Xamarin.Forms 4.0: Microsoft’s new approach to mobile UI

Xamarin’s cross-platform mobile app development tools are about to get a significant makeover

Xamarin.Forms 4.0: Microsoft’s new approach to mobile UI
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Because Microsoft no longer makes any mobile devices doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a mobile strategy. It’s strategy is to be wherever developers are. And for mobile that’s why it’s delivering its own .Net-based cross-platform development tools in the shape of Xamarin.

While the original intent of Xamarin was to provide a common core for code with separate user interface implementations for each target OS, it still required having to have some understanding of the native OS implementations of key UI constructs. So, to simplify development and reduce the need to bring in additional skills, the Xamarin team introduced Xamarin.Forms. By providing a single set of controls that render across platforms, it aims to offer a single design experience for both Android and iOS apps.

By providing a standard way of designing UI, Xamarin.Forms moves away from apps having a native look and feel to apps having a Xamarin look and feel. That’s certainly an arguable decision, as to whether to impose the alien Xamarin UI on Android and iOS for the sake of development consistency. But the industry is moving that way anyhow: For example, pick up a banking app on iOS or Android and it’ll look and behave much the same across both platforms. As a result, users are less likely to be locked into an ecosystem, with device cost the main factor in them choosing something different; with UI tied to app rather than OS, transition between devices is a lot easier.

Introducing Xamarin.Forms 4.0

The upcoming release of Xamarin.Forms 4.0 focuses on delivering more consistent design between the two mobile platforms.

It has new navigation features and a new approach to adding visuals to controls.

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