October 2, 2014

Forrester’s Michael Facemire to Speak at Xamarin Evolve 2014

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Forrester logoWe’re excited to announce that Michael Facemire, Principal Analyst Forrester, will be presenting Mega Trends in Mobile: Enterprise Mobility State of the Industry at Xamarin Evolve 2014.

Michael FacemireMichael Facemire is a leading expert on mobile software development, software development process, and next-generation open web architectures with more than 13 years of experience in the software development industry. He joined Forrester from IBM, where he delivered industry-leading applications in mobile, social software, content management, portal, and workflow. While there, he authored or co-authored 23 patents in the areas of mobile software, collaborative systems, content management, and media services that have been issued or pending.

In his talk, attendees can look forward to taking a look at where businesses are with regards to mobile from a developer perspective, including how things are changing from both a tools and process perspective, what skills are (and will be) in demand, and what development leaders are focusing on to address the (sometimes insane) challenges around time-to-market and mobile quality.

Xamarin Evolve 2014 attendees can join Michael Facemire at 4:15 pm ET on Thursday, October 9th in the Fossey Salon.

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Xamarin Evolve 2014 Speaker Spotlight: Greg Shackles

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This is the tenth 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.

Greg ShacklesToday’s speaker spotlight features, Greg Shackles a Senior Engineer at Olo who has been active in the Xamarin community for more than four years. He is a Xamarin MVP, host of the Gone Mobile podcast, organizer of the NYC Mobile .NET Developers Group, author for O’Reilly and Visual Studio Magazine, and is also an aspiring homebrewer.

Why did you get into software development?

quotation markI’VE BEEN A GEEK SINCE A VERY YOUNG AGE, AND FIRST STARTED GETTING INTO SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT WAY BACK IN MIDDLE SCHOOL. IT STARTED INNOCENTLY ENOUGH WITH SOME LITTLE BASIC PROGRAMS, AND BEFORE I KNEW IT I WAS TEACHING MYSELF C/C++ SO THAT I COULD CREATE AND RUN MY OWN MUDs.

I knew before even getting to high school that this is what I wanted to be doing, and I’m thankful every day that it’s something I’ve been able to turn into a career.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is just how important your tools are. It sounds like an obvious point in retrospect, but if your tools keep getting in your way, both you and your users will suffer. The bar has never been set higher in app stores across all platforms, which is an awesome thing we should embrace. Choosing tools that deliver the native experience users want, and also enables you as a developer to iterate quickly, will save so much time and pain in both the short and long term.

What are your favorite open source libraries, and why?

Even just limiting the scope to open source mobile libraries I’m not even sure where to begin, as all of my apps are truly built on the shoulders of a lot of amazing libraries. In the interest of not dodging the question completely, I’ll point out a couple that have really impacted the way I build apps.

First, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the MvvmCross framework. I’ve been using it for a couple years now and it’s a great framework for building cross-platform apps that take advantage of the MVVM pattern. Shameless self promotion: if you want to see how we used MvvmCross to build our platform at Olo, come to my talk!

Second, SignalR is another library I’ve been using for several years and was a true game changer in the .NET space. It completely lowers the barrier for building real-time functionality into your apps, abstracting away the painful parts and leaving you with the fun parts.

What is your favorite line of code that you have ever written?

It’s hard to say, but if comments count then my favorite lines tend to start with “// TODO:”. I often use commit messages, branch names, and TODO comments as a form of therapy when in the throes of development. Less than ideal code is acceptable if it’s preceded by a TODO, right? Ship it!

How much do you love curly braces and why?

I’ve built my career on curly braces and angle brackets, and I continue to love C# to this day. It really is a fantastic language that manages to remain modern after all these years by continuing to add great new features.

That said, I must admit that lately I’ve been cheating on C# a bit with F#, which does still sport curly braces but they are few and far between. Don’t worry, C#. I still love you.

What will attendees get out of your talk?

The rapid development pace of mobile development brings with it an increased need for having the the processes and infrastructure in place to support it, as well as the need for confidence that everything in the apps still works the way it should. It’s not quick or easy to fix a mistake that makes it out to an app store, so the sooner you can catch problems, the better off you’ll be.

At Olo we embraced this need right from the start, and built our platform around it. In my talk we’ll look at all the different pieces we put in place, and how developers can easily do so for their own apps. This will include things like unit testing large parts of an application, automated UI testing, Test Cloud, packaging apps, deploying to TestFlight, and how you can set this all up to happen for you automatically so you can focus on better things. Come learn how to make your tools work for you!

