Seamgen’s second Xamarin meetup kicked off with beer and sandwiches, graciously provided by TekSystems. The food and drink perfectly lubricated the early conversations about programming projects and particularly projects using Xamarin.

Once again our very own Daniel Goldstein made an introduction about why we organize these events, to build better products with more minds. Daniel welcomed a few new faces and some returning Xamarin enthusiasts. Daniel then brought up Mike Henke, Seamgen’s Sr. software engineer and Xamarin expert, for the technical presentation, demo, and a bonus for those who stay until the end.

Mike went on to delve into MVVM or “Model, View, View Model” which differs from the traditional iOS MVC or “Model, View, Controller”. Mike explained that MVVM is beneficial because everything can be tightly coupled, but it can be easy to do wrong.  A question from the audience, “Are there 2-way bindings?”, invoked another Seamgen engineer in the audience to say that while the default is 1-way binding, it is very easy to enable two-way binding. Mike then went on to talk about MVVM Cross which applies the MVVM pattern to Xamarin.iOS, Xamarin.android, Xamarin.mac, and other platforms where it is not naturally applied.

The advantages and disadvantages of using Xamarin were then thoroughly covered. Advantages ranging from interchangeable code modules, core pattern for code review, and data bindings. Disadvantages such as the non-native nature of Xamarin for iOS and android which can cause major issues that could lead to a complete hard code re-write. Another disadvantage is that a majority of the documentation is in the form of YouTube videos, which do not have the ease of text search like stack overflow. Mike then transitioned into the demo where he built a simple android interface with a functional button. When asked about the Xamarin meetup, Joevette said, “I am an Indie mobile developer and have been interested to learn Xamarin but have not been convinced to buy it at the current price point, but after watching [the demo] I am totally sold”.

If you are interested in learning more about Xamarin, join Xamarin User Group San Diego. Next meetup is an introduction to Xamarin Forms and will cover basic controls, bindings, and introduce custom rendering.