July 31, 2015

Building Apps for a Connected World

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Building apps for a connected world can be tough; users expect their apps to work all the time, even with a slow (or possibly even no) mobile connection. This week on the Xamarin Podcast, Mike and I share some of our secrets for building connected apps, such as how to speed up network requests, create a pleasant offline experience, and handle exceptional scenarios that may occur.

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Knowing the latest in .NET, C#, and Xamarin is easier than ever with the Xamarin Podcast, available via iTunes, Stitcher, and SoundCloud. Do you have an interesting story, project, or advice for other .NET mobile developers? If so, we’d love to share it with the Xamarin community! Tweet @pierceboggan or @MikeCodesDotNet to share your blog posts, projects, and anything else you think other mobile developers would find interesting. Be sure to download today’s episode on building apps for a connected world, and don’t forget to subscribe!

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July 30, 2015

Close Out Summer with Xamarin Events in August!

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Celebrate the end of summer with a bang by joining fellow Xamarin developers at an event near you! This month is jam-packed full of exciting conferences, workshops, seminars, and user group meetups from all corners of the globe!

August Blog

Here’s just a taste of events happening this month:

Xamarin Dev Days – Birmingham Flag of the UK

  • Birmingham, UK: August 2nd
  • Discover what this Xamarin buzz is about with your community in Birmingham

São Paulo .NET Coders br

  • São Paulo, Brazil: August 7th
  • Get started with the Xamarin Platform

Xamarin Workshops & Training Germany

  • Hanover, Germany: August 10 – 15th
  • Five days of extensive training in the world of Xamarin!

DC Mobile .NET Developers Group us

  • Washington, DC: August 11th
  • Xamarin.Forms + Azure Mobile Services with Xamarin MVP, Fabian Williams

DFW Mobile .NET us

  • Dallas/Fort Worth, TX: August 12th
  • Mobile Design Patterns with Xamarin.Forms

Xamarin User Group San Diego us

  • San Diego, CA: August 13th
  • Interactive App Building with Xamarin.Forms

Xamarin Dev Days – Philadelphia us

  • Philadelphia, PA: August 15th
  • Come learn Xamarin awesomeness with your community in Philly

Xamarin Dev Days – New York us

  • New York, NY: August 16th
  • See what Xamarin has to offer with your community in New York

Minnesota Mobile Enterprise us

  • Minneapolis, MN: August 20th
  • Apple Watch Development with Xamarin’s Watch Kit

XHackNight powered by IBM Bluemix & Xamarin in

  • Bangalore, India: August 22 – 23rd
  • LEARN.HACK.WIN: a cross-platform mobile hackathon using Bluemix

Xamarin Dev Days – Madison us

  • Madison, WI: August 22nd
  • Learn how to go mobile with Xamarin with your community in Madison

XLSOFT Japan Japan

  • Tokyo, Japan: August 28th
  • Learn how to manage Android application licensing with Xamarin and Sentinel

Be sure to check out the Xamarin Events Forum for even more Xamarin events, meetups, and presentations happening near you!

Interested in getting a developer group started? We’re here to help! Here’s a tips and tricks guide on staring a developer group, an Introduction to Xamarin slide deck, and, of course, our community sponsorship program to get you started. Also, we love to hear from you, so feel free to send us an email or tweet @XamarinEvents to help spread the word and keep an eye out for events in your neck of the woods!

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July 29, 2015

Xamarin At the Top of the Visionary Quadrant in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant

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Gartner logoBased on our vision and ability to execute, we’re honored to be recognized as at the top of the Visionary Quadrant in the recently published 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant Report for Mobile Application Development Platforms.

Acknowledging the role of mobility as a cornerstone for every business development strategy, Gartner assesses the critical for mobile app development platform market by evaluating the “major vendors to enable enterprise IT developers, architects and mobile development leaders.” We’re thrilled to be recognized for the third year in a row as one of only 20 companies chosen for the report.

Gartner noted a few of our strengths in their assessment, including rapid growth, our wide range of support for the mobile development lifecycle, and the bridge to mobility we provide for traditional enterprise developers:

“Xamarin addresses what has been an underserved segment of the mobile development market — namely, C# developers who want to build native mobile apps without having to learn new languages and tools.”

