Xamarin Evolve was over a month ago … and I’m first getting around to writing about it now?!? Well, what can I say – it’s a busy world out there! But there were enough announcements and enough cool events that happened that I still wanted to comment on them – even though it’s well after the fact! So let’s dive into the big news that came out of Evolve …

I Spoke!!

Ok – my session on developing apps for AppleTV and tvOS may not have been the biggest news to come out of Evolve, but it was pretty exciting for me. The whole behind the scenes operation at a major conference is really unbelievable, from the knowledgable people that work to pull it off, to the amount of equipment – truly a sight to behold. So I want to send a thank you to Xamarin for having me speak, it was a great opportunity, and I can’t wait until next time!

And yes, I will have a series of blog posts coming on tvOS development using our favorite language … C#! But in the meantime – check out my session above!! (And if you can’t get enough, I’ll be giving the same session at That Conference in August!)

The Other News

Many other announcements were made during the opening day’s keynote at Evolve, which is also posted on YouTube. I won’t go through every single announcement, but I will touch one some of the ones that I think will made day to day life much easier for Xamarin developers. Starting with the big one…

Xamarin.Forms XAML Previewer

If you’re doing any sort of Forms work with XAML, odds are you’ve been waiting for this tool for a long time now! It takes the XAML for your page and live renders it side-by-side … in design time!

As of right now this feature is only in Alpha (so you’ll have to live a bit on the wild side in order to use it), and it doesn’t support Shared Projects. But those will be remedied soon. It should be noted there is another great tool out there called Gorilla Player, which does the same thing, but actually renders it in simulator/emulator or device. They are worth checking out as well.

Xamarin.Forms Native Embedding

This doesn’t seem like a big deal until you think about it a little. Native embedding allows one to stick actual Xamarin.iOS or Xamarin.Android code for controls smack dab into the middle of Xamarin.Forms code![/one_fourth_last] And of course, one of the first benefits that comes to mind is that it will greatly ease the pain of working with custom renders!

Visual Studio iOS Simulator Remoting

This one is readily apparent as to its usefulness … now we’re able to run the iOS simulator from Visual Studio … on Windows. Not just launch it, but run it. That means if your hardware supports touch – the simulator will also support touch, and that’s more than you get out of the Mac side of things. I have yet to try this one yet as I use a Mac for day-to-day development work. However, I thought this was a big enough announcement that I wanted to mention it.

Test Cloud Live

The last thing I wanted to touch one is called Test Cloud live. The premise behind this is simple – you can connect to a specific device running within Xamarin’s Test Cloud and debug there. Live. From Xamarin Studio. A customer calls and has issues with a particular model of phone, instead of writing UI tests (you know you should … but …) you can connect it your code to TC and debug on device as if you had a physical one in hand. That’s cool and something I want to explore further in a future blog post.

The Non-Tech Stuff

Most, if not all, of the conferences I have gone to have a friendly vibe to them. Some are super welcoming, and no matter who you are or who you know, you’re going to have a great time. Others are friendly enough, but it feels like you need to know somebody in order to be “let in” and fully experience it. Xamarin Evolve is definitely the former. Everybody there is talking mobile development, and everybody is interested in what each other is doing. There are plenty of Xamarins walking around, all willing to stop and talk either about the problem you can’t solve, or just to say hi. The overall welcoming, friendly vibe is definitely cool. But let’s not forget about some of the intangibles – such as networking, meeting people you’ve only talked to on GitHub or Twitter. And of course – all the free food, drinks and no waiting for rides at Harry Potter world!