Introduction to Enterprise Application Development with Xamarin

Enterprise Applications (commonly abbreviated as EA) are software solution that provide business logic and tools which can be used to imitate an entire business process for an organization. They not just improve productivity by automating processes, but also make the business model more efficient. Some examples of the most commonly built enterprise applications include customer relationship management system, time log and attendance system, billing system, etc. The enterprise applications can be used throughout the breadth of an organization. This means that different departments of the organization can benefit from these applications. 

Since these apps are highly data-intensive, they collect a large amount of data from various sources. They can be used to integrate contact data validation and enhancement solutions as the data entering these apps is of the highest quality. They help build good customer relationship with the organization and improve process efficiencies. The data-driven insights help perfect various systems.

With organizations realising the many benefits of enterprise applications, they are looking to incorporate unique solutions to make their processes smoother. A cross-platform enterprise app works best as it allows users with all kinds of smart devices to access these apps. 

Xamarin is one of the leading cross-platform frameworks available that has successfully contributed to the development of thousands of enterprise applications. Xamarin app development services have been instrumental in creating some of the best enterprise app solutions for the biggest companies in the world. 

Introduction to Xamarin

Xamarin has been one of the oldest cross-platform frameworks available in the world of technology. It was founded in 2011, and later acquired by Microsoft in 2016 where it established itself as a part of its Visual Studio IDE.Today there exist thousands of exclusive Xamarin app development companies and over 1.4 million Xamarin developers across 120 countries. While it is mainly used in an enterprise environment, the framework provides many benefits in other areas as well. 

Xamarin has been used by companies from all sorts of fields, including energy, transport, healthcare, and more.

Defining Xamarin – What is the Framework All About?

By definition, Xamarin is an open-source platform that is being used for building highly performant, modern, and functional applications for large organizations. These companies generally hire Xamarin developers from India (or other nations where good Xamarin developers are available) to create applications for various operating systems. Xamarin apps run smoothly on every kind of operating system, including the most popular ones like iOS, Android, and Windows. 

Xamarin has been regarded as an abstraction layer that communicates between shared code and underlying platform code. Xamarin apps run in a well-managed environment where conveniences such as memory allocation and garbage collection are available.

Xamarin applications can effectively be written on a PC or even on a Mac. It can then be compiled into native application packages in the form of an .apk file on Android or an .ipa file on iOS.

C# and XAML

  • Xamarin platform can be used to create multi-OS apps.
  • Xamarin allows developers to create a single application which can work across all iOS, Android, and even Windows devices.
  • C# and XAML can be used to develop these applications.
  • XAMLgenerallyacts as the mark-up and data binding language for any phone app. C#, on the other hand, acts as the server side language.

How Xamarin Works

Xamarin is an excellent framework that allows developers to develop native applications for Android, iOS and Windows Phone platforms by using a single codebase. This implies that an application can be built using C# and a single IDE, i.e. Visual Studio . Therefore, a developer can without any discomfort or need for learning Java, Kotlin, Objective-C, or Swift, be able to develop native mobile applications. The basic idea is to have C# code converted to make it feasible to work on all three separate platforms. 

Xamarin offers the following:

  • It offers a native UI interface.
  • It provides native API access.
  • It gives ahigh-level native performance.

Xamarin-Forms Architecture

Xamarin allows the developer to create a native UI on any platform while writing business logic in C#. This business logic is 80% shareable using Xamarin and is thus, shared across platforms. Xamarin takes care of the auxiliary tasks like translating or compiling all the C# code to its corresponding platform-specific code.

Xamarin is basically built on top of Mono, which is an open-source version of the .NET Framework.Mono is an old framework which has existed for as long as .NET framework. It can run on most platforms – including Linux, Unix, macOS, etc. the execution environment of Mono is adept at handling tasks such as memory allocation, junk collection, interoperability with underlying platforms, etc.

Xamarin Android Architecture

For Android developers, Xamarin leverages the special JIIT compilation for the creation of an optimized executable. The Xamarin Android applications usually run within the Mono Execution Environment which further runs with the Android Run Time virtual machine. 

