During the Build 2016 day two keynote on Thursday, Microsoft executive vice president Scott Guthrie said that words that developers wanted to hear: Xamarin’s cross-platform solutions will be integrated into Visual Studio and will be free, even in the (also free) Community edition.
Put simply, this is a best-case scenario for Xamarin, which Microsoft recently purchased the firm for a rumored $400 million. Before the Microsoft acquisition, Xamarin’s solutions—which allow developers to use Visual Studio and C# to create native apps for Android and iOS—were quite expensive.
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Now, Windows-based developers can target all major platforms—Windows, Android, and iOS—from a single OS, using a single developer environment, Visual Studio. And they can do so for free.
Here’s what’s happening.
Xamarin’s capabilities—to build native cross-platform mobile applications—are being integrated into Visual Studio, including the free Community version.
Xamarin Studio for Mac OS X is now free as a community edition.
Visual Studio Enterprise subscribers can now access Xamarin’s advanced enterprise capabilities at no additional cost.
Microsoft is committing to open-source the Xamarin SDK, runtime, libraries, and command line tools as part of the .NET Foundation. This work will occur over “the coming months.”
In essence, Microsoft is merging the .NET and Xamarin ecosystems into a cohesive whole, helping developers write truly cross-platform and native mobile apps. They are, in other words, taking a concrete step in fulfilling their “mobility of experiences” promise, where it is the user, and not the device, that matters.