Xamarin Evolve and //build/ Melbourne

Here's an overview of the Xamarin Evolve 2016 conference from Orlando, and a recent trip to //build/ Melbourne some of our MVPs made, including Mohit Singh Baweja, who's contributed the below reviews.

Xamarin Evolve

With the announcements from //build/ of the Xamarin acquisition by Microsoft and the new pricing as part of MSDN, it was clear that this was a conference that you wouldn't want to miss! Some exciting times ahead for .NET, C# and mobile developers.

Here's 5 highlights from Evolve 2016:

1. Xamarin is now Open-Source

Xamarin CTO, Miguel de Icaza announced that Xamarin has now been released to public as open source. This is perfect timing to unlock innovation, as there's a thriving community of global members. A vision that the Microsoft family welcomes, with open arms. You can find the source code via open.xamarin.com

2. Xamarin Forms, ready for wider adoption

Once familiar with Xamarin forms, developers get above 70% code sharing, by creating cross-platform native views with Xamarin Forms, reducing time to market and ongoing support. However, until now there's been a lack of a UI designer and the inability to inject native views, making it harder to adopt the platform. This changed with the announcement of Xamarin Forms XAML Previewer (Live designer), ability to inject native views and introduction of data pages - significantly reducing the barrier to entry and development time.

3. New tools for ideation and interactive documentation

All modern organisations are trying to be agile and adopt the start-up style of working. Why? To be ahead of the curve, and be as fast as the market. The announcement of a new tool, Xamarin WorkBook, enables developers to work closer with the business. Its great for experimentation and learning certain features on the fly while creating an interactive code documentation which can be shared amongst developers.

4. New tools for ideation and interactive documentation

Quality has always been a huge push for Xamarin, especially when spanning across multiple platforms and devices. The crowd was totally blown away at the keynote after seeing an Android app was being remotely debugged over the cloud. This means, that you can now debug crashes and bugs on a wide variety of devices without owning them. Furthermore, a new test recorder was introduced, which speeds up the process of writing UI test cases. Both these new features are as part of the Test Cloud offering.

5. A better story together, Microsoft and Xamarin

Xamarin CEO, Nat Friedman announced at the Keynote, a 300% growth in uptake since the acquisition in February. An acquisition which is not only a good cultural fit, but also an economic one. It opens the ecosystem for a whole lot more for organisations and developers, enabling a full enterprise grade mobile DevOps life cycle.
• Development with Xamarin Studio 6 & visual studio
• Source control & Continuous integration with TFS
• Test automation with Xamarin Test Cloud
• Deployment and analytics with Hockey app
There were over 350 Xamarin (Now Microsoft) employees, and over 1600 attendees at the conference from all parts of the world, a great buzz and a lot of enthusiasm.

Head over to the Xamarin Evolve site now to kick back and enjoy the topics you find most interesting or join me on ground in Auckland at the next Auckland Xamarin Meetup that I help run, we have just over 270 thriving members and sessions once every two months. See you there!

//build/ Melbourne

It was great to see the best of //build/ 2016 (San Francisco) from the people that actually work on the products. Yes! Folks from the Windows Engineering and Product Management teams were on ground and fully accessible to attendees!

Over 200 attendees sat through the engaging presentations and got a chance to experience new technologies through practical hands-on labs with support from Microsoft MVP's and Microsoft Tech Evangelists.

Here our 5 takeaways:
• Windows IoT Core has made great headway since the last //build/. Last year the conversation was about telemetry scenarios, however with advancements in the platform, the conversation has now moved to command and control with two new options available, for both PoC development and commercialisation.
• Perfect time to start exploring the Microsoft Bot Framework, Microsoft Cognitive Services and Azure Machine Learning. The next wave of apps will use artificial intelligence and there's a whole bunch of content available on Channel9 to get started with.
• Now that the HoloLens has started shipping, new tools have recently been released! Be sure to check out the HoloLens Emulator and start exploring the future of computing.
• Attendees showed great love for the Xamarin demos. And why wouldn't they?! Xamarin has been gathering great momentum, with a 300% growth rate since it's acquisition by Microsoft. Xamarin helps developers build cross-platform apps, whilst sharing code between Windows UWP, iOS, Android and Mac.
• And lastly - Auckland weather is very similar to Melbourne weather!
You too can try out the hands on labs in the comfort of your own home.

Happy coding!

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