Live from Kiev: Building Mobile Cross-Platform Apps in C# with Xamarin

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I love the Xamarin Platform. And not just because we just announced that Microsoft is acquiring Microsoft. I’ve been working with Xamarin technologies – and the Mono Framework – for years now. It’s one of the primary topics I’ve covered at major software conferences in the US, Canada and other countries. From VSLive, DevIntersection, DevTeach, CodePalousa to countless Meetups, user groups, and code camps, developers everywhere – especially .NET developers – want to learn how they can reuse their C# skills to build apps for iOS, Android and Windows while sharing 75% or more of their code.

Last October  I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at Dev Day Kiev in Ukraine, talking about Xamarin and also Azure App Services. I was fortunate enough that the sessions were filmed and recorded, and I’m here to tell you how to watch it.

Session Overview

Building native applications across multiple platforms is hard. iOS requires knowledge of Xcode, the iOS SDK and Objective-C or Swift. Android requires Eclipse Android Studio, the Android SDK and Java. The Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform requires Visual Studio, C# and the UWP/WinRT SDK. Are we really expected to learn all of this? You can take the HTML5 & Cordova route, but not all apps should be built using a hybrid approach. If you want to create a truly competitive app with a premium experience, you’ll need to go native. Fortunately, there is a way you can share a lot of your code across mobile platforms and do so using the C# language you already know and love.

Xamarin is a powerful toolset that allows developers to write native Android and iOS apps using C#, thanks to the Mono framework – an Open Source project that brings the C# language and .NET to other platforms. This session explores how you can build cross-platform applications for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 using C#. You’ll learn how to get started with a sample cross-platform solution, which tools you can use, how to design a proper user interface for each platform and how to structure your projects for maximum code reuse. We’ll also look at how you can share UI code with Xamarin.Forms. Native mobile development doesn’t have to be so hard. Come learn how your .NET skills can be transformed for true cross-platform development.

Watch the Video

Remember that this is a live session recorded in Ukraine, but it’s all in English. You can watch the session on Channel 9 or using the embedded player below:

Get the Slides

If you want to view or download the slides from this session, you can get them on my SlideShare or embedded below.

Demos and Other Reference Links

If you have questions on how to get started or want to discuss this topic, you can find me on Twitter at @ActiveNick. Be sure to let me know once you publish some C# apps – on any platform – I’d love to check them out and help you promote them.

Your Employer Owns Your Job, but YOU Own Your Career: Why Mobile Dev Matters

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Have you ever built and published a mobile app? Maybe you’ve tried and abandoned the idea because you didn’t make any money. Maybe you gave up before even trying because it’s a saturated market and making money is hard. Forget the app money, mobile development can be your path to a better career, and yes, that will bring you more money too.

In this video I walk you through the list of skills you will build by becoming a mobile developer. These skills will improve your technical profile as a developer, and at the same time increase your value with employers. Even if your apps make no money, you will get a clear benefit out of them by improving your technical profile, and therefore increase your value as a developer.

Don’t wait for your employer to assign you to a better project, take control of your career and get started now. Head over to Microsoft Virtual Academy to learn mobile development. Build mobile apps, build your skills, build your resume, go get more money, and go get the job of your dreams.

Watch the video on Channel 9 or using the embedded player below:

If you have questions on how to get started or want to discuss this topic, you can find me on Twitter at @ActiveNick. Be sure to let me know once you publish some apps, I’d love to check them out and help you promote them.

Other Learning Resources

The Maker Show: Episode 4 – Building and Printing a 3D Model to Fit a Real Component

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A week ago I blogged about The Maker Show, a new Channel 9 show for makers. The Maker Show is an informal dive into the exciting world of makers. Each week, one of our expert makers will go hands-on with techniques, how to’s, tips & tricks in various maker areas including electronics, programming tools, hardware boards, components & sensors, connectivity, building hacks & gadgets, 3D printing, manufacturing prototypes, and other cool yet useful topics.

The show is published every week and we’ve had great episodes so far:

  • In episode 0, we explored why developers should become makers, what’s the opportunity, what to build, what to buy, and where to go from here.
  • In episode 1, David Crook gave us a cool introduction to electronics, starting with how to make electricity from lemons!
  • In episode 2, Brian Sherwin started working with the Arduino, blinking LEDS and working with potentiometers.
  • In episode 3, Sam Stokes covered a lot of the theory behind servo motors when applied to Arduino hacks.

This morning, my colleague Jeremy Foster just posted Episode 4, titled Building and Printing a 3D Model to Fit a Real Component.

Often times, when you are designing a 3D part to print, you’ll need it to marry up to an existing part or assembly. Perhaps you need a motor to be mounted on the part, or perhaps the part is going to integrate with a home power outlet cover. This is such a common case, that we wanted to take an episode to discuss how Jeremy has found to get this done quite elegantly.