“In 2014, Xamarin enjoyed strong growth in the enterprise, more than doubling its customers. It attracted high-profile partners such as IBM, SAP, and Oracle and has a growing partner ecosystem.”

We are particularly excited to have achieved this recognition as one of the youngest companies in the quadrant, indicating we’re succeeding in our mission to help you transform your customer relationship and business processes through mobile technology. With exciting new features on the way for Xamarin Platform, Xamarin Test Cloud, and Xamarin Insights, your mobile journey with Xamarin will only continue to get even better.

Visit our enterprise page to learn more about why Xamarin is a visionary in mobile app development.

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July 28, 2015

Amazon Web Services Mobile SDKs for Xamarin Now Available

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Amazon Web Services LogoToday, we’re excited to share the launch of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Mobile SDKs for Xamarin. With these new SDKs, developers can easily connect their high-performance, native Xamarin apps to Amazon’s powerful array of AWS cloud services.

AWS SDK for Xamarin logoAWS platform services provide several powerful solutions, including: identity management through Amazon Cognito Identity, Amazon Cognito Sync, Amazon Simple Storage Service cloud storage, Amazon DynamoDB’s fully managed database, Amazon Mobile Analytics, and Amazon Simple Notification Service for mobile push notifications.

The AWS Mobile SDKs for Xamarin allow you to use a shared C# codebase to connect your native Xamarin iOS and Android apps to any of these AWS services. For example, you can use Amazon Cognito Cloud Sync to synchronize app states between devices for a seamless, cross-device experience and use Amazon S3’s cloud storage for easy access to critical documents and content.

Integrating the AWS Mobile SDKs for Xamarin into your mobile apps is simple.

Getting Started

This example will show you how to get started with Amazon Cognito Cloud Sync:
AWS Cognito SDK

In your app, you will need to initialize a CognitoSyncManager and open a dataset using the Identity Pool ID and Region Endpoint of the pool you just created:

public Dataset GetDataset ()
{
	// Login and open/create the dataset
	var credentials = new CognitoAWSCredentials ("identity-pool-id", RegionEndpoint.USEast1);
	// Optional: Add credential login to associate data to a user
	// credentials.AddLogin ("graph.facebook.com", "FB_AUTH_TOKEN");
	var syncManager = new CognitoSyncManager (credentials,
new AmazonCognitoSyncConfig { RemoteEndpoint = RegionEndpoint.USEast1 });
	var dataset = syncManager.OpenOrCreateDataset ("TODO_LIST");
	return dataset;
}

If you would like your dataset associated to a particular user, enabling the user to share the same data across devices and platforms, you will need to set up an identity provider. Cognito supports Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Amazon, OpenID, or a custom Developer Authenticated Identity.

If you use Facebook authentication, you can use the Facebook Components to authenticate your users after you’ve configured your App ID in the Cognito portal, and then add the authentication token to your credentials before opening your dataset:

credentials.AddLogin ("graph.facebook.com", "FB_AUTH_TOKEN");

You can store any information you’d like in your dataset by specifying an ID and an arbitrary value (in this case a JSON string). After you call the async Sychronize() method, your data will be pushed to the cloud:

public async Task CreateTodoItem (string title)
{
	var dataset = GetDataset ();
	// Create a new todo list item
	var todoItem = new TodoItem ("Pick up some milk");
	// Serialize the object to JSON and put it in the dataset
	dataset.Put (todoItem.Id, JsonConvert.SerializeObject (todoItem));
	// Synchronize changes to the cloud
	await dataset.SynchronizeAsync ();
}

You can also easily fetch all of the items in your dataset from the cloud on any device:

public async Task<IEnumerable<TodoItem>> GetTodoItems ()
{
	var dataset = GetDataset ();
	// Synchronize any changes
	await dataset.SynchronizeAsync ();
	// Deserialize the records' values from the dataset
	return dataset.Records.Select (r =>
                JsonConvert.DeserializeObject<TodoItem> (r.Value));
}

AWS and Xamarin take the hard work out of adding a complex backend to your apps, giving you a flexible, scalable way to go mobile. Be sure to check out all of the AWS SDK Components in the Component Store today!

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July 27, 2015

Join Xamarin at AnDevCon 2015 in Boston

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Join Xamarin in Boston, MA from July 30-31 for AnDevCon 2015, the technical conference for software developers and engineers building Android apps. Key members from the Xamarin team will be available to discuss your apps and projects and show you what’s new across our products.

