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Frequently Asked Questions

The following 20+ questions relate to the product announcements Microsoft made at the //build conference on March 31st, 2016. Scroll further to find answers to broader questions about Xamarin and our unique advantages

Xamarin Platform

What is happening with the Xamarin Platform?

Please read our blog post.

When do these changes take effect?

Xamarin is included in all editions of Visual Studio as of today. The open source release of the Xamarin SDK will happen in the coming months.

Does this mean no more Starter Edition?

Yes. Visual Studio Community and Xamarin Studio Community editions give many more developers the ability to develop Xamarin apps without Starter’s limitations on size or functionality.

Can Xamarin.Forms apps be built from any Visual Studio edition, including Community?

Yes.

What happens to Xamarin Ultimate and Enterprise Suite subscriptions?

Nothing changes in your plan, product entitlements and the way we support and help you. Over time, current Xamarin Ultimate and Enterprise Suite subscriptions will transition to a new Mobile Lifecycle Solution that includes even greater value with combined Xamarin and Microsoft products. You will receive detailed information from your Xamarin account representative.

Do you still offer Xamarin Studio on Windows?

Xamarin Studio is no longer included with our Windows installer. We encourage Windows developers to move to Visual Studio.

What parts of Xamarin will remain proprietary?

Our IDE support—Xamarin Studio and our integration with Visual Studio—will not be open sourced but will be freely available for non-enterprise customers as part of Visual Studio Community and Xamarin Studio Community.

Advanced tooling such as our Live Inspector (Preview) and Memory Profiler (Preview) will be available for Visual Studio Enterprise customers.

How do I get the Enterprise features in Visual Studio in Xamarin Studio?

Xamarin Studio will follow the Visual Studio pricing rules. There is Xamarin Studio Community Edition available for download on the Mac. You’ll need to be a Visual Studio Enterprise subscriber to unlock Visual Studio Enterprise features in Xamarin Studio.

Can I still develop Xamarin.Mac apps?

Yes! All Xamarin Studio developers on Mac now have the ability to create Mac apps with Xamarin.Mac, in addition to iOS (and tvOS and watchOS).

Will you still charge separately for iOS and Android development?

No. You can develop for both iOS and Android with Xamarin for Visual Studio and Xamarin Studio.

Xamarin Insights and HockeyApp

What is happening with Xamarin Insights?

Over the next few months, Xamarin Insights will merge with HockeyApp bringing experiences that made Xamarin Insights so great into HockeyApp.

During this transition, current Xamarin Insights customers will be supported through existing contracts and Xamarin developers can still freely integrate Xamarin Insights into their apps.

How do I get started with HockeyApp?

HockeyApp is an industry-leading beta distribution and crash reporting platform. Through HockeyApp, you can easily distribute new versions of your beta software to the stakeholders and testers who need to have it on their devices. With support for many platforms, including iOS & Android, HockeyApp is a critical piece of the mobile SDLC, and with Insights team, will make an industry-leading solution for distribution and monitoring.

How do I get started with HockeyApp?

If you don’t already have an account, please click here to get started!

As a customer, what changes will I see today?

The only changes being made today is that we will no longer allow new trials and there will be no more sales of Business and Enterprise plans of Insights.

When do I have to move over my app to HockeyApp?

The former Insights team is currently busy improving HockeyApp’s crash reporting framework to be on-par with what our customers have come to expect from Xamarin Insights. Once that happens, we’ll encourage our customers to transition their apps over to HockeyApp in 3-6 months time.

I have an Insights Business or Enterprise Plan. Will my subscription by honored?

Yes! You will be able to use Insights until the end of your subscription. Once we get HockeyApp to feature-parity on crash reporting, we will encourage you to add your apps to HockeyApp, where you will receive a HockeyApp subscription comparable to your current plan with the same expiration date. Further details have been emailed to your subscription manager.

Can I still sign up for Insights?

Yes, we are still allowing customers to sign up for our Basic plan, but be aware that we will encourage you to move all of your apps to HockeyApp in the coming months.

What happens if I am a HockeyApp customer, do I need to do anything?

No! Continue using HockeyApp and expect meaningful new features in the months ahead.

