Xamarin is an incredibly popular cross-platform development framework that allows you to develop Android, iOS, Mac and Windows applications using Visual Studio and C#. Code can be reused across platforms and compiled into native code, all while delivering a native UI, native performance and access to device-specific features. However, for Xamarin to work really well in the real world, it needs to make use of some external frameworks and libraries. So, if your development team is about to start a project, there are some key tools, applications, environments and programming languages that your Xamarin developers need to have under their belt. Fortunately, there are many popular tools available, many of which are open-source.
Visual Studio is Microsoft’s integrated development environment (IDE) that offers many features when it comes to creating mobile, desktop and web applications. Whether your team is building a mobile application with .NET, a .NET Core application or an ASP.NET Core web application, working knowledge of the IDE is a necessity. Visual Studio includes a rich editor, debugging capabilities, native platform integration and many other features.
NuGet is Microsoft’s mechanism for creating, sharing and consuming useful code and is an essential tool for any modern development project. The code is compiled in a NuGet package as a single zip file. Developers can create packages and publish them to either a public or private host to share them. Those who want to use the packages in their projects can then obtain them from suitable hosts and call the functionality into their project code. Meanwhile, NuGet handles all the intermediate details. NuGet maintains a central repository of over 100,000 unique packages that are employed by millions of developers every day.
InVision is a leading product design collaboration platform that enables developers to upload design files and add animations, gestures and translations. It easily transforms static screens into interactive prototypes and gives your team the ability to collaborate, build a visual hierarchy of ideas, incorporate feedback and fine-tune the design process.
The ultimate coediting design tool, Adobe XD enables designers and developers to work together in the same file in real-time. The vector-based user-experience design tool enables your team to prototype faster than ever. Prototypes look and feel like the real thing, so the design vision can be easily communicated. What’s more, the tool is available on Mac and Windows while also having cross-platform compatibility. The time-saving features and workflows in Adobe XD work from ideation to wireframing.
xUnit is a free, open-source testing framework for .Net languages such as C# and F# that encourages developers to test their code, ensures it complies with specific requirements and checks that it performs as expected prior to quality assurance testing. By using the software to test early, the development process can be tightened and improved. The framework works with EeSharper, Xamarin and more to accomplish the tests and includes an excellent extensibility of test classes and test methods.
A bug reporting tool for mobile app development, Instabug provides incredibly useful metadata and exceptional support. It aids development by automatically activating bug reports when Instabug is installed. The tool captures a screenshot that users can then add to, as well as sending detailed user data and the steps required to reproduce each bug.
Xamarin Workbooks & Inspector
Xamarin Workbooks & Inspector is an interactive tool for analysing, experimenting and modifying a running application. Xamarin workbooks deliver a combination of documentation and code that allows your team to experiment, learn and create guides. Developers are able to get instant live results and the Inspector integrates with their workflow to support debugging and diagnostics as they inspect the running up.
Prism is a framework for building loosely coupled XAML applications and provides a collection of design patterns that can help create well-structured and maintainable applications. The core functionality is a shared code base in a Portable Class Library and great integration with target platforms.
Mobile applications usually need to connect to several APIs and AutoRest is a tool that provides a code generation framework specifically for that. In simple terms, AutoRest is a flexible pipeline where a series of preconfigured phases transform and merge various OpenAPI input files. The output is a code model that can be consumed by a language-specific code generator. Code is then produced that aligns with the design guidelines for each language.
SQLite is a database engine written in C# that software developers can embed in their Xamarin apps. It has all the advantages of a relational database but with less computational cost and allows for simple yet expressive code.
The clue is in the title with this one; Xamarin.Essentials provides developers with fundamental cross-platform APIs for mobile applications. While Android, iOS and Windows all offer unique operating systems and platform APIs, Xamarin.Essentials delivers a single cross-platform API that can work with any Xamarin application.
Does Your Team Have the Tools They Need?
If you’re planning to delegate your project to a Xamarin development company, you should ensure that they are using the latest development tools. After all, choosing the right tools and resources will make your developers more productive, which will save you time and money and ensure your app is as successful as possible. There is little point in reinventing the wheel, so using existing libraries, tools and technologies will help to deliver incredible features while saving valuable time and money.