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Oracle Mobile Cloud will integrate with Xamarin platform

Oracle Mobile Cloud Services will integrate with the Xamarin platform, which lets developers build, test and model mobile applications in C#.

Oracle's newest partner, San Francisco-based software development company Xamarin Inc., will have a role to play in Oracle's forthcoming Oracle Mobile Cloud Services (OMCS).

Oracle plans to integrate Xamarin's application development platform into the mobile cloud. Steve Hall, director of enterprise mobility at Xamarin, explained that there is a "strong delineation" between the services Oracle and Xamarin will provide for OMCS.

Oracle, he said, will provide the back end, systems, integration, authentication, storage, push notifications and analytics. Xamarin, on the other hand, will handle "exposing what exists in the enterprise to the device," he said. "Xamarin then provides everything on the mobile device," and connects the device and the enterprise. As a result, Xamarin will allow developers to build enterprise applications for mobile devices.

Xamarin was founded in 2011 and now has offices in three countries, with employees in 14. The unusual thing the Xamarin platform brings to the table is the ability to code a single application that can be used with iOS, Android, Windows or Macintosh. Applications built using the Xamarin platform have the native user interface controls for each platform, so users won't have to adapt to a new user interface in order to use Xamarin applications. This also allows users to access all the capabilities of the underlying operating system while using the application. Xamarin accomplishes this by using the C# programming language for all mobile application development.

What the Xamarin platform brings to Oracle

While Xamarin's platform has always been able to work in conjunction with Oracle, the integration between them is new. Currently, Xamarin and Oracle are in the early stages of their relationship, having spent six months working closely to develop a software development kit (SDK).

My burden as a mobile developer is much less because I hand all that off to Oracle.
Steve Halldirector of enterprise mobility at Xamarin

Hall said the SDK will "give developers almost effortless access to Oracle back-end services." Using Xamarin, he added, "With one line of code, I can make a call out to Oracle and get authenticated as a user."

Access is one of the key features Xamarin is providing OMCS. Hall explained that some of the basic functions for the enterprise aren't portable to mobile platforms. For example, he said, "Authentication services in the enterprise were never conceived for mobile." So, Xamarin provides the connection, sitting between the enterprise's directory service and the mobile device.

Hall said that Xamarin also provides translation from the back end to the device. For instance, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards both require orchestration in the middle tier. If you request information from either of these applications from a mobile device, the device receives more information than it can handle.

The Xamarin application can retrieve only the information that is useful to a mobile user and leave the rest of the information to be dealt with by the OMCS. "My burden as a mobile developer is much less because I hand all that off to Oracle," Hall said.

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