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Using Xamarin to teach iOS development to college students?

DavidMcElroyDavidMcElroy Birmingham, Ala.Posts: 2New Users Noob
Hi.

I work for a small college that is about to start teaching iOS development. It has been proposed that we use Xamarin to allow students to learn iOS (and Android) development using Visual Studio. The college's computer classes have been exclusively oriented toward Microsoft products in the past, so this solution presumably reflects the thinking of someone who comes from that world of development. I think it's a terrible idea and I would like to offer solid reasons for why iOS development should be taught in Xcode instead.

I'm looking for opinions from the iOS development community about why Xamarin would be the wrong approach to teaching iOS development to college students — and a counter opinion if you believe I'm wrong.

I would apprecaite any input that would help me respond to the department chair who has proposed this solution. Thanks.

David

Replies

  • dev666999dev666999 Posts: 3,554New Users @ @ @ @ @
    Using Xamarin is like using La Choy products to learn Chinese Cooking.

    It works, but makes no sense.

    Xamarin is good if you want to port to multi platforms efficiently... i.e. get out the product without having to recode everything.

    If you want to learn iOS programming, then Xcode, Objective C and Swift is the native way to do it.
  • DavidMcElroyDavidMcElroy Birmingham, Ala.Posts: 2New Users Noob
    Thanks, dev666999. I agree, but I need specific reasons for my response. I need to be able to outline a case — either technical or job-related — that this is the wrong approach. I want to argue the case for using Xcode, but I have to provide concrete reasons that Xamarin is the wrong way to go.
  • dev666999dev666999 Posts: 3,554New Users @ @ @ @ @
    Thanks, dev666999. I agree, but I need specific reasons for my response. I need to be able to outline a case — either technical or job-related — that this is the wrong approach. I want to argue the case for using Xcode, but I have to provide concrete reasons that Xamarin is the wrong way to go.

    If you're training students to be programmers and eventually work in the industry, then Xamarin is the wrong approach. It will not give them the skill set to work in a software shop that uses native Apple methods.

    Xamarin will make them less marketable. Now if they learned both Xcode and Xamarin, that would be a different story... the more you know, the better.

  • Duncan CDuncan C Posts: 9,112Tutorial Authors, Registered Users @ @ @ @ @ @ @
    Cross-development platforms like Xamarin inevitably fall short. They create bloated, have bugs that stop you cold, feature limitations, lag behind new OS releases, etc.

    Based on the reading I've done Xamarin is no exception to this.

    In any case, using Xamarin is not learning iOS development. It's learning .NET development in C#, and cross-developing for iOS using those tools.
    Regards,
    Duncan C
    WareTo

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    I'm available for one-on-one help at CodeMentor
  • C6Silver05C6Silver05 SeattlePosts: 632New Users @ @ @
    I have not used Xamarin, however, I understand its raison de'tre which is to speed apps across platforms into production with a shared code base. However, unless the app is very generic it won't allow for 100% coverage and thus some Java and Objective C/Swift will be necessary. The amount will depend on the uniqueness and will certainly be influenced by how new the features and how far Xamarin is behind the latest. My take is that it is better to learn the native languages and then consider something like Xamarin. Concentrating only on something like Xamarin locks you into a style that is not owned by the makers of the devices you are programming for. This is dangerous. Which is more likely, Xamarin fails or Apple/Google fail? If Apple/Google fail than Xamarin will be of no use anyway.

    I remember when I was attending college they had a course on Harvard Graphics. For those younger that was essentially the precursor to PowerPoint/Keynote. Even at the time I thought this was stupid. In that context it would have been better to learn how to make an effective presentation using technology than to just concentrate on technology to make a presentation. Long story short but obviously Harvard Graphics has been gone a long time and anyone who took the time to attend that course would have wasted it. If that course instead was making a presentation using technology it still would have been valid and valuable today. As it relates to Xamarin, better to learn the techniques with the real thing and worry about alternate techniques that could be much more easily replaced, later.
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