I saw this story today.
This is pretty big news, because Xamarin is a great cross platform tool to allow you to write cross platform code in C# and have it run natively (yes natively) on iOS, Android and Windows machines.
Of course cross platform has been done before (Unity3D is a fine example of one done well), but adding Microsoft to the mix gets me excited to see where the technology is going to go.
Microsoft have actually pushed Xamarin pretty hard in the Dev essentials site with free training, and their connect event had a lot of demos and support for Xamarin. So it clear that MS like the product, and probably should be no surprise they bought the company.
Xamarin, as it exists is relatively expensive for developers as can be seen below.
It has a ton of cool features, so it can be argued that its well worth the prices on offer. I mean for some people it will literally mean the ability to have their applications on another platform that they previously had no access to.
But really if you look carefully you will notice the Indie option has no Visual studio integration, so it would mean to do anything worthwhile you needed the business plan @ $1K US per year (or about a squillian Australian dollars with the exchange rate the way it is presently).
If I had to guess, I’d say that Microsoft will probably merge the Indie and Business into one plan, and make that free, and then have a paid Enterprise plan. That would make sense, because it would bring more people to the Windows platform and to Microsoft technologies. But importantly people would be taking .NET to mobile for iOS and android apps.
Don’t be surprised if Microsoft open source the code, like they have done for Visual studio Code, their new IDE, which runs nicely on Windows, Mac and Linux. As you can see Microsoft are interested in support multiple platforms, and thats just great for developers.
You can read a bunch of comments here about the acquisition, the comments section is a goldmine of information. I think this is huge for developers.
Another example of cross platform support is their Android emulator which runs on Windows, but will be on running on mac shortly.
So is now the time to switch to C# and jump over to Xamarin? Not yet. I think this is something we need to watch what happens. The first step will be to check our the Microsoft Build event in a few weeks to see what announcements come out.
Plus the way I see it, you should not abandon your existing Android/Java skills, because they are and will continue to be very much in demand. This is an extra technology to look at in the future.
Right now this could be the biggest news for people wanting to support both platforms (iOS and Android) with one code base!
I’ll keep my eye on this, and keep you informed.