Microsoft Clarifies How Xamarin Live Player Works

Posted on May 16, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Dev, iOS, Mobile, Windows 10 with 7 Comments

Last week, Microsoft announced a preview version of a new tool called Xamarin Player that lets developers create iOS apps directly from a Windows PC. Today, however, the software provided a bit of clarification, noting that you will still need to involve a Mac eventually.

Reading over my original story, I can see that I contributed to the confusion: Xamarin Player isn’t actually a complete end-to-end solution. Instead, it’s a way to get up and running more quickly. But if you’re going to develop iOS apps using Visual Studio and Xamarin—and Xamarin Player—you will still need to involve a Mac too.

My bad. So let’s step through how this really works.

Before Xamarin Player, you could use the Xamarin technologies in Visual Studio 2017 to create cross-platform apps that run on Windows 10, Android, and iOS, and from a single solution in that environment. For testing and debugging purchases, the Windows 10 versions of those apps could run directly on the PC, or in a virtual machine. And the Android versions of those apps could run on a virtual machine as well.

But iOS was a lot more complicated: You had to remotely connect to a properly-configured Mac on your local network and then compile and run the app on an iOS emulator on the Mac.

With Xamarin Player, developers can get up and running with iOS more quickly and easily. So, now you can “write, execute, and debug code continuously on an iOS [or Android] device straight from the [Visual Studio] IDE,” as Microsoft’s Joseph Hill notes. But … “to completely develop your app for iOS, you’ll need to install and configure a complete Xamarin development environment, which requires a Mac for iOS tools, including storyboard designers, app extension development, app packaging/signing, and more.”

As it turns out, you will likewise need to install and configure Google’s Android developer tools—Android Studio and Java—on your dev PC to completely develop an Android app too. As with the iOS experience above, Xamarin Player can help you get up and running more quickly using a physical device, but you will eventually be at the mercy of the platform makers’ tools on both systems.

Sorry if I confused anyone. And check out the Xamarin Player FAQ for more answers.

 

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Microsoft Clarifies How Xamarin Live Player Works”

  1. skane2600

    Sounds like a lot of development work by Microsoft to create a tool that doesn't reduce the amount of equipment one needs to make an Xamarin application that runs on iOS.

    • Ugur

      In reply to skane2600:

      This is all due to Apple's intentional limitation though. Cross platform development tools/environments, like Xamarin, Unity etc can on their end allow one to develop/test as much as possible on any development platform, but then when the platform holder for a target device/platform intentionally has restrictions like with Apple that one requires for example to build the app via xcode and/or at least sign and upload it on a mac, yeah, nothing Xamarin, Unity etc can do against that.

      Still a (quite) nice move by MS/Xamarin to allow to do as much as possible on your preferred platform during dev time.

    • chaad_losan

      In reply to skane2600:

      It's a huge step forward. If you were a developer you'd understand that. I no longer need a mac to develop said app. Just for the final yard to build and submit the app to the store.

  2. Waethorn

    What is that famous Portal meme again?

  3. Darekmeridian

    Wow Paul get out of my head. I was playing with this just this afternoon and realized that I needed to get the MacBook Pro out after all. But it should also be noted if you don't have a Mac you can check out this site https://www.pcsteps.com/2157-mac-os-x-virtual-machine-vmware-player/ It will take you step by step getting MacOS running in VMWare player. But be forewarned you need a pretty beefy Windows machine and, an afternoon of free time to get things up and running on VMware and VS2017


  4. chrisrpatterson

    You can always use a service like https://mobile.azure.com/ to get a CI build of your App on a Mac without necessairly owning one. It may fit the bill of what you need or it may not.

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