Xamarin Evolve 2016 Recap

Joseph Hill

Xamarin Evolve 2016 was our largest Evolve yet, and we were thrilled to be joined by so many talented developers from around the world. It was incredible to not only have 1,700 mobile developers in one place to learn and celebrate mobile development, but also to be joined by tens of thousands of developers from 152 countries on the live stream.

Miguel is proud to officially open source the Xamarin SDKs, including Xamarin.iOS, Xamarin.Android, and Xamarin.Forms.

Several of the sessions from the event are already up (with the rest following as quickly as possible), including our opening Keynote with Xamarin CEO Nat Friedman and CTO Miguel de Icaza, which you can watch now at the link below.

Watch Evolve 2016 Keynote

The Big Announcements

After our acquisition by Microsoft earlier this year, our mission at Xamarin is still to make it fast, easy and fun to deliver incredible mobile apps, now at an even larger scale. Our focus at Xamarin Evolve 2016 was to make it even easier for more developers to start building beautiful native apps quickly:

  • Open Source Xamarin: We officially announced the open-sourcing and contributing of the Xamarin SDKs for iOS, Android, and Mac to the .NET Foundation under the MIT license. This includes the Mono runtime ports for iOS and Android, bindings to the native APIs, the basic command-line build tools, and Xamarin.Forms. Join us in building the future of mobile apps at open.xamarin.com, our portal for open-source at Xamarin.
  • Xamarin Previews: We have published some exciting previews to our updater channels including a Release Candidate for Xamarin Studio and Xamarin for Visual Studio, Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android, and our interactive mobile development learning tool, Workbooks.
    • Xamarin for Visual Studio: We announced some new features in Xamarin for Visual Studio that provide a seamless experience for mobile development, so you can stay in your favorite IDE and build for all platforms. Our new iOS Simulator remoting allows you to interact with apps running with Apple’s iOS Simulator on Mac from your Windows machine as if the simulator were running locally. iOS USB remoting makes it possible to deploy and debug to an iOS device plugged into your Windows PC, and will be available in preview soon.
    • Xamarin Studio: The best IDE for cross-platform app development on the Mac just got even better with our new Release Candidate. Xamarin Studio has been completely redesigned with over 5,000 new icons, a beautiful dark theme, and improved syntax highlighting. The type system has been completely rewritten to use Roslyn, bringing improved refactoring, code completion, formatting, and expanded support for C# 6. A new project model has been introduced to bring much greater compatibility to developers working in both Xamarin Studio and Visual Studio. Developers building apps in F# will also notice substantial improvements, including support for F# PCLs and Shared Projects.
    • Xamarin.iOS & Xamarin.Android: Both Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android now include native HTTP handlers, bringing speedier network operations to your mobile apps and allowing HttpClient to use any network and encryption protocols both iOS and Android are familiar with, such as TLS 1.2. Xamarin.Android uses a new Java invocation architecture, which reduces the size of Android apps by nearly 2MB (compared to previous releases), and may also improve app performance due to additional caching opportunities.
    • Workbooks: Our new Workbooks are live documents that are great for experimenting, teaching, training, or exploring mobile devleopment in C#. See an app come to life as you move step-by-step through an interactive coding workbook. Workbooks not only support C#, but also have deep integration with platform-specific APIs, so you can render colors, maps, and other mobile constructs directly from a workbook.
  • Xamarin.Forms Updates: Many new Xamarin.Forms features were announced to help you rapidly build beautiful cross-platform applications for iOS, Android, and Windows.
    • Themes: Themes give developers access to pre-designed UI elements, such as cards and contact lists, making it simple to build beautiful user interfaces with Xamarin.Forms. We are shipping light and dark themes for you to use as separate NuGets, but you can also create your own themes, making it easy to ensure that developers across teams can create mobile apps with a consistent look-and-feel.
    • DataPages: DataPages make displaying data from a cloud datasource as easy as possible. Simply select a data source, enter your cloud credentials, bind your data, and click build. Xamarin.Forms not only handles connecting to the data source, but also creates master-detail pages from that data automatically, without any additional configuration.
    • Xamarin.Forms Previewer: Building cross-platform native apps in XAML just got even easier with the Xamarin.Forms Previewer, which renders a live preview of a page side-by-side with the corresponding XAML markup, directly within your Xamarin Studio environment.
    • URL Navigation: Deep link to any page in your Xamarin.Forms app with URL navigation, creating a more fluid experience across mobile search, web, email, and other app-external sources.
    • Embedded Platform-Specific Controls: Embed custom iOS and Android controls directly into your Xamarin.Forms apps in just a single line of code, without having to create a custom renderer or effect.
  • The Mobile-Optimized Development LifecycleIn the Keynote, we announced how Microsoft and Xamarin are teaming up to modernize mobile DevOps and make it easy to deliver value faster while still maintaining a high-quality experience.
    • Xamarin Test Recorder for Visual Studio: The Xamarin Test Recorder allows you to generate automated UI test scripts by launching it directly on an emulator or device, and interacting with it as your user would. Test steps are generated for you automatically and can be run locally or in the Xamarin Test Cloud.
    • Test Cloud Live: Have a bug on a specific device that needs fixing, but don’t own it? Test Cloud Live allows users to remote-debug a real device in Xamarin Test Cloud from within the browser, providing an extra level of detail sometimes needed to debug a complex issue.
    • Deliver, Monitor, Iterate: Xamarin Insights and HockeyApp are joining to deliver world-class app monitoring and continuous delivery. We showcased a beautifully redesigned HockeyApp crash group page highlighting important metrics and featuring the parsed stack traces so many users had come to love in Xamarin Insights.

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Xammy Winners

The Xammy Awards recognize top apps from around the world. Now in its second year, the Xammy Awards featured six finalists in three categories: Enterprise, Consumer, and, for the first year, Social Impact. Narrowing down the field from all of the submissions we received was difficult and selecting winners was nearly impossible, but only one winner could be chosen and each was announced on stage at Xamarin Evolve:

We’d like to congratulate our winners, as well as the other outstanding nominees, once again for the impressive apps that they’ve built. We invite you to view all of the videos of this year’s winners and nominees for a closer look at some of the incredible apps being built with Xamarin.

Check out evolve.xamarin.com for the videos from Xamarin Evolve 2016, all of which will be up within the next few days.


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