VS.android and iOS should be FREE RRS feed

  • Question

  • User42311 posted

    So here I am, new to Xamarin, trying to check things out, run a simple cross plat hello-world starter project with WP8, WinRT, Android and iOS in the solution. BAM, no can do. Must buy Business edition for $999 just to do this.

    This makes no sense. At all.

    Xamarin, please take a lesson from Unity3d. Their free tools are free, until your company makes over $x or your team is x in size. The fact that I cannot even open a simple solution in VS without putting down a grand is a bootstraped startup killer.

    Lets look even deeper at the business case here: dev gets to put (cross plat, droid, iOS, the works) projects together for free - Xamarin makes no $.

    -Dev startup fails - Xamarin makes no money. OR,

    -Dev startup succeeds, Xamarin now makes $$$ (not only from dev, but now his whole team). OR,

    -Dev was a hobbyist, Xamarin makes no $. BUT, dev is now experienced with Xamarin, has a job at some enterprise corp trying to build cross plat apps, and succeeds in influencing the whole team that Xamarin is the shiz. Xamarin now makes $$$ on the entire team.

    It is a win no matter what. Upsides all around, for Xamarin and Dev. But as it stands right now, you are crippling both the Dev and yourself by improper skew/pricing schemes. I have not evaluated yet, but also suspect your app size restriction is too limited as well.

    Please call me. I have a lot of experience with this stuff (former product manager of Expression Studio and Visual Studio at Microsoft).

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014 1:41 AM

All replies

  • User27 posted

    You can start a 30-day Business trial

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014 4:01 AM
  • User42311 posted

    uh, I think you missed the entire point of the post. :( My apologies, I should have mentioned the trial and how it doesn't even begin to solve the problem.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014 4:55 AM
  • User42311 posted

    Adding a little more spice here.

    As I sit down to evaluate what it will take for my zero income startup to do ANYTHING cross platform with Xamarin, I discovered the following:

    Xamarin.Android and Xamarin.iOS not only cost $$$ just to use them regardless of size of team or project, but ALSO do not support the Express (Free) version of Visual Studio. Double Wham Wham.

    So lets add it up:

    • $499 VS Pro up to $4,249 for Ultimate (non-Express)
    • $999 Xamarin Studio Business up to $1899 Enterprise
    • $1,999 Macbook Pro up to $2,599 depending on options
    • $499 iPad Air up to $929 depending on options
    • $349 Android Tab (cost varies by many factors)

    $4,346 Grand total bootstrap startup cost for ONE developer as a CONSERVATIVE low end (now multiply this by # of devs).

    Lets face it, the WHOLE point is cross platform, and that means iOS + Android. That said, even if we 'assume' a dev already has a Mac and even an iPad and some cheap Android hardware to test with, factor the hardware out:

    $1,498 per developer - the cost is still extremely prohibitive for a startup.

    Someone please rescue me from drowning here. Have I got my numbers wrong? YMMV, but not by much, I fear. Cant we come up with a better "Pay as you Grow" model?

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:02 PM
  • User1053 posted

    If you buy the Indie version, you are out only $600 and you are able to work on both iOS and Android. Yes, no VS, but hey, you are bootstrapping and that means more sweat and less fancy. As soon as some projects kick in, then you can upgrade to the things you actually desire.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:28 PM
  • User9797 posted

    Your costs are more than over inflated... but lets put that aside.

    The indie version is there for a you low cost $299.99 per platform and they aren't constricting you with a profit leaching EULA like Unity does for indie developers.

    The end result is Xamarin Studio is functional and can do exactly what you want it to do; except being VS. If you are a bootstrap startup you really need to look at why you want to use Xamarin and weigh your .NET experience. Personally I would rather pay $600 once for both platforms than owe Xamarin a % once the money starts rolling in.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:46 PM
  • User1669 posted

    Here we go again.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:50 PM
  • User42311 posted

    @rmacias? Share the popcorn please.


    Your costs are more than over inflated...

