X is for Xamarin: One company that is pleased to see Nokia X

Xamarin, which provides cross-platform development tools for targeting iOS and Android wtih C#, is not exhibiting here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but does have a presence for meetings, and I caught up with Joseph Hill who is Director of Developer Relations.

Xamarin has just announced a joint SDK with SAP along with some SAP-specific support in its cloud testing service; but Monday’s announcement of Nokia X, Android smartphones from soon-to-be-Microsoft Nokia, was even bigger news from Hill’s perspective.

If you are a Windows Phone developer with apps written in C#, Xamarin gives you a way to port your code to Nokia X. Apparently Nokia itself has taken advantage of this to port Nokia Mix Radio, as described by Nokia’s developers here. Nokia also used MVVM Cross in order to take cross-platform abstraction beyond what Xamarin itself gives them (Xamarin is deliberately restricted to non-visual code).

Nokia states that it will do all future development using Microsoft’s Portable Class Libraries, and is also refactoring existing code:

The final step in our journey towards the common architecture is to throw out the legacy code from the Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps so they’re stripped back to existing PCL shared assemblies and then integrate them with our fully shared codebase. Now that the Nokia X has launched that’s the next major goal we’re striving towards and work begins now.

I imagine that Xamarin could prove useful in some of Microsoft’s other internal projects as it prepares for a world in which there is an official Microsoft Android platform.

As an aside, it seems to me unlikely that Microsoft will do anything other than run with Nokia X after the acquisition. Microsoft is supporting Nokia X with Skype and OneDrive, which is an indication of its attitude.

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