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News from Xamarin Evolve 2014: Android Player, Sketches and C# Profiler

| by Abel Avram Follow 11 Followers on Oct 09, 2014. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

The Xamarin Evolve 2014 event taking place these days in Atlanta, US, has produced a number of news related to the cross-platform tools Xamarin makes: Android Player – a hardware accelerated Android simulator-, Sketches –a REPL-like environment-, and Profiler –a C# code profiler-.

Android Player

Xamarin touts Android Player as being much faster than Android Emulator, running in a x86 VirtualBox virtual machine with hardware accelerated virtualization (VT-x and AMD-V) and OpenGL 2.0. The simulator runs on both Windows (7, 8, 8.1) and Mac OS X (10.7+), being integrated with Visual Studio and Xamarin Studio, and supporting any other application compatible with ADB.

xamarin-android-player

Besides the usual sensors, Android Player simulates a device’s battery, the location of the device and can use the computer’s front/back camera as the simulated device’s camera. 2-finger multi-touch, pinch-zoom and drag operations are supported through a combination of keyboard keys and mouse clicks. One limitation of the Player is that it cannot be used inside another VM or via Remote Desktop/VNC.

Still in preview, Android Player currently ships with Android KitKat, API Level 19 and one form factor, but support for other versions of the OS and sizes will be added later.

Sketches

Sketches provide a REPL-like environment for trying small C# or F# code snippets. The environment compiles and executes code immediately as instructions are written, the results being displayed in a panel. Some of the values shown are basic numerical variables, but also more complex ones such as colors, icons or labels. Sketches can also be executed inside an iOS or Android simulator if they contain more elaborate code such as  Xamarin.Forms.

Profiler

Xamarin Profiler is a C# code analysis tool for monitoring the performance of applications in order to find memory leaks or bottlenecks. It tracks memory consumption, allowing to take snapshots for later analysis, enables call tree visualization and sampling for determining time hogs.

Profiler is integrated with both Xamarin Studio and Visual Studio, and requires Xamarin.Android 4.18+ for profiling Android apps.

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