AnDevCon 2015 Boston Banner

We’re excited to give AnDevCon 2015 attendees a close up look at Xamarin Test Cloud, which we recently announced will be getting support for Appium and its multiple language bindings, including Java, JavaScript, Python, and PHP. You’re invited to join our early access program, and we’ll have members from our Xamarin Test Cloud team onsite at the conference to answer any of your questions.

Come visit us at booth #803 and say hello if you’re at the conference — we look forward to seeing you in Boston!

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July 24, 2015

More Awesome Content from Our Community

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Xamarin developers not only build amazing iOS and Android apps in C#, but love contributing to the Xamarin community through blog posts, components, plugins, and podcasts. The links below will take you to some of favorites over the past few weeks:

Podcasts

Yet Another Podcast with Jesse Liberty

James Montemagno and Jesse Liberty discuss all things Xamarin.

  • Yet Another Podcast – James Montemagno joins Jesse Liberty discuss all things Xamarin, including My Shoppe, Moments, and Xamarin Dev Days.

Great Blog Posts

Awesome Xamarin.Forms Blog Posts

Adam Wolf’s card UI with a drop shadow using Xamarin.Forms.

Thanks to these developers for sharing their Xamarin knowledge with the rest of the developer community. If you have an article or blog post related to Xamarin development that you would like to share, please let us know by tweeting @XamarinHQ and it may be featured in an upcoming community content roundup.

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July 23, 2015

Build Your Own Messaging App in XAML

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One of the most popular features of Xamarin.Forms is the ability to use your existing XAML experience to build UIs for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Moments, a Snapchat clone built with Xamarin.Forms and Microsoft Azure, originally made use of the C# API for creating user interfaces. Today, I’m happy to announce that Moments has been expanded to include a XAML implementation as well, so you can build your own Snapchat clone in XAML today!

Moments, a Snapchat clone built with Xamarin.Forms and Azure.

Build Cross Platform UIs in XAML

If you are coming from a Windows background, Xamarin.Forms XAML will feel right at home! If you aren’t, there are still plenty of great reasons to build your user interface using XAML.

Readability

XAML is often more succinct and readable than the equivalent code in C#. This is especially true when building complex view hierarchies with multiple layouts. Additionally, the parent-child hierarchy inherent in XML allows XAML to mimic the hierarchy of user interface objects with greater visual clarity.

Separation of Concerns

Rather than having an entire page represented in one file, XAML allows you to clearly separate views from the accompanying logic associated with the view, thus making your application more modular.

MVVM Data Binding & Commands

The Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) architectural pattern is very common in mobile development today – and for good reason. Traditionally, MVVM allows you to further enforce separation of concerns by separating the user interface from the data, with a bridge called a view model. Typically, mobile developers can share the model and view model with all target platforms, while writing the view for each individual platform. With Xamarin.Forms, everything can be shared, including the view. XAML makes using the MVVM pattern easy through data binding and commands, which allow your view and view model to communicate with ease.

Build Your Own Snapchat Clone Today

Moments is a great sample app for seeing everything Xamarin.Forms has to offer. If you’ve ever wondered how to use custom controls from XAML, use markup extensions, implement styling, or enforce the MVVM architectural pattern through data binding and commands, Moments is the sample app for you. Moments is completely open-source and freely available under the MIT license, so building your own Snapchat clone based on Moments is easy. Follow the steps listed here, and you’ll be sending selfies to all your buddies in a matter of minutes!

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July 22, 2015

Xamarin Dev Days Recap and Expansion

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When we announced Xamarin Dev Days, free weekend community events filled with intense and hands-on mobile C# learning, we knew that it would be popular – but we didn’t expect every location to sell out so quickly! Each Dev Days event has been packed full of awesome Xamarin content and fun hacking, and the feedback has been absolutely outstanding.

Head Logo

Dev Days Expansion!

Since we’ve seen such an incredible response to user groups requesting Dev Days in their city, we are excited to announce the next round of Xamarin Dev Days locations. We are not only rolling out more dates and locations in the United States, but we’re also hosting our first official Dev Days event in Europe, and have many more locations in the works!

Make sure to keep an eye on the official Xamarin Dev Days website for future announcements!

