ArticlesXamarin Development

Xamarin is one of the most popular cross-platform frameworks at the moment. Xamarin development allows you to develop Android, iOS, OS X, and Windows applications using Visual Studio and C#. It allows you to share code between your Android and iOS app and compile it into native code. It also provides the advantages of native UI, native performance, and access to specific device features.

To start your Xamarin development journey, check out Xamarin’s “Getting Started” guide with all the information you need to embark on that journey and our blog post that lists the top Xamarin blogs, newsletters, and online communities.

You’ll also need some tools to help you get started, which is why we’ve compiled below the essential tools needed for Xamarin development.



Xamarin-Supported IDEs


Visual Studio

Visual Studio is Microsoft’s modern, sophisticated IDE with many features for creating mobile, desktop, and web applications. It supports development of mobile with .NET (Android, iOS, tvOS, watchOS), Mac desktop apps, .NET Core applications, ASP.NET Core Web applications, and Cross-platform Unity games.

It includes a rich editor, debugging, native platform integration with iOS, Mac, and Android, and integrated source control to name just a few of its many features.

As of May 10th, 2017, Visual Studio for Mac replaced Xamarin Studio (Xamarin Studio 6.3 being the final release) and offers all the features of Xamarin Studio, plus cloud and web development, and contains improvements for cross-platform mobile development.

  • Developed by: Microsoft Corporation
  • Release date: February 1997
  • Platform: Windows, Mac
  • Written in: C++, C#
  • Pricing: Free for students, open-source and individual developers. Standard subscriptions start at $799 per year with $1,199 for the first year and cloud subscriptions starting at $539 per year.



Apple’s Xcode IDE is at the center of the Apple development experience. It’s an incredibly productive environment for building apps for Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.

While you can develop iOS apps with Xamarin on Visual Studio running on a Windows machine, there must be a Mac computer accessible on the network acting as a build host for remote compilation and debugging.

  • Developed by: Apple
  • Release date: 2003
  • Platform: Mac
  • Pricing: Free



Xamarin Development Tools



Nuget is an essential tool for any modern development platform, providing a mechanism through which developers can create, share, and consume useful code. Often such code is bundled into “packages” that contain compiled code (as DLLs) along with other content needed in the projects that consume these packages.

NuGet maintains the central repository of over 100,000 unique packages at These packages are employed by millions of .NET developers every day. It also enables you to host packages privately in the cloud (such as on Visual Studio Team Services), on a private network, or even on just your local file system. By doing so, those packages are available to only those developers that have access to the host, giving you the ability to make packages available to a specific group of consumers.

  • Developed by: Microsoft Corporation, .NET Foundation
  • Release date: October 5th, 2010
  • Platform: .NET Framework
  • Written in: C#
  • Pricing: Free, open source


Xamarin Inspector

Xamarin Workbooks & Inspector bring an interactive C# console with tools to users. The Inspector integrates with the app debugging workflow of your IDE, serving as a debugging or diagnostics aid when inspecting your running app.

  • Developed by: Xamarin
  • Platform: Windows, Mac
  • Pricing: Free



Prism is a framework for building loosely coupled, maintainable, and testable XAML applications in WPF, Windows 10 UWP, and Xamarin Forms. It provides an implementation of a collection of design patterns that are helpful in writing well-structured and maintainable XAML applications, including MVVM, dependency injection, commands, EventAggregator, and others.

Prism’s core functionality is a shared code base in a Portable Class Library targeting these platforms. Those things that need to be platform specific are implemented in the respective libraries for the target platform. Prism also provides great integration of these patterns with the target platform.

  • Developed by: .NET Foundation
  • Pricing: Free, open source



MFractor contains XAML IntelliSense, 100+ XAML inspections and refactorings, image tooling and much more to make Xamarin development more simplified. It offers an enhanced XAML editor that supercharges your Xamarin.Forms development, and helps you find code issues instantly and then fix them in just a few clicks.

MFractor adds the missing essentials, like an image importing wizard, localization assistance, and dozens of mobile-specific navigation shortcuts, and can be fully customized to suit your project needs with code snippet support and a rich configuration engine.

  • Developed by: Matthew Robbins, Tom Bowers
  • Platform: Mac
  • Pricing: Free. Professional version at $300.



ReSharper is a Visual Studio extension for .Net developers that provides you with on-the-fly code quality analysis available in C#, VB.NET, XAML, ASP.NET, ASP.NET MVC, JavaScript, TypeScript, CSS, HTML, and XML. You’ll know right away if your code needs to be improved.

Not only does ReSharper warn you when there’s a problem in your code, but it provides hundreds of quick fixes to solve problems automatically. In most cases, you can select the best quick fix from a variety of options. Multiple code editing helpers include extended IntelliSense, hundreds of instant code transformations, auto-importing namespaces, rearranging code, and displaying documentation.

  • Developed by: JetBrains
  • Platform: Windows
  • Pricing: Plans start at $129 per year



Design Tools



InVision is the world’s leading product design collaboration platform. It allows you to upload your design files and add animations, gestures, and transitions to transform your static screens into clickable, interactive prototypes. You can then create context around your projects with boards that are flexible spaces to store, share, and talk about design ideas. Built-in layout options allow you to create visual hierarchy for your ideas.

It also allows you to simplify your feedback process by having clients, team members, and stakeholders comment directly on your designs, giving you the ability see new feedback for all your projects in one convenient place, or drill down by active project, specific people, or your own name.

  • Developed by: InVision
  • Release date: 2011
  • Pricing: Free. Paid plans start at $15 per month.



Sketch is a vector-based design tool for Mac with a focus on screen design. It’s used primarily by designers to create websites, icons, and user interfaces for desktop and mobile devices. For beginners and industry professionals alike, Sketch’s powerful and easy-to-use tools allow designers to focus on what they do best: design.

From its conception, Sketch was tailored to the needs of digital designers and it shows in every fibre of the app. Since then, Sketch’s popularity and fan base have been ever increasing and is now widely recognized as the design tool of choice for many digital companies and startups throughout the world.

  • Developed by: Bohemian Coding
  • Release date: September 7, 2010
  • Platform: Mac
  • Pricing: Plans start at $99 per year



Balsamiq aims to help designers work faster and smarter. It reproduces the experience of sketching on a whiteboard, but using a computer. Making the wireframes process faster allows you to generate more ideas so that you can throw out the bad ones and discover the best solutions. You can drag and drop to resize and rearrange elements, make changes without starting over, and your work is clear enough that you’ll make sense of them later.

  • Developed by: Balsamiq Studios, LLC
  • Release date: June 2008
  • Platform: Windows, Mac
  • Pricing: Plans start at $9 per month.


Adobe XD

Adobe XD allows you to go from concept to prototype faster with an all-in-one UX/UI solution for designing websites, mobile apps, and more. It’s built to meet the needs of today’s UX/UI designers, with intuitive tools that deliver breakthrough precision and performance and make every day tasks feel effortless. It allows you to use timesaving features like Repeat Grid and flexible artboards to create everything from low-fidelity wireframes to fully interactive prototypes for any screen in minutes.

You can switch from static layouts to interactive prototypes in a single click, make changes to your design, and see your prototype update automatically with no syncing required. You can also review your prototypes, complete with transitions on iOS and Android devices, then easily share them with your team for fast feedback.

  • Developed by: Adobe Systems
  • Release date: October 18, 2017
  • Platform: Windows, Mac
  • Pricing: Plans start at $9.99 per month



Unit Testing Tools



NUnit is a unit-testing framework for all .Net languages. Initially ported from JUnit, the current production release, Version 3, has been completely rewritten with many new features and support for a wide range of .NET platforms. is a free, open source, community-focused unit testing tool for the .NET Framework. Written by the original inventor of NUnit v2, is the latest technology for unit testing C#, F#, VB.NET, and other .NET languages. works with ReSharper, CodeRush, TestDriven.NET, and Xamarin. It is part of the .NET Foundation and operates under their code of conduct.

  • Developed by: James Newkirk and Brad Wilson
  • License: Apache License 2.0
  • Release date: July 24th, 2007
  • Platform: Microsoft.NET
  • Written in: C#
  • Pricing: Free, open source


Visual Studio Unit Testing Framework

The Visual Studio Unit Testing Framework describes Microsoft’s suite of unit testing tools as integrated into some versions of Visual Studio 2005 and later. The unit testing framework is defined in Microsoft.VisualStudio.QualityTools.UnitTestFramework.dll. Unit tests created with the unit testing framework can be executed in Visual Studio or using MSTest.exe, from a command line.



Beta Testing Tools



Instabug is the top bug reporting tool for mobile apps. It provides the most useful metadata on the market and exceptional user support. It is also known for its “Shake to Send” feature, an intuitive user gesture that automatically activates bug reports from within the apps on which Instabug is installed.

With each bug report, Instabug automatically captures a screenshot that users can annotate by drawing on, blurring, and magnifying parts of it. Users can also attach further screenshots, voice notes, and screen recordings of the app to provide further context to their report. In addition, Instabug automatically sends detailed user data to developers, including the user steps needed to reproduce each bug, network request and console logs, and view hierarchy inspection.

  • Integrations: JIRA, GitHub, Slack, Trello, Asana, Zendesk, Desk, and more.
  • Pricing: Free. Paid plans start at $41 per month.



Learn how Instabug can help you iterate faster, build better apps, and drive five-star reviews through bug reporting and in-app surveys for Xamarin apps.