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AWS Adds Xamarin for Cross-Platform Mobile Development

Apple's iOS and Google's Android get most of the attention from cross-platform mobile developers, but the Microsoft .NET Framework is getting a lot more publicity lately with today's release of Windows 10 and its Universal Apps approach.

So, with great timing, Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) yesterday announced a new software development kit (SDK) for Xamarin, the C#-based tooling that lets developers target all three platforms with one code base. Because it uses Microsoft's C# language, Xamarin is closely related to the Microsoft flagship Visual Studio IDE, providing cross-platform capability via a plugin.

AWS exec Jeff Barr yesterday said mobile devs can use the company's new SDK with Visual Studio and the Xamarin plugin, or they can use it with the standalone Xamarin Studio IDE.

Coding with the Xamarin Studio IDE
[Click on image for larger view.] Coding with the Xamarin Studio IDE (source: AWS)

"We want to make sure that developers can use the programming language of their choice to build AWS-powered applications that run on many different types of devices and in a wide variety of environments," Barr said.

The preview support for Xamarin in the existing AWS SDK for .NET lets developers access AWS services such as:
  • Amazon Cognito -- Identity management.
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) -- object storage.
  • Amazon DynamoDB -- NoSQL database.
  • Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) -- mobile push for notifications.
  • Amazon Mobile Analytics -- track app usage and other metrics.

"AWS and Xamarin take the hard work out of adding a complex back-end to your apps, giving you a flexible, scalable way to go mobile," said Xamarin exec Jon Dick in a blog post yesterday.

"For example, you can use Amazon Cognito Cloud Sync to synchronize app states between devices for a seamless, cross-device experience and use Amazon S3's cloud storage for easy access to critical documents and content," said Dick, who went on to detail that exact process.

AWS also provides guidance for using the new SDK, starting with instructions on how to install it and start hooking into AWS services.

The Xamarin SDK adds C# to the list of supported languages including JavaScript, Java, Node.js, PHP, Python, Ruby and Go. Also, along with iOS, Android and .NET, AWS recently added support for Unity, used for game development.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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