Today, I am here at the Xamarin Evolve worldwide developer conference. Xamarin has employees in many countries, and as far as I can tell, the company has flown most of its research & development department in to Austin to serve as speakers and staffers for the conference.
The conference has two parts, training, and lectures. The first two days are hands-on training sessions with two tracks: fundamentals, and advanced. Essentially, the fundamentals track appears to be full of long-time C# programmers who are new to the Xamarin tool and developing for iOS, Android, and Mac. The advanced track are targeted topics for folks already intimately familiar with the popular mobile operating systems.
For readers not familiar with Xamarin, this company, run by Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman of Mono fame, produces a stand-alone IDE for development of cross-platform native mobile apps on the Mac, and a Visual Studio extension for developing these within the Visual Studio project system.
You can read more about Xamarin here.
For many years, the consumer markets have driven the mobile development technologies. The market demanded mobile applications, and the industry used the tools available to serve those customers. The cost of developing multiple code bases for the different platforms almost forced some enterprises to give HTML5 a look for cross-platform apps. There are some interesting HTML5 approaches to this, but Xamarin brings the promise of native applications to the C# developer using Visual Studio. Moreover, after researching and playing around with the product, it now appears feasible for enterprise developers to take native mobile applications in-house. The ability to use C# and Visual Studio to target iOS, and Android as well as WP8 is a game changer.
I will continue to watch this technology closely, but this is a transformative moment.