    My costs are quoting exact figures from Microsoft, Apple and Xamarin. So if I am off, it is because you are suggesting I don't need something. Sounds like I was wrong about the need for Business edition? But to be fair, maybe I should inflate the numbers MORE because I totally missed the cost PER PLATFORM, which means Windows + Andrdoid + iOS = $999 x 3 (Biz) = $2,700, or $299 x 3 (indie) = $900. Ouch.

    I would rather pay $600 once for both platforms than owe Xamarin a % once the money starts rolling in.

    I assume you are referring to Unity3d licensing/leaching. I agree, to a point. At least I can get my app going without a barrier right now, and if I am making $, I can afford the "leaching" cost, even though i would of course rather pay a single time and be done (i.e. XS, VS).


    My main issue is being lost in the rhetoric here. I WANT Xamarin to be successful, and that means getting it widely adopted.

    Follow this simple logic: A large (if not THE largest) target audience for Xamarin are .NET developers familiar with VS and MS platforms, not wanting to custom build droid and iOS apps outright. If the customer therefore is coming from an MS background, lets consider the following on how a noob gets started with MS platforms:

    • Can download VS for FREE (express editions) and build any size app they can muster despite not-too-painful limitations.
    • Can use TFS service for FREE for a 5 man team
    • VS Express integrates with TFS (not a pay feature, not hard to set up)
    • Dev can build a fully useable app with VS Express
    • VS Pro is $499, when user "graduates" from express. ONCE, done. Not per platform. yeesh.
    • VS Pro allows you to have a single solution with all project types, plugins, and no need to open various express skews to get things done.

    Microsoft makes their $ later as the business grows and needs increase, starting with Pro as mentioned above. The barrier to entry is VERY LOW, not only to evaluate, but to get started building real apps.

    Contrast with Getting Started with Xamarin:

    Since the WHOLE point of cross platform is, well, cross platform, there is no sense in factoring non-cross platform (one-off XS.iOS, etc), so I will evaluate this from that basis (Windows + Android + iOS).

    • Can download Starter edition for FREE
    • Cannot open most/all cross platform samples out there (most are using features that require a paid skew, such as VS plugins. See super basic hello-world cross plat example. Nothing about it feels "fancy" or above free skew.
    • Connecting to TFS, if possible at all with Starter, is a tedious nightmare, compared to click, click, done in VS.
    • Dev cannot build a fully useable app with XS Starter (size limitation to hello-world)
    • Upgrade to indie will cost you $900 minimum
    • Upgrade to Business will cost you $2,700 (equivalent to VS pro for all intents and purposes, allows you to have a single solution, do everything you need in VS, and not open different "express" skews)

    The barrier to entry is VERY HIGH, as not only is it difficult to evaluate the products (samples dont even work well with this skew), but it is completely useless for building a real app at the end of the day, and you are immediately forced to go with Indie or Business. I don't even see the point in Starter for that matter.

    Conclusion: massive shell shock.

    Is that fair, everyone? I am entitled to my perspective, and I believe it is quite valid. If I have made a mistake in my assessment, I am happy to be corrected. I would think if Xamarin wants to get wide adoption and increase profits (not lose profits) they need to consider a better, less shocking, much lower barrier to entry for startups.

    Lastly, the current skew model assumes that if you can pay for VS pro ($499) which allows plugins, you can also magically afford Business ($2,700) to then actually make use of VS. Bah! Terrible. Seriously.

    Thursday, March 13, 2014 2:39 PM
  • User12211 posted

    One thing you forget in your analysis - Microsoft makes money off of all those free tools. Free tools attract developers, which increases demand for computers/devices running Windows. Microsoft makes money. Developers create games/applications that run on computers/devices running Windows. This attracts users, which increases demand for computers/devices running Windows. Microsoft makes money. If these games/applications are sold in the Windows app store or Windows Phone app store, Microsoft gets a percentage of your money. And Microsoft has the money to wait for these free tools to generate more money.

    Xamarin doesn't have an OS/platform to generate revenue, so they wouldn't make a penny from giving away their tools. Given that a mojority of developers end up never producing any apps or produce apps that don't make much money, there wouldn't be much in the way of royalties available to Xamarin either. And who wants to pay royalties out of a paycheck that's already had royalties taken out of it by Apple and/or Microsoft?