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

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October 1, 2014

Xamarin Evolve 2014 Speaker Spotlight: Frank A. Krueger

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This is the ninth 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.

Frank A. KruegerToday’s post highlights Frank A. Krueger. Frank has been programming professionally for 16 years and has enjoyed the last 6 years doing independent development for iOS and other mobile platforms. As an early adopter of Xamarin.iOS, he has also enjoyed being a member of the Mono community and does his best to share what knowledge he has gained. He lives and works in Seattle and can be found up a mountain off of Exit 34.

Why did you get into software development?

I have control issues? Commanding a subservient to form a world of my choosing feeds into my ego?

But let’s go with the simpler one: graphics. When I was a kid I loved using the computer for drawing, then 3D graphics, then gaming.

quotation markEVENTUALLY I LEARNED TO PROGRAM SO I COULD WRITE NEW DRAWING PROGRAMS. IT JUST STUCK TO ME AT AN EARLY AGE. I EVEN WENT TO COLLEGE AS AN EE, NOT CS, BECAUSE I WAS WORRIED ABOUT TAKING AN OBSESSION TOO FAR.

What are your favorite mobile apps right now?

I love single screen, touch-centric apps:

  • Clear – I run my life from this app. It has a refined UI around a task. It’s a touch centric UI. And it’s playful and reliable at the same time.
  • Glympse – solves a real problem with an OK UI. It’s great that it’s cross platform (web too). Very, very close to a good UI.

What is your favorite line of code that you have ever written?

While I have indeed reached the peak of awesomeness that this question alludes to, I was not able to do it in just one line of code. I refer you then, dear inquisitor, to the concept of architecture and the interplay of objects. I have designs there that Apollo would find sufficient.

That said, I wrote this F# match pattern, and deemed it good:

| Some(Vertex), Some(Edge(ubc)), None ->

What are you doing when you’re not doing mobile development with Xamarin?

What? There are other things to do? Hiking – I’m doing Kilimanjaro a couple weeks before Evolve. Robotics – I am an EE after all. Music – I pretend to play a bunch of instruments and enjoy doing so when no one is listening

What are you looking forward to most at this years Evolve?

Seeing my old friends from the Mono community. I have been going to Mono/Xamarin conferences for about 5 years and really enjoy seeing my online friends.

What will attendees get out of your talk?

A reminder of all the mobile-only or mobile-distinguished features that we can put into our apps. A lot of people are just writing “websites in app form.” AR apps use the sensors, the camera, the 3D hardware – all things that are unique to mobile apps and that make them particularly pleasurable to code for.

If you missed the earlier posts in this series, click through to read about Jesse LibertyJon SkeetJonathan PeppersLaurent BugnionPaul BettsRachel ReeseBrent Schooley, and Joe Mayo.

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September 30, 2014

Video: A Quick Overview Of Xamarin Test Cloud

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Xamarin Test Cloud LogoWe launched Xamarin Test Cloud last week and we’ve gotten a terrific response from customers and partners who are using it, including Dropbox, Flipboard, Trello, Expensify, Foursquare and eBay Classified. The benefits of easily testing apps on hundreds of real devices include better app ratings and adoption as well as a much faster release process. This is especially true when you consider how quickly the device landscape changes and the resource and time investment it takes for a business to keep up with the latest devices. Fortunately we take care of that for you—Xamarin Test Cloud has over 1,000 devices, including iOS 8 and Android L smartphones and tablets.

I had the opportunity to record this interview with Karl Krukow, the technical lead for Xamarin Test Cloud. Karl shows us how to performs tests on Xamarin-hosted devices and reports results, as well use the interactive shell (or REPL) to query UI elements on mobile devices. In this video Karl authors mobile tests utilizing Calabash and C# using the popular NUnit testing framework, but you can also author tests in Ruby. Watch it in HD and full-screen to see the code and test results.

Learn More & Get Started

To learn more about Xamarin Test Cloud, visit the product page, or check out our developer documentation.

There are new features we’ll be unveiling at Xamarin Evolve 2014 next week, so watch the live streamed keynote on Wednesday October 8th at 9:00 AM ET!

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September 29, 2014

Top 5 Criteria For Evaluating Mobile Quality Solutions

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PDF CoverWe know from working with Xamarin Test Cloud customers that coming up with a comprehensive mobile quality plan can be overwhelming.

To help you better understand what you should be looking for in a mobile quality solution, and how Xamarin Test Cloud stacks up against other solutions in the marketplace, we’ve created a handy PDF with 5 criteria to consider when evaluating mobile testing solutions. Enjoy!
 

