Xamarin’s development software is designed to simplify and streamline cross platform app creation, and has changed the way many mobile app development companies tackle the issue of cross compatibility. A notoriously challenging arena, the arrival of Xamarin has made developing apps for iOS, Android and other mobile OS easier than ever, and it seems that the benefits of this software are multi-faceted. With over 1.4 million mobile app developers like Synergo already using Xamarin, it is impossible to ignore this relatively new tool.
Xamarin is based on the Microsoft technology stack and was built by the developers behind Mono, the open source platform first introduced in 2001. However it is unique as it uses C# to create apps for all platforms, Xamarin has become the go-to option for any mobile app development company looking to create apps that have a native look and feel.
Xamarin combines the use of C# with native libraries wrapped in a .Net layer. The code related to network communication, business logic and database access can be shared across all platforms, but Xamarin allows mobile app developers to create a UI code that is platform-specific. This means that cross platform apps created using this software look 100% native, and provide the best possible user experience.
In addition to being a one size fits all solution for mobile app development companies, Xamarin’s offline capabilities also make it a particularly attractive option, as many users still need to utilise apps when they cannot connect to the net.
WHY IS THE OFFLINE MODE IMPORTANT?
When mobile app development companies create an app, one factor that they have to take into consideration (and often don’t) is the app offline capabilities. There are often occasions when users cannot access the Internet for a variety of reasons - whether out of signal range, out of data or simply in an area where poor connectivity eradicates any chance of a stable Internet connection.
When this happens there are usually 2 categories that apps fall into:
For the user, the second option is always preferable, as it at least allows for the app to be somewhat useful, and to fulfil its function at least partially, if not fully. When making apps, mobile app development companies assessing offline capabilities need to determine what they want the app to be able to do in this case, and Xamarin gives them the opportunity to do just that.
Xamarin.Forms make it easier for mobile app development firms to write in an app’s offline capabilities and ensure that even without an Internet connection, an app has a ‘memory’ from which it can draw from, on any platform. As Xamarin allows for cross platform app development, the offline functionality of an app will be the same across the board, and this ensures that app developers can maintain a functionality that’s uniform.
UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF XAMARIN.FORMS
Offline syncing is essential for an app, but with Xamarin.Forms this is made much easier. Xamarin.Forms aids mobile app development companies by providing them with resources for data binding and for commands. Data binding allows app developers to link an interface item, while command allows for the execution of an action.
This means that an app can load items stored in the local repository, and can refresh items with remote information at random. The mobile app can then use any ad hoc connectivity to refresh, and data will stay as up to date as possible. API information can also remain up to date, and the Xamarin library provides for offline functionality in conjunction with any integrated API. A local copy of the app will continually ping the API, and it will persist until the connection is made. This will maintain a queue of requests when offline, and will update as soon as back on. These queued requests ensure that the API is always as up to date as possible and that data is maintained locally too.
A built-in connectivity check that is also made possible thanks to Xamarin.Forms allows for a remote refresh, and an app can also be programmed to warn a user that there is no current connectivity. The resources that Xamarin.Forms provides make offline architecture possible, allow for the creation of robust apps that are offline-ready and can function at least to some degree in all environments.
FACILITATING DATA CACHING
Mobile apps have a number of advantages over web apps, and one of the most obvious is the fact that they have the ability to maintain offline data. Xamarin makes this a reality more than ever before as it enhances the capabilities of an app and makes it more useful to those who download it.
Xamarin allows for data to be cached so that when the user is offline they can still access ‘live’ data. The data that is cached will not be 100% real time, but it will be the closest facsimile thereof and should be relatively up to date. If a user is used to a native app performing in a specific way and the minute it goes offline it cannot function, they won’t use it. In this case, the user is more likely to remove it from the mobile device.
However an app that still offers some functionality when offline is valuable and cached information is better than none. Xamarin facilitates the caching of data to be written in to the app and maintains an offline cache that allows for users to access information without having to wait.
By maintaining an offline cache an app supplies the user with data immediately when needed, and also allows for the retrieval of fresh data in the background the minute connectivity is restored. This creates an impression of perceived performance by the user and keeps them as satisfied as possible.
Data caching also allows for the app to retain a memory and to remain up to date. An offline request is saved when executed, even if cached data is used to complete the request, this way the app updates its information when is back online. The users is none the wiser as the cached information has been supplied, but the request has not gone unnoticed by the app, and it has created a notification that ensures that the function is carried out in an online environment too.
CREATING AN OFFLINE/ONLINE SYMBIOSIS
Essentially Xamarin allows mobile app development companies to create the ideal offline environment for an app that is native to the operating system it runs on. It allows for the ideal offline functionality to be fulfilled, and furnishes app developers with the necessary resources to create an app that provides users with the best service.
Users utilise apps because they are fast, convenient and reliable and, for any mobile app development company, meeting these deliverables is key. Apps need to deliver the best possible experience in all environments, even when offline, and Xamarin provides the software tools that help with this. Different apps undoubtedly have different requirements and provide various services but, at the end of the day, a user will opt for the app that provides the best functionality, even when their connectivity is limited or non-existent.
With Xamarin already offering mobile app development teams so many advantages and allowing for the creation of cross platform apps that have a native look and feel, the offline capabilities are simply another element that works in its favour.
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