Looking to get a head start on mobile application development for next year? (If you’re on the fence, click here to find out why you should go for it). For those business leaders eager to create custom mobile apps—designed to boost workforce productivity, client relations and internal business processes—the question of how to go about implementing applications remains unanswered. As a trusted IT resource for a number of clients across a wide range of industries, we tend to see the most mobile app success by merging Xamarin.Forms with Microsoft Azure Mobile Services.
Before we dive into the benefits of this powerful combination, which we discuss in a recent webinar of ours titled, “Develop Cross-platform Mobile Apps With Xamarin.Forms and Azure Mobile Services,” allow us to quickly go over the basics of each solution:
Xamarin.Forms is a cross-platform user interface (UI) toolkit that allows developers to easily create UIs that can be shared across operating systems including Android, iOS and Windows. The UIs are created by leveraging the native controls of the initially developed platform (this platform could have been created by an internal developer or an out-of-house vendor) to preserve its look and feel. This ability to tap into the platform’s native controls is something that our Mobility Practice Lead Mir Majeed says is crucial for success. Xamarin.Forms also grants users direct access to each platform’s underlying software development kit (SDK), which is necessary to make changes on the fly. For example, should a new version of Android’s platform be released, you’ll need access to the SDK to quickly upgrade your mobile environment. For a more comprehensive introduction to Xamarin.Forms, click here.
Microsoft Azure Mobile Services, on the other hand, enable users to add a cloud backend to their mobile application in just minutes. Once the meat and bones of the mobile app are developed via Xamarin.Forms, users can customize and optimize their mobile apps with the backend provided by Azure Mobile Services. They can, for example:
- Host application program interfaces (APIs) like .NET or Node.js with 24×7 monitoring and management
- Push notifications to individual users and specific audiences
- Use single sign-on with Facebook, Twitter and Google
- Store data in SQL, Table Storage and MongoDB
- Sync cloud-based apps to work offline
- Access on-premises systems like Office 365 and Sharepoint
At AAJ, you could say we know a little bit about these technologies (our team includes the largest number of Azure-certified developers in our home-state of Florida). Click here to access our recent webinar in full to learn about top tips, tricks and competitive advantages of taking this route for mobile application development. In the meantime, check out some related posts about why mobile application outsourcing could be your smartest move:
- A Three-step Strategy for Outsourcing Mobile Application Development
- Which Mobile Application Development Patterns are Most Effective?
- Top Considerations for Ensuring a Successful IT Outsourcing Experience