Download PDF

 

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Plan Your Days at Xamarin Evolve 2014 and Request Your One-on-One

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The Xamarin Evolve 2014 schedule is now available online, including session times, so you can start planning your days at the conference.

Training sessions at Xamarin EvolveTraining attendees in the Fundamentals track will go through a progressive training program over 2 days that will result in your first Xamarin app. More experienced Xamarin developers will choose from the Electives topics, including Testing, Enterprise, Android, iOS and Xamarin.Forms. Training attendees will receive an email shortly to confirm their paths.Craig Dunn presenting at Xamarin Evolve 2013

During the 3 days of the conference, you’ll select from more than 60 sessions across 10 tracks, including Xamarin Platform, Cross-Platform, iOS, Android, Mobile Best Practices, Enterprise, Emerging Devices, Gaming, Testing, and Mobile Ecosystem.

In addition to publishing the schedule, we have also opened requests for one-on-one sessionsOne-on-one session at Xamarin Evolve 2013 with Xamarin engineers to review code, consult on architecture, and troubleshoot issues. Back by popular demand, this expert help was one of the most top-rated features of Xamarin Evolve 2013. We are looking forward to meeting and helping even more of you.

Check out the newly updated website now to start planning your schedule for Xamarin Evolve 2014, and don’t forget to register for a one-on-one session with a Xamarin expert!

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September 26, 2014

Xamarin Evolve 2014 Speaker Spotlight: Joe Mayo

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This is the eighth 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.

Photo of Joe MayoToday, we’re getting to know Joe Mayo, an author, consultant, and instructor who specializes in Microsoft and Xamarin technologies. He has been using C# since it was first announced in July 2000 and his 6 books are all on .NET topics. For his community contributions, Microsoft has honored Joe with 10 MVP awards over the years.

How long have you been doing mobile development?

A couple of years. Or maybe several years, counting back to all the times I wanted to throw my computer across the room.

What is your favorite platform to develop for and why?

Anywhere I can use C#, whether that be .NET or Mono. I’m very excited with the direction that Xamarin is taking mobile development, and have a great time using their products.

What are your favorite open source libraries?

LINQ to Twitter. Yes, I’m biased because it’s my project.

quotation markTHERE’S A GREAT DEAL OF SATISFACTION IN KNOWING THAT I’VE HELPED SO MANY DEVELOPERS WRITE TWITTER APPS AND MAYBE MADE A FEW FOLKS SMILE, BECAUSE IT’S FUNNY.

What are you doing when you’re not doing mobile development with Xamarin?

Working on my open-source project, LINQ to Twitter, writing, speaking, or learning something new.

What devices are you carrying around with you right now?

Nokia Lumia 822 with Windows Phone 8.1 dev update. There’s also a Kindle Fire within reach that’s loaded with a Xamarin.Android app I’m writing for a customer, and a Google Glass which is always a good time for coding and exploring.

What will attendees get out of your talk?

How easy async is to use, and the natural benefits of using it with mobile apps. You will <3 async.

If you missed the earlier posts in this series, click through to read about Jesse LibertyJon SkeetJonathan PeppersLaurent BugnionPaul BettsRachel Reese, and Brent Schooley.

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September 25, 2014

Is the iOS Unified API for me?

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We recently shipped the Unified API for Xamarin.iOS. The Unified API is a huge step forward for Xamarin.iOS, allowing a single source code to produce both 32 and 64-bit iOS Applications, a more streamlined and consistent API, and a much better story for sharing code with Xamarin.Mac applications.

64-bit iOS apps, which until recently could only be run on the most recent devices (iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad Mini Retina), can now also run on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. This is fantastic news, but before you convert your apps to the Unified API, there are a couple of important things to consider, as the Xamarin toolchain matures to match the API.

As of today, the most compelling reason to switch to the Unified API is if you want to create app extensions, which requires developers to produce both 32 and 64-bit binaries to Apple. You can create a new application project using the Unified API or you can follow these instructions to update an existing Xamarin.iOS app.

There are currently some limitations on apps using the Unified API which I’ve outlined below:

Components

Unfortunately, existing Xamarin.iOS components need to be re-built against the Unified API, so while we (and the community) are working to update the component code, you will not be able to include these in your app. A workaround for open-source projects is to download and compile the code yourself as part of your Unified API project.

NuGet Support

NuGet will support Unified packages starting with version 2.8.3, a new build is now available at CodePlex.

Custom Control Designer Support

Our designer currently does not have the ability to render your custom controls in the editing surface when you use the Unified API. We are working on this.