Jeremy covers the use of his favorite 3D modeling tool – Autodesk Fusion 360. He uses this in concert with GrabCAD (grabcad.com) to find existing parts. Once he pulls his existing part in to Fusion 360, he has very good control over interfacing with all of the shapes, faces, and features of that existing part. It’s quite exciting.

Once you finish and print your part, then, you’ll be confident that it will be ready to be mounted or have your existing parts mounted on it. You can even 3D print receiver holes for screws.

Watch the new episode using the embedded player below, or on the Channel 9 show page.

Make sure to bookmark http://themakershow.io for new episodes every week, typically posted on Thursdays in the morning. If there is a specific topic, product or tech you’d like us to cover on the show, let us know by tweeting to @TheMakerShow, commenting under the latest episode on Channel 9, or email us at themakershow@microsoft.com.

Take a Video Tour of the Visual Studio Emulator for Android

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with my good friend Robert Green to record another episode of Visual Studio Toolbox on Channel 9. This was my third appearance on the show, having covered my AzureChatr cross-platform chat app and developing Windows 10 apps with speech and Cortana in previous shows.

This time, Robert and I talked about the awesome Visual Studio Emulator for Android. That’s right, Microsoft actually makes an Android emulator. It’s full featured with support location services, accelerometer, camera, storage cards, network simulation and more. It’s super fast, thanks to hardware virtualization with Hyper-V and GPU support. And it’s free, totally free. You can even install it as a standalone app, without having to install Visual Studio, though you might as well get that too since Visual Studio Community Edition is completely free. Better yet, since the emulator plugs directly into ADB, you can use it with Android Studio, Xamarin Studio, Visual Studio, IntelliJ or Eclipse.

If you want to learn more and see the emulator in action, watch the following video below or on Channel 9.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments section here on this blog, on Channel 9 or hit me up on Twitter at @ActiveNick.

Introducing The Maker Show

Greetings, and welcome to The Maker Show, a new Channel 9 show for makers, hackers, developers and disassemblers. If you want to know how to get started with Arduinos and Raspberry Pi‘s, this is the show for you. If you grew-up taking stuff apart like your family’s toaster or your dad’s VCR, this is the show for you. If you’re more comfortable with a laser cutter than a pair of scissors, then this is definitely the show for you.

The Maker Show is an informal dive into the exciting world of makers. Each week, one of our expert makers will go hands-on with techniques, how to’s, tips & tricks in various maker areas including electronics, programming tools, hardware boards, components & sensors, connectivity, building hacks & gadgets, 3D printing, manufacturing prototypes, and other cool yet useful topics. You’ll see hardware, you’ll see electronics, you’ll see code, and you’ll definitely see a lot of cool stuff. This is a no fluff technical show. This is a show for beginners and experts alike, everybody’s welcome to join.

We have 4 episodes available to watch now, with new shows being published every week. Here is an overview.

Episode 0 – Meet Your Makers

This is special episode 0 (yes, we’re developers, everything is zero-based) where you get to meet your makers. We rounded up some of our show contributors – Jeremy Foster, Sam Stokes, Bret Stateham, Ian Philpot, Kenny Spade and myself – who are all makers – so you get to know them better, I’ll get their perspective on the maker world, how to get started, and ask them what they have in store for you in future episodes of the Maker Show.

Episode 1 – Introduction to Electronics

Episode 1 may have been a lame Star Wars movie, but it’s an awesome episode of The Maker Show. David Crook does an introduction into electronics and how they work.  This episode focuses on many of the fundamentals of the very thing that drives most of our projects, electricity.  How to generate more power, how to ensure you don’t blow your circuits, why electricity flows where it does.  And of course introducing a good philosophy of when life gives you lemons, to make electricity.

Episode 2 – So I Got a Blinking LED… Now What?

In episode 2, Brian Sherwin starts with the “Hello World” of electronics: blinking an LED. But what do you do after that? In this episode of the Maker Show, Brian uses the Arduino to introduce a few new ways to work with your blinking LED from inputs with buttons and potentiometers to viewing input in the serial monitor.

Episode 3 – Arduinos and Servos

In Episode 3, Sam Stokes turns to DC Micro Servo Motors and Pulse Width Modulation. These tiny controllers are inexpensive, cost  less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and pack a powerful punch with 1.54 Kg-cm of torque, and weight in with a mass of 8.6 grams! Servo Motors were first conceived by Nikolai Tesla who designed the AC types of Servo Motors. He used an ingenious rotary sensor design that was used to create precision gyro systems that took humans to the moon! The servo motor will be a nice addition to your blinking LED that you created in the last show.  With a little work, you could use a potentiometer to turn the servo motor. The show also takes to the beach where the design was tested successfully in the California surf.

Make sure to bookmark http://themakershow.io for new episodes every week, typicaslly posted on Thursdays in the morning. If there is a specific topic, product or tech you’d like us to cover on the show, let us know by tweeting to @TheMakerShow, commenting under the latest episode on Channel 9, or email us at themakershow@microsoft.com.