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Help me choose Xamarin

JamesParsonsJamesParsons USMember

Hello all! I am an ex-Java developer coming to the word of .Net and JavaScript. I have seen Xamarin, and it looks amazing. Despite this amazement, I am still weary of the platform. So far, I have liked what I've seen. The coolest feature ever to e was the ability to build iOS storyboard on Visual Studio at least with a networked Mac). I also love the ability to share code and Xamarin Forms seems cool. My problems lie with what other people say. Pricing for one is an issue. On my current project, this won't matter the project manager will certainly buy the business license after I explain Xamarin to him, but after I would Like an Indie license for myself. Here comes the issue of no Visual Studio support in the Indie license. Xamarin Studio would be fine, but on Windows, I can only target Android, not to mention I can't even get one of the samples to build. Plus I don't get to use ReSharper. I used to use Braintree to handle payments, but Xamarin doesnt seem to be supported.

There are definatly some Xamarin drawbacks, but I still want to use it. I want to hear from the community what can counter these drawbacks, and beyond what they market, why I should use Xamarin.


  • LoriLalondeLoriLalonde CAInsider, University, Developer Group Leader ✭✭✭

    You can always start out with the Xamarin Starter edition which gives you Visual Studio support and it's free. You can develop small apps and publish them:

    There are plenty of examples they provide of apps that are Starter compatible so you can get an idea of what you can do with the Starter edition.

  • JamesParsonsJamesParsons USMember

    I've been messing around with the starter, and it was pretty cool, but whenever I attempt to build the "Mobile CRM" example, it builds about 75% of the way and then crashes (Xamarin Studio)

  • Robo_PiRobo_Pi USMember

    I certainly can't help you as I am extremely new to Xamarin myself. In fact, I'm not even clear on what Xamarin even is at this point. I became involved with Xamarin solely because I was referred to something called "Monodevelop" for programming C# on a computer called a Raspberry Pi. When I downloaded Monodevelop the Xamarin Studio was offered with it as a totally "Free" download. Supposedly (according to the Monodevelop download page) Xamarin Studio does not require a license except for developing iOS/Android projects, all other project types are free without restrictions. Since I am only using it for C# for personal use it's my understanding that will be free for my purposes.

    So far so good. Except I've run into two major problems.

    1. It seems to have quite a few bugs running on Windows 7 already. I haven't seen any bugs in my actual projects, but the studio itself seems to hang up under certain situations. I don't know if that's going to be a major problem or not. So far it's only been mildly annoying but nothing catastrophic.

    2. But the main thing that is really holding me back is a lack of tutorials, or even places where I can find help with fairly simple things. I've been searching everywhere including YouTube, Google, etc., to find help with programming Graphics using C# in Xamarin Studio and thus far I've come up with nothing. Absolutely no sign of any help.

    So the lack of support for Xamarin Studio (at least with respect to programming in C#) is causing me to pretty much scrap the whole thing and just go back to programming in Sharp Develop where I was doing just fine.

    I can't speak to the support for iOS/Android. In fact, to be honest I don't know what they are. But thus far I've found it next to impossible to find any response to my questions about C# in Xamarin Studio. I've posted on several computer forums and thus far no one seems to even know what I'm talking about. And I haven't found anything on YouTube that even comes close to answering my questions.

    I was actually hoping to learn how to do the graphics in C# Xamarin Studio and then post some YouTube tutorials of my own for others to learn. But thus far I can't seem to find any information to even learn it myself. I can hardly share what I've learned if I'm not even learning anything myself.

  • LoriLalondeLoriLalonde CAInsider, University, Developer Group Leader ✭✭✭

    @JamesParsons where did you get the Mobile CRM sample app from? It's not listed in the list of starter app examples they listed on this page:

    I wonder if the app size might be too big for the Starter edition. What is the error message that is listed in the Output window when the build crashes?

  • LoriLalondeLoriLalonde CAInsider, University, Developer Group Leader ✭✭✭

    @Robi_Pi what type of graphics development are you interested in? There are quite a few graphics related samples here:

    Also Xamarin University provides a free 30 day trial:

  • JamesParsonsJamesParsons USMember

    When I said that it crashes, I meant that the build progress bar gets stuck and Xamarin Studio "stops responding".

