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Microsoft Acquires Xamarin (asp.net)
1126 points by legomaster on Feb 24, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 383 comments

As someone who works in .NET ecosystem, this is HUGE.

I think there is huge synergy [1] to be exploited by combining Xamarin's team with language/compiler design/visual studio team. I think MS is extremely well positioned to be a leading development platform across desktop/web/mobile in the enterprise space with this acquisition.

[1] Never thought I would ever use that word in a comment.

This makes me happy, and hopefully it's just available as a base part of Visual Studio / part of all MSDN subscriptions. I loved Xamarin in principle before, but the price tag was steep.

I inherited a Xamarin app on one project - and while there were certainly some issues here and there, the promise of native cross-platform app development and shared C# libraries is pretty compelling.

I said a few years ago that this should happen, so glad to see it actually come to pass! http://tmarman.com/Blog/Post/ba9a711f-dcdb-40b5-bca9-ad6eb5b...

I wouldn't be surprised if they give it away for free. Microsoft has other revenue streams that it can use (VS Pro, MSDN, Office, Mac Builds, Azure).

Yes indeed, right now Xamarin is very very buggy and also pretty slow. I think the software will get MUCH better if the teams at Microsoft will start working on it.

Xamarin actually works quite well. Microsoft will definitely bring in more quality as they have huge amounts of resources not only in cash but in talented people.

This news is important because it solidifies the future of the .Net ecosystem in iOS, OSX, Android, Linux and Windows.

The Xamarin team has been doing a great job, but I am pretty sure that with Microsoft backing them they'll do a way better job.

"Works quite well" is a phrase I've never used with Xamarin. I stopped using it about a year ago for two reasons: (1) _every_single_release_ would break my apps and would then require spending inordinate amounts of time trying to get things building again, and (2) I could no longer justify paying for the professional edition just to be able to use Visual Studio on my hobby projects.

I am very much hoping that both of these issues are addressed with this acquisition, and like many, I have been holding out for a while now hoping this would happen.

EDIT: pjmlp, can't reply to your comment directly: You are talking about the Indie edition, with which you cannot use Visual Studio. Using Visual Studio requires the professional edition, at $999/platform/year. Even with the discount they gave me, the thousands of dollars I spent just to do hobby projects was a mistake.

Yeah, that thousand dollar per developer price tag is a little steep. I built out a cool little proof of concept app in it last year on a trial license, but it was just not worth it to go in at that price on it, when a mobile client would effectively just be a free feature for us. Using one of the webview wrappers was the better decision at that time.

Per developer per platform. Two guys developing for ios and Android would pay 2k every month. Add the damn exchange rate (I live in a 3rd world country), and the price is blocking for anything but enterprise development.

I just abandoned it for Ionic after pitching the product to my peers for two years.

Let's just hope that MSFT indeed add it to Visual Studio without any additional costs.

It was the per platform pricing that killed it for me. I was so annoyed that a solution for multiplatform development made you pay twice. I liked their T-Shirt promotion idea with the tshirt store demo, but that errored out on me and it was their code.

As an alternative, you can use RemObjects Silver (multiplatform Swift + .NET) for free.

Having the experience of dealing with the Android NDK, JNI wrapping to be able to use C++ as portable code across Android and WP, I think the 25€ a month are quite reasonable for having someone else go through that pain for me.

Thanks I was looking for a good review of Xmarian.

Both points are endemic of smaller and newer companies (does xamarin still qualify?), poor legacy and deprecation strategies / product roadmap, bad pricing structure. I think Microsoft can aid in both categories.

or its embrace extend extinguish?

Nonsense. The last 5 years show it's a whole new Microsoft.

Disclaimer: I have been one of the ones pushing the last 5 years to make that statement true. ;)

With respect to the progress made by some MS divisions (and the people pushing for it), it seems not all of MS is keeping up. For example, this was on HN today: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11167964

It's hard to trust that the currently good sides of MS will be allowed to stay good while other sides of MS are still behaving badly.

Thanks Scott, I have kept up on your work and blog and I wanted to say I appreciate what you do.

There could be many ways to undo the good things MS has done recently, and they are not perfect, but I am much happier the direction in the past year than I have been since the start of the company.

"A newsletter entry dated 26 December 2012 states: "MS [Microsoft], working with the FBI, developed a surveillance capability to deal" with the issue. "These solutions were successfully tested and went live 12 Dec 2012."


Noticed how this date is withing those 5 year of "It's a whole new Microsoft" mantra you guys chanting over and over?

Nonsense. The last 5 years shows that Microsoft isn't quite sure about it yet. Better? Yes. A "whole new Microsoft"? No.


Except for Microsoft's lawyers who are still using patents against Linux. Same old Microsoft.

Is it even possible for you guys to kill the undead SCO monster now? At any rate, it's still working away.

It worries me more that Microsoft has a track record of abandoning developer tools for the next shiny thing.

I'd counter that by stating that I work on a .NET codebase that dates back to 2003, it still builds just fine in Visual Studio 2015 and runs without issue on .NET 4.6/IIS8.5.

Well, .NET has been around for 14 years now. There have been all kinds of worried predictions about Microsoft abandoning or doing evil things with .NET, but after 14 years they're starting to sound a bit less worrying.

Remind me what happened to Silverlight.

Silverlight was essentially a polyfill for back when browsers weren't very capable. I did a ton of work with Silverlight - streaming video, vector graphics, cross-platform front-end apps with back-end integration... all stuff that was pretty hard to do back then, but is now widely available in all modern browsers.

Also, both the JavaScript language and runtime were pretty hard to build reliable, performant apps in back when Silverlight was introduced. The JavaScript language and runtimes have matured considerably since then.

If it had been my say, I'd have kept it for a little longer than they did, but by now I'd say it's no longer necessary.

There were always two camps in the Silverlight world, both inside and outside of Microsoft: those that saw it as a way to make browser-based applications more awesome, and those that saw Silverlight as a way to get away from that yucky HTML/CSS/JS dev. I was always firmly in the first camp, and from that side of things I wouldn't take back a minute I spent on Silverlight dev - I got a jump on video, vector graphics, browser-based apps, etc., long before it was practical to do that in the browser. When those technologies hit mainstream browsers, great!

Note: Microsoft employee but definitely only speaking for myself here.

Silverlight was competition to Flash. Once the standards were far enough along that it was clear plugins weren't going to be necessary, there was no reason to keep it alive. Honestly, you should be happy that Microsoft killed off theirs and decided to use open standards instead.

Same here. I wouldn't be surprised if Xamarin died slowly.

That makes no sense. It's pretty clear that .NET is Microsoft's future, and Xamarin extends the reach of .NET.

Look at Winforms, WPF and Silverlight. They are all .Net and all abandoned. I wouldn't bet my long term future on Xamarin.

Silverlight is abandoned, but Winforms (especially) and WPF are mature products; I use the latter two (as well as Xamarin for Mac) in my consulting business to make good profits each year, and don't see anything changing except for better in this respect.

Yes, Silverlight has been abandoned.

I would argue that Winforms is now a mature technology and requires little upkeep, but it is still a part of the stack.

WPF development has slowed significantly, but still proceeds.

None of these are good technologies if you want to stay up-to-date. You could also write your site in IE6 compatible HTML which was quite mature but that seems a really bad idea.

That's not a reasonable comparison at all. Winforms is maintained. IE6 is explicitly deprecated.

And WinForms is never really going to go away as long as Windows is still built around the Win32 API.

I would call Winforms and WPF "mature and maintained" rather than abandoned. Especially if compared to Silverlight.

I can provide a similar list for any big corporation, including Apple and Google.

Hm, I don't think WPF is abandoned.

seems to me, the next shiny thing is what HN is all about

There's a difference between a news site full of nerds being interested in something shiny, and a company dropping an old product for something shiny.

This is exactly what pushed me to the Apple ecosystem.

Yep, now they show full-screen ads on the OS itself. Huge improvement.


I'm sure there are Officially no privacy implications here.

Scott, any word on the inside on whether Excel is going to ever get some major enhancements? The object model desperately needs an improvement, and the ability to write VBA with C# would be spectacular.

Not sure I understand. You've been able to make C# Excel Addins for a long time now (file new | office addin) and you can also write add-ins in JavaScript as well.

Sorry, I was referring to VBA macros.

Skype? Sunrise?

Such win Scott.

I look forward to that. However, after 20 years of bad behavior, it's not unfair to be guarded for a long time after that. Does cancer relapse? Does alcoholism relapse? How about the politics of Russia? How long did democracy last? I applaud your efforts. The road is yet long.

EEE only works if you're a monopolist. Microsoft in 2016 is so far from being a monopolist that they can't even see monopoly from where they are. Xamarin is just another tool, so it's not clear what Microsoft would gain from extinguishing it.

Today you can target all three platforms...

It's actually after 15 or more years of generally good behaviour. After the anti-trust case, Microsoft spent a decade under the close supervision of the US DoJ, as well as the supervision of the EU (with an eye to imposing large fines if possible).

I expect it's done things you (and me) don't like in the past 15 years. However, the same goes for Apple, Google, IBM and Oracle. Microsoft hasn't been the least ethical of that lot.


> judging by the downvotes, there's a surprising number of Microsoft fanboys here.

Seriously, do we need to lower the content level of discussion here to "fanboy" camp accusations, it's not productive.

Also, please review the guidelines:

Please resist commenting about being downvoted. It never does any good, and it makes boring reading.

Please don't bait other users by inviting them to downvote you or announce that you expect to get downvoted.


Please don't regurgitate guidelines that long term users know and deliberately ignore.

Please stop backseat modding. If you have a problem with a comment, flag it and it will be reviewed. Thanks.

teh_kiev was right, and reminding fellow users of the guidelines is fine. I wish users would do it more.

Indeed I was just about to post the following in reply to your comment above:

Please don't add meta commentary about downvotes and who you imagine downvoted you. It's against the HN guidelines (two of them: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html) and is invariably tedious.

The Windows 10 privacy issues really do leave a bad taste, and I will be sticking to Windows 7/8.1 for as long as I can. There is a reason there are free upgrades to 10 being pushed so hard, and it's not because they are feeling nice.

It seems like they are giving with one hand (open source to developers) and taking with the other (data from their unsuspecting users).

> sticking to Windows 7/8.1

Well, you know, you can't walk into the same Windows twice. (Unless you ignore all updates.)

Do you also use only DuckDuckGo?

There are different expectations for the Internet and the software that runs your hardware.

Windows 10 privacy settings and .Net as a viable technology platform from licencing and technology point of view are two different things, though.

"The different Microsoft" aspect comes from open sourcing the key technological components so migration away from Microsoft licenses is at least a legally plausible, and that people can indeed see what goes into the sausage.

From developers point of view this is a huge improvement and makes the .Net a much more appealing proposition.

Is a company evil? Does it make good products? To me, at least, it's not very helpful to mix these two discussions.

Well they did fire all their technical writers; they kinda had to stop writing those updates when there was no one to write them.

Nah, nobody in the open source community really cares about them. HN is heavily used by Microsoft employees - and they are legion. That's all you're seeing here.

That doesn't apply here. This is a strategic purchase for Microsoft. They have no competing technology. That was in reference to standards. Microsoft wanted to turn open standards into proprietary standards to drive people toward their products.

...Xamarin studio isn't a competitor to Visual Studio?

That's all I know that Xamarin makes, so I think this article is going a bit over my head, but it'll be a shame if I suddenly need a Microsoft account to use it. I do like diversity in my language tooling.

Xamarin is not about Xamarin Studio. It's about the iOS and Android runtimes. Thanks to its ability to take full advantage of AOT compilation, the performance difference is staggering compared to Mono. Also it needs to JIT in less situations, which is a big plus on iOS since JITing is prohibited on that platform "for security reasons".

It is bad enough that you have to keep a Mac around with XCode on it to build any iOS apps now.

> ...Xamarin studio isn't a competitor to Visual Studio? That's all I know that Xamarin makes

Last I checked, that was just a forked and rebranded Mono Develop with Xamarin's main product line (iOS and Android support for .NET) bundled in.

Visual Studio doesn't run on Mac OS to make iOS apps, VS Code is still only an editor not an IDE. So Xamarin could be very useful for MS.

I'm not debating that Xamarins products are useful to Microsoft, I'm questioning the assertion that they haven't just consumed a competitor.

Considering Microsoft has no Mac IDE, I'm not sure how Xamarin could be considered a competitor.

...because Visual Studio is a C#/C++ IDE that works on Windows, and Xamarin Studio is also a C#/C++ IDE that works on Windows?

Xamarin Studio is a swiss army knife. I don't know about your use case, but I use it under the name Monodevelop on linux (not really sure what that association is) and as Xamarin studio on windows. For my use case, it's a C# and C++ IDE for desktop development, same as visual studio.

It's certainly not a MacOS only product, it supports all three platforms including windows.

Have you ever used .NET on its own platform?

Mono only supports a subset of the whole stack.

No sane .NET developer would use Mono on Windows, its purpose is .NET portability to other OSes.

Xamarin studio can be run against .net on windows, it's not mono specific.

Yes, but what is the value of doing that instead of using Visual Studio?!

Maybe I like it better?



Ask them about Alan Truing - he kept his work secret so should have had his career ruined by the likes of you.

> Alan Truing

Poor guy. His name autocorrects to one of the best-known names in computing.

Time to first EEE response: 20 minutes

While I don't believe its a whole new Microsoft, the idea of embrace, extend, extinguish in this context is knee jerk nay-saying. What are they going to extinguish: iOS or Android?

It's curious to me how some people don't update their thinking. Microsoft is so far from being the dominate software behemoth that practiced EEE that's it's almost sad. The old Microsoft paid a price for that arrogant attitude of theirs that led them to make some bad decisions that got them to their reduced status today. I applaud efforts by the new crew to turn things around.

Why would MS want to extinguish a successful technology that they just bought?

I thought that with Skype, then Nokia.

Nokia was not successful (by any definition of the word) by the time Microsoft bought it.

That's true, they weren't.

Several years before that purchase, Stephen Elop (an MS executive) became CEO of Nokia. Within 6 months of his hire, Nokia signed an agreement with MS to sell Windows Phone devices; the classic Symbian OS and the Linux-based Meego - both of which had shipping hardware - were canceled in favor of exclusive focus on Windows Phone. Within the next few years, Nokia laid off over 20k people, their stock dropped by about 85%, and they even sold and then leased back their HQ in Finland. They were a lot less successful by that point, and a lot less expensive to purchase. Which Microsoft did.

There was some amount of controversy associated with the above.

Believe me I know. I was there.

Although technically MeeGo had no shipping hardware at the time. The N900 ran Maemo, the first (and sadly only) MeeGo hardware to ship to the public was the N9 which didn't ship until months after the "burning platform" announcement

> There was some amount of controversy associated with the above.

Can't see why. It's obvious Microsoft perfected executive outplacement as an offensive weapon.

How is Microsoft extinguishing Skype? I've seen no such evidence personally

The Linux client no longer works and they filled the Windows client with ads and senseless bloat.

Nokia was a patent bundle firesale.

Interesting, as no Nokia patents were bought by Microsoft.

MS licensed their patents, but the current profitable Nokia kept them and has a unit dedicated to research and IP.

One can argue that the licensing was cheap, but cross-licensing agreements between companies is very common.

Because Microsoft's decisions have always been driven as much by its byzantine internal politics as by any rational perspective on the market?

Embrace a new technology

Extend with proprietary functionality

Extinguish the competition

Even though it's based on Microsoft's existing technology? That saying just doesn't make sense here...

You make absolutely no sense.

The competition for .Net isn't Xamarin. It's the Java platform.

Maybe their strategy is to bundle the Bing toolbar with the Xamarin installer.

there's nothing to extinguish here, just a clever but buggy technology that never took off.

Never thought I would ever use that word in a comment.

You either die a developer or live long enough to see yourself become the manager?

This is great! Also it will give even a greater boost to .NET usage on mobile platforms for cross platform code.

Very HUGE, now microsoft can put ads on xamarin software!

Have you ever seen an advert in any of their developer tools? Or are you just being flippant?

ever downloaded Oracle JDK?

Microsoft doesn't make that.

Thank God. Can you imagine?

You're assuming this won't be the "before" post in a post on ourincrediblejourney.

Miguel finally gets his job at Microsoft: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_de_Icaza#Early_software...


I am glad he never go[t] that job at Microsoft. The alternative was way better. Look at all he has accomplished. Pretty awesome.

Not sure if serious...

Not sure you know who we're talking about... Seriously, look him up.

Oh, i know very much who he is...


There are layers of Poe's Law here.


Kinda funny how things work out.

Back when MS broadcasted OSX/nix compatibility for Visual Studio I felt it necessary to comment that .NET development has been supported in OSX/nix for over a decade.

In short, Miguel De Icaza should be awarded a medal from MS for his heroic effort in developing the Mono platform and tooling; in spite of the constant threat of legal action from Microsoft for 'patent infringement' of their supposedly 'open' (ie ECMA) standard languages and VM.

Hopefully, he finally receives public recognition and reward for all his hard work.

Thank you for the kind words and the perspective.

Luckily, we will be joining a new Microsoft (pending regulatory approval), one lead by Satya which has a different vision for the company. We are excited about what this means for Xamarin's products, for our customers, for our users, for our employees, but most of all, we are excited about what we can achieve inside Microsoft for all of Microsoft's customers, and the rapidly growing open source community around .NET.

Cheers! Miguel

Thank you for all your hard work on Mono and bringing .NET to the OSS ecosystem.

Hopefully, the regulatory approval stuff works out without issue.

Microsoft needs better representation in OSS and I can't think of anybody better equipped to assist them in that direction.

He'd been pretty buddy-buddy with Microsoft for a while. Microsoft has owned patents on the underlying technology, but as far as I'm aware they never did anything to indicate that they might sue Ximian or Xamarin. As far as I can tell, the bulk of the concern about Mono stems from FUD-spreading by RMS.

I think Stallman's concerns regarding the subject were / are perfectly valid.

They aren't entirely invalid, though interestingly the only times something like this has ever happened were around that Java platform, not .NET. And yet, even though they're the ones who are notable for actually trying to do so, nobody worries too much about trusting Oracle not to try and torpedo any open source ecosystems for profit.

Which is why I'm inclined to think of it as FUD-spreading. It's not about a balanced assessment of the strategic risks involved in using a particular open source product so much as it's about how one company in particular has been mythologized into something approaching a Lovecraftian horror in the minds of many members of a particular subculture.

> they never did anything to indicate that they might sue Ximian or Xamarin.

That doesn't mean Microsoft would never sue them or their users. If a Fortune 500 company using Mono receives a letter from Microsoft, they'll act exactly the same as any Android manufacturer that received similar letters.

As a Mexican it rise my spirit, I'm very happy for Icaza and for the project! Perfect timing for microsoft in the open source strategy.

>>> labeled him as "Traitor to the Free Software Community"


>>> egularly used Mac OS X instead of Linux for desktop computing

Haven't heard of him before, seems like he's choosing being pragmatic over being philosophically right. I like this :)

He probably had some influence in making .NET "Open Source"...

"Traitor" joins his fleet. Good for everyone.

Given that Xamarin bought RoboVM last year and that the project went closed source and raised prices just after that, it's fair to assume that RoboVM is dead.

Also, I'm personally not happy about this. I think people on HN should know better. Besides a couple of black swans being the exceptions that confirm the rule, acquisitions is how projects die. This is because acquisitions are either defensive or acquihires. And even when done out of a genuine desire for progress, big companies end up choking these acquisitions to death, after all they weren't capable of such progress in-house, with the project members moving on after one or two years when their contract expires.

But hey, people were excited about Nokia as well.

Thing is Microsoft is already developing a lot of the stuff that makes Xamarin tick in the open source under liberal licenses - a lot of the legacy Mono tech already got replaced by CoreCLR equivalents, some are in the process or will be in the future. Eg. stuff like LLILC - IL -> LLVM static compiler will make the AoT for iOS story work instead of using mono AoT - but that project is not usable right now.

Binding APIs are some work but not impossible for OSS community to replicate if the CoreCLR and friends provided a portable platform with liberal licensing - so even if Xamarin disappeared it could be replicated - but I see no reason for them to shut it down.

And the third part of Xamarin is tooling which they can roll up into their own product offering.

Basically acquihire is a good scenario in this case because Microsoft is already moving towards these areas, Xamarin brings in talent and a bridge with working tech to provide transition.

FWIW, in 2014, Microsoft bought HockeyApp. It's still actively developed and new features are being added. I expected it to die soon then, but apparently not all acquisitions, by MS in particular, end badly.

android youtube and maps were all acquisitions.

i think it's confirmation bias you don't really think of all the many successful acquisitions only the bad ones stand out.

those were aquisitions by Google. Now a list of Microsoft:

There are some success stories even just limiting it to enterprise software. PowerPoint, Visio, and many products in the Dynamics family started out as acquisitions.

Not to mention SQL Server.

The Acompli (now Outlook Mobile) acquisition has gone quite nicely so far (source: am on said team). That's just one recent example; there are quite a few MS products that came on board via acquisition.

The HockeyApp acquisition hasn't caused any pain so far.


Not bought in, I think....

"OneNote started as an email exchange between myself and Steven Sinofsky, the Senior VP for Office, Nov 27, 2000."


True, there are projects that die, Parse is perhaps the biggest example thus far. But seeing as how Microsoft is interested in expanding it's reach in OSS, I don't see a problem. This will likely be bundled with VS (which will be pretty cool!) and possibly even open sourced itself.

This is giant news for the .NET ecosystem. It means that MS is serious about their push into Mobile and Linux, and that .NET developers aren't going to have to work with Xamarin's ever-so-slightly-behind libraries anymore. It also means that MS now produces an IDE on Linux, which is a crazy change from 10 years ago.

> It means that MS is serious about their push into Mobile and Linux

Mobile OK but Linux? Currently on the HN frontpage theres an article about how Skype for Linux hasn't been updated for years and "is unable to join calls": https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11165568

They want devs to write for Linux because they are a services company who make money from Azure VMs including those that run Linux.

They don't want end users to run Linux desktop.

So devtools/languages/cloud divisions inside Microsoft like Linux.

Those in ms who deal with end user applications (home users in this case, as ms push Lync to business) probably see little point in investing in development in Skype for Linux.

This. MS want .Net to run on all platforms. Give developers awesome tooling for free. Let them build. When they deploy, pay for Azure. It has an ongoing usage cost. Xamarin is just part of their tooling.

Skype on Windows Phone is horrible. Updates come to iOS and Android, and only then WP.

Microsoft is a very big company. Just because devtools division is doing one thing doesn't mean the Skype team has the same priorities. I wouldn't even assume that half the product teams in MS are using MS dev tools to build their product.

Exactly. It probably means that in 1-5 years, the C# experience on Linux is going to go way downhill. Extend embrace extinguish.

What are they going to extinguish, Linux? By letting people write C# code on Linux? Or are they going to extinguish Java? Or are you saying they'll extinguish Xamarin? If that's the case, that doesn't make since because Xamarin isn't a competitor.

Microsoft is so far from having the capability of doing any of those things. Any company that has a monopoly starts acting evil, but Microsoft is no longer close to having monopoly.

When the integration is done, we'll have Dotnet Core targeting Windows, OSX, Linux, Android and iOS. There will be frameworks for serverside and clientside applications.

I think it can become the best alternative to the javascript world, which already can target all these, but needs all kinds of native support and is much less solid as a language.

If they could convince all browsers to host some version of the CLR so you could have IL and so (C#/VB.NET/F#) as a viable alternative to JavaScript then I would agree.

No need. The future is WebAssembly. We just need C#/F# compilers that generate this new IL.

https://github.com/WebAssembly/ilwasm - Of course WebAssembly being still in the design stage, this is probably not very usable.


Plan for - FSTWASM experimental/incubator project FSharp To WebAssembly

> I think it can become the best alternative to the javascript world

Ugh no. Professionally, I would have a lot to gain from that as a developer but in general that would be an awful turn of events. Long term it would be a net negative for the world and we all should know better by now.

would it hurt to qualify anything, or is this just your current emotional state?

MS already have one; Visual Studio Code. The crazy has been coming a while.

Visual Studio Code doesn't do an eighth of what VS 2015 does. VS 2015 on Linux with a full CLR would be huge. Think about the opportunities for existing enterprise programmers, alone.

It would be great to use Visual Studio on other platforms, but it's unlikely to happen any time soon (unless Microsoft have been working on it in secret). Visual Studio is a Win32 application, we haven't even seen a 64-bit version of it yet, I'd expect to see Visual Studio become a 64-bit WPF application before it becomes cross-platform.

Visual Studio already uses WPF where it matters (the actual editor is WPF, I think, among other things).

That said, the core and infrastructure and all the stuff that makes it run is still a radioactive COM wasteland, and from experience trying to write an extension once, you can tell..

It's been WPF since 2010.

It's a text editor though and doesn't focus on being a full featured IDE. I think a Cross Platform text editor is definitely a must have regardless though. I just wish it had debugging (or at least just execution) natively without me having to find a plugin, sort of how Geany runs / compiles anything I throw at it without much (if ever) effort.

It does have built-in debugging, although it might not support the targets you're working with. However, it is still less than a year old + only at version 0.10.x...

Eh Visual studio code is not an IDE. Last time I used it the C# support was pretty bad.

It's IDE-ish for some languages. I would call it a full-featured TypeScript IDE (with IntelliSense, syntax-checking, a decent debugger, etc) but not much else.

Yeah, it doesn't have debugging (of C# on Mac and Linux). I think the GP is referring to Xamarin Studio, which is an ok IDE, but pales in comparison to VS.

Visual Studio Code is very different from Visual Studio and was made exclusively to capture the unwashed masses of web developers that have been lead to believe by false prophets that they shall exclusively use 30 year old editors running in terminal emulators, themselves mimicking 40 year old interfaces, to accomplish their work.

(Some sarcasm intended)

The first web devs you're talking about are already using Atom and Sublime Text.

The other devs are still using a better terminal editor.

As a personal anecdote, I did give VSC a try when I had to write some TypeScript. Installed a couple of plugins for Neovim and I was both at home (which means, more productive) and still had the same functionality I used in VSC.

Most likely, they are going to kill whatever was left of it.

Wow! Congratulations Nat Friedman and Miguel de Icaza (of Ximian fame). I remember reading this blogpost like it was yesterday: http://nat.org/blog/2011/05/xamarin/

How much? I know it's undisclosed but it would be very interesting. Hopefully someone leaks it.

The rumor was Miguel told MS to "F*#K Off" when MS presented him with an offer many years ago. This lead to CoreCLR being open sourced and Visual Studio Code being built.

I'd like to know if by undermining parts of Xamarins business they were able to get them at substantial discount - especially with the tech industry downturn. Or if failure in the Windows Phone market has made MS desperate and forced their hand. Given it's undisclosed I'm guessing it's the former. I'd like to know if telling MS to "F#&K Off" was a good strategy :)

Open sourcing the compiler, CoreCLR, and JIT made Xamarin's life easier, not harder.

Acquiring Xamarin is just acknowledging that Windows Phone is DOA and their best shot at monetizing the mobile world is providing backend hosting/services and developer tools. That's not a secret - that's their publicly announced strategy.

I'd expect all the Xamarin tools to be built-in to VS going forward. One VS/MSDN subscription gets you everything and the tools will make it trivially easy to host on Azure.

Exactly what I was thinking. They are probably going to go with a business model similar to Amazon's Lumberyard

>The rumor was Miguel told MS to "F&#K Off" when MS presented him with an offer many years ago. This lead to CoreCLR being open sourced and Visual Studio Code being built.

The rumor sounds bogus. MS has been collaborating with Xamarin (and it's previous incarnation) for almost a decade.

They can both be true. I think the valuation will be telling.

OK, here's another thing: Miguel has long advocated MS opening up their platform, and has welcomed every such move as it happened.

Companies have a long history of saying one thing privately and another thing publicly. If it were public then it wouldn't be a rumor.

Well, there's the public known facts and then there's a "rumor". I don't know why we're even discussing something as unsubstantiated as the latter.

Besides, even if the price was public, one could read anything it wants it that. "Oh the number is low because MS undermined them".

From what I've seen, the numbers for those companies like Xamarin are always much much lower that BS inflated unicorns with no actual business models...

And there's another thing: for what Xamarin offers (which is in the mobile space, with their support for iOS/Android APIs etc), the open source CLR and the VS Code, the basis for the rumor, don't even figure at all. Nobody that used Xamarin will gonna turn to those products, because they simply don't do the same thing at all.

If both are true then the implication would hold. I think it's "true -> false" which of course doesn't hold.

> This lead to CoreCLR being open sourced and Visual Studio Code being built.

What is it you think those to products are? They aren't trying to reproduce anything Xamarin does.

CoreCLR is part of Microsoft's "cloudy" strategy, they want to be on Linux micro-instances, and on Windows Server Nano. Visual Studio Code is just the absolutely minimum Microsoft has to do to make CoreCLR seem "real" on other platforms (a 101 UI).

Honestly the whole .Net open sourcing/porting thing is a lot older than this cross-platform interest and while the two are aligned right now I highly doubt that's what kicked it off.

Rumor is just south of $300 Million. A nice chunk of change...but Xamarin had the gas and customers to head much higher valuations. Congrats to all involved.

You'd think that most of those customers are most likely to already be MS customers though at a guess.

Having the relevant clients for your acquirer is a classic strategy for this kind of exit.


> This lead to CoreCLR being open sourced and Visual Studio Code being built. I'd like to know if by undermining parts of Xamarins business they were able to get them at substantial discount

As a CoreCLR contributor, my impression was always that the mono-team was extremely happy about .NET official going open-source and how that made it possible to align the two code-bases in a much better fashion.

I don't think I've ever seen CoreCLR portrayed as an effort to "undermine" Xamarin or mono. Rather I'd take it as an imitation, the ultimate form of complement.

Where did you get/form that picture?

That doesn't sound like the relationship Miguel and Nat have cultivated with .net or MS, and they could have continued on saying "No." Xamarin didn't NEED MS beyond what it already provides openly, everywhere (.net market support both technically + marketing)

I'd almost be surprised if there were previous formal offers as I'm pretty sure the discussions between Miguel and various MS folks, especially Scott Gu, were frank, open, and mostly trusting. You don't throw out formal offers if you have Xamarin openly talking through why they don't feel the time is right.

My take is Miguel and Nat have always been "do right by the technology first." They danced the line with mono and old MS. They then made a compelling step towards where MS would head a few years prior to MS being able to start showing progress in that direction.

VS Code was created to do something with the Monaco editor developed in typescript for their cloud offering. Same for CoreCLR, the slow and memory hungry runtime of Xamarin wasn't a treat to MS, .Net was approaching irrelevancy without a Linux presence in cloud offerings.

3 years ago this would be a sad news for Xamarin, today with the new Microsoft I'm glad to see this. Microsoft will not destroy Xamarin (I hope)

Microsoft is only a threat to JetBrains from where I'm standing and looking, I have a feeling they will fix up Xamarin the way we all hope they will. I really hope there will be a completely free option of Xamarin for Students and maybe even on BizSpark.

There is already a free option of Xamarin for students.[1] Earlier there used to be a separate application process but now it is rolled into DreamSpark


There's also the "Starter Edition" for everyone else:


Starter edition is pretty much useless. You may use it to "get a taste" of Xamarin, but you can't really make any useful apps with it.

Thank you both, I did not know, looks like you already get it through DreamSpark that was really fast (in the case of Student).

If MS puts Xamarin licensing under MSDN I'd be really happy.

Or if they just release the Mono runtime under MIT (Mono requires all VM contributions to be licensed to them under MIT, they then turn around and release it under LGPLv2 and a commercial license - so it's legally doable without any effort). Microsoft's product strategy is getting .Net everywhere for free, making money on services and tooling - they don't need commercial Xamarin around to make their strategy work.

I imagine .NET devs around the world are rejoicing (myself included). I hope this means access to Xamarin through existing MSDN and BizSpark subscriptions.

Oh god, I hope so.

Rather integrate it in visual studio.

VS integration was recently re-written and re-released. I still use XS, but I hear the VS integration is now pretty solid.

I meant as part of the main distribution

It's a very prominent installation option in Visual Studio 2015 that you can't miss. If you mean something else, please clarify.

I meant as a standard feature in visual studio, not a paid addon

Hopefully this means the .NET for Android and iOS solutions will become better supported and (maybe, I hope) free and open source like the rest of .NET is now. Maybe not, I doubt there's any profit in it for them (or maybe there is since they'd likely make it part of VS), but I'd really like to be able to take .NET for mobile development more seriously.

This probably also means Unity3d will soon be able to use an updated version of Mono, because Microsoft wants to back them and doesn't force them to pay the full licence price.

Seriously unity could already do it without the old mono runtime with what MS offer : the Roslyn compiler for C# and the LLILC a MSIL bitcode to LLVM compiler for iOS, and the netCore runtime for android. Their C# to c++ compiler seem now a misguided way.

I'd like the option of that! Unity and C# are a great pair, but I'd love to have the newer C# features rolling out.

Yes x1000!!!

I wonder when/if they will announce pricing changes. I would love to use Xamarin but the current licensing fees (2 developers across iOS/Mac/Android) of $6k/year are a total non-starter. If it gets rolled into MSDN or BizSpark I would pretty much jump on it immediately. The current alternative of writing C++ that runs across iOS/Mac/Android/Windows is a massive headache.

I think if Microsoft want to attract developers to building for Windows (including phones and tablets), then adding first class support in Xamarin and reducing the licensing fees would be a huge win.

I'd definitely start developing for Windows Phone if they made Xamarin free and cross platform like .net. We're missing on a not completely insignificant part of the market that currently isn't worth the development and maintenance cost. If we could develop it from Mac and Linux boxes using the same codebase for the logic, we would most likely make the jump.

But you can build for Windows and Windows Phone right now for free in a better toolset than Xamarin. Visual Studio is much better.

I understood that one benefit of Xamarin is to build once and target many platforms. If you're faced with iOS and Android as the top platforms, including Windows for minimal cost without a complete rewrite is quite appealing.

But it's more time and effort, which, when given Windows Phone's anemic marketshare, would probably be better spent improving and adding features to the iOS and Android apps.

I'm honestly amazed that it took this long. I've tried Xamarin before to make iOS apps but couldn't justify paying an ongoing subscription for what is basically a hobby project. I'd love it if MS expanded the "Starter Edition" to allow more fully fledged apps - they could be seriously competitive with Xcode.

I truly believe that it would've happened sooner, but Microsoft needed to wait until it had built up some degree of confidence among developers that the whole "new Microsoft" thing is for real. If they'd done it three years ago, everyone would've panicked, assumed that things like e.g. .NET on Linux were dead, and just written off Xamarin's offerings immediately. Now I think a lot of people are at least cautiously optimistic that Microsoft's cross-platform and OSS intentions are genuine.

You can see it right here in this thread: as another commenter said, not that long ago this news would've prompted universal predictions of doom, whereas now people seem thrilled. Timing is everything.

We're still talking about the Microsoft that's less than a year away from releasing Windows 10 and DX12. "New Microsoft" indeed.

It will be interesting to see what happens to RoboVM which allows you to develop iOS and Android application using Java with shared code base. (Similar to what Xamarin does with C#) With third party JavaFX implementation even shared GUI code is possible with RoboVM.

RoboVM was acquired by Xamarin in Oct. 2015 (https://xamarin.com/pr/xamarin-acquires-robovm)

Congrats to Nat and Miguel! This seems to make a ton of sense, and unlike other acquisitions by big corps this seems like a great move for both Xamarin and their customers.

What now for RoboVm I wonder. Given that its Java based and probably overlaps with the main Xamarin product.

My next bet: Oracle will buy it from MS.

A core group of these people (in the orbit of Miguel/Nat) have been plugging away for like two decades on solving programs through building software. From mc, to GNOME, to Ximian, to Mono, to Xamarian.

It was a lot of hard work and dedication and, above all, constant shipping. Good for them.

I really love the C# language and I'll be really excited if this means that C# is a better choice for non-Windows platforms down the road.

Today, a pure coincidence to the announcement that Microsoft acquired Xamarin, my brother and I launched a preview into a project that we've been working on for some time now. This is a Xamarin.Forms UI Inspector called XenForms:


Also, in the spirit of giving. I have released an open source version of a game in Xamarin.Forms and CocosSharp. It's a These Crazy Walls Clone.


Hope someone finds it useful!

My coworkers and I have been predicting (and hoping for) this for a long time. It'll be interesting to see how this affects licensing costs, particularly for smaller teams. The per-year-per-platform license really turns me off as a solo dev.

I'm shocked that they have waited this long. They really seemed to ramp up support for Xamarin. Seemed like this was a no brainer.

I thought they would have done this 2 years ago. It seems that every Build, Xamarin was there in a big, big way.

So happy for Miguel and Nat. We worked with Xamarin when we ported Infinite flight from Windows Phone to iOS and Android. We wouldn't be there if it wasn't for them.

One thing I'm really looking forward to is efforts on the QA front. I'm scared to update every time as things are frequently broken, especially on the iOS side.

.NET now needs a solid compile-to-browser story - which is presumably coming with some future version of web assembly (initial version doesn't support GC or threads)

I'm looking forward to the day where I can ditch C++ for portability - .NET really is an ideal replacement for most apps - you can write apps that don't stress the GC by using value types and can control memory layouts relatively well (unlike Java) and at the same time you can use reflection, GC and all the niceties of modern programming platforms - unlike C++.

What about WebSharper? It's solid, open source (Apache 2.0) and they're working on adding C# support for the next major version:


> ".NET now needs a solid compile-to-browser story"

You can compile .NET code to JavaScript using JSIL:


I've seen that but the showcase doesn't look very convincing compared to say emscripten.

Do you know about any bigger projects using JSIL ?

I've not used JSIL myself, but the performance of the demos seems fairly decent. Do you have any bigger .NET projects of your own you could try out?

If you're looking for asm.js/wasm support in particular, you may be interested in LLILC, which appears to be a .NET Core to LLVM IR compiler, meaning you could make use of Emscripten to convert the code to asm.js:


I don't, I've written a prototype for my lib a year ago in C# and probably have that lying around somewhere but since then we've ported it to C++ and done heavy refactoring/development - I could probably spend some time and try to get that prototype working on JSIL but I need to see how the xamarin story plays out before I invest significant time into this.

IIRC LLILC is ways off from actually being usable as a static compiler and you'll still have to figure out how to ship a runtime and do GC in asm.js (realistically can't) and not to mention it's single threaded so it's a question if you can even get CoreCLR to run in such enviroment without heavy modifications.

It would be huge if we could just write everything in C# (frontend/lib and backend) but I don't see this realistically being possible for at least two years given the development pace of webasm.

See Bridge.NET, where Saltarelle has gained commercial support under the Apache 2 license. http://bridge.net/

Or pay for DuoCode http://duoco.de/buy or SharpKit http://sharpkit.net/Licensing.aspx (both also available under copyleft-ish licensing).

silverlight ^_^

That's akin to saying suicide is a solution to any of life's problems.

I hope this means I can get Xamarin through BizSpark now!

What this means for MonoDevelop? Will it stagnate and die, or florish with fresh water from Microsoft's wells? What will be THE tool to develop for/on Linux?


> What will be THE tool to develop for/on Linux?

I meant it in .NET context.

I know, I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. :)

Considering Microsoft is pushing to support devs on Linux and that the probability of Visual Studio being ported from Windows is near 0, I don't think Microsoft would kill off MonoDevelop.

For once, I see an acquisition that might actually work! There must have been a blue moon.

Satya Nadella is a breath of fresh air. I don't say that very often about top-level management (not that my opinion is all that important), I suspect if I was employed by Microsoft I'd feel proud of working there.

Also part of the deal with him running the place was to have Bill Gates return and spend a third of his time at Microsoft. Bill Gates has changed a lot over the years. I'm really curious how much of this change he (Gates) has played a part in.

Definitely Xamarin is geared towards the .NET ecosystem, at least for now. But .NET aside, as a cross-platform "platform", how does Xamarin compare with React Native? Anybody has experience in both of them?

MS wanted to buy Xamarin way back. Xamarin held back. I remember some comment to this effect from Miguel. Now that .Net Core looks awesome and will work with LLVM backend. Wouldn't it just another step for MS to create what Xamarin's core product is. I think Xamarin realized this and gave in. their IPO dream shattered.


I hope this means visual studio integration comes for free. As a paid indie developer for xamarin, being vs integration not included in indie license, was the worst thing about xamarin for me.

for the issue in uservoice 2700votes ATM:https://xamarin.uservoice.com/forums/234640-xamarin-suggesti...

As a Xamarin subscriber, I'm guessing the future success of the merger (and product future) depends on:

1) addressing the price-point, 2) core clr integration, 3) retaining the top engineering talent at Xamarin, 4) addressing the iOS designer-specific issues

A couple notes:

For most LOB apps, I'm not convinced the code re-use is significant. The bulk of work is in the interface and navigation which is, necessarily, handled by coding android / ios specifics. Despite noble effort, the iOS design essentially needs to be done in xcode (point 4 above).

The build/release process is and (presumably) always will be locked behind the gates of technology's North Korea (Apple). They can throw a switch and restrict 3rd party runtimes if and when they choose.

For businesses in the 5-100 million range, writing an expense app in 2017, MSDN Xamarin should be a logical choice - but it has to be a platform with the reliability of .NET and a simple cross-platform designer. For app-centric startups, games, POS systems, etc. - it's probably a bad move.

For msft devs (and we are aging) it's win-win. The lure of C# gets you into mobile dev, and you will learn iOS and Android in the process.

Hope this means lower prices. Or even some free edition? :)

I strongly feel that they will provide a free edition which works with Visual Studio Code.

I hope they do. I'm pretty sure that pricing is the key factor that is stopping xamarin from being way more popular

Would be smart to release windows phone support for free, but IOS and android support costs. More windows phone apps for app store for no cost to developer.

My reaction: what took them so long? This has seemed obvious for years now.

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