New 64-bit iOS and Mac Support Comes with Xamarin Unified API

It's been a busy week for cross-platform development tool maker Xamarin Inc., highlighted by a new Unified API stemming from more than a year's work to bring 64-bit application support to its iOS and Mac offerings and simplify code sharing between the two.

Also announced was support for the latest Android SDKs, API support for the forthcoming Yosemite Mac OS and $54 million in new financing.

Xamarin's targets cross-device mobile app development in C#, along with Mac and Windows applications, via various tools, including the Microsoft Visual Studio IDE and its own Xamarin Studio IDE.

The opt-in Unified API addresses the lack of 64-bit support in the classic Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Mac APIs, explained company exec Miguel de Icaza in multiple blog posts. The company needed to address the increasing number of 64-bit only frameworks for Mac OS X and accommodate last fall's release of the iPhone 5s featuring the first-ever 64-bit smartphone processor.

The result was the 32/64-bit-agnostic Unified API that lets the same code be run on both processors depending upon the host platform and developer's specific configuration options.

Developers can choose to use the Unified API -- available now in beta -- or keep using the classic APIs if they don't need access to new 64-bit features. Xamarin will continue to simultaneously support those older APIs indefinitely, de Icaza said.

"We have ported all of our Mac samples and our iOS samples to the new API so you can see what is involved," de Icaza said. "They are both maintained on a branch that for historical reasons is called 'magic-types.' We are currently working on both templates to get you started (or you can migrate on your own), as well as a migration assistant that will do the bulk of the port for you.

He noted there's more work to be done to implement the following missing features:

  • Binding Project Types, to easily call into native libraries
  • Complete templates for all the scenarios previously supported
  • Xamarin's Components are not available yet

The new support for the Mac OS Yosemite is also now available, but the implementation may change as Apple hasn't released the platform yet.

To simplify code sharing between the iOS and Mac offerings, Xamarin did away with namespace prefixes, which de Icaza said makes using the same code across both products "less tedious to maintain and easier on the eyes."

On the Android side, Xamarin is now providing alpha support for the Google Android L Developer Preview. "Additionally, we are introducing preliminary support for new SDKs that Google has released, including Android Wear, Android TV, and brand new Support Libraries," de Icaza said.

Finally, the San Francisco-based Xamarin, founded in 2011, announced new financing totaling $54 million "that will go toward expanding the company's mobile application development tool offerings, as well as expand its sales and marketing teams," as explained by Michael Domingo on the Visual Studio Magazine site.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.