If I am a Xamarin Insights subscriber, do I need to sign a new contract?

You don’t need to do anything. Your Xamarin Insights experience will continue as it exists today and will be honored until its expiration date. Additionally, you will get a comparable HockeyApp plan, so you can switch over at any time (check your email for more details).

What does this mean if I am a Xamarin Ultimate customer?

Nothing changes to your plan. If you are using Insights, you will be able to do so until the end of your subscription.

What does the reporting look like in HockeyApp?

HockeyApp supports crash reporting for several platforms, including native Android & iOS, click here for a complete list. Over the next several months, the Insights team will be busy improving the existing crash reporting tools on the HockeyApp platform. We do not expect you to transition until you are comfortable with the crash reporting for your Xamarin apps on HockeyApp.

Will I be able to transfer the data for my apps from Insights to HockeyApp?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to import your data over to HockeyApp. We recommend that you re-instrument your app with the HockeyApp SDK when you feel comfortable transitioning.

Pricing

Existing Xamarin Studio or Visual Studio Subscriptions

I have an expired Xamarin subscription. Can I use Xamarin in Visual Studio?

Yes! If you’re currently logged into a Xamarin account with expired subscriptions, you’ll need to logout of your Xamarin account to use Xamarin in Visual Studio. The Xamarin extensions in Visual Studio will automatically provide you with the features offered for the version of Visual Studio you are currently running.

You can also contact your Account Owner to remove subscriptions from your Xamarin account. If you do not know who your account owner is, you can visit your account subscription page in the Xamarin Store or contact hello@xamarin.com.

I have an expired Xamarin subscription. Can I use Xamarin Studio Community on Mac?

Yes! If you’re currently logged into a Xamarin account with expired subscriptions, you’ll need to logout of your Xamarin account to use Xamarin Studio Community.

You can also contact your Account Owner to remove subscriptions from your Xamarin account. If you do not know who your account owner is, you can visit your account subscription page in the Xamarin Store or contact hello@xamarin.com.

I have an MSDN subscription. How do I use Xamarin Studio on my Mac?

Visual Studio Professional and Enterprise subscribers now have access to Professional and Enterprise editions of Xamarin Studio on the Mac included as part of their Visual Studio subscription. Most Visual Studio subscribers should log in to the Visual Studio subscriber portal (or, if you are a Visual Studio cloud subscriber, log into my.visualstudio.com) to access Xamarin Studio (for OS X).

I’m an MSDN subscriber, how can I start using Xamarin?

If you want to use Xamarin with Visual Studio, please upgrade Visual Studio to the latest version and sign in with your MSDN account to activate Xamarin.

If you want to use Xamarin with Xamarin Studio on OS X, please visit yout MSDN Subscription page, locate Xamarin Studio (For OS X) in your Subscription Benefits, and click “Register and Download”. You will need to create a Xamarin Account, or sign in with your existing Xamarin Account to redeem your licenses. Once you have redeemed your licenses, you can activate them by signing into Xamarin Studio with your Xamarin Account.

How can I purchase a Visual Studio Professional or Enterprise subscription?

You can contact your Xamarin Account Owner and they’ll help you purchase a Visual Studio subscription. If you do not know who your account owner is, you can visit your account subscription page in the Xamarin Store or contact hello@xamarin.com.

Xamarin

How is Xamarin's mobile platform unique?

At Xamarin, we believe that great, native mobile user experiences have the power to transform customer relationships and employee productivity. Unlike other cross-platform mobile frameworks that only offer lowest common denominator experiences through UI abstraction libraries, we make 100% of the iOS and Android APIs available through our native bindings. Xamarin developers deliver high performance, fully native experiences and also share between 60 and 90% of their source code across platforms.

Xamarin is the only platform with complete API coverage and deep code-sharing capabilities across iOS, Android and Windows apps, for a total of 2.6 billion devices you can reach in C#. Anything you can do in Objective-C and Java can be done in C# with Xamarin.

How do I share code across platforms with Xamarin?

