An essential part of any mobile application is the ability to persist data. Sometimes that is a large amount of data that requires a database, but often it is smaller pieces of data such as settings and preferences that need to be persisted between application launches. This is where Xamarin.Essentials can help out with its wide range of cross-platform APIs for mobile apps.
As a mobile app developer, it's great to be able to pull data from the server to our apps to provide users with a delightful experience. Of course, until your user puts their device on airplane mode or hits a rough patch with no cell reception. To provide the best user experience we need access to the current network state of our users' device. Better yet, be able to register for changes to that network state. Doing this will allow our mobile apps to react to different network conditions to provide users with instant feedback. With the connectivity API in Xamarin.Essentials, we can do just that with a few lines of code.
n a previous blog we discussed obfuscating your Xamarin application with Dotfuscator Community to protect it from reverse-engineering. That kind of protection is an important and necessary layer in your application's security posture, but it shouldn't be the only layer. The application also needs to react to threats at runtime in order to protect its own integrity, and to protect the data that it accesses.
Azure's Text Analytics Service makes it easy to add sentiment analysis to our cross-platform apps. Let's see how with this to implement it in a Xamarin app!
Microsoft Cognitive Services provide a great way to get started with AI without being a machine learning or data science expert. A common favorite of cognitive services is the Custom Vision Service. The first version of this service allowed you to easily build an image classifier model that you could access either via a REST API (with an SDK available for Xamarin apps), or by downloading a model that can be run on your device using either CoreML, TensorFlow or WindowsML (we looked at using TensorFlow in an Android app in an earlier blog post).
In this tutorial, you will learn how to integrate automated visual user interface tests into a development toolchain that includes Xcode iOS simulator using Xamarin, Appium, Applitools, and macOS.
Five-star mobile apps have one special feature: they don’t let go of their users. This can be achieved by understanding your app, the app’s users, and how these users interact with your app. The deep customer insights offered by AppCenter's Continuous Export provide a better understanding of your customers and help boost retention. By default, you receive information about your active users, their active sessions, top devices, country, language, and more!
We announced Xamarin.Essentials, a core set of cross-platform APIs to help developers build native apps, at Microsoft Build 2018. Xamarin.Essentials gives developers access to over thirty platform-specific APIs that can be accessed from their shared code, including geolocation, secure storage, sensors, device information, and many more. Best of all, Xamarin.Essentials can be used in any iOS, Android, UWP, or Xamarin.Forms app, regardless of how you create the user interface. Feedback on the first preview from developers has been fantastic, with praise of a simple and straightforward way to access these native features.
When developing iOS and Android apps with Xamarin, developers can access every native platform API using C#. These bindings not only expose the platform APIs in C#, but add powerful C# features, such as async/await, events, delegates, and more. This is a huge advantage for developers, because they never have to leave C#, whether they're writing shared business logic, user interface, or accessing native features. One key feature developers often look for when developing cross-platform apps with Xamarin is a way to access common native features from their shared code without having to write their own abstractions or find an open source plugin created by the community.
At our annual Microsoft Connect event in November, we announced the General Availability of Visual Studio App Center, combining our best developer services, incuding Xamarin Test Cloud and HockeyApp, into one free, easy-to-use cloud service to help you ship better apps, faster. From building in the cloud to automatically testing on thousands of real devices, distributing to testers and app stores, and monitoring real-time crash and analytics data, Visual Studio App Center fully supports Xamarin apps.