Xamarin 4 is a fantastic release, designed to make building apps with Xamarin faster, easier, and more delightful than ever before, and the Xamarin Education team has worked incredibly hard to deliver the resources you need to get up and running with it. In both the documentation and Xamarin University teams, we have created a ton of new content as well as updated the existing content to be as fresh as the release. Be sure to check out the following resources to get started with Xamarin 4 today.
Get Up to Speed Quickly with Lightning Lectures
If you’re an experienced Xamarin developer, I recommend starting with our free Xamarin 4 Lightning Lectures from Xamarin University. They focus on quick overviews and introductions of new features:
- iOS Apps in Visual Studio: Connect to your Mac to develop, build, debug, and deploy applications using our completely rebuilt support for developing iOS apps from Visual Studio
- XIB Launch Screens: Easily support multiple iOS form factors with a XIB-based launch screen using the designer.
- Introducing Xamarin Test Recorder: Greatly increase efficiency by creating automated UI tests visually with Xamarin Test Recorder.
- tvOS with Xamarin: Apple’s tvOS is based on iOS, but has a number of key UI and framework differences. Learn about them and build the next killer tvOS app with Xamarin.
- Creating iOS Extensions: Allow apps to create a rich inter-app experience by passing documents and context between them.
- Android Material Design in Xamarin.Forms: Android Material Design is Google’s new design language and Xamarin.Forms now supports it.
- Adding Insights to your Application: Xamarin 4 saw the public release of Xamarin Insights. Add it to your apps today with this quick walkthrough.
Xamarin University Lightning Lectures are completely free, but if you’re a Xamarin University subscriber, you’ve also got access to new Xamarin 4 classes, as well as updated content across the board to support the Xamarin 4 release.
Dive into Xamarin.Forms 2.0
Xamarin.Forms 2.0 included a number of cool new features and performance enhancements including:
- List Views have more customization options, both in terms of overall ListView behavior and appearance, as well as at the cell level. They’ve also received a huge performance upgrade with new options.
- Custom renderers are easier to build.
- New pinch gesture.
- Android Material Design is now supported.
- XAML can be compiled at build time.
- Windows 10 Universal Apps preview support is available.
Additionally, Xamarin University has over 15 hours of Xamarin.Forms content, and we’ve updated that content to cover all of the new features of Xamarin.Forms 2.0. Including:
- XAML in Xamarin Forms (XAM130) has been updated to include the new XAMLC compiler.
- Customizing ListViews (XAM312) covers the new customization options as well as how to maximize the performance of your ListViews by leveraging the new options in Xamarin.Forms 2.0.
Streamline Your iOS Experience in Visual Studio
Xamarin 4 takes a completely new approach to building iOS apps in Visual Studio with a Mac build machine. With our completely rewritten Visual Studio support, it’s faster, more secure, and easier to set-up and keep your build environment in sync. After you’ve checked out the Lightning Lecture, make sure to check out our new docs on it here.
Build Beautiful Apps with the iOS and Android Designers
Both the iOS and the Android designers have seen significant improvements in performance, as well as a slew of new features.
The iOS Designer now supports XIB files as well as Storyboards, meaning you can more easily share table and collection view cell layouts and create universal launch screens. We’ve created a recipe that walks through creating a XIB based launch screen, in addition to the lightning lecture mentioned above.
Finally, Xamarin.Mac got a big upgrade with its new support for storyboards via Xcode, enabling seamless synchronization between your C# code and the Xcode graphical UI designer.
Get Testing with Xamarin Test Cloud
Xamarin Test Cloud just got even better. Not only is there a new pricing model that makes it more accessible for everyone, we’ve also launched UITest 1.0, the first official release of our C#-based test authoring package that brings a familiar NUnit-like structure to your automated user interface test code.
Generate Tests Easily with Xamarin Test Recorder
To make it even easier to write tests, we’ve created the Xamarin Test Recorder, which enables you to generate automated UI tests visually.
Xamarin Test Recorder is an early preview tool that lets you build tests without any code at all—simply click through your app to build test cases, and watch Xamarin Test Recorder generate test code for you. You can then edit the test further or upload it straight to Xamarin Test Cloud! Check out the Lightning Lecture, and then dive into the documentation for more information.
If you’re signed up for Xamarin University, make sure to check out the updated Xamarin.UITest (XTC102) class, which now covers Xamarin Test Recorder.
Raise Your App IQ with Xamarin Insights
Xamarin Insights is a fantastic product that’s incredibly easy to add to your apps and can give you valuable insights into how people use them. Without doing any real work at all (simply adding it to your apps), you can track a lot of usage and metrics including app crashes and their cause. With a little more effort, you can build all kinds of useful events into tracking and really understand how people use your app, so you can optimize your development efforts. You can also automatically integrate events into 3rd party services such as GitHub and Visual Studio Online!
Xamarin University students also have access to a brand new class, Using Xamarin Insights (XAM215) that teaches you everything you need to know to integrate Xamarin Insights into your Xamarin.Forms or native Xamarin application.
Happy Xamarining from the Xamarin Education Team!