Cross Platform Mobile Development with Visual Studio

Cross Platform Mobile Development with Visual Studio

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One of the key goals for today’s developers is how to build an app or game and get it on as many platforms in the short most cost effective way.

However building rich applications targeting multiple mobile platforms and a variety of devices up to now hasn't been an easy task but with In case you haven’t heard yet, the final release of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is also now available.

This update brings many new features, including tools for Windows Phone 8.1 and universal Windows apps.

We now make it easier for developers to undertake a multi-device development in a mobile-first world with the technology of their choice – whether .NET, C++ or JavaScript.

Visual Studio+ Xamarin

Microsoft’s partnership with Xamarin has enabled C# and Visual Studio developers to target additional mobile devices including iOS and Android. Developers using Xamarin and Visual Studio can create native apps taking advantage of the underlying device, with great productivity of C#, and sharing code and libraries between their iOS, Android and Windows applications.

Visual Studio + Apache Cordova

Apache Cordova is a popular open source platform. It is a set of device APIs that allow a mobile app developer to access native device function such as the camera or accelerometer from JavaScript. Combined with a UI framework such as jQuery Mobile or Dojo Mobile or Sencha Touch, this allows a smartphone app to be developed with just HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

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The Visual Studio team has recently announced its tooling support for Apache Cordova. What possibilities does it give? Now developers can use Visual Studio to easily build hybrid apps that run on iOS, Android, Windows and Windows Phone using a single project based on HTML and JavaScript. Click here for more information.

Why use Apache Cordova and Visual Studio

1.Developers can use their existing skills in HTML and JavaScript to create hybrid packaged apps for multiple devices while taking advantage of each device’s capabilities.

2. These tools support end-to-end development of cross-platform mobile applications targeting Android, iOS, Windows and Windows Phone using Visual Studio.

3. Project templates are available for both JavaScript and TypeScript, and provide a standard blank Cordova starter project. Developers can pick their HTML/JavaScript framework of choice, whether Backbone and jQuery UI, or Angular.js and Bootstrap, or WinJS.

4. Projects can be built, deployed, and debugged against a variety of devices, device emulators and web-based mobile simulators. By default, you can use the Apache Ripple Simulator to test your app on a number of emulators.     

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5. By installing and configuring the vsmda—remote npm package on a Mac, you can even build for iOS, deploy to a device via iTunes, or start your app in the iOS Simulator on a Mac right from Visual Studio.

See here how to get started for free

If you would like to get started with Cordova for Windows devices, you can refer to the Cordova documentation, or see here what you will need if you are working on a Mac, if you want to develop for Windows Phone 8, or for Windows 8.

Microsoft and Open Source

You can read about Microsoft Open Technologies contributions to the project. Here

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  • Support for HTML5 thorough technology such as the Cordova API is defined a great step into the right direction. If only Android would catch up on their html content interpretation and processing so that these types of hybrid apps could run smoothly on that platform as well. Thanks to hardware acceleration on i-devices via webkit, HTML5 apps run phenomenally though some content is still a littly buggy if just simply not responsive enough. Nonetheless, HTML5 is the future link to major cross-platform development due to its universal state thanks to modern day browser interpretation. It's the forming standard between the different styles of coding one is faced with when having to work with so many different companies.

    On the other hand, I am really starting to put my money a little more on Xamarin as I know apps will almost always run smoothly when using native implementation. Personally, I see Xamarin as the immediate solution to my cross platforming needs, and I absolutely love how they have managed to set up native UI via Xamarin.Forms, a crucial part of app development that most other cross platform solutions don't seem to ever even address at all. As of now, the only issue that is holding me back from Xamarin is that I am an Indie developer, and as a student, I don't see Xamarin fitting my price range at all. (Actually I just took a look at their website now for pricing to verify, and an indie license is a fairly decent price.) I played around with the evaluation version, but for whatever reason, I had a difficult time getting any test apps to deploy on the Xamarin/Visual Studio IDEs. It was a little bit of a hassle, whether that be due to minor bugs or improper setup on my end. Either way, I won't let my first impressions rule out such a great software! I guess I have a lot more testing and deciding to do.

  • Cross platform with visual studio brings many new features such as it targets several multiple platforms.Here developers can use their existing skills in HTML,CSS and JavaScript to create hybrid packaged apps for various devices.

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