What is Xamarin
Within the last couple years of Microsoft development news, Microsoft bought the company Xamarin. This company created a software solution, also called Xamarin, that allows for easy cross-platform development in .NET languages.
The IDE for developing with Xamarin is Visual Studio. Recently, Microsoft released a Macintosh version of Visual Studio that will replace the older Xamarin Studio IDE for Macintosh. The language used to program with Xamarin is C#. This popular and versatile language has many intuitive features to make development easier. The Mono .NET framework provides cross-platform capabilities.
Xamarin allows you to develop applications for iOS, Android, and Windows devices. While for iOS, Xamarin creates a native application, for Android, an application runs on an included runtime. Xamarin isn't required for writing applications for Windows phones/tablets as Visual Studio already provides that capability. If you want to develop for multiple platforms, though, writing Xamarin-compatible code for your Windows application will allow reuse of the code for other platforms.
Benefits of Xamarin
If your team is already familiar with C# and Visual Studio, Xamarin lets you develop for mobile platforms without learning new languages and IDEs. Additionally, if you wish to deploy an application to multiple platforms, most Xamarin code written will be usable on all platforms. However, Xamarin applications support the native user interface of the device that they run on. Thus, a Xamarin application will have all the normal elements and behaviors of a native application for a platform.
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