Moving Forward

Xamarin is prioritizing updating our components so that you can start using them in your Unified API iOS apps, as well as updating the iOS Designer custom control renderer.

Our recommendation therefore is this: if you don’t need to utilize the App Extensions framework today, hold off on moving to our preview Unified API until the toolchain and components have caught up.

Thanks!

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Xamarin Evolve 2014 is Officially Sold Out!

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Xamarin Evolve 2014 banner with dates (October 6-10) and location (Atlanta, Georgia)Xamarin Evolve has sold out for the second year in a row, this year at twice the attendees—over 1,200—and with an additional day of conference sessions.

Those of you who can’t make it to Atlanta will be able to experience part of the conference with us. Live stream of the main stage at Xamarin Evolve 2014 will begin with the Keynote on Wednesday, October 8th at 9 am ET on the conference website. We will continue to stream the main stage sessions for the remainder of the conference.

Many thanks to our speakers and sponsors who are helping make this an unforgettable event. And thanks to our incredible developer community – we can’t wait to delight you at Xamarin Evolve 2014.

See you in 11 days!

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September 24, 2014

Launch of Xamarin Test Cloud

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Xamarin Test Cloud LogoToday we are proud to announce the public launch of Xamarin Test Cloud, with over 1,000 real devices available to help you build better apps, and ensure they work on each one.

The state of mobile testing today is primitive. Last month we ran a survey that found that nearly 80% of mobile developers are relying primarily on manual testing in their attempts to deliver great app experiences. And yet, more than 75% told us that the quality of their mobile apps is either “very important” or “mission critical.”

Continuous testing with Xamarin Test CloudWe created Xamarin Test Cloud to solve this problem. We believe that testing is not something you should do at the end of the development cycle, just before submitting to the app store. Instead, your app should be continuously tested during development in an automated, scalable way. Your developers should be writing user interface tests as they develop the app, and commits shouldn’t be merged until the tests pass.

Once you have an automated test suite, even a simple one, you can easily verify that your app works on the hundreds of device variants in use by your customers, before you ship the app to them.

Doing this on your own is expensive and difficult. It’s simply impractical for developers to purchase hundreds of devices themselves, manage a giant device library, ensure coverage with every test run, and merge test results from large-scale tests performed multiple times per day.

With Xamarin Test Cloud, you can create your own test scripts using our powerful testing framework, run them locally against emulators or devices, and then press a button to run the same tests on as many devices as you would like in the cloud. We even integrate with CI systems like Jenkins and TFS, so that your tests run automatically.

We know that Xamarin Test Cloud is the best mobile QA tool available on the market, with one of the most trusted support teams in the industry, and we are excited to make it available to all mobile teams today. But you don’t have to take our word for it – check out what other developers are saying below.

If you’re interested in learning more about Xamarin Test Cloud, I invite you to join me for a webinar on Tuesday, September 30th, at 10am PDT.

Register Now


 
 
“Xamarin Test Cloud helped us identify and fix critical device-specific issues in the latest release of Foursquare before we released.”

– Mike Singleton, Software Engineer at Foursquare

 
“Xamarin Test Cloud is our path to a low maintenance, high quality and regression-free future. Not only is the product strikingly effective, but the team has been amazing — with their help we’ve seen immediate value from our investment. We’re excited about where this can take our team and product.”

– Sean Beausoleil, Mailbox Engineering Lead at Dropbox

 
Flipboard Logo“As a QA Engineer, I am really enjoying Xamarin Test Cloud because it offers me a broad range of Android and iOS devices. It gives me the ability to have more test coverage and to discover issues sooner. And what’s particularly helpful is that Xamarin offers exceptional service and support that I can depend on every day.”

– Derrick Lam, QA Engineer at Flipboard

 
Expensify logo“Xamarin Test Cloud helps us ensure that critical features of Expensify look and perform great on every Android device imaginable.”

– Tom Jacobs, Software Engineer at Expensify

 
Trello Logo“Xamarin Test Cloud has helped us catch important bugs in challenging scenarios, and to ensure they never occur again.”

– Hamid Palo, Android Team Lead at Trello

 
ebay classified group logo“Xamarin’s Calabash framework, and their Xamarin Test Cloud, plays a fundamental role in our continued effort to maintain the highest possible quality of our products and also in securing a short time-to-market. Our test setup takes care of most of the tedious work doing regression tests and gives our team quick feedback, while helping us delivering new features at a fast predictive speed. Whenever we have encountered problems, the Xamarin service and support has been excellent.”

– Niels Frydenholm, Software Architect at eBay Classifieds

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