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SAP commits to mobile marriage with Xamarin: All for one, and one for Android, iOS, Windows

You know what that smartphone needs? BUSINESS APPS!

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Xamarin and SAP – software operations at opposite ends of the spectrum – are working on tools to deliver native business apps to mobile devices.

The pair on Monday announced a partnership that will help enterprise developers quickly build apps for iOS, Android and Windows around SAP’s Mobile Platform.

The first fruits of the deal are a toolkit, test cloud and certification programme.

The companies on Monday announced the Xamarin + SAP Mobile Platform SDK to build native cross-platform apps around the enterprise giant’s mobile software.

SAP’s Mobile Platform includes mobile server and tools based on the old Sybase middleware it bought in 2010.

Also under the agreement, devs will get Xamarin Test Cloud to simultaneously test mobile apps across hundreds of apps, and to capture and synchronise data.

The Xamarin + SAP Certified Consultants Program will provide resources to Xamarin and SAP partners to help them build apps.

SAP is the world’s largest maker of business software, with 253,500 customers and 66,572 staff, and makes $21.77bn in revenue a year.

Xamarin is a relatively young startup, with 112 staff and 30,000 customers.

It's all about the money

What could make SAP interested in Xamarin?

The mobile software startup’s promise is to allow devs to re-use their existing code to build apps capable of working on different mobile devices and on traditional desktops. That cuts development time and cost, and potentially reduces the applications’ complexity.

That will be of interested to a company with a huge stake in business apps, whose customers are taking the apps on the road using smartphones and tablets – especially, given the huge Microsoft-centric nature of these customers.

Xamarin helps because it plugs into Visual Studio while also offering its own Xamarin Studio development platform. The Visual Studio plugin lets you build using Microsoft’s C # for the gamut of Redmond frameworks – Windows Phone, Silverlight, WPF, ASP.NET and Windows Forms.

However, Xamarin also lets you build apps for Android and iOS inside Visual Studio and also using C #, with the same native performance. On Android, Xamarin uses a version of its .NET runtime called Mono to execute the Microsoft code and libraries. For iOS, the code is compiled ahead of time to an ARM binary, to run natively on the Apple hardware.

Xamarin’s founders, Nat Friedman and Miguel de Icaza, have a long history in open source and Linux. Friedman was a GNOME Foundation chair and ran engineering at Novell while de Icaza was behind the Mono project that put Microsoft’s then-new .NET libraries and architecture on Unix and then Linux. ®

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