As Kentico Gold Partners, we work with Kentico on a day to day basis and tend to get a feel for not only what works really well but also what's missing from Kentico's rich feature set.
One of the things we've been finding recently is requests from clients (and potential clients) to be able to see, fill out and submit forms that were made in Kentico on a phone or a tablet - even if you're without a data connection. Couple this with the current 'Apps for everything!' mobile culture and we found an opportunity to jump into the world of app development to create something that definitely fulfils a real world need.
If you're not familiar with Xamarin, it gives you a way to write, test and monitor multi-platform apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Windows 8/10, in a single language: C#. And as these apps are native, you get all of the functionality of the underlying platform such as access to the gyroscopes, camera, file system etc, to make a really rich application.
Xamarin also has a product called Xamarin Forms, which allows you to go one step further and develop rich, complex UIs for your application that just work across all of the different platforms that you're targeting, fitting in with their design ethos without any additional effort from you. The iOS will look like an iOS app. The Android app will look like a Android app. Best of all, you write this UI just once, without a specific platform in mind and it just (apparently) works.
Xamarin Forms seemed like a good fit to display Kentico forms to users. It contains all the form controls you'd expect to see (text boxes, lists, check boxes etc), gives you the power of C# and takes the headache of multi-platform app development away. We decided to dive in and start the prototyping process, to see how quickly we could put something together with our new and exciting tools.
I'll be back to show how we got on in a series of blog posts that will get down into the detail of Kentico and Xamarin Forms.