Some very basic newbie questions


I've only just come across Xamarin, so please bear with me if these are dumb questions, but it looks exactly what I need, but I want to make sure it is before investing too much time into it.

I'm a long-time C# developer, mainly concentrating on WPF applications, using MVVM, backed up by WCF services, Entity Framework models and so on. I'm interested in developing versions of our software to run on Android and iOS, which is why I'm looking at Xamarin.

So, can anyone help me with these questions...

1) Can I develop basically the same app for both platforms? From what I've seen, it looks like I can, but just keep two view layers, one for each platform, but I would like someone to confirm that I got this right.

2) How do I distribute my apps? I'm not looking at mass market apps, I'm looking at producing versions of bespoke customer software, which would only be available to the customer who paid for it. As far as I can see, you can't do this with Android/iOS, as it looks like everything has to be downloaded from the app store / marketplace.

3) What exactly do I need? I already have Visual Studio 2010 and 2012, and realise that I would need a copy of Xamarin itself. I would probably go for the version that integrates with VS, as I'm used to that environment. Do I need anything else? I've seen mention of needing a Mac to build iOS aps. Is this right? If so, can I use a virtual Mac, or do I need a real physical one?

Sorry of these are dumb questions, but this is a whole new area of development for me, and I want to know what I'm getting into before I start.

Thanks for any help.

Best Answers


  • YossuYossu GBMember

    Not sure if it's relevant, but rereading my post, I didn't make it clear that I'm only interested in mobile devices, such as phones and tablets, not in developing for full Mac desktop/laptop machines.

  • YossuYossu GBMember

    Hi Chris, thanks for the reply.

    Can you explain a little more how the Mac fits in for #3? I thought I would debug in either Xamarin or VS, why do I need a Mac for that? Also, from the link you posted, it looks like it needs the Mac on the same network. I saw someone comment about using OSX running inside VMWare. Is this an option?

    Thanks again.

  • YossuYossu GBMember

    Thanks to both of your for the replies. I know someone who has OSX running on VMWare on his Windows 7 box (not sure about the legalities, but I've seen it running, so I know it works), and was wondering if that would be suitable for getting my feet wet. I can see that a cheap Mac would be a worthwhile investment if I go into this seriously, but at the moment, I'm just investigating the possibilities.

    I guess I'll have to dig into this a little more. I've only taken very baby steps with Xamarin so far, so am not at the stage where I would think about deployment.

    Thanks again

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