App Development With Visual Studio

Do you want to develop iOS apps without Mac?
Do you want to develop Android apps without studying Java?
Do you dream of developing for all the three main mobile platforms with a shared user interface and single-code database?
Then Visual Studio is the answer for all this

Visual Studio is more than 21 years old and the current version of VS is called Visual Studio 2013. Visual Studio helps you create apps for Android, Windows and iOS and allows you to use those apps in different devices, not just in premises, but in the cloud as well. If your developer team has a project where they have to create apps for various platforms and using different developer tools (for example, Xcode and Eclipse) then they can make use of the unified and flexible collaboration environment present in Visual Studio Team Services.

One of the main reasons why developers use Visual Studio is that they can use the multitude of extensions to make apps on various niches. This is possible through VSD or Visual Studio Partner. Microsoft offers Visual Studio Partner programs so third party developers and vendors can make use of all the tools and components to be used in Microsoft Visual Studio. After from partnership, you can make use of the co-marketing and licensing options, including technical support through community forums and blogs. Visual Studio thus gives you access to thousands of extensions.

Integration with Xamarin

Visual Studio has integrated with Xamarin to help you develop great mobile apps. If you are looking to create completely unique and out-of-the-box mobile apps, and share them across various devices and platforms, then this integration with Xamarin would be of great help. And that too with the additional benefit of sharing C# code across several devices. You can make native user interfaces to develop apps on Windows, Android and iOS.

The most common and most loved technologies for developing mobile apps is HTML5, Javascript and CSS3. When you are developing apps with Visual Studio, most developers start with New ASP.NET project template. Is that how you start as well? That’s good. And in the next step, developers move on to responsive web design where the layout and content is scaled to adapt to various devices. So whoever uses your website from whichever device can access it, irrespective of screen size. Web Forms project template in Visual Studio 2013 is the most favored one for developers because they can use one master page for desktop screen and the other master page for mobile apps. Additionally, the site master allows you to pull files from CSS and Javascript files as well. When the website is finally launched, it will come with the perfect layout, and adaptable to various screen sizes. As soon as the page gets loaded on to the user’s screen, it will adjust to accommodate to the required size.

When you use Web Forms app to create the webpage, it immediately detects when you are creating the page for mobile browser. You can just type in “Default.Mobile.aspx file” with the h2 tag saying “Mobile Browser”.
Another benefit with web forms is that you can add specific views so certain functions will be activated only on a mobile browser.

Creating native and hybrid apps

Whether it is for rich native apps or hybrid apps, the choice is Visual Studio. Maximum code reuse is the main advantage when you use VS for native apps. Drag and drop simplicity is an additional feature that makes it easier to develop apps with native user experience.

While creating apps developers can set breakpoints, manipulate the HTML with debugging tools that are already integrated within the framework and inspect run-time value of objects as well.

Game development with Visual Studio

You can create 2D and 3D games with Visual Studio and Unity engine. You can create just a single game and target it over 17 platforms, including mobile platforms. Unity and VS makes it possible to leverage all the major features that would boost productivity; for example, setting breakpoints and evaluating complex expressions and variables.

Now how do you make sure the app you made with Visual Studio is personalised?

Whether it is across mobile phones, tablets or any other device it is quite easy to deliver a personalised experience. Here is what you can do with the right codes

  • Real time messaging
  • Push notifications so you can reach across the right people at the right time
  • Support offline capabilities so you can reach people who do not have network connectivity as well
  • Configure the app in such a way that users can exchange data and manage it.

Here are the benefits of creating with apps with Visual Studio at a glance

Flexibility – You can create apps for any platform
Productivity – Designers, debuggers, profilers and editors can use VS for better performance and productivity
Ecosystem – you can make use of thousands of extensions
Language – It is possible to code in C#, C++, Javascript, HTML, Python, Visual Basic to name a few


Once you have finished making your app, you can ensure that it looks, feels and runs as you envisioned it by previewing and testing it. To do this, you can deploy and debug emulators on either virtual or remote machines. If you are a developer working on a Windows-based environment you can make use of MacInCloud, a remote facility that will let you check how your app will work on Mac OS.

Interesting links about the topic:
Build Cross-Platform Mobile Development in Visual Studio
Build native and cross platform mobile apps and games for iOS, Android, and Windows

Pictures: Hilligsøe | Álvaro Ibáñez

The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

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