Leveraging Xamarin for iOS and Android App Portability | Clarity

Creating a Truly Mobile Experience with Xamarin.

Leveraging Xamarin to create a great mobile experience.

Mobile traffic comes to businesses from a variety of devices with different screen sizes, operating systems and user interfaces (UIs). To reach the highest number of potential customers, a company must work to develop an interactive mobile experience that any user can access. This includes not only an adaptive website but also an app that performs well in all native environments. Xamarin cross platform mobile development makes this otherwise complicated task simpler by providing tools that allow underlying code to be shared across several platforms.

What is Xamarin?

Xamarin mobile development toolXamarin is a tool that developers can use to write an app in C# code and use that code to create native apps for devices running iOS, Android and Windows. Built on an open-source .NET framework called Mono, Xamarin integrates with Visual Studio and offers its own IDE so that app developers can work with whatever platform feels most comfortable.

With Xamarin, it’s possible to build an app for multiple operating systems without the need to learn and master several different programming languages. Instead of having to build three separate apps from the ground up, maintain them individually and deal with multiple future upgrades, developers can create one code that powers every app. Although a separate UI needs to be built for each individual app, this takes much less time than coding numerous complete apps from the ground up.

Additional components available within the Xamarin framework simplify app development and increase functionality. Most components are free to use, so developers can integrate common eCommerce features such as on-screen signatures. Security encryption and other advanced options are available for a fee.

Using its own compiler, Xamarin creates native versions of apps rather than one simplified, cross-compiled version. It works with individual APIs to deliver apps that perform well on every platform, thereby minimizing the potential for errors. Developers have access to Xamarin’s .NET Mobility Scanner and Test Cloud to test apps on different platforms and see if the code requires modification before making any app available to the public.

Cross-Platform Apps in eCommerce

Xamarin mobile development tool in eCommerce applicationsAs the face of online shopping continues to change, having an adaptive mobile website is no longer going to be enough to remain competitive in the market. As many as 49 percent of smartphone users and 45 percent of tablet users show interest in making purchases through apps rather than websites. In order for these apps to be profitable, they must be available to all users regardless of device type.

Using Xamarin gives developers a way to address restrictions in and potential conflicts between various operating systems. Not having to code an entire separate app for each UI streamlines the creation process and delivers the positive experience that users are looking for. With 67 percent of tablet and smartphone users reporting that they download and interact with apps from the brands that they love, this experience is the most important part of app development. A stronger brand identity is established not only through solid marketing tactics but also by giving consumers an individualized environment that caters to their personal needs.

Saving money is the biggest motivation for the mobile shopper. Integrating this into the experience by providing special coupons and sales that can only be redeemed by app users increases brand loyalty. Apps can also be used to enhance in-store experiences via scanning devices that reveal special sales or weekly deals that be redeemed from a user’s mobile device during checkout. The more users that want to download the app to take advantage of these incentives, the more important a tool such as Xamarin becomes to open up the app environment to all platforms.

Applying Xamarin to eCommerce Apps

Xamarin for eCommerce appsMarket share data for 2014 showed Android at 81.5 percent, iOS at 14.8 percent and Windows Phone at 2.7 percent. These statistics clearly illustrate the need for businesses to create apps that perform well regardless of a user’s operating system. However, time and resources are precious in the business world. Using Xamarin to build apps cuts down on the number of people needed to create, build and publish a branded app for all major mobile environments. Faster development translates to a greater ROI, making app development more economical for companies of all sizes.

Enriching apps with media, text-to-speech components and other popular functions makes them more attractive and easier to use. Interaction is a critical part of creating a long-lasting connection between brands and customers, and Xamarin ensures that these components work properly for every user.

Being able to work with each separate UI while utilizing one underlying piece of code gives developers the flexibility to build and test device-specific apps that provide unique experiences for all users without sacrificing functionality on any platform. Themes are available to enhance the brand experience by customizing the look and feel of the app. The goal is to give every customer the sense that the app was built specifically for their device by providing a seamless shopping experience that boosts consumer confidence and increases brand loyalty. Applying these concepts to your mobile eCommerce app can help build success in online selling.

How Clarity Can Help

Developing an app that works seamlessly across devices takes time and dedication. Clarity works with your business to create a mobile experience that appeals to all potential customers. The Clarity eCommerce platform puts your business on the map in the mobile landscape in a way that’s accessible with any device. Contact Clarity for a free quote to see how our tools for app development can benefit your company.