Introducing Xamarin 4: Everything You Need to Build Great Apps
Today, we are extremely excited to introduce Xamarin 4, a complete mobile solution to help you build amazing mobile apps from start to finish.
Xamarin 4 is packed full of major enhancements to the Xamarin Platform and Xamarin Test Cloud, but today we’re also proud to announce the general availability of our real-time app monitoring service, Xamarin Insights.
The highlights of Xamarin 4 are covered below, but if you want to learn about more of the details and see some demos, please join me and James Montemagno on Friday November 20 for a webinar dedicated to what’s new in Xamarin 4.
Xamarin Platform – native, cross-platform apps
Since releasing Xamarin.Forms last year, we’ve been amazed at how quickly developers have adopted it, accelerating their time-to-market for cross-platform native experiences across iOS, Android, and Windows, all while sharing over 90% of their code.
Since then, we’ve more than doubled the engineering team behind Xamarin.Forms, and made major improvements along the way. Today, Xamarin.Forms 2.0 is faster, more reliable, and more functional than ever before. Highlights include support for pre-compiled screens defined in XAML for faster app loads, preview support for Universal Windows Platform apps, support for iOS 9, Android Material Design, and new gestures like pinch and pull-to-refresh.
Visual Studio and iOS
We’ve rebuilt our support for developing iOS apps in Visual Studio from the ground up, and it’s smoother, easier to set up, and more reliable than ever before. Now you can develop, build, deploy and debug iOS apps entirely from within Visual Studio and communication with the Mac build host is now handled via a secure SSH connection. We now also support multiple concurrent Visual Studio instances, which is especially important if you have multiple iOS projects open at the same time. We think you’re going to love it.
In Xamarin 4, we have incorporated large portions from Microsoft’s open sourced .NET codebase into this release, increasing compatibility, performance, and reliability for all use cases.
Android and iOS Designers
We’ve made big improvements to our iOS and Android designers. The iOS designer can now load and save XIB files in addition to storyboard files, and our Android designer now supports Android Material Design. We have also improved the UI for both designers, and switched to using high-performance native design surfaces, for a smoother, faster editing experience.
Xamarin Test Cloud – automated app testing
We built Xamarin Test Cloud to allow you to easily test your app on more than 2,000 real iOS and Android devices in the cloud. With Xamarin 4, we’re making mobile testing more accessible than ever.
Introducing Xamarin Test Recorder
We’re introducing a new preview tool that makes mobile UI testing dead simple: Xamarin Test Recorder. Initially available for Mac, Xamarin Test Recorder records your interactions on iOS or Android apps, plays them back, and automatically creates test scripts that can immediately be run in Xamarin Test Cloud or imported into mobile test projects in Xamarin Studio and Visual Studio. Xamarin Test Recorder records your actions in our C#-based UITest framework so you can automatically execute them as part of your continuous integration process either locally or in the cloud. Download it now to get started.
Xamarin 4 includes the 1.0 release of the Xamarin.UITest C# testing framework, with new capabilities for advanced test scenarios. We’re also very happy to announce that Xamarin.UITest is now free for everyone to use, with no limits on test duration, or the use of local devices and simulators. The powerful combination and ease of use of Xamarin Test Recorder and Xamarin Test Cloud will help you immediately improve your apps.
Xamarin Insights – real-time app monitoring
We’re proud to announce that starting today, Xamarin Insights is generally available, with free crash reporting for all Xamarin Platform customers and advanced app monitoring features for power users.
Know the Health of Your App, Know Your Users
App monitoring begins with knowing what problems your users are encountering. Is the app crashing or encountering exceptions or errors? Xamarin Insights provides automatic crash reporting and handles both managed and unmanaged mobile crashes seamlessly. You can also explicitly report errors or warnings to Xamarin Insights and track them through the its dashboard. Xamarin Insights makes it easy to rank your issues by impact, spot patterns in app and device usage, and diagnose the corresponding issues.
Xamarin Insights also helps you understand how your app is being used by tracking and timing step-by-step event data. Analyze which screens are the most popular or which actions take your users the longest. You can even see which events led up to a crash, making it easy to reproduce your issues.
You can add Xamarin Insights to your app with just a few lines of code. In Xamarin Studio, new apps immediately get the benefit of Xamarin Insights with templates that utilize the SDK from the very beginning of a mobile project. And your IDE will automatically upload dSYM files for you so that you get symbolicated stack traces with line numbers.
Visit our docs to get started.
End-to-End for Everyone
We think it’s important that every developer be able to benefit from the full range of what Xamarin 4 can do, which is why we’re excited to announce that as a part of their existing subscription, every active Xamarin subscriber will receive:
- Crash and error reporting from Xamarin Insights with 30 day data retention and detailed issue reports that include step-by-step pre-crash events and crashed-user identification.
- 60 Xamarin Test Cloud device minutes per month, with access to every single one of the devices in our growing test lab.
- Complete access to Xamarin.UITest, including tests of unlimited duration running on simulator or device.
- A 30-day trial pass to Xamarin University, including access to guest lectures and our introductory courses.
As your business grows and your apps progress, you can buy paid plans of Xamarin Insights and Xamarin Test Cloud that suit your needs.
For companies who want to ramp up their mobile testing, we’re happy to introduce affordable Xamarin Test Cloud pricing plans starting at $99/month (billed annually). If you want to go further with app monitoring, we also provide scalable Xamarin Insights paid plans.
Finally, for companies who want a complete end-to-end solution, we’re introducing a new offering called Xamarin Ultimate, which includes full access to all the features of Xamarin Platform, Test Cloud, Insights, and University for your entire team in a complete package at a great price. If you’re interested in learning more about this, please get in touch with our sales team at email@example.com.
If you’re ready to dive into Xamarin 4, we have a previously recorded webinar covering an overview of Xamarin 4, as well as ones providing a deeper look at building apps with Xamarin Platform and getting started with Xamarin Test Recorder.
Lastly, if you’re new to Xamarin you can get started with a free trial now and explore what Xamarin Platform, Test Cloud, and Insights have to offer!