To develop cross-platform apps with Xamarin, simply create a single Xamarin Studio or Visual Studio solution with multiple projects. Developers will typically have one project per target platform, as well as abstracted business logic referenced from a shared project or portable class library. Visual Studio's solution architecture was designed with this in mind, so if you've developed Windows applications for multiple Microsoft frameworks (such as WPF, Windows Phone, ASP.NET, Silverlight, or Windows.Forms), this approach will be familiar to you.

You can see examples of these techniques in our pre-built apps.

Can I use Xamarin to develop high performance apps?

Yes! Unlike other cross-platform frameworks, your Xamarin app is compiled to a native binary, not interpreted. Native compilation gives users brilliant app performance for even the most demanding scenarios like high frame rate gaming and complex data visualizations. With a small footprint (2.5 MB added to your application code), and negligible impact to app startup time, you can build apps that run fast on any device.

Sound too good to be true? Watch this short video of some high-performance Xamarin apps.

How does Xamarin run my C# code on Android?

On Android, Xamarin ships a fully functional implementation of the .NET runtime, called Mono, bundled with your app so that your code executes with all of the power of C# and .NET, including JIT-compilation, memory management, reflection, and the .NET base class libraries. Developers can use any native features by interacting with .NET class libraries that provide one-to-one mappings to all of the native APIs on Android.

How does Xamarin run my C# code on iOS?

On iOS, Xamarin uses Mono, a fully functional implementation of the .NET runtime, to fully compile your app into a native ARM executable ahead of time (AOT) so that your code executes with all of the power of C# and .NET, including memory management, reflection, and the .NET base class libraries. Developers can use any native features by interacting with .NET class libraries that provide one-to-one mappings to all of the native APIs on iOS, while complying with Apple's security restrictions which prevent execution of dynamically generated code on device.

How long does it take to add support for a new release from Apple or Google?

A few hours for iOS and very soon for Android. We have extensive tooling and sophisticated processes for binding new APIs from Apple and Google when they are released, as evidenced by our same-day support for iOS 5, iOS 6, iOS 7, iOS 8, and iOS 9.

Does this mean there is no limit to what my Xamarin app can do?

Exactly! Xamarin's native bindings provide a complete one-to-one mapping of 100% of the native APIs on each target platform, ensuring that developers have the full power of the underlying platform at their fingertips. Anything that can be done in Objective-C, Swift, and Java can be done with Xamarin.

Can I use third-party .NET libraries in my app?

Yes! Xamarin ships native binding project templates that make it easy to consume Objective-C and Java libraries on iOS and Android respectively, and many .NET library vendors (including Microsoft) are shipping Xamarin-compatible libraries today. The Xamarin Component Store has a growing portfolio of popular libraries ready for you to integrate into your apps with just a few lines of code, and more and more NuGet developers are shipping Xamarin-compatible packages every day.

When I use Xamarin, how much of my app is written in C#?

You can write 100% of your app in C#. UI, business logic. Everything.

Can I reuse existing Objective-C, Java, HTML or Javascript in my Xamarin app?

Yes! Xamarin ships native binding project templates that make it easy to consume Objective-C and Java libraries on iOS and Android respectively. Xamarin also has full support for building hybrid applications if you're moving from a mobile web application or other hybrid mobile app solution.

Can I reuse my existing C# in my Xamarin app?

Yes! C# code that is not platform-specific (e.g., code that does not call Windows-specific functionality directly) can be easily ported to iOS and Android with little to no code changes.

How do non-C# developers benefit from using Xamarin?

Xamarin is for all mobile developers who want to reach users on major device platforms with great, native apps. Increasingly, app publishers and companies who initially built apps in Objective-C and Java are standardizing on Xamarin to share code across platforms, to go faster, and to spend more time on features and user experience, and less time maintaining disparate, duplicate code bases.

The transition to C# is easy, and the language offers many advantages for mobile development.

Can I use Xamarin to develop hybrid apps?

Yes! Xamarin has full support for building hybrid applications. We recommend restricting HTML use to non-interactive web views and using native functionality for the interactive parts of your application.

Does Xamarin support Windows App development?

