Why .NET Developers Make Perfect Candidates for Xamarin

.NET and Xamarin Developer

Since Microsoft acquired Xamarin in 2016, Microsoft has been blending Xamarin with its .NET platform. Therefore, Xamarin and .NET developers have acquired increasingly similar skills, tasks, and processes over the years. Now, the already robust .NET platform extends to the world of Xamarin – granting better interoperability and enabling more functionalities. This article will illustrate why companies looking to hire a Xamarin developer are increasingly opting for .NET professionals to tackle their developer needs.

What Is .NET?

.NET is Microsoft’s open-source, cross-platform development platform. Developers use languages, libraries, and editors in .NET to build applications catered for web, desktop, mobile, games, Internet of Things (IoT), and more. .NET supports multiple programming languages, including:

  • C#: C# syntaxes may look similar to C,C++, Java, or Javascript developers. It is a modern, object-oriented, and type-safe programming language from the C family.
  • F#: Though it supports an object-oriented paradigm, F# is essentially a functional-oriented programming language used to write robust, concise, and performant code. It is a member of the ML language family.
  • Visual Basic: Visual Basic is the oldest of the three and hence has a simpler syntax that makes it approachable for both newcomers and professional developers. It is used to build type-safe, object-oriented applications.

Initially released in 2002 as proprietary software, .NET is now a full-fledged, open-source platform. Since 2016, .NET has been under the .NET Foundation, an independent, non-profit organization set up to foster .NET development projects and collaborations worldwide.

What Are .NET Developers? (What Does .NET Do?)

By definition, a .NET developer is a technology professional responsible for designing, creating, and implementing software or applications utilizing the .NET framework or platform. C# is the preferred language for most .NET developers, followed by JavaScript, TypeScript, and Python.

A .NET developer needs to be proficient in at least one programming language, with expertise in multiple languages often sought after by employers. Additionally, knowledge of both front-end (UI/UX-based tech like HTML/CSS, etc.) and back-end technologies (databases) are also good-to-have skills.

.NET supports Common Language Infrastructure, a language-neutral platform that transforms and translates development code and functionalities into a Common Intermediate Language. This language agnosticism gives the .NET platform higher interoperability and removes language-specific bottlenecks.

Recent developments in the .NET realm have given developers a more comprehensive selection of applications to choose from while creating applications, including:

  • Web Development: Most .NET developers are still building web apps using languages like JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Python, and PHP.
  • Mobile App Development: A recent development trend, developers utilize Xamarin to create mobile apps for various platforms like Android, iOS, iPadOS, WatchOS, and ChromeOS.
  • Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI): Microsoft’s increased investment towards machine learning and artificial intelligence has given rise to the extensible ML.NET platform. Developers now take advantage of ML.NET to build interactive AI models or incorporate AI/ML elements into existing .NET-based applications.
  • Console and Game Development: Since Microsoft is a leader in the gaming market, a large portion of .NET development is now geared towards building games and apps for game consoles.
  • Developing Cloud Apps: Development has primarily moved to the cloud, with major players like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon opting for cloud environments over traditional on-premises sites. Therefore, .NET developers are now designing, building, deploying, and maintaining cloud apps.

The Relationship Between .NET and Xamarin

Microsoft’s focus on .NET transformed the proprietary software into a full-fledged development platform. By the mid-2010s, Microsoft wanted to extend its cross-platform development platform to include mobile app development. At the time, Xamarin was a mobile app development leader with 15,000 customers in 120 countries. Additionally, Xamarin had the same cross-platform and Common Language Infrastructure features as .NET, along with a robust set of tools for native app development that supported iOS, Android, and Windows.

Microsoft acquired Xamarin in 2016, integrating the platform into .NET’s broader development framework. This acquisition enabled .NET to become platform agnostic, allowing the developers to create apps for web, desktop, console, and mobile platforms. At Build2020, Microsoft announced plans to further unify their platforms, with a roadmap dubbed ‘Project Reunion.’ Furthermore, at Build2020, Microsoft unveiled .NET Multi-platform App UI (MAUI). MAUI will use Xamarin.Forms as a foundation for a new set of cross-platform mobile UI tools and frameworks.

How Xamarin Extends .NET

Xamarin extends the .NET platform with its tools and libraries for creating apps on mobile platforms like iOS, Android, macOS, WatchOS, iPadOS, ChromeOS, and more. Xamarin adds the following features to the .NET platform:

  • A base framework for accessing features native to Xamarin.
  • Extensible Markup Language or XAML for building dynamic mobile apps in C#.
  • Libraries for common patterns such as Model-View-ViewModel.
  • Platform-specific libraries with access to APIs from Google, Apple, Facebook, and more.
  • Editor extensions and features targeted explicitly for mobile app development.

.NET developers can use these feature sets to create mobile-native apps using the Xamarin platform and tools. In the future, the seamless unification of different .NET frameworks and the integration of Xamarin.Forms into .NET MAUI will make development easier. It will also replace the need for niche Xamarin skills by bringing everything into the broad, full-stack .NET development.

Cross-platform app development is .NET and Xamarin’s forte. Developers can utilize Xamarin’s .NET extensibility, by tapping into its large ecosystem of libraries, packages, and functions to build mobile apps. Codes written in the Xamarin and .NET platforms can be shared across multiple platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS. These factors have shifted the demand for Xamarin hires to now be full-fledged .NET developers, bringing a full-stack set of skills to the table.

Blog