Web developers: Microsoft Blazor lets you build native iOS, Android apps in C#, .NET

Microsoft offers a new tool for building native iOS and Android apps in programming language C# and .NET.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft wants .NET developers to use its new experimental Blazor toolkit for building web apps to create native iOS and Android apps in C#. 

Microsoft this week announced Experimental Mobile Blazor Bindings for Blazor, a feature of ASP.NET that allows developers to "build interactive web UIs using C# instead of JavaScript".  

"These bindings enable developers to build native mobile apps using C# and .NET for iOS and Android using familiar web programming patterns," explained Microsoft engineer Eilon Lipton

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Last year Microsoft showed off a project using Blazor in which it built a desktop Flutter app, which are usually written in Dart and meant for mobile, but with Blazor and .NET Core instead.

Microsoft announced Blazor in early 2018 but still considers Blazor an experimental web UI framework from ASP.NET that aims to bring .NET applications to all browsers via WebAssembly. 

"It allows you to build true full-stack .NET applications, sharing code across server and client, with no need for transpilation or plugins," Microsoft explains. 

Microsoft is experimenting with Blazor and Mobile Blazor Bindings to cater to developers who are familiar with web programming and "web-specific patterns" to create native mobile apps. 

The idea behind releasing the mobile bindings now is to see whether these developers would like to use the "Blazor-style programming model with Razor syntax and features" as opposed to using XAML and Xamarin.Forms. However, the underlying UI components of Mobile Blazor Bindings are based on Xamarin.Forms. 

If the feedback is positive, Microsoft may end up including it in a future version of Visual Studio, according to Lipton. 

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Developers can test out Mobile Blazor Bindings if they have installed .NET Core 3.0 or 3.1 SDK, Visual Studio, and ASP.NET.

As Microsoft outlined at .NET Conf 2019, its vision for Blazer covers the full spectrum of apps, including server-based web apps, offline web apps with WebAssembly, progressive web apps, hybrid .NET native apps that render to Electron and work offline, and native desktop and mobile apps.  

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