Xamarin announced version 2.0 of its cross-platform mobile development platform on Wednesday, Feb. 20. The platform allows developers to create native apps in C# for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
While most of Xamarin's basic features will be updated with the release, the major benefit of version 2.0 will likely be the ability to use a Xamarin plugin for Microsoft's Visual Studio to write iOS apps in C#. Another major feature of the new version is the "Component Store," which allows for the easy addition of user interface controls, connections to third-party cloud services, charts and graphs to apps. Most of these elements must be paid for, although some can be obtained free of cost.
The new version also includes Xamarin Studio, a new integrated development environment (IDE). The Studio features a modern debugger, code completion and the power to package and distribute apps from within the IDE. Xamarin is also including a UI builder for Android.
As Xamarin CEO Nat Friedman wrote in the announcement today, Xamarin Studio "is tightly integrated with the iOS and Android SDKs so you can build, test and debug apps on simulators and real devices."
Xamarin's new product starts at $299 per platform/year for individuals and $999 per platform/year for larger organizations.
Xamarin is also releasing a free starter edition of the product, geared mainly towards solo developers. The free version is more limited and can only be used to create smaller apps. It also comes with no support.
"Xamarin enables us to deliver high performance, native apps that, until Xamarin, were only possible with Objective-C and Java," said Director of Client Engineering at rdio Matt Crocker. "Sharing over 50,000 lines of code across platforms gives us more time to spend on great user experiences. Xamarin 2.0 will help us build even better apps, faster."
Xamarin was launched in 2011. Currently 230,000 mobile developers use its software development tools and its developer community grew 300 percent in the last year alone.
"In the very near future, every business process and customer transaction will happen on a mobile device," Friedman said. "Xamarin's unique approach ... has already helped thousands of businesses to successfully deliver on their mobile strategy."