Xamarin delivers tool for building native Mac OS X apps with C#

Xamarin delivers tool for building native Mac OS X apps with C#

Summary: 'We love C# and .Net more than Microsoft does,' tweeted Xamarin founder Miguel de Icaza, upon announcement of his company's tool for building Mac OS X apps with Microsoft's C#.


On December 12, Xamarin made generally available ia new tool for creating native Cocoa apps for Mac OS X with C# and the .Net framework.


The new tool, known as Xamarin.Mac, makes use of the MonoDevelop integrated development environment on Macs to build and test apps that users can purchase from the App Store. There's a $399 personal-use version of the new tool. The $999 enterprise version of the product includes a one-year subscription to any and all product updates.

In a blog post announcing Xamarin.Mac, Xamarin representatives said they decided to build the tool as a result of developer demand for a way to "create Mac experiences with C#." The new product fills out Xamarin's product line, allowing developers to "use the same language and framework that you love to create native applications for all major consumer platforms."

"Under the hood, you can choose the combination of .NET library functionality and native Mac OS X APIs (application programming interfaces) that works best for your application," Xamarin reps explained.

Xamarin is the company behind the Mono open-source implementation of Microsoft's C# and the Common Language Runtime (CLR). Xamarin abandonned work on iMoonlight, its Silverlight on Linux/Unix implementation, more than a year ago.

Xamarin Chief Technology Officer Miguel de Icaza couldn't resist zinging Microsoft in announcing availability of Xamarin.Mac.



"Further proof that we love C# and .NET more than Microsoft does," de Icaza tweeted.

De Icaza also tweeted a link to a Goldman Sachs research report that trumpeted the fact that if mobile phones and tablets are added to the mix, Microsoft's overall operating-system market share isn't the 90+ percent often cited for PCs, but actually closer to 20 percent.

Microsoft has been encouraging developers to use HTML and JavaScript if and when possible to build Windows 8 and Windows RT apps. Despite this encouragement, the majority of applications currently available in the Windows Store seem to have been written using XAML and Microsoft's .Net languages like C#.

Topics: Software Development, Apple, Microsoft, Mobile OS


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Boondoggle

    All the effort MS put into creating a way to build native Windows store apps in HTML/Javascript was a huge waste of time and effort. Why would anyone choose to create a native app using a hugely inferior technology when there is such a better one available in XAML/C#? MS stack developers only use HTML/Javascript because there isn't any better way to create Web apps. Well, actually there was in Silverlight, but MS has pretty much shut that down.
    Sir Name
    • Agreed. Moving forwards, what about C# and HTML5?

  • If only they create a dependencyless native compiler

    I know people who still stick with ancient versions of vb and delphi, just so that they can create native exes without having to include any dlls or anything like that
  • OK but ask Miguel about MonoLight

    All true, we are porting our XNA games over to Android Tablets with the epic MonoGame after Microsoft dumped all us .NET XNA (and Silver light) down the Drain. So now Xamarin are offering us the .NET stack across platforms. Bye Bye Microsoft, you should have thrown out Sinosky years ago.
    But Miguel did dump MonoLight, so not so great for those of us who know that HTML5 is a long way off being a credible LOB client platform.
    • MonoLight was less neeeded

      I suspect, though I'm not Miguel so I can't say for sure, that the reason he dumped MonoLight was because unlike with "normal" .NET, Silverlight worked on OS X as well as Windows so 96% or so of machine were covered.
  • My unexpected WinJS usage

    A bit off topic but MJ said post so...

    Normally I'm a C# developer so I had expected that for Windows 8 apps I'd build them using C# and XAML. I do know and like JavaScript (in fact I consider it my second programming language) but I still prefer C#. Shockingly though as I was figuring out how I was going to make my app work I realized that if I want the C# route I'd have few libraries to use, and even few that were cheap or free while I knew of JavaScript libraries that not only would make building my app magnitudes easier but are free! I think that's the advantage that JavaScript has is not the skill set but the libraries it brings.
  • Mac required to compile.

    Yep. And still waiting for Apple to allow compilation for iOS on non-Mac platforms. It's really a ridiculous thing in this day and age, where the trend is standards and cross-platform. Oh, Apple keeps things proprietary, I know...but there are development platforms that can do web, native, or hybrid mobile apps, where you can do the development work for an iOS mobile app on a non-Mac, but then need to have a Mac to package it. That is what doesn't make sense.

    The result of that is that those of us who like Apple's products and ecosystems, and would develop for them, are choosing to do so as embedded web apps. That is counter to the native mobile app experience Apple is trying to sell as the optimal thing, and ironically, is because they have painted us into that corner. I will not pay $2k for a Mac so that I can develop a native app instead of a web app.
    • Then...

      Then buy a $500 Mac instead
    • Here is a link for you

      a $599 mac mini. it will do everything you need to make iOS apps no problems. cheaper then buying the $999 c# software.
  • That sounds very good news indeed. Can these apps be run on iPad's?

  • That sounds very good news indeed. Can these apps be run on iPad's?

  • What does it do?

    What does this expensive thing do that I cannot do free with MonoDevelop on its own?
    • you still have to lisence the C# to c compiler

      Mono Develop is just a free IDE, useful alternative to Visual studio Pro. But Xmarin are offering the C# .Net to objective C cross compiler, which is required regardless of the IDE you choose. If you want to deploy to a device you will have to stump the lisence costs.
  • Get your statistics correct please

    I dispute this sentence:
    "Microsoft's overall operating-system market share isn't the 90+ percent often cited for PCs, but actually closer to 20 percent."

    Janet Tu reported the 20% from 2012 from the included chart as:
    "Here's a chart from the report showing part of that shift. (The chart shows consumer computing devices, rather than total computing devices -- which includes both consumer and commercial)"

    So what is a consumer computing device, and why did Apple's share of them quintuple from 2004 to 2005?
    Answer: Goldman won't say:
    "[Update 12:58 p.m.: I asked Goldman Sachs about what happened in the 2004-2005 time frame -- as seen in the above chart -- that made Apple's vendor share jump, Microsoft's share plummet and the "other" category to go from zero to 29 percent. Goldman Sachs replied that it has to do with more mainstream adoption of non-PC consumer computing devices but declined to elaborate beyond that.]"

    I suspect part of the answer is iPod sales jumped in 2005.

    Anyhow, you can't claim that Microsoft has a 20% "overall operating-system market share" using a statistic of 20% from "CONSUMER computing devices per GS".
  • Personal Use Means No Putting Apps On The App Store

    After all, if you're distributing something for others to use, it's no longer "personal" use, is it?

    $399 seems a lot to pay for what is effectively just a crippled demo.