Introducing Xamarin Studio

The Xamarin Integrated Development Environment

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This document provides an overview of Xamarin Studio, the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) used to create iOS, Mac and Android applications, presenting the functionality that makes it an excellent tool for creating native mobile and desktop applications on the Xamarin platform.

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Overview

Xamarin Studio is a modern, sophisticated IDE with many features for creating Xamarin.iOS, Xamarin.Mac, Xamarin.Android, and Xamarin.Forms applications. It includes a rich editor, debugging, native platform integration with iOS, Mac and Android, and integrated source control to name just of few of its many features.

This article surveys various sections of Xamarin Studio, providing a look at some of the features that make it a powerful tool for creating applications.

Contents

Requirements

Xamarin Studio is currently available on Mac OS X 10.10 and above and Windows 7 and above (although it requires 8.1 minimum for Xamarin.Forms support).

Xamarin Studio on the Mac allows for development of the following platforms:

  • Xamarin.iOS (including WatchOS, and tvOS)
  • Xamarin.Android
  • Xamarin.Forms (iOS and Android only)
  • Xamarin.Mac

For more information on the requirements for Xamarin Studio, refer to the Requirements guide.

Installation

Xamarin Studio is installed on both via the Unified Installer, which can be found here. This will install all the necessary components required for building Xamarin apps in Xamarin Studio.

For more information on individual platforms, visit the relevant docs, listed below:

Mac

Windows

Starting a Trial

When Xamarin Studio is first installed from the installer, the Community Edition of Xamarin Studio is activated:

This free tier allows you to create applications, add NuGet or component packages, debug and test them, deploy them to device, and publish them in the app store.

You also have the option to start a free 30-day trial of a Xamarin Enterprise license. For information on how to do this, refer to the Beginning a Xamarin Trial guide.

Language Support

Xamarin Studio, by default, supports developments in C# and F#

C #

C# is the mostly commonly used language that can be used to create cross-platform applications in Xamarin Studio. This includes full support for all C# 6 features, which you can read more about in the C# 6 New Features Overview.

F #

F# is a strongly-typed functional programming language designed to run on .NET. It is available as a programming language to Xamarin Studio users on all of the Xamarin-supported platforms: Android, OS X and iOS. For more information on using F# and to view samples created in the language, visit the F# guides.

Xamarin Studio also provides an interactive F# tutorial, which is available as a template. You can find out more information about this here.

Platform Support

Native Platform Integration

Xamarin Studio features integration with native platform tools for both iOS and Android. This allows using various code-signing, deployment, and diagnostics tools.

Tools Menu

The following screenshot shows the Tools menu in Xamarin Studio:

Under the Tools menu, there are several items that launch native platform tools, including:

  • Instruments – iOS profiling and diagnostics tool.
  • Application Loader – iOS utility that assists in preparing apps for sale in the iTunes App Store.
  • Google Emulator Manager – Android utility to manage emulators.
  • Android SDK Manager – Android utility to install Android SDKs

Info.plist [iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and Mac only]

In addition to source code editing, the tabbed interface includes support for certain platform specific files. For example, when opening an Info.plist file, which is used by iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and Mac OS X applications to store various configuration data, the following user interface is presented to allow easy editing of the file:

Visual Designers

iOS Designer

The iOS Designer is fully integrated with Xamarin Studio and enables visual editing of .xib and Storyboard files to create iOS, tvOS, and WatchOS UIs and transitions. The entire user interface can be built using drag-and-drop functionality between the Toolbox and Design Surface, while using an intuitive approach to handling events. The iOS Designer also supports custom controls with the added benefit of design-time rendering.

For more information on using the iOS Designer, refer to the Designer documents.

Android Designer

For Android applications, Xamarin Studio includes its own designer, which works with Android .axml files to visually construct user interfaces. Xamarin Studio will open these files in its Android designer, as shown below:

For more information on the Android designer see the Designer Overview document.

Gaming

Xamarin provides a number of powerful game development libraries, allowing you to create beautiful and exciting games within Xamarin Studio for Xamarin.Android and Xamarin.iOS:

It also provides a 2D graphics drawing API, SkiaSharp.

Integration with Xamarin Products

Xamarin Studio has built in integration for Xamarin Test Cloud. This can be added automatically when creating a new supported project that is supported by the platform:

Using the Profiler

The preview version of Xamarin Profiler has two instruments available for profiling — Allocations and Time Profiler. The Introduction to the Xamarin Profiler guide explores what these instruments measure and how they analyze your application, and clarifies the meaning of the data presented on each screen.

The Profiler can only be used with a Xamarin Enterprise subscription.

Using the Inspector

The Xamarin Inspector brings an interactive C# console with tools to users. It can be used as a debugging or diagnostics aid when inspecting live applications, as a teaching tool, as a documentation tool or an experimentation tool.

It consists of a standalone application that provides a rich C# console that can target various programming platforms (Android, iOS, Mac and Windows) as well as integrating into the debugging workflow of your IDE.

The Inspector can only be used with a Xamarin Enterprise subscription.

For more information refer to the Xamarin Inspector guide.

Using Workbooks

Xamarin Workbooks provide a blend of documentation and code that is perfect for experimentation, learning, and creating guides and teaching aids.

Create a rich C# workbook for Android, iOS, Mac, or WPF, and get instant live results as you learn these APIs.

For more information refer to the Xamarin Workbooks guide.

Summary

This document introduced the capabilities of Xamarin Studio, which enable you to start making beautiful cross platform applications. For a more in depth review of Xamarin Studio's features, refer to the Xamarin Studio Tour guide