the Xamarin Evolve 2014 Live Stream

By

We’re live streaming the main stage of Xamarin Evolve 2014 from now through the Closing Session on Friday, October 10th. The schedule is as follows, in EDT:

Wednesday, October 8th

  • 9:00 AM – Xamarin Evolve 2014 Keynote, Nat Friedman & Miguel de Icaza, Xamarin
  • 11:30 AM – Find Bugs Before Your Users Do with Xamarin Test Cloud and C#, Rasmus Kromann-Larsen & Karl Krukow, Xamarin
  • 1:45 PM – UX Patterns for Cross Platform Mobile, David, Ortinau, Shutterfly
  • 2:45 PM – Rx and the TPL: Cats and Dogs Living Together??, Paul Betts, Github
  • 4:00 PM – Getting Your Testing Process in Place, Karl Krukow, Xamarin & Niels Frydenholm, eBay
  • 5:00 PM – The Future of C#, Mads Torgensen, Microsoft

Thursday, October 9th

  • 9:00 AM – A Canon in C#, Jon Skeet, Google
  • 10:00 AM – Sketches: A Rich and Interactive Way to Explore Xamarin
  • 11:15 AM – iBeacons and Contextual Location Awareness in iOS and Android Apps, James Montemagno & Mike Bluestein, Xamarin
  • 1:00 PM – Building Cross-Platform Business Apps with Azure Mobile Services, Paul Batum, Microsoft
  • 2:00 PM – If You Can Ship Your app in China, You Can Ship it Anywhere, Jonathan Peppers, Hitcents
  • 3:15 PM – Programming Augmented Reality, Frank A. Krueger, Krueger Systems Inc.
  • 4:15 PM – 1) Write Cross-Platform Apps with F# & Xamarin. 2) ??? 3) Profit!, Rachel Reese, Firefly Logic

Friday, October 10th

  • 9:00 AM – Xamarin.Forms is Even Cooler than You Think, Charles Petzold, Xamarin
  • 10:00 AM – Evolving From Web to Mobile App with Xamarin, Jesse Liberty, Falafel
  • 11:15 AM – Finish the Mac App You Didn’t Know You Started, Mike James, Xamarin
  • 1:00 PM – Closing Session, Nat Friedman & Miguel de Icaza, Xamarin
  •  
    Don’t miss any of the great talks from the conference – join the live stream now!

    TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedInEmail

Announcing Xammy Finalists: Vote for Your Favorite now!

By

Xamarin developers represent the world’s top mobile developers, and the Xammy Awards recognize top apps on our global stage. After combing through hundreds of submissions, we’ve selected our top finalists below. We’re excited for our finalists and blown away by all of the innovation happening on the Xamarin platform.

Xamarin is picking the winners for each category, but we need your help to select the overall “Developer’s Choice” award!

Each person can vote only once, so watch the videos of each finalist and vote for you favorite app. Voting closes at 12pm EDT on October 10th, and you can watch the awards ceremony via live stream at the closing Xamarin Evolve 2014 session that starts at 1 pm.

Xamarin Xammy badgesConsumer

  • The Cinemark App by Cinemark
  • Hanx Writer by Hitcents
  • Storyo by Nativo Labs

Enterprise

  • Apex by Kimberly-Clark
  • Doune FT by Dutch Tax Office
  • TS4 by Gate Gourmet

Emerging Devices

  • PCR Essentials by Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Skylight by APX Labs
  • Total Comfort Connect by Honeywell

Games

  • Skulls of the Shogun by 17-BIT
  • Snap Attack by Microsoft Studios

 
Voting for the Xammy Awards is now closed.

TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedInEmail

Join Us for the Xamarin Evolve 2014 Keynote

By

Xamarin co-founders Nat Friedman and Miguel de Icaza are presenting the keynote at Xamarin Evolve 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia at 9 am ET. Since we want the entire Xamarin community to be able to join us for this event, we’ve set up two ways for you to follow along today.

