Developing mobile, cross-platform eCommerce apps might seem challenging, but Xamarin's app-testing platform simplifies the process by allowing developers to share code cleanly in iOS, Android and Windows applications. Xamarin has become one of the hottest platforms in the digital ecosphere, and cross-platform development is now extremely important in marketing, which Microsoft's decision to buy Xamarin in late February of 2016 clearly demonstrates. The rapidly growing need for speed, customer loyalty and system-specific apps in eCommerce makes it increasingly important for companies to develop proprietary mobile apps for customers who use their Android, iPhone and Windows smartphones and tablet devices to shop.
Create Apps in Android, iOS, Windows and Mac
Developers can quickly build apps for different operating systems by using one of two methods of sharing code in the Xamarin platform. In the first, which is using Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android, designers can share code between iOS and Android applications and use the same APIs, language and data structures for development platforms. Despite the desirability and advantages of building native apps, most app-coding shares about 75 percent of the code when performing similar functions. The second method, which involves using Xamarin.Forms, allows developers to write code once and share it among multiple platforms and operating systems.
1. Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android
Using Xamarin's iOS and Android systems offers many advantages because developers can use the same language that's used in their other coding applications for desktops and servers. Developers have tried to accomplish this kind of code-sharing interoperability for many years, and mobile applications generate the same types of cross-platform development issues. Xamarin delivers extraordinary benefits for speeding mobile development, and these include the following advantages:
- Ability to share native iOS, Android API iOS and Android Designer coding
- Using XML files or writing code for Android Designer without needing to modify layouts or to edit XML files by hand
- Authoring user interface files in C# between iOS and Android applications
- Sharing files for native UIs in one language
- Employing Xamarin’s Shared Asset Project to share code across different platforms and uding compiler directives to create platform-specific directives
Xamarin Forms provides even easier ways to share code among many platforms and operating systems by allowing designers to write in C# or XAML and sharing up to 100 percent of the code among platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, WPF, Silverlight and others. This abstraction layer for coding cross-platform UIs enables even less experienced designers to build native mobile apps quickly for different systems that look and perform like fully native designs. The benefits of using Xamarin.Forms include:
- Getting the look and feel of native apps without needing to duplicate code for different problems
- Built-in controls
- Designing user interfaces with XAML
- Binding page elements with fully compatible Model-View-View-Model or MVVM design patterns
- Ability to create apps quickly when they don’t require specific functionality
- Using XAML for its native features like dynamics resources, commands, triggers, data binding, and resource dictionaries
- Employing MVVM architecture to separate app and UI logic
- Creating UI apps using XAML Designer in Visual Studio
- Taking advantage of Xamarin.Forms ready-made pages, layouts, and forms
Choosing the Right Xamarin Platform for Building Each App
Developers can use Xamarin.iOS & Xamarin.Android when it's important for apps to display native behavior or when apps have many platform-specific APIs. If each app needs a custom UI, then using Xamarin's iOS and Android allows developers to create platform-specific UIs and to share the code for APIs through Shared Service Projects. Xamarin.Forms is best used when designing apps for multiple operating systems or apps that have many platform-specific APIs or where sharing code is more beneficial than creating custom UIs. Xamarin.Forms also works best for developers who are more familiar and comfortable with writing in XAML.
Xamarin Tools to Enhance Productivity
Time-to-market considerations require faster app development to keep pace with consumer demands and to respond to industry competitors. Xamarin offers a suite of app-development tools and provides expert engineers to help developers automate their apps and test them exhaustively on up to 2,000 devices. Other tools and resources for developers include:
- Android and iOS guides for mobile developers
- Visual Studio support services that include how to use Visual Studio to create iOS applications
- Guide to using Xamarin Android Player in VMWare and Parallels
- Basic instructions for getting started with Xamarin.iOS, navigating screens and learning the fundamentals of building apps
- Similar instructions for Xamarin.Android and Xamarin.Forms
- Tailored training
- Shipping apps faster with Xamarin’s automated-testing platform
Mobile development becomes increasingly critical for eCommerce companies in today's competitive markets. More than half of consumer shopping time online gets spent on mobile apps, and 46 percent of all shoppers -- including B2B and B2C customers -- buy from their mobile apps instead of researching other options. Responsive apps and a strong eCommerce platform can provide industry dominance over lines of trade, empower customers with better service and help to expand business into new and emerging markets. B2B companies receive incredible lifetime value from as little as a single customer, so speeding the development of inventive apps or responding to a competitor's apps becomes progressively more critical for eCommerce companies.
How eCommerce Platforms Affect Mobile Development
Custom apps provide extraordinary business benefits, and their use is predicted to grow for the foreseeable future, but the wrong business software can introduce problems when incorporating an app's useful features into eCommerce platforms. One solution is customizing the eCommerce platform, but that introduces the development and coding problems that companies are trying to avoid by using Xamarin. Choosing a strong eCommerce platform that integrates well with app-development tools, provide superior user shopping experiences, deliver comprehensive management and analytical tools and offer a team of expert developers to troubleshoot integrations, development and customizing platforms for each company's needs.
How Clarity Can Help
Clarity's intuitive software, team of customer developers and app-development tools can help your company get expanded benefits from cross-platform mobile development. Our expert engineers provide custom development for your eCommerce site and can help you troubleshoot any problems that cross-platform development generates. Integrating social media marketing, shipping, global sales processes and proprietary apps into your eCommerce store is an area where we excel and specialize. Clarity designers and developers understand how important it is to build your website and eCommerce store with attractive and responsive design, easily navigable architecture, cross-platform apps and custom solutions.
Please call or click below to contact Clarity today for a free consultation, quote or answers to your questions about app development and using the Xamarin platform.