Personal highlights from Xamarin Evolve

Xamarin Evolve was undoubtedly a hit and I wish I could’ve been there in person to enjoy it all. Doing the next best thing, however, I have managed to chew through quite a bit of the material Xamarin has made available from the conference. Below, is my curated list of must-see sessions.

First things first: The keynote, outlining the various advancements Xamarin have accomplished, is – of course – worth your time. Here, Miguel shows us the new integrated iOS UI designer in Xamarin Studio, tells us about C# 5 support and also drops the F# bomb. Nat continues by showing off Test Cloud. Watch it now ;-)

The other three general (or broad-reaching) sessions – How C# Saved my Marriage …, Multiplatformism: Lessons learned … and Buttons are a Hack were all good sessions too. Scott reminded us in his talk, that we can use C# for everything these days, making us feel good about ourselves. Andrew continued by giving us insights in how they ported their game (and why) to multiple platforms, and what in it took the bulk of their time. Very interesting! Josh then, told us that skeuomorphism is okay, if we take it far enough. Don’t do things half-assed, basically? Judge for yourself – it was a good talk!

Getting the Most from Xamarin Studio contained a lot of nice tips and tricks, teaching me what the quick search actually does (CMD+. on Mac, CTRL+, on Windows), walking through the built-in quick fixes (ALT+Enter), and teaching me how to turn on solution-wide source-code analysis. Awesome!

Intro to Calabash blew my mind! I found they way you are able to completely interact with your compiled app through code (i.e. automation) extremely cool! This is the technology that powers Xamarin’s Test Cloud, by the way.

Another super-interesting talk, was Sharing up to 80% code for iOS, Android and Windows platforms, a retail app case study. Sharing the actual experiences and lessons learned, and taking part of decisions that was made and their outcome, was invaluable! The two guys presenting, also had another talk with an equally long name - Create a uniform login experience with a centralized cloud authentication system. As their previous talk, this one was very interesting. However! I discourage you from listening to them both right after one another, since they are both very rich in information and slightly overlapping, easily bruising your brain. Instead, interleave the talks with something feel-goody, like Scott’s talk about C#. ;-)

Maximizing code-sharing with Xamarin.Mobile was nice to skim-through if you already knew about its existence. If not, lean back and enjoy this one as well.

Designing experiences for the iPad was a little long-winded, but then – I’m not a designer. That said, it was interesting to hear about the design process as opposed to the skewed view that designs come up out of nowhere.

Crafting interactions with Core Animation, also a little long-winded (sense a theme?), but contained some very valuable information about how UIKit works as far as layout, layers and animations work. Does a UIView render it’s content? Does a UILayer accept user input? What’s a PresentationLayer? Find out here.

Fast UI Creation with MonoTouch.Dialog was pure gold. I’m a big fan of MonoTouch.Dialog, and often-times, this is the first thing I show off when introducing a developer to MonoTouch Xamarin.iOS for the first time, due to its simple, declarative, nature.

I have yet to see all sessions, so this list is likely to be updated. Which was your favourite session? Let me know in the comments!

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