Yes! Through code re-use and sharing, and by unifying mobile app development in C#, Xamarin makes it possible to deliver gorgeous, performant, native apps for all major device platforms quickly. Because Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps can be built in C#, Xamarin developers are already empowered to share code between iOS, Android, Mac and Windows apps for 2.6 billion devices, and Xamarin ships many Windows-compatible C# libraries, including our Xamarin.Forms API, which enables developers to quickly build shared screens for iOS, Android and Windows.

What are the minimum system requirements?

Xamarin requires the platform SDKs from Apple and Google to target iOS or Android, and our system requirements match theirs. To build for iOS, you'll need the latest iOS SDK (currently iOS 9.1), which ships with Xcode 7.1 and requires Mac OSX 10.10.5+ (Yosemite) or 10.11 (El Capitan). Our Visual Studio Extensions for iOS and Android support any non-Express editions of Visual Studio 2012, Visual Studio 2013, and Visual Studio 2015 (Community, Professional, and Enterprise).

What can you tell me about Xamarin as a company?

Xamarin is used worldwide to build consumer, gaming, and enterprise apps, and has more than 15,000 paying customers in 120 countries including Kimberly Clark, Thermo Fisher, Cognizant, GitHub, Dow Jones, McKesson, Nielsen, Honeywell, Kelloggs, Cinemark, Pinterest and Slack. We’re growing extremely fast, adding an additional 60,000 users to our developer community every month. We were named a Visionary in both 2013 and 2014 on Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms. In March 2016, Microsoft acquired Xamarin.

Learn more about us, join our forums, or give us a call +1 (855) 926-2746.

Do you offer complimentary subscriptions to open source developers?

Visual Studio Community and Xamarin Studio Community are free to use for open source software development.

Do you have any special offers for students?

Yes. Students enrolled in a degree- or diploma-granting course of study can learn more about our offers for students here.

Xamarin Test Cloud

What makes Xamarin Test Cloud unique from other testing services?

There are two parts to Xamarin Test Cloud. It provides a locally executed, powerful object-based scripting environment that lets you easily imitate and automate every action a real user would take through a mobile app. Xamarin Test Cloud also provides the industry’s largest device cloud, with over 1,000 real, non-jailbroken devices to test on. Test scripts can run in parallel on hundreds of devices at a time and deliver beautiful test reports that help you identify and troubleshoot, bugs, crashes, UI problems, and memory and performance issues.

Automated Test Scripts can be built in Calabash (Ruby) and C#. If your apps are already built using Xamarin, this means your developers are probably already familiar with the NUnit C# unit testing framework that UITest also uses. Xamarin Test Cloud is not limited to use with apps built on Xamarin, but can test any mobile app regardless of which platform it’s written in - Objective C, Java, or other 3rd party frameworks.

The founders of Calabash are part of the Xamarin Test Cloud team and are working every day to deliver additional functionality and features to ensure the product stays at the forefront of the automated mobile UI testing industry.

Will Xamarin Test Cloud work with my existing Continuous Integration processes?

Xamarin Test Cloud is particularly powerful when integrated into Continuous Integration processes so that you can ensure that every release is a quality release. Xamarin Test Cloud supports Jenkins, TFS and TeamCity.

Does Xamarin Test Cloud work with apps that were not built with Xamarin?

You can test any native or hybrid mobile app with Xamarin Test Cloud, not just apps written using the Xamarin platform. Apps written in Objective-C, Java, Appcelerator, and Phonegap can all be tested using Xamarin Test Cloud. If the app can be downloaded from a public or private app store, you can test it in Xamarin Test Cloud.

Do I need to write all of my own tests for Xamarin Test Cloud?

Not at all. Our Quick Start offer gives you access to Xamarin’s expert mobile app automation engineers who can coach your team or author your first tests and integrate Xamarin Test Cloud into your Continuous Integration system for you so you get value from day one. We also have a Managed Services Offering - just give us your app and test use cases so that we can author and execute tests for you. Once the tests have competed, we'll send you clear, actionable reports of your app on devices so that you can use the results to make the necessary code changes to prevent future crashes and issues.

How do I get started with Xamarin Test Cloud?

You can start a free trial of Xamarin Test Cloud or learn more here.