Xamarin iOS Architecture

Xamarin has a fully compiled AOT for iOS developers. This ensures native performance of the app on an iOS device. The Xamarin iOS applications also run within the Mono Execution Environment and make use of the full AOT compilation to compile C# code to assembly language. 

What Does a Developer Need in Order to be Proficient in Xamarin?

In order to be proficient in Xamarin, a developer needs to know the following:

1. C# Language

C# is an easy language to learn and adopt and does not take too long to master.

2. Mobile Development

A developer needs to know at least one out of Android and iOS – how it works, how to make use of controllers, how to store files, and how to leverage the best features of the devices. 

3. Architecture

In order to get the most out of Xamarin, a developer needs to know as much about code architecture as is possible. 

Why Choose Xamarin?

Why Choose Xamarin?

There are certain advantages associated with Xamarin which are hard to miss:

1. Faster Development Using a Single Tech Stack

Since Xamarin is created using visual studio, the apps based on it can be developed using a single language. By simply using C# programming language and Xamarin environment for cross-platform implementations, a developer is able to achieve much more with much less resources. 

2. Rapid Prototyping

Xamarin.Forms gives developers the access to complete cross-platform UI toolkits to built interfaces that effectively work on every device. Thus, a single user interface can be shared across all devices without the need to modify UI for individual platforms. 

3. Native Performance and User Experience

Xamarin makes it possible to access each and every Native API which in turn allows developers to create a completely native UI. Xamarin even gives developers the opportunity to take full-advantage of the system software and hardware specific APIs. There is practically no difference between a Xamarin based cross-platform app and a native app.

4. Reduced Time Between Project Initiation and Project Rollout

Since it is possible to use shared codebases with Xamarin, a lot of time that is otherwise spent translating, rewriting, or compiling code gets saved. This process can shave off weeks, and sometimes even months of time wasted in the development cycle. The product gets finished sooner and is ready for the marketing phase. 

5. Reduced Maintenance

It is no secret that updating or maintaining the apps built using Xamarin requires relatively less time and effort. Once the changes in the source file are made, the same changes can be applied directly to the apps on all platforms without having to individually weed out problems. 

How Xamarin Fares Against Other Cross-Platforms – Xamarin Vs. React Native Vs. Flutter

1. Speed

App speed is one of the most important concerns for any developer. Everybody wants a quick and responsive app. Xamarin is a relatively slower framework than Flutter when judging on the basis of speed. 

2. Community Support

Community support is essential in any app development journey. Xamarin has a relatively limited community support when compared with that of React Native and Flutter. Out of the three, React Native is the clear winner in terms of community support available to developers. 

3. Security

Security of the source code and application is very important which is why it is listed as one of the priority items for all cross-platform developers.Flutter and Xamarin fare well when it comes to security access.

4. Customization

React Native Allows third-party plugins. Flutter has the Hot Reload feature while Xamarin has the Live Reload feature that empower both the platforms for live changes on the project that is under development. They have a better freedom of customization with cross-platform app development. 

5. Usability Factor for Developers

Xamarin is C# based which is one of the easiest programming language to learn – even for newbie developers. React native is coded in Java which is the most widely used language and almost every developer knows it. Therefore, Xamarin and React Native are two of the most popular and easy-to-access frameworks. 

6. Popularity

Xamarin framework is used by millions of developers worldwide in different industries such as media, transportation, finance, healthcare, gaming, hospitality and more. Xamarin is mostly used for premium users as it is not free. 

All in all, Xamarin is a great fit for any company looking to develop an upscale robust app for multiple platforms. It has a range of tools and features that are the best in the market. It is a personal favourite of experienced developers when it comes to selecting a cross-platform framework. It has a powerful C# environment, a host of native and cross-platform libraries, and APIs. All these together reduce the time required to build applications and bring brand new features to users. Enterprise apps are conveniently built on Xamarin as there is no requirement of native iOS and Android platforms. Xamarin is designed to scale-up projects, is open-source, and is an obvious choice for large corporations.