  • SKallSKall USMember ✭✭✭✭

    @Robo_Pi if you are doing the development on Windows machine then I would use Visual Studio 2013 Community.

    @JamesParsons there really isn't much of a cure for the licensing cost. To me it's the cost of doing business. If what you are developing for personal use is something you can open source then I would consider it as you can get a free business license for open source development.

  • Robo_PiRobo_Pi USMember

    @SKall Thanks for the suggestion on Visual Studio 2013. But I'm not sure if that will help my situation. I'm already using Sharp Develop Studio for Windows and it works just fine for that environment. The reason I became involved with Xamarin Studio it because I am building a robot that will be using a Raspberry Pi computer as its main brain. I've been told that the only C# package that will run on the Raspberry Pi is called "Monodevelop". It is due to my pursuit of Monodevelop that I ended up with Xamarin Studio on Windows. So I'm not sure if Visual Studio 2013 would help my situation?

    If it wasn't for the Raspberry Pi I would just stay with Sharp Develop for Windows. I openly confess that I have absolutely no clue about programming resources in today's world. I've only just learned about the Raspberry Pi single card computer and I've decided to go with that hardware. And as I say, this is what has led me to using Monodevelop and Xamarin Studio. I never heard of either Monodevelop or Xamarin Studio prior to this.

    I also might end up programming the Raspberry Pi using Python which it already has installed with the OS. But I was originally hoping to program the Raspberry Pi using C# since that's the programming language I already use on Windows.

    In any case, my Xamarin Studio is not working well, it hangs up and is clearly not working properly. I'm not sure if it's worth doing a whole new re-installation or just forget the whole thing. I've been trying to make some progress with Xamarin Studio for two weeks now and I have nothing to show for my work. And the Studio hanging up and not responding to commands certainly isn't helping matters. I'm starting to wonder if this is simply not worth pursuing. Maybe just writing programs in Python on the Raspberry Pi would be more productive.

  • SKallSKall USMember ✭✭✭✭

    @Robo_Pi if you plan to write code on the Pi then you would use MonoDevelop as neither Visual Studio nor Xamarin Studio run on Linux. You can still run the developed applications on Pi though, no matter which IDE you write them with. So anything you write on Windows I would use the free Visual Studio IDE (it is much better than both XS and SharpDevelop).

    C# is fine on the Pi. If you're looking for something else as an alternative I would just jump straight into C and C++. To get your Pi and eat it too you can't really get away from pure C. I don't see that much benefit with python other than writing scripts. For that purpose I would also suggest looking into Node.js.

  • Robo_PiRobo_Pi USMember

    @SKall Thanks for all your suggestions and advice. I may think about moving over to Visual Studio on Windows, although right now Sharp Develop has been meeting my current needs so I don't see an immediate need to change over. My applications are going to be pretty basic. It's mostly just communicating with the Raspberry Pi robot brain, and plotting out graphics on my notebook computer, like showing me where the robot is in the house, or yard, etc. I'm hoping to have the robot create a visual "floor plan" of my house as it roams around discovering walls and obstacles. So my programs are going to be fairly simple in terms of actual graphics.

    Since I last posted to you I've discovered a new IDE for the Raspberry Pi called "Geany". It's an IDE that provides C programming on the Raspberry Pi (not C#). But C may be all I need actually. So I think I'm going to go with Geany for the Pi.

    I've actually been out of programming for many years and I'm only just now getting back into it. I used to program in Visual Basic 6.0 and I really liked that language. Then later I got into programming in C#, so that's why I was using C# today. But I actually probably only need C. I'm not sure what the differences are between C and C# exactly. So I guess I have some learning to do.

    In any case, now that I found Geany for the Pi, I think I'll just drop Monodevelop and Xamarin altogether. Geany looks pretty straight-forward and simple, and it runs on the Raspberry Pi. And trust me, I need something simple. The simpler the better. I want to spend time programming, not learning how to program. Sticking with basic C might be the best route for me at this time. Thanks for your suggestions. I probably will look into Visual Studio eventually.

