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 Wednesday, June 18, 2014
« CSLA 4 version 4.5.600 release with iOS ... | Main | Sharing Code from WinForms to iOS »

A couple of us at Magenic have been spending some time looking into the new Xamarin.Forms technology.

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It has some nice potential, but is clearly at the prototype stage more than the ready-for-use stage.

The good potential centers around the start of a XAML dialect they’ve created that describes common UI elements and concepts across iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8 (Silverlight). Using this dialect you can’t get at all the features of each platform, but you can get at enough features to create standard data entry and data viewing forms like you’d need for a typical business application. And there’s always an easy escape hatch that allows you to build per-platform forms for when a common form just isn’t enough.

The bad points are areas I hope they’ll address soon so the technology becomes more useful for real work.

The first roadblock is the almost complete lack of documentation or samples showing how to use their XAML dialect. They have samples showing how to build forms in C#, but not in XAML. It reminds me of the first few months when Microsoft introduced XAML for WPF.

Perhaps it is because of the lack of XAML samples/docs, but it is a real struggle to figure out how to do things like async loading of data, full implementations of data binding against standard data binding types, etc.

I think this whole thing has potential. WPF was really rough when it was introduced, and eventually Microsoft improved the docs and samples and designer tools. And they eventually smoothed over the most egregious data binding issues, allowing the vast majority of existing .NET types to bind into WPF.

I really hope Xamarin does the same thing with this technology.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 10:45:37 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
I am quite excited by the potential of Xamarin.Forms. I already have an iOS app using a custom CSLA 4.3 accessing data on a local SQLite database so it works offline. The syncing process sends data back to a Web API where it is using the same CSLA business objects to update records in the database.

Now I need to make it work on Android. I was planning on using Xamarin.Forms using the C# syntax. I will need to create my own controls and renderers. Do you think the C# version is ready for production? If not, what are the issues? By the way I will looking at upgrading the shared code to use CSLA 4.5.600 now that it officially supports iOS.
Jason Hardman
Thursday, June 19, 2014 2:06:06 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
You know what seems really exciting about this to me is that the weakest point of Xamarin in my opinion, having to create native apps for each - is almost trying to establish a means of a common denominator.

In his talk at Build, his quote I remember the most is about PhoneGap/etc "pooping" out an Android app, "pooping" out an iOS app, etc. "You've seen these things, you can tell right away".

It seems like it's the same principle here going on to some degree, but honestly that doesn't bother me. The more code reuse I can get across the different platforms the better, as long as I can provide a smart-client type experience by having my business objects on the client.
chris
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