SAN FRANCISCO—Microsoft bought Xamarin, the popular C#-and-.NET-on-iOS-and-Android, last month. At its Build developer conference today, the company announced the first big step for its new acquisition: Xamarin is now included in every Visual Studio version.
This announcement means that every Visual Studio, from the free Community edition right up to the Enterprise edition, now has access to the Xamarin tooling so that developers can build applications for Android and iOS (though iOS development continues to need access to an OS X machine) using the .NET and C# tools they love.
There are no restrictions to this inclusion, either. As an independent company, Xamarin did have a free version to give developers a taste of what it offered, but the product was historically restricted to only support small executables, with anything larger requiring a paid license. That’s not the case today; even Visual Studio 2015 Community has no size or other restrictions. Some enterprise-oriented Xamarin features are still restricted, and developers will need a Visual Studio Enterprise subscription to use these.
Xamarin also supports development on OS X using Xamarin Studio. This too is now available for free as a community edition for small teams, and is included in MSDN Subscriptions.
Microsoft will also be open sourcing the Xamarin SDK over the next few months. This move means that the Xamarin runtime and libraries, as well as all its build tools, will be released on Github, and they’ll be managed by the .NET Foundation. Included in this open sourcing is the Xamarin Forms library that provides a cross-platform toolkit for building user interfaces.
This decision is arguably one of the main things that developers were hoping might come of a Xamarin acquisition. The tooling and its capabilities are well liked, but its pricing put it out of reach of some developers. That should change today.
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