Wintellect Blogs

Xamarin: From Zero to Certified

Jason Hill

26 May , 2017  

I have been interested in mobile development for several years now. I have dipped my toes into the waters of mobile development here and there. Recently, I have completed my Xamarin certification exam; so now I am legit. I would just like to highlight a bit of that journey.

In the Beginning

My interest for mobile development started after I bought my first smartphone, the Motorola DROID. Does the LG Voyager count?? Anyway, once I bought my DROID, I was in love. Besides having access to a whole app ecosystem finally, I could also create apps for my phone. So with stars in my eyes and the sky as the limit, I started digging into Android development. Android apps would require that I say hello again to my old friend Java, which I had not touched since college. Given I had been working with C# for the last few years, switching back to Java would require a bit of a mental shift especially since I would need to learn Android concepts. The end all, be all was that I read a few books, did some tutorials but honestly, I couldn’t see myself getting into doing Java development for creating Android applications.… Read more

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Xamarin Forms for Windows Developers: Tips, Tricks and Lessons Learned, Part 2

Scott Peterson

4 May , 2017  

xamarin forms best practices

The Recap

This series of posts is devoted to all the things I wish I knew, as a long-time Microsoft Enterprise developer, before I provisioned my first xPlatform solution: The 60+ tips, tricks, and lessons learned I’ve accumulated over the last couple of years using Xamarin Forms (in Visual Studio for Windows.)

Many of these things are things an Android or iOS developer (i.e.; college student) probably already knows, but not a Microsoft developer. Some of these things will seem ridiculous to even share, and some so obvious that perhaps some developers will pretend I am the only one who didn’t already know about it. Some of these things will be super-extra important, and some will be meaningless to almost everyone. If you “lean native” you might even argue with me about some of them. That being said, here is the second batch of TTLL:

The Bits

If you’re not using Visual Studio Mobile Center you are totally missing out.

If you haven’t heard of Visual Studio Mobile Center it’s understandable. Have you heard of HockeyApp? If you haven’t heard of HockeyApp, have you heard of a Sony Walkman? Visual Studio Mobile Center is one of the coolest (and most under-marketed) “almost” brand new offerings, from Microsoft for managing mobile app development and development lifecycles.… Read more

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Xamarin Forms for Windows Developers: Tips, Tricks and Lessons Learned, Part 1

Scott Peterson

3 May , 2017  

Xamarin Forms for Windows Developers

The Confession

Okay, right off the bat, I’m going to admit I’m a Microsoft “bigot” or in less unfriendly terms, a Microsoft “super-enthusiast” with severe “Microsoft is actually better at everything” leanings. I’ve spent most of the last 30 years writing Microsoft-based solutions with Microsoft tools and technologies for clients who are Microsoft “shops.” Still, to this day, I never install any non-Microsoft products on my workstations, except the (still phenomenal) Adobe Fireworks. Yes, Fireworks.

The Challenge

For the last four years, as a weird twist of fate, I have been creating real apps for real clients using the Xamarin platform, and more often than not, Xamarin Forms (or is it Xamarin.Forms? …I can never figure out why we need a dot although it does look cooler that way.) One thing I have noticed is that almost every blog, every post, every slice of documentation that exists for Xamarin Forms seems to be written by someone who “skews native” and not by someone in the actual Microsoft development world. I know why this is, of course, but am not going to write it out loud.

The Observation

Over the last couple of years I also started to notice (mostly) Microsoft developers struggling with the same issues, the same hiccups, and doing the same things that “seemed right at the time” based on documentation, but realized one compile too late, those examples were just “examples” and not to be taken on an empty stomach.… Read more

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Xamarin Mobile Development: Building Cross-Platform Apps for IOS, Android & Windows Devices


24 Mar , 2017   Video

xamarin mobile developmentXamarin Mobile Development

On Thursday Wintellect held a live hand’s-on webinar on Xamarin mobile development for building cross-platform apps including IOS, Android and Windows Devices. The agenda included an interactive and coding presentation from Jason Bell, including the mobile landscape and development options, the Xamarin development platform, Xamarin application architectural options and building shared application components.

The event was followed by a live Q & A session where attendees could ask Jason questions about best practices using Xamarin, or, any questions from what they learned in the presentation. One attendee asked which path they should take for mobile development between Xamarin and React Native. Jason stated the most important factor would be the language. With React Native they would be using JavaScript and if they moved forward with Xamarin, the language would be  .NET, C#, and potentially F#. A secondary factor is with React Native the API surface area that is available lags behind from what you would receive with Xamarin but depending on the app you are looking to build, it may be insignificant. Jason concluded that ultimately it would be the language preference and experience with that language that should be the determining factor when choosing between the two.… Read more

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Free Xamarin Training for Your New Year’s Weekend

Paul Ballard

30 Dec , 2016  

New Year’s Eve weekend is a time to party, but for the geeks among us, it may also be a good opportunity to curl up with some dev training videos.

Enter Microsoft/Xamarin with their on-demand recordings of Xamarin Dev Days sessions. The mobile development training event takes place periodically in cities around the world, and as of this month, you can also participate virtually via Xamarin Dev Days Live on Microsoft’s Channel 9. (Hat tip to Petri’s Paul Thurrott for first pointing this out.)

