Windows developers can now stay in a single development environment for the entire iOS application development process with the release today of Xamarin 3, the company’s eponymous native app development platform that enables developers to build native apps for Android, iOS and Windows using C#.
“Our mission has been to make it fast, easy and fun to create mobile apps, and that’s what we are still doing, and it is what’ve been focused on,” said Nat Friedman, CEO and cofounder of Xamarin.
(Related: Xamarin tools for Google Glass development)
The release comes at a time when a majority of every business process and customer transaction takes place on a mobile device with high user-experience expectations, according to Friedman. Xamarin 3 looks to make it faster for businesses to reach consumers on all major platforms.
A new feature in Xamarin 3 is Xamarin Designer for iOS, an alternative to Apple’s Xcode. The designer is fully integrated into Xamarin’s supported IDEs, Visual Studio, and Xamarin Studio, so developers no longer have to switch between Visual Studio and Xcode during development. It has a more intuitive user interface than Xcode, Friedman claimed, and enables preview custom controls for developers to see exactly what will be on the screen in their iOS apps.
A major difference between Xcode and Xamarin Designer for iOS is that the latter can run on Windows. Apple’s Xcode only runs on Mac.
“The real benefit here is for Visual Studio users on Windows,” said Friedman. “They can now design iOS interfaces right from Windows in Visual Studio. No one has ever done this before. We’ve long supported developing iOS apps from Visual Studio on Windows, and now we support designing them as well.”
Also included in the release is Xamarin.Forms, an API that allows developers to build shared user interface code for Android, iOS and Windows Phone applications.