Xamarin.Forms Walkthrough 1: Getting Started with Xamarin

This article provides a clean base to start programming Xamarin to develop Mobile applications using C#.

In this walkthrough we will be learning the basic concepts of the world of Xamarin and Xamarin.Forms, that is a historical step in the creation of cross-platform mobile applications. Here we will talk about why or how Xamarin’s approach to create a framework differs from some of the other cross-platform frameworks. We’ll also explain the prestigious concepts of Write Once, Run Everywhere/Anywhere.


In the very beginning, there were many manufacturers of mobile devices, who had their own view or vision about the world of mobile technology look like with their operating systems. They began to build their own tools and Software Development Kits (SDKs) to support their technology, that was a little confusing for developers about how to choose the one among the others that can crack the future! If you wanted to target Android, you had to learn Java. If you wanted to target the iOS, you had to learn Objective-C. And if you dared to target the Windows Phone, you had to learn C#.



Creating software for a mobile is not as easy as writing something to run on servers or even desktops. You are forced to work with limited CPU, memory, I/O, etc. Due to that crisis many of them were a step backward. Here the need for revolution arose. As its part, in mid-2011, Xamarin was formed and officially signed an agreement with Novell that stated Xamarin would fully retain the rights to the Mono framework, as well as the new up-and-coming frameworks for writing iOS and Android apps using C#, MonoTouch and Mono for Android. By this great innovation the glorious world of mobile development was openned for the .NET developers of the world. The way to create cross-platform with a single framework or language is not new, but giving 100% native API coverage is really awesome.


The announcement of Xamarin 3 came with several exciting new features being added to the Xamarin platform. One of these features was Xamarin.Forms. Xamarin.Forms touted the ability to enable developers to create shared domain-level code as well as create shared UI code.



Xamarin.Forms began to grow on the solid foundation that Xamarin had already created. Since Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android allow code to be written in C# and then mapped to native classes at runtime, Xamarin applications can be described as running natively on devices.


Like all other technology, we have Xamarin Studio as a tool that helps us to develop apps for iOS and Android (Targeting the iOS platform from a Windows machine should have access to a Mac on the local network with Xamarin and Xcode installed and configured as a Xamarin.iOS Build Host). Xamarin also provides support using Visual Studio to create a complete cross-platform (iOS, Android and Windows) application.



Requirements

Mac

OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) or newer with Xamarin Studio 5 and Xcode 5 (For iOS development). Windows Phone apps cannot be developed on OS X. Xamarin Studio for Xamarin.Forms does not contain Windows Phone tools. It will be good to have a Visual Studio on your Mac using a virtual machine.

Windows

Xamarin Studio 5 or Visual Studio 2012 with .NET 4.5 (for Xamarin.Forms) installed.