  • Robo_PiRobo_Pi USMember

    Sorry for being a pest in this thread, but can anyone tell me how to tag a thread as "Answered"? I can't seem to find any Forum Help link. Thanks.

  • DaveHuntDaveHunt USMember ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Robo_Pi To mark a thread as answered, it has to be created by you and created as a question (as opposed to a discussion). Since this thread was neither, you can't mark it answered.

  • Robo_PiRobo_Pi USMember

    @DaveHunt Sorry for the confusion. I wasn't asking about this thread. I supposed I should have asked in the thread I had actually started. I couldn't find a help link for the forum or a forum help thread, so I posted my question here. Again, sorry for the confusion. I'll go post my the question, in the thread I had actually started.

  • FredyWengerFredyWenger CHInsider ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Robo_Pi :

    You can find various information's (including some to the forum) in my starter-guide, I have wrote some time ago.
    You can find it here:

    Hope this helps... :smile:

  • Robo_PiRobo_Pi USMember

    @FredyWenger Your starter-guide is very nice. And it did answer my question about how to mark a thread as "Answered", evidently that's just done automatically as soon as someone other than myself posts to the thread. Then it appears that I am given the option to accept that answer in which case the answer will be marked with a check mark indicating that I accept that my question has indeed been answered sufficiently.

    By the way, the rest of your starter guide appears to have quite a bit of useful information as well. It appears to me that Xamarin Studio, and Xamarin forms may simply not be what I need for my purposes. It's a long story of how I came to Xamarin Studio, but my initial purpose was not to develop applications for mobile devices. My original purpose was actually to use something called "Monodevelop" for programming in C#. And my reason for that has to do with a small portable computer called a Raspberry Pi. As I say, my reason for wanting to run "Monodevelop" (and therefore Xamarin Studio on a Windows computer is related to my work with the Raspberry Pi. I'm fully aware that Xamarin Studio itself will not run on a Raspberry Pi. But programs written in Mondevelop C# will.

    So my purpose for using Xamarin Studio may be far removed from the purpose developers of mobile applications have. I was thinking that having that option may come in useful for me as well in the future. But for right now I just want to write fairly basic C# programs with it. Unfortunately I've been having software problems with the Xamarin Studio itself running on my Windows 7 notebook computer, which has only added to my frustrations. I was going to uninstall and do a fresh install again, to see if that helps. But there's little incentive to do that until I find some sort of "Xamarin Community niche" where I can find quick answers to questions I have on programming C# using Xamarin Studio.

    If I could ever get to that point, I too would write PDFs specifically aimed at using C# and Gtk# forms in Xamarin Studio. I could become a good resource in that particular "niche". But I would need to get off the ground with it myself in the first place. And I'm finding that hard to do. Especially when the Xamarin Studio software isn't even working well on my computer. It's hard enough trying to learn a new IDE environment without having the studio software acting up and failing to respond properly to mouse clicks. So right now I've got problems on top of problems.

    In the meantime I'll glean over your PDF to see if I can find links or pointers to my specific problems. I would like to continue with Xamarin Studio, but my experience thus far has not been a good one.

    Just the same I would like to thank you very much for having taken the time to write up your knowledge of Xamarin Forms in a PDF and sharing it. I will definitely glean over that before giving up completely. Like I say, I would like to give Xamarin a chance, but thus far it's been all downhill.

  • FredyWengerFredyWenger CHInsider ✭✭✭✭✭

    You're welcome :smile:
    In the meantime, I was able to ship my app('s) to all stores (iOS, Android and Windows Phone).

  • Robo_PiRobo_Pi USMember

    @FredyWenger That's great! I'm certainly glad that Xamarin Studio is working for your needs. I currently have no need to write apps specifically for iOS, Android, or Windows Phone. Although that may be a nice option to have available down the road. But right now my sole interest is in writing C# programs using Gtk# forms and Gdk graphics. If that could ultimately then be useful on iOS, Android, or Windows Phone, that sounds great. But that's not my immediate purpose or goal. I wish I wasn't having software problems with the studio. That puts a really big damper on everything.

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