Xamarin Evolve 2013 - Review

Brent Schooley / Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Xamarin Evolve 2013 as both an attendee, a sponsor, and as a lightning talk presenter. This was one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to and I’m not just saying that because I’ve been involved with Xamarin’s iOS offerings for a long time. The conference was so great it’s incredibly hard to believe this was Xamarin’s first time hosting a conference. 600+ attendees at a beautiful venue in the amazing city of Austin, TX.



During the keynote there were some big announcements that will really change the game for developers on this platform and in mobile development on the whole.


The move to the Mono 3.0 runtime for both Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android opens the door for the async/await pattern as well as other important features from C# 5.0.

F# Support

Didn’t see this one coming, but I can certainly see it being useful for certain types of programs. Always use the right tool for the right job.

iOS Designer

This one is huge. Xamarin already has an Android designer that is better than the designer shipped by Google. Now, the team has gone ahead and tackled possibly one of the biggest shortcomings of its iOS offering. Available now in the Alpha channel of Xamarin Studio is a designer for iOS XIB files. It’s a little buggy and rough around the edges right now but it will be a great addition to their tooling as it gets better. The designer is capable of rendering third party components and custom views which is something that Xcode is not capable of. This means you can see what your view will actually look like at design time. This will be fantastic for NucliOS development!


Test Cloud

This was a huge “One More Thing”-style announcement made by Nat Friedman at the end of the keynote. Test Cloud is an ambitious new service from Xamarin that promises to “automatically test your app on hundreds of mobile devices”. You upload your application (Android or iOS, native or hybrid, Xamarin or not) to Test Cloud, choose the devices you want to run the tests on, and your app will be run on potentially hundreds of physical devices (depending on what you chose to run them on). The results of the test show you which devices failed the tests and you can even walk through the screenshots of each step in the test for all devices. This is nothing short of amazing and will really help Android developers work through the fragmentation issues they currently experience with respect to testing.

Conference review

The team at Xamarin put on quite a show for their first ever conference. The two day training was full of valuable information for both beginners and experienced Xamarin developers. The keynotes by Scott Hanselman and Josh Clark were very entertaining and informative. The Hilton Downtown Austin was a fantastic venue for a conference of this size. It never felt too big or too small for the crowd. The event staff was second to none and the video production crew rapidly took footage from the night before and turned it into masterpieces for the next day. The sessions I was able to attend were definitely worth the time. All in all, this was a great conference. Looking forward to next year already. I have posted a lot of pictures from the event on my personal blog.


Next stop for me is Code PaLOUsa 2013 and I leave tomorrow. If you have any questions or comments in the meantime, please feel free to email me at bschooley@infragistics.com or find me on Twitter@brentschooley.