The five-episode track, which first aired Dec. 14, kicks off with Introduction to Xamarin,  Cross-Platform UI with Xamarin.Forms and Cloud First Apps with Azure. The “afternoon” sessions are more hands-on; you can follow along as the instructors walk through building an app.

Log on and get to brainstorming about what you’ll build in 2017.

 … Read more

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Why can’t I use the “dynamic” C# keyword in Xamarin.iOS?

Keith Rome

23 Jul , 2016  

Occasionally I see this question pop up in various forms; usually an app developer has written some fairly clever code that relies on the dynamic keyword in C#. Their code runs swimmingly on every other platform—and it also compiles just fine for iOS. But when they run the app on a physical iPhone or iPad they see runtime exceptions… often in strange and unexpected places. Finally, the problem gets tracked back to usage of dynamic, but the question remains: “Why didn’t that work?”

Buried down in the Xamarin.iOS documentation, we can find a page that discusses the limitations of MonoTouch / Xamarin.iOS ( On this page there exists some guidance regarding “Dynamic Code Generation” in which (among other things) it says that the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) is not allowed. OK, this seems related to the dynamic keyword, but you might be wondering how, exactly. The topic mentions that this is somehow due to the System.Reflection.Emit API not being available in iOS—but you clearly aren’t using that .NET feature, so what’s the deal?

Dynamic Code is not Allowed on iOS

Dynamic Code is not Allowed on iOS

It boils down to a security restriction in iOS. Apple does not allow apps to generate executable code at runtime, because this would be a potentially major security vulnerability.… Read more

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.NET Core 1.0 Released, Visual Studio 2015 Updated

Paul Ballard

28 Jun , 2016  

.NET Core 1.0—the open-sourced, cross-platform version of Microsoft’s web development framework—is now generally available. The release Monday caps two years of effort, in which nearly 10,000 developers participated, according to Microsoft.

.NET Core 1.0 will allow developers to create web apps, micro-services and libraries that work on OS X and Linux as well as Windows. Microsoft will be working with Red Hat to support .NET on Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux and platform-as-a-service OpenShift 3, the two companies announced at this week’s Red Hat DevNation conference.

“This is the biggest transformation of .NET since its inception and will define .NET for the next decade,” reads the statement on Microsoft’s .NET blog.  “We’ve rebuilt the foundation of .NET to be targeted at the needs of today’s world: highly distributed cloud applications, micro services and containers.”

Developers can begin building .NET Core apps using Visual Studio 2015 Update 3, also available starting Monday. The release includes the .NET Core runtime, libraries and tools and the ASP.NET Core libraries.

Other improvements in Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 include new Apache Cordova tools and analytics tools, including one for finding trends in your app’s telemetry, and an update of Node.js Tools. There’s also a number of bug fixes.… Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

Using XAML in F# Xamarin Forms – A Screencast

Jonathan Wood

1 Jun , 2016   Video

Now that we’ve seen the awesome new stuff in Xamarin Studio for F# let’s go a bit further and actually use some of those improvements to our advantage. However, instead of just a regular blog post, I thought it’d be worthwhile to do a screencast for y’all.

You can view the demo code directly on GitHub. Enjoy everyone!

 … Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

F# Improvements in Xamarin Studio

Jonathan Wood

9 May , 2016  

With the (almost) stable release of Xamarin Studio 6 comes a ton of great new improvements. I absolutely love the new dark theme! However, some huge improvements were made to the IDE for F# support, as well. Improvements that I feel may have gone without much notice. So I wanted to help get those improvements out in the open more as well as to recognize the folks that made all of this happen. At the time of this writing, I’m running the alpha build (v6.1) of Xamarin Studio.

Speaking of recognizing folks, huge shout out to Dave Thomas and Jason Imison for all their hard work in getting these improvements into Xamarin Studio. F# in Xamarin Studio would be nothing without these guys.

Project Templates

Xamarin Studio 6 now includes project templates for Xamarin Forms in F#. This is a pretty big update since, before, you couldn’t even add a PCL project in F# in Xamarin Studio.

F# Xamarin Forms Project

With this you can start creating cross-platform mobile applications with Xamarin Forms in F#! While this was doable before, it is much easier without going through a few workarounds to get things working. Just select this project and the templates do everything for you.… Read more

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Microsoft Open-Sources Xamarin SDK, Adds New Developer Tools

Paul Ballard

27 Apr , 2016  

Microsoft today announced that it has open-sourced the Xamarin SDK for iOS, Android and Mac, making good on a promise it made during Build 2016.

The source code released to the .NET Foundation under the MIT license includes native API bindings for all three platforms, command line tools and Xamarin.Forms, the company’s cross-platform UI framework.

Developers who want to contribute to these projects can get cracking right away by visiting Xamarin’s open source page.

Microsoft made the announcement at Xamarin’s Evolve 2016 developer conference, where it also revealed a number of improvements to Xamarin and Visual Studio that will support better cross-platform development.

Updates to Visual Studio will make it easier for C# developers to create native iOS apps. Developers running Visual Studio on Windows will be able to simulate and interact with their iOS apps without leaving Visual Studio, even deploying and debugging them on iOS devices plugged into their Windows machines.

Xamarin Studio 6 for Mac has a new dark theme and now uses Roslyn, Microsoft’s open source compiler, providing a more consistent environment for developers who switch back and forth between Windows and OS X. Xamarin.Forms also got a number of new features, including real-time previewing of Xamarin.Forms XAML source from within the IDE.… Read more

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