Totes2

Here is a sneak peak into what a Dev Days event looks like:

Amazing Presentations

Every Dev Days start off with several presentations introducing every developer to the entire world of the Xamarin Platform, including Xamarin.Forms, Xamarin Test Cloud, and Xamarin Insights. However, it doesn’t stop there as each Dev Days event has special guest speakers from the community present on the topic they’re most passionate about. We’ve see some fantastic presentations covering all aspects of mobile development, including Wearables, MVVM, Azure Mobile Services, and Amazon Web Services, as well as plenty of Xamarin.Forms deep dives.

Sessions Green

Hands-on Learning

After lunch we hold an “Ask the Experts” session where attendees are free to ask anything and everything to get their questions answered from industry experts, and then the Xamarin Team ensures that everyone has their machines fully configured for mobile development. Next, it is on to our interactive labs, code help, and File->New App!, where attendees go through line by line to build their very own Xamarin.Forms mobile application completely from scratch with Xamarin experts guiding them along the way.

Sessions Monkey

Community, Community, Community

Xamarin Dev Days are much more than just an amazing day of hands-on mobile development learning. It’s also the perfect opportunity to connect with other developers in your local community doing amazing things. We have worked closely with local user group leaders to organize Dev Days with us, and they are there to act as your local expert not only during the Dev Days event, but long after it is over.

Amazing Sponsors

Xamarin Dev Days wouldn’t be made possible without our amazing sponsors who not only provide breakfast, lunch, and venues, but also enable Dev Days attendees with the best tools and controls in the industry.

Food Sponsor + James Sponsor3

Don’t see your city on the list yet? Don’t worry as we have plans for even more Dev Days events in the future, so be sure to head to the official Xamarin Dev Days website and request your city!

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July 21, 2015

Xamarin’s Newest MVPs!

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Xamarin MVPAs the Xamarin developer community continues to expand, it consistently provides stand out members that we are excited to include in the Xamarin MVP program. These individuals have made significant contributions by sharing their passion and expertise in mobile app development with Xamarin’s growing global community. We honor these individuals with the Xamarin MVP title for these contributions, which include:

  • Writing great articles, books, and blog posts
  • Speaking in public and online
  • Sharing and building amazing libraries
  • Helping developers online in our forums, on Twitter, Stack Overflow, and other communities
  • Shipping awesome apps

Today, we’re thrilled to recognize our latest round of Xamarin MVPs in 2015 for their remarkable contributions to the community!

chaseflorell Chase Florell Roy Cornelissen roy
mikeB Mike Bluestein Dave Evans dave
les Les Brown Adam Kemp adam
tom Tom Walker Fabian G. Williams fabian
dan Dan Hermes

A big thank you for all of your time, effort, and hard work you have dedicated to the growth of mobile development! If you know an outstanding developer who would make a great Xamarin MVP, please nominate him or her here.

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July 20, 2015

Same Day Xamarin Support for Visual Studio 2015

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Today, Microsoft is unveiling the final release of Visual Studio 2015 in a global webcast, and we are joining the celebration! Visual Studio Logo Now Released to Market (RTM) for full use in production, Visual Studio 2015 includes many new features and improvements that make it easier to build apps quickly, including diagnostics, new C# 6 language features, and tighter integrations with TFS for streamlined DevOps.

We’re excited to announce same-day Xamarin support for Visual Studio 2015, including Visual Studio 2015 Community Edition, MSFT’s free IDE for non-enterprise apps. Xamarin and Visual Studio help you go mobile quickly, whether you’re building small projects, amazing consumer games, or employee-facing productivity apps. This combination of Xamarin and Visual Studio 2015 is our most integrated release ever – featuring a Visual Studio 2015 installation process that allows you to choose to install Xamarin with a single click, giving you everything you need to start building native cross-platform apps, all in C#.

Watch Storyboard in Visual Studio 2015

Be sure to check out the Visual Studio 2015 launch webcast today at 8:30am PDT, where MSFT product management teams will demonstrate Visual Studio 2015 product enhancements, including the latest from Xamarin.

It’s never been easier to start building iOS and Android apps — all from VS, all in C#. To learn more about developing native iOS and Android apps with Visual Studio and Xamarin, visit xamarin.com/visual-studio.

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