Introduction To Xamarin: What It is & What It Isn’t

As of this writing, I have been actively developing for iOS and Android with Xamarin for almost 2 years. In that short time, the platform has grown rapidly and has matured quite a bit. I’ll be the first to admit that there still is some work to be done. But I’m confidant that by this time next year, the platform will have matured even better. It certainly has since I first started.

As a software engineering consultant for a firm, my colleagues often ask me what my current engagement is and what type of applications am I developing. When I mention that I’m developing iOS and Android apps using Xamarin, the majority have them have heard the term, and read about what it does. My current employer is a Microsoft Partner and one of 34 Microsoft National Systems Integrators. So naturally, the majority of my colleagues are .NET Developers. And some of the best I’ve worked with I might add.

But regardless, during our conversations about technology, specifically mobile development using Xamarin, I find that there are a lot of common misconceptions on what Xamarin is and what Xamarin isn’t. There are a good number of tools that help you write cross platform mobile apps that share a common architecture. However, I think that Xamarin is unique enough on their approach and philosophy on cross platform mobile development that they often unfairly get associated with other tools. So the purpose of this article is to explain what Xamarin is, and what Xamarin is not.