We invite those of you who can to join us via live stream to get the full effect of this exciting event. We’ll start sharing as soon as the keynote starts at 9 am ET, and will continue to stream the main stage throughout the rest of the conference.

We know that some of you can’t join the live stream, so we are also bringing you coverage via live blog here. The liveblog is a real-time feed of text updates and photos posted from the event, ideal for those of you who prefer text or want to follow along while multi-tasking at work or on a slower connection.

The opening keynote begins at 9 AM ET. Stay tuned!

Live Blog Evolve 2014 Keynote
 

TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedInEmail
October 3, 2014

Download the Xamarin Evolve Conference App!

By

Xamarin Evolve 2014 is right around the corner and we’ve got everything you need for Evolve in one beautiful app. We have you covered from beginning to end, including an event guide with a map, so you’re always at the right place at the right time.

Evolve Mobile App

The Xamarin Evolve app features include:

  • Session list with abstracts, and the ability to filter sessions by topic area
  • Compile your list of “favorite” sessions as you browse the conference (note:  requires the email address you used to register)
  • Easy-to-use session scheduler that integrates seamlessly with your calendar
  • Speaker index complete with bios
  • Ability to leave instant session feedback
  • Maps and event list
  • A beautiful interface

Xamarin Evolve App IconWe put the best event experience in the palm of your hand with the Xamarin Evolve 2014 app. Download it today for iOS on the App Store, Android on Google Play, and on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedInEmail

Xamarin Evolve 2014 Speaker Spotlight: Brett Duncavage

By

This is the final post in our Xamarin Evolve 2014 “Speaker Spotlight” series, helping you get to know a little bit more about some of the amazing speakers who will be contributing at this year’s conference.

Brett DuncavageThis final installment in our Xamarin Evolve 2014 speaker spotlight series features Brett Duncavage, a principal engineer and the lead Android developer at Rdio. He’s been working in mobile client application development since 2003 with a mission to provide exceptional mobile user experiences through highly polished applications. He has over thirty commercial applications launched to date, including “RealTone JukeBox,” which was awarded the 2006 Qualcomm BREW Developer award.

Why did you get into software development?

I’ve always been fascinated with how things work. When my Dad brought home a TI-994A in 1986 (which was a BASIC interpreter), I had to know how it worked and how I could make it do things I wanted it to do. So, I started learning BASIC, and never looked back.

How long have you been doing mobile development?

Over 10 years. I started back in 2003 writing apps for the BREW platform. I’ve worked on mobile consumer applications and games for iOS and Android. I’ve worked at and had my own startups, been a freelancer, and now am a Software Principal and Lead Android developer at Rdio.

What is your favorite platform to develop for and why?

I’ve been doing mobile development for so long that I naturally gravitate towards mobile platforms, so Android and iOS are my platforms of choice. I love the idea of my applications being on a user’s device, with the user wherever they go.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

Take your time when designing and implementing your mobile apps. Today’s platforms and tools make it easier than ever to build mobile applications quickly, but that ability should be tempered with thoughtful software and UI design. Work on discrete features and feature units while understanding how they will impact the application as a whole. And, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should (shake to shuffle comes to mind). Make sure everything in your app has an obvious use, some flair and chrome is necessary to provide a unique and enjoyable user-experience, but make sure the foundations of your application are rock-solid before adding the polish.

What are your favorite mobile apps and why?

Just for sheer cleverness and coolness, the Google Cardboard app is one of my favorites right now. It showcases just how powerful mobile devices can be with the ability to deliver an Occulus Rift style experience without any extra hardware (and one piece of cardboard-ware).

What will attendees get out of your talk?

A better understanding of what it takes to make the most responsive applications possible. Scrolling in a mobile app should be as fluid as possible, it’s one of the most important distinctions between native applications and mobile web sites.

If you missed the earlier posts in this series, click through to read about Jesse LibertyJon SkeetJonathan PeppersLaurent BugnionPaul BettsRachel ReeseBrent SchooleyJoe MayoFrank A. Krueger, and Greg Shackles.

TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedInEmail