I suggest you ...

Create real support for new Window-developers

First - sorry for my bad English - my native language is German.

This posting is intended for the Xamarin management……

I am a Windows developer (unfortunately vb.net) and “try to try out” Xamarin (90-day-trial via MSDN).

I decided to try-out Xamarin, because:
- I should be able to easy create real native-like apps for all platforms
- There is an integration in Visual Studio (and we work with VS2013
for our other applications)
- With the new Xamarin.Forms - it should be possible to create multi-
platform Apps very fast with the ability to nevertheless implement
platform-specific changes if needed

For me I’ts a complete new world:
- first touch with MAC-World
- first touch with app-development
- first touch with Xamarin
- and… unfortunately.. first touch with C#

I think, there are many Windows-(Desktop)-VS-Developer like me, that want to try-out Xamarin for multiplatform-development. Especially the Partnership with MS (and the integration in VS) will bring up many new potential customers for Xamarin.

So my experience until now:
Setup of the whole environment:
Note: We have bought an iMAC and an android-tablet as prerequisites
- It have took me about 4 full days to setup a more or less working
environment
- less = MAC-Integration (Build Host) that still don’t work stable, what
is really annoying (E.g. Another Instance of Visual Studio is using
the Build Host on ….” I think, the most of you will know what I
mean…)
- 4 full days:
--> after my registration, I received two mails from Xamarin (“what
do you want do to with, Xamarin, how can we help you…”)
-> I then have sent various mails - without receiving any real help
-> So I had to query the internet for hours to solve the problems with
the environment myself
=> most of the problems were/are “house-made” by Xamarin, what
is specially annoying

After four full days of work, I now have a working “Hello-World”-App for all platforms (with a “big” customizing of the standard-text that was generated from the standard-template).

“Enter the real world” (where I stay actually):
As this - I think - is the future way and “sounds good”, I have created my App based on the template “Blank App (Xamarin.Forms Shared)”
Now, I want to customize the generated example for my needs (I think, the most newbies goes that way):
- Implement central functions that can be called from any platform-
project
- Implement central functions to query data from our (already existing)
Json Webservice
- Implement a new main-startup-page (replacing the “big” label-page
with a “real” page)
- Implement various other pages for central navigation, input query-
data, shoe the result of the queries, etc.

So.. after a full day of try-and-error (I have not found any Information in the Internet, how to do that in a “Blank Forms Shared-project) I was able to implement the first central function in the blank forms shared project, that can be called from any platform project. To do that, I had additionally to translate the function from vb.net to c#.
Now I try to implement my first own page since a full day…
Until now… without success… now chance…
I do not find any useful step-by-step description on the Internet, how to customize a project based on the template “Blank App (Xamarin.Forms Shared)”:
- How to create a new form (Page) from scratch for Xamarin.Forms?
- How to change the standard-Code in App.cs to call the new form?
- How to create a navigation-form (page)?
- How to create further pages to show detail information’s?
- How to navigate between the forms?

It is very frustrating, if you invest almost two full weeks of work and have no “real-life” app working…

I think there are many developers out-there that have very similar needs then I have.
I also think, many of them would stop their “Xamarin-Try” by this bug hurdles...

I do not understand why Xamarin do not support new users much better, as every new user (customer) has a very big value for Xamarin. For professional use of Xamarin, I think the most customer have to buy the iOS- and Android-professional versions with subscription. This generates an income from $ 2’000 per developer per year!
So I think, my suggestions below are very good invested money…

My suggestions:

Setup of the environment:
- Create a .pdf with all needed information’s from the view of a
Windows-Visual-Studio-Developer:
Common Prerequisites:
- How to create an Apple-Developer-Account (short description)
- How to create a Google Developer-Account (short description)
- How to create a Microsoft Developer-Account (short description)

MAC:
- Which MAC to buy - recommendations?
- How to connect the MAC?
- How to use the MAC (the most Windows-Developer are the first
time in touch with a MAC, only because they have to be able to
create iOS-Apps)
- I had to query the internet, only to be able to input a #-character
- The description should also include a short description “how to
serve the MAC” (including the main Key-strokes, etc.)
At least the description should include links to information’s on the
WEB
=> Every Windows-User that has his first touch with a MAC HAS
these simple base-problems!
- How to Install the MAC step-by-step (XCode and Xamarin-
Software)
Windows:
- Prerequisites (E.G. Visual Studio 2013 Update 2)
- How to install the prerequisites?
- How to install the Xamarin-Software?

Integrations / test of the whole environment:
- How to create the first multi-platform app (“Hello World”)
- Which template to use?
- Differences between the project-types?
- If you want to…. then use the template …
- How to connect a Windows-Device (Phone / Tablet) to the PC?
- How to enable the WP-Emulator?
- How to connect HW (IPhone and IPad) to the MAC?
- How to enable the iOS-Emulator?
- How to connect an Android-Device (Phone / Tablet) to the PC?
- How to enable the Android-Emulator?
- How to make the first integration-test?
- Debugging every platform
- Known issues and how to solve…

Take the firs hurdles - customize the example-App:
- Create a .pdf with all needed information’s from the view of an
absolute newbie:
- Base: Blank App Xamarin.forms (shared) (as I think this should be
the future…?)
- How to implement central functions that can be used in all projects
(real step-by-step example)
- How to create a own main-page (real step-by-step example)
- How to change the example-page to call the own main-page
(step-by-step example)
- How to implement a central navigation page (real step-by-step
example)
- How to implement a “main-page” with “detail-page” (show list
on “main-page”, click on an item, show “detail-page” go back
to “main-page”)

Under “real step-by-step-example” I understand, that every needed step is described in detail - e.g. including screenshots how to create a new class-file. I found various examples with code-fragments on the Internet. However, without the information, where (in which module) to place the code and/or where and how to call the code-snipped it is almost useless for me (and for every other real beginner).

It should be a .pdf so that every potential customer can download and print it. In this manner, he has the whole information in one document and is able to read it e.g, at home.
Actually, there are many “information-snippets” on the Xamarin-Pages, but nowhere a complete-information’s for starters. It is very time consuming to search all the needed information’s by clicking all the links. The various editions (XS for MAC, XS for VS, Android.iOS, etc.) do not make it better (very confusing for an absolute newbie)

Summary:
I have took the time to write this (I know - very long) posting…
It would be nice, if you will take-over my suggestions and I can find the .pdf' in the next time somewhere central on the Xamarin pages…
I know, that It will take some time to do the work (and it also will take time to hold the documents actual!). But this is no time / money if you see the result…

If you do that, I “promise” you:
- very positive feedbacks from your testers (potential customers)
- a lot of additional new customers, as:
- the “tester” is able to setup the environment as fast as possible
- the “tester” is able create his first real-life-app as fast as possible
=> And this is the most important success factor for Xamarin!

And last but not least...a lot less work for your supporters to serve the newbies..

Fredy

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    Fredy Wenger shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

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