In today’s modern mobile apps it is very common for apps to require a user account in order to function. Apps like Twitter and Instagram require a user account in order to be used. So a very common User Experience is to show a Login Page when the app first starts up. The user should enter in their credentials, and then log into the app. If the user does not have any credentials, the app should offer them the ability to create an account, and then log them in.
Though this seems like a trivial task, it can be somewhat confusing if you are new to building iOS apps using Xamarin.iOS. In this article I’m going to show you an effective way to add a Login Page and a Signup Page to your Xamarin.iOS apps with a great user experience and a neat animation trick.
If you’re new to iOS development, whether you are using Xamarin, native, or another platform, you will want to debug and develop on an actual iOS device. In addition, you probably want to deploy alpha or beta versions of your app to testers running on various iOS devices in real world scenarios. If you’re developing for Android, this process is really easy as the Android operating system allows users to easily side load applications. However, the opposite is true for iOS devices. In fact, setting up an iPhone or iPad for development can be very frustrating and confusing, especially if you’re new to iOS development.
Debugging my app on an iPhone or iPad should be easy…right??
Xamarin and Apple both have excellent documentation on how to properly provision an iOS device for debugging, and testing. Though it is really easy to follow the step-by-step procedures on creating the proper provisioning profiles, what I find lacking in such documentation is how provisioning works. In this article, I’m not going to explain how to create provision profiles. There’s plenty of documentation out there. I’m going to explain how provisioning profiles work, and why the iOS operating system needs them. A solid understanding is necessary if you run into any issues or errors such as “No valid iOS code signing keys found in keychain”, or “Code Sign error: Provisioning Profile ‘xxxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxx’ can’t be found”.
In my first publish post I gave a very high level overview of what Xamarin is and what it isn’t. I then followed up with a post describing the nuts & bolts of Xamarin.iOS. In this article, I’ll be describing the nuts & bolts of Xamarin.Android. And as I started in my previous two posts, I think it is essential to understand what Xamarin.Android is, how it is compiled, and how it executes on your Android device. Though it is easy to jump right in and start coding, I believe it is essential to understand Xamarin.Android fundamentals, as well as the Android operating system fundamentals. In the long run, this will be beneficial when you have to start debugging your apps. It will also help you troubleshoot issues an understand what is happening between the Android operating system, Xamarin.Android, and your own code.
In my previous post I gave a very high level overview of what Xamarin is and what Xamarin is not. Though my post was more conversational and explained by example, I left out the technical details. In this post, I’m going to focus on the nuts & bolts of Xamarin.iOS. But before we start off coding a sample application, it is (in my opinion) essential to understand what Xamarin.iOS is, how it is compiled, and how it executes on your iOS device. Though it is easy to jump right in and start coding, I believe it is essential to understand the Xamarin.iOS fundamentals, as well as the iOS operating system fundamentals. In the long run, this will be beneficial when you have to start debugging your apps. It will also help you troubleshoot issues and understand what is happening between the iOS operating system, Xamarin.iOS, and your own code.
As of this writing, I have been actively developing for iOS and Android with Xamarin for almost 2 years. In that short time, the platform has grown rapidly and has matured quite a bit. I’ll be the first to admit that there still is some work to be done. But I’m confidant that by this time next year, the platform will have matured even better. It certainly has since I first started.
As a software engineering consultant for a firm, my colleagues often ask me what my current engagement is and what type of applications am I developing. When I mention that I’m developing iOS and Android apps using Xamarin, the majority have them have heard the term, and read about what it does. My current employer is a Microsoft Partner and one of 34 Microsoft National Systems Integrators. So naturally, the majority of my colleagues are .NET Developers. And some of the best I’ve worked with I might add.
But regardless, during our conversations about technology, specifically mobile development using Xamarin, I find that there are a lot of common misconceptions on what Xamarin is and what Xamarin isn’t. There are a good number of tools that help you write cross platform mobile apps that share a common architecture. However, I think that Xamarin is unique enough on their approach and philosophy on cross platform mobile development that they often unfairly get associated with other tools. So the purpose of this article is to explain what Xamarin is, and what Xamarin is not.