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How Xamarin.Forms Support Efficient Cross-Platform App Development for Businesses

by Sara Suarez about a month ago in product review
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Xamarin.Forms - Uniting Development Environments

In the digital era, mobile apps are no longer an option but a must-have for organizations. The real challenge for enterprises lies in choosing the approach (native or cross-platform) for app development. Both the approaches have their own advantages and limitations, determining the best is always challenging.

As per reports, 80% of organizations are focusing on creating applications that run seamlessly on multiple platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows. Chrome, Firefox, Facebook, along with many other applications have proved that multi-platform development is the ultimate choice for start-ups and leading companies. The cross-platform approach helps businesses deliver a native UI experience and influence a wide range of audience with relatively limited resources.

Challenges with Cross-Platform App Development

A decade ago, cross-platform app development was intended to develop simple games and mobile apps. Later, innovative technologies have made cross-platform development more influential, adaptable, and scalable than before. However, to enable a responsive experience in an app, developers need to solve several problems first.

  • Multiple Development Environments - Developers need to use Mac OS X and certain tools like XCode with Objective-C or Swift as a coding language for iOS development. Whereas, for Android development, developers use Android Studio and choose Java or Kotlin as a programming language.
  • Diverse APIs - Each platform provides a distinct method of employing an additional feature or solving a specific user problem. Therefore, cross-platform app developers have to identify an optimal combination that would coordinate several operating systems.
  • Compliance - Cross-platform app developers often face problems maintaining the compliance of applications across several OS and devices.
  • Performance Glitches - are one of the key challenges in cross-platform development. This issue occurs due to inconsistent interaction among the native and non-native elements of devices.

To solve all these challenges, developers prefer using a single framework that allows for developing apps for any platform with better resolutions. Xamarin.Forms is one such framework that unites development environments, and diverse APIs, and allows developers to utilize a reusable codebase.

What is Xamarin.Forms?

Xamarin.Forms is an exclusive framework designed by the Xamarin community to help developers build prototypes or mobile apps with 100% code shareability across Windows, iOS, and Android platforms. Xamarin.Forms is incorporated with native libraries where app developers can personalize APIs for any operating system. With these APIs, developers can use the native devices’ functionalities like GPS, camera, geolocation, etc., and can integrate them inside the application.

Xamarin.Forms framework uses the combination of C# and the .NET technologies. It also provides a lot of reusable code templates and remains one of the most valuable cross-platform frameworks available up to date. Developers from the Xamarin app development services company help businesses to design, develop, test, and release the apps securely.

Features of Xamarin.Forms

The main objective of Xamarin.Forms framework is to allow app developers to enhance user interfaces, add more functionality on different platforms, and visualize the outcomes in real-time. A cross-platform app developer needs to check whether the app is displayed appropriately on all operating systems. Therefore, the Xamarin community offers a range of features for developers like:

1. Device Class - This feature allows app developers to modify the app’s functionality for a specific platform after the basic codebase has been programmed. Despite being a cross-platform development framework, Xamarin.Forms framework allows developers to design code according to specific hardware types and resolutions. The Device Class is capable of analyzing an application’s performance and providing suggestions for its enhancement.

2. Essentials Page - “Xamarin Essentials” is a recurrently updated library with multiple APIs for native devices. Whether the app needs to utilize a camera or microphone, developers can simply access the required API that matches particular hardware requirements from the “Essentials” section. This feature is highly beneficial for developers to integrate text-to-speech conversion, file system access, keypad, screen lock, and other APIs, enabling smooth UI.

3. Pre-Built Page Layouts - Xamarin.Forms ensure a ready-to-use set of basic user interfaces and application controls. App designers or developers can alter layout elements or prefer to modify a specific platform’s effects, and colors, and include unique APIs to the app without impacting the app’s design on other OS. Moreover, it provides designers and developers with pre-equipped navigation and interface customizations.

Benefits of Using Xamarin.Forms for App Development

Single Codebase

As mentioned before, mobile apps run effectively when they’re designed with a precise form of device in mind. Xamarin.Forms framework allows engineers to share up to 100% of code across major platforms. Thus, the framework saves the mobile app developer’s efforts by eliminating the need to develop two separate apps right from scratch to deployment, and develop just one while the other one for another device/platform is already available. Indeed, this code shareability feature of Xamarin.Forms results in a significant reduction of the development practice, which in turn cut-down costs.

Fast Prototyping

While developing complex mobile applications using other frameworks, developers often need to spend a lot of effort and time on prototyping. However, Xamarin.Forms offers built-in APIs and features of the underlying mobile platform for developers. This is an exclusive advantage for app developers. For instance, developers can easily access CoreMotion, PassKit, StoreKit, and other fundamental features for iOS development using Xamarin.Forms. Similarly, app developers can utilize NFC, Google Play Services for Android, and Tiles for Windows gadgets. Xamarin.Forms virtual machine helps developers to identify and eliminate app bottlenecks during the compilation at the earliest.

All-Inclusive Suite

Xamarin.Forms framework necessitates developers to be familiar with C# technology. And instead of operating with multiple Integrated Developer Environments (IDEs), experts can easily work in the Xamarin Studio which offers all the SDKs (Software Developer Kits) that are required to develop applications for various devices.

Indeed, the apps developed using Xamarin.Forms results in high ROI and customer engagement. However, before deploying an application, it is significant to have a quality check of the app in order to gain reasonable outcomes. Businesses can hire Xamarin developers to execute quality analysis and testing of their apps. The developers use Xamarin Test Cloud to test app performance on multiple devices virtually. Thereby, guaranteeing a quality solution at the end of the development.

Community Support

Xamarin.Forms framework ensures stability, fast issue resolution, and consistent technical assistance because Microsoft supports the Xamarin platform. Besides, Microsoft offers access to trustworthy educational resources, including Xamarin online courses, tutorials, and complete tech guides on the official site of Microsoft Learn. Thus, app developers are not working in a vacuum and can acquire comprehensive assistance while improving their expertise.

Wrapping Up

Xamarin.Forms framework provides attractive opportunities to business owners. This framework is highly popular as it uses a standard programming language C#. Using a single tech stack for cross-platform solutions simplifies design, development, testing, and maintenance for businesses. Besides, Xamarin.Forms provides excellent libraries for microservices, start-up releases, and simple and complex applications.

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About the author

Sara Suarez

Sara Suarez is a professional writer, having a deep understanding of the latest technology. She has been writing insightful content for the last 5 years and contributed many articles to many websites.

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