Not long after wrapping up my presentation on cross platform localization strategies at Confoo, my phone started blowing up. Figuratively, not literally. I was bombarded with notifications from all angles: Slack (multiple channels), email (multiple accounts), and BBM… yes I still use BBM, but that’s neither here nor there.
I had done my best to ignore the notifications for awhile, since I was on a mission with my fellow Western Devs buddy, James Chambers, to find Staples – actually, Bureau en Gros, here in Montreal. We were standing in the middle of the Via Rail concourse at the entrance of Bureau en Gros when I finally decided to read what all the fuss was about. This was the moment I received the news about the Xamarin acquisition by Microsoft.
My immediate reaction was comparable to that of a 5 year old on Christmas morning – jumping, clapping, squealing, cheering. Yes, these are all things I did in public as a knee-jerk reaction to the news. And yes, hours later after letting it sink in, I still feel just as excited about it.
Over 4 years ago, I started taking an interest in the mobile development space. First as a hobby, which then evolved* into publishing my own apps, teaching others by speaking at local user groups and conferences, co-authoring a book, and then gaining professional experience as a mobile app developer. I’m really glad I made that transition, not only to mobile app development, but specifically making the transition a couple of years ago to use Xamarin to develop cross platform native applications.
Make no mistake, mobile app development is quite challenging. Attempting to target multiple platforms increases that challenge tenfold. The fact that the Xamarin platform enables developers to target Windows, iOS and Android, all while enabling a large portion of code reuse across those platforms is nothing short of magical. Not to mention the additional services they provide including cloud-based automated UI testing and application insights. Did I mention the tools they have that enable recording UI test scripts, inspecting the visual tree of your Xamarin views, prototyping native and Xamarin.Forms UI elements, and providing a better Android emulator? It’s this platform that has kept me interested, excited and engaged in mobile app development because it works. Last but not least, there’s Xamarin University. I personally have enjoyed taking their online courses over the past 2 years, and I really hope this remains in place going forward.
As a consultant, I see the demand for mobile app development increasing. There are organizations that are still on the fence wondering whether they should get into the mobile space. There is a concern about which platform/framework/language will be around for the long haul, and so they are proceeding with caution. Understandably so.
I believe this acquisition strengthens the business case in the enterprise space for using Xamarin to develop cross platform native mobile applications. On its own, Xamarin was growing quite rapidly, and its platform has matured over the years. Joining Microsoft, I see the platform continuing to grow and gain traction as the mobile development platform of choice across the board – from hobbyists to indie devs to enterprise.
I’m not going to speculate on it any further beyond that, because I simply want to enjoy this moment in its purest form and celebrate! Congratulations to Nat, Miguel, and the entire team at Xamarin!
*On the topic of Evolve, I’m actually speaking at Xamarin Evolve this year! Now would be a good time for you to register, and join us in Orlando for what is shaping up to be an exciting event with more announcements to come.