Xamarin Hackday

It’s estimated that there are more mobile devices than people in the world (1).

Powered by various operating systems (2), which provide a specific development environment to create a mobile application.

As a software developer you face a daunting task to ensure your product runs successfully on each platform.

At XITASO one of our biggest commitments to our customers is always to search for the best possible tools and solutions to solve problems.

Xamarin is one of the latest attempts to bring cross-platform development to the world of mobile applications. To learn more, members of XITASO team attended the Xamarin Hackday, which took place on 13th of June in beautiful Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The event was organized by SSW (3) and Microsoft and hosted by Faculty of Computer and Information Science, University of Ljubljana (4)

„Xamarin could become a very powerful tool to build mobile applications in the near future and it was worth investing our time to learn more about it.“

Liutauras Diu
Software Developer

In his keynote the SSW Chief Architect and Microsoft Regional Director Adam Cogan talked about what benefits Xamarin brings to mobile development, its fast growing community and best practices.

David Karlaš, a member of the team behind Xamarin Studio, presented various core concepts and techniques. We have learned that Xamarin could allow a developer to share code describing business logic via Portable Class Libraries (5) (PCL) or as Shared Projects (6). David explained cons and pros of each option and finally demonstrated how PCL can be used to create a simple Xamarin Android in Xamarin Studio. The app prototype, which took him to build around 5 min, used a public API of a car ride service (7) to provide search on mobile device.

Miha Markič, a C# MVP and an Independent Consultant, dived deeper into the topic of code sharing by introducing Xamarin.Forms. He has shown that Xamarin.Forms offer greater code sharing possibility across different platforms and potentially greater velocity for prototyping. However, Xamarin.Forms have few important drawbacks and in the current state would only benefit simple projects with lesser OS specific design ambitions. Hopefully in the future Xamarin will address most of the current issues and Forms will become a powerful tool.

As a bonus talk Ben Cull (8) discussed evolution of online payment systems. He used Stripe (9) (his favorite online payment API) in his live demo to show how easy it is to create a simple web application, which is capable to receive payments according to highest security standards.

To wrap up Adam Cogan gave us a rundown on new features in Visual Studio 2015 and C#.

Throughout the hackday everybody had a chance to get their hands dirty and build an actual Xamarin application with a help from experts. Team’s “XITASO” app was the one of the two built and presented and received a warm welcome.

In summary we really enjoyed the event and the experience. Xamarin could become a very powerful tool to build mobile applications in the near future and it was worth investing our time to learn more about it.

(1) http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/there-are-officially-more-mobile-devices-than-people-in-the-world-9780518.html

(2) http://www.idc.com/prodserv/smartphone-os-market-share.jsp

(3) https://www.ssw.com.au/ssw/default.aspx

(4) http://www.fri.uni-lj.si/en

(5) http://developer.xamarin.com/guides/cross-platform/application_fundamentals/pcl/

(6) http://developer.xamarin.com/guides/cross-platform/application_fundamentals/shared_projects/

(7) https://prevoz.org/

(8) https://twitter.com/benwholikesbeer

(9) https://stripe.com/de