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Building A UX Friendly App With Xamarin Framework

February 17, 2020 No Comments

Featured article by Anastasia Stefanuk, Passionate Writer and Information Technology Enthusiast

When considering building an iOS or Android application, the first thing that comes to mind is Java, Objective-C or Swift. This is because they are naturally considered as the most established native tech stacks for Android and iOS app development. However, when talking about key other mobile app development approaches, it’s impossible to downplay Xamarin. This tech sack helps Xamarin developersto easily build performance-oriented and user-friendly mobile applications with a fully native experience. So, if you are looking for Xamarin developers for hire to help you build a secure and scalable app that is packed with intuitive features you will find this article helpful.

Now that we have thrown the formalities out the way,what Is Xamarin?

Definition of Xamarin

Xamarin is a cross-platform framework that allows developers to share 96% of code across the major platforms i.e Android, iOS, C#, and NET. Although its a relatively new framework, its 9 plus years of existence has seen it take the world by storm to rack up an online community of more than 1.4 million developers spread across 120 countries.

def xam e1581974139899 Building A UX Friendly App With Xamarin FrameworkFigure 1: Source: Hackernoon

Better yet, since becoming a part of Microsoft’s Visual Studio environment, Xamarin has become the technology of choice for many companies including UPS, Alaska Airlines, American Cancer Society, and Azure app. In 2019, Xamarin was voted by as one of the most loved technology with 49% of developers that were interviewed indicating interest in the framework.

def xam 2 e1581974406409 Building A UX Friendly App With Xamarin FrameworkFigure 2: Source: Stackoverflow

In terms of setting trends, Xamarin has continued to dominate major platforms like Stackoverflow with the number of Xamarin related questions and searches per month continuing to increase since 2015.

Now that we have established the popularity of Xamarin, let’s have a look at the advantages of using this framework.

Advantages of Using Xamarin

There are compelling reasons why small business and major corporations alike use Xamarin including;

A Centralized Technology Stack For Multiple Platforms

When it comes to building native apps, developers are required to have knowledge of different programming languages and technologies in order to build an app that can only work on a particular platform. However, the combination of C# and .Net framework in Xamarin developmentallows your development team to build apps that are compatible with all the mobile platforms.

Reduced Development Time 

All the native applications are platform-dependent. So, if you are looking to build a native app, your development team is required to build separate code for the respective platforms, which can increase the development time. Xamarin app development can speed up the development cycle as it allows up to 96% re-usability of the source code.

Along with that, it doesn’t require the development team to switch between development environments, hence reducing incompatibilities.

Native User Experiences

Another biggest advantage of using Xamarin is the platform-specific UI elements that allow you to create flawless experiences. Using the Xamarin.Forms tool, you can create a simple cross-platform app for Windows, iOS or Android by simply converting its UI components to match the interface elements or the respective platform. As well as reducing the development time, Xamarin. Forms are a great option when looking to add an abstraction layer on business-oriented projects.

Full Hardware Support

Since building your apps using Xamarin gives them native-level app functionality, hardware compatibility issues are eliminated thanks to the platform-specific plugins and APIs. Moreover, Xamarin supports native libraries linking, which gives better customization with little overhead.

Simplified Maintenance

The cross-platform application of Xamarin makes the app’s maintenance and updates easier. To make changes in both your iOS and Android app, you simply need to inject the updates to the source file if your app uses Xamarin.Forms, business logic, or share updates code. As a result, you get to save your time and the Xamarin developer salarypaid.

Strong Corporate Support

After Xamarin which was initially known as Monowas acquired by Microsoft, all its licensing policies saw radical changes. As a result, Xamarin’s SDK, including libraries, command-line tools, and runtime became open source and licensed as part of Visual Studio.

The elimination of all these barriers spawned further growth of the platform with the support of large corporate companies like Unity, JetBrains, and Red Hat. By using Xamarin to build your app, you can take rest knowing that you have a reliable and powerful framework that has credible backing.

Building UX/UI Design Using Xamarin.Forms

When it comes to app development, even the smallest details can make all the difference. As such, creating an app with good UI / UX design can help increase the value of your company by attracting potential customers. And that’s where Xamarin.Forms come in…

This cross-platform UI toolkit that comes bundled with Microsoft’s Visual Studio IDE allows web designers and developers to build apps with native user interface layoutsthat can be shared across all the major platforms.

Xamarin.Form simply works by mapping all the UI elements created from a shared PCL UI code to their respective native equivalent on Android, iOS, and Windows. Each Xamarin.Form page is split into two distinct parts that you can use to author your app’s user interface:

- XAML file
- CODE BEHIND/C# file

XAML File

The XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language) is an ideal method to develop an app graphical user interface. It supports both bitmap and vector graphics, as well as multimedia files and rich text.

The good thing about XAML files is that they can be produced using either Visual Studio or Microsoft’s Expression toolset and then exported them to Windows Presentation Foundation. As a result, your Xamarin developersand designers are able to work from the unified code base, hence improving their productivity.

Here is a sample of XAML file MainPage.

def Xam 3 e1581974519133 Building A UX Friendly App With Xamarin FrameworkFigure 3: Source: Microsoft.com

Code Behind file/ C#

Another option when it comes to creating your UI in code is the Code Behind file. It helps support the XAML and together they spawn a new class definition entailing property initialization and Views.

Another good thing about C# is that it can be used for Markup to create declarative UIs. For instance, if you have animations within your views, adding more complexity to them can be a major headache. However, if they have specific controls, you can establish them in separate files and reuse them in different Views.

So…which works best for UX between the two?

This is somewhat like a religious question where some people prefer one over the other.

Whether you choose XAML or C #, there aren’t major differences between the screens. Once compiled the result is just a DLL with the screen’s representation already being pre-compiled.

The only difference between the two can only be found in the level of code organization and programming.  From our experience here at the office, creating your app’s UI using XAML gives us some sort of hierarchical structure which is similar to that of HTML web pages.

Ultimately, the UI option you choose is purely based on the current skill set of the developer and the business needs.

Final Thoughts

Building a mobile application the perfect UI, backend, and feature-packed content can be a pain. However, with the help of tools like Xamarin, you can create an idyllic product that meets both your personal and business expectations. Most enterprises choose Xamarin mobile app because it allows for code sharing, which reduces the amount spent to hire Xamarin developers. Along with that, apps built on Xamarin are easy to maintain, compatible with multiple hardware, and extending their default functionality is a piece of cake.

About the Author

Anastasia Stefanuk is a passionate writer and Information Technology enthusiast. She works as a Content Manager at Mobilunity, a provider of dedicated development teams around the globe. Anastasia keeps abreast of the latest news in all areas of technology, Agile project management, and software product growth hacking, at the same time sharing her experience online to help tech startups and companies to be up-to-date.

 

 

 

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