Xamarin expands Android, iPhone cross-platform development kit

The Mobile toolkit now features APIs for geolocation and contacts

On Thursday, Xamarin added an API (application programming interface) for contacts to its new cross-platform Mobile development kit, with which the company aims to make it easier for C# users to develop applications for Android and iOS at the same time.

Xamarin was started this year to save the Mono project, which provides open-source versions of Microsoft software development technologies for use on non-Windows platforms, after Attachmate decided to drop it after the merger with Novell, where Mono had its home previously.

For smartphone and tablet development, the company offers MonoTouch, which allows C# developers to create native applications for Apple's iPad and iPhone, and Mono for Android, which does the same for Google's operating system.

MonoTouch is the more popular of the two, but there is also a big overlap between the two products, which is one of the reasons why the company decided to embark on the development of Xamarin Mobile, a first preview of which was released about two weeks ago and included a geolocation API.

The ability to reuse as much code as possible when developing applications for different smartphone operating systems is something that a lot of developers have in the back of their heads, according to Joseph Hill, chief operating officer at Xamarin.

The goal with Xamarin Mobile is not to offer cross-platform support for everything a developer can think of, but to find a subset of APIs where it makes the most sense.

"For instance, our first version was focused on maps. A lot of mobile apps do a little something with maps, and it usually it has nothing to do with if its on iPhone or Android. The app just needs some geolocation information," said Hill.

On Thursday, the company released a new preview, which adds a cross-platform Contact API that give developers access to the phone's address book.

Interaction with the camera is a likely candidate to come next, according to Hill. The company has put up a survey where developers can influence decisions about what comes next, he said

APIs for audio and video, accelerometers and notifications are also on the table.

One thing the company isn't going to add is the ability to build a user interface and use it across different operating systems.

"We think that is a horrible idea ... You don't navigate the same way through an Android app as you do through an iPhone app," said Hill.

When developing Xamarin Mobile, iOS and Android are the first priority, but the company is planning to add Windows Phone, as well. But it isn't making any official statements on when that will happen, according to Hill.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobilesmartphonesAndroidiosiPhonesoftwaremobile applicationsapplicationstelecommunicationapplication developmentconsumer electronicsDevelopment toolsMobile OSesWindows PhoneAndroid OSXamarin

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?