    Start with the tools that are available for free. Sell some apps and make some money. When you've got enough money, buy Xamarin and start making more money with less effort. That's the way the world works.

    Thursday, March 13, 2014 3:07 PM
  • User42311 posted

    @DaveHunt? fair 'nuff, I agree with most of what you pointed out. I need to clarify that I do NOT feel that Xamarin and MS business models are the same, far from that. However, there ARE ways for Xamarin to lower the barrier to entry, and still maintain exactly the profits they have as they increase adoption. Period, end of my point.

    Thursday, March 13, 2014 3:11 PM
  • User9797 posted


    If unity does what you want then by all means have at it. Unity and Xamarin offer very different value propositions.

    If your only reason for wanting the Business Edition is VS support you are missing out(You can get around the Sqlclient and WCF). TFS(IMO) isn't really a good enough reason either since we are talking about a startup whats wrong with GIT?

    If you are looking to minimize your costs all I am saying is you might need to adjust your paradigms.

    Thursday, March 13, 2014 3:15 PM
  • User42311 posted

    Unity is not a solve all, that is why I am here rallying for Xamarin. Are we saying that an acceptable paradigm is high barrier to entry? Doesn't sound like a winning strategy.

    Thursday, March 13, 2014 3:21 PM
  • User9797 posted

    @dapug ....

    Revisit your cost benefit analysis on Business Vs Indie was what I was suggesting. You might be pleasantly surprised. $600 bucks and a mac gets you in the Xplatform game. Or $300 bucks and your existing computer gets you to started with Android and you can add iOS and the mac later.

    Ultimately you make your own decisions and this is just my two cents.

    Thursday, March 13, 2014 3:44 PM
  • User42311 posted

    Having not purchased anything yet, that would be a helpful clarification - what is meant by "per-platform"? To the noob it looks like for indie:

    • $299 XS (WP8 + WinRT)
    • $299 XS.Android
    • $299 XS.iOS
    Thursday, March 13, 2014 3:58 PM
  • User65 posted

    For WP8/WinRT development, you use Microsoft's tools. Xamarin only addresses the iOS/Android part of the cross-platform equation.

    Thursday, March 13, 2014 5:03 PM
  • User9797 posted

    Which is a lot less than $999 x Dev x Platform and you can probably avoid paying for anything WP related till the break even point is reasonable

    Thursday, March 13, 2014 5:14 PM
  • User42311 posted

    Does XS iOS/Android support PCL?

    Thursday, March 13, 2014 5:15 PM
  • User9797 posted

    It does.


    Thursday, March 13, 2014 5:22 PM
  • User1148 posted

    ALSO do not support the Express (Free) version of Visual Studio. Double Wham Wham.

    This is Microsofts limitation. The express editions of Visual Studio expressly forbid people from releasing compatible extensions.

    If you have already purchased Visual Studio Pro (or whatever) and wish to keep using it, then we do offer support for that. However as the SDKs, compilers, linkers, packagers and uploaders for iOS applications are only available on MacOS we do require you to own a Mac. Without a mac you simply cannot compile iOS binaries. To fulfill this requirement you can buy a second hand mac mini, or even a brand new one for about $600.

    If cost is the primary concern and you are not tied to Visual Studio then you can do 100% of your development on a Mac. This significantly lowers the cost of entry.

    For trialing purposes you might want to start development on only a single platform, in which case the 'best' platform to target would be Android. Xamarin Studio allows you to develop Android applications on either Windows or MacOS thus removing the need to buy any other hardware/software.

    Thursday, March 13, 2014 11:52 PM
  • User1341 posted

    I agree with @AlanMcGovern?. @dapug? with your "experience with this stuff (former product manager of Expression Studio and Visual Studio at Microsoft)" you should have known that the express versions do not support third party addons. How long would it take you to learn Java and Objectiv-c? And how much would it cost you?

    Friday, March 14, 2014 6:35 AM
  • User25759 posted

    I just wanted to follow up on the PlanetXamarin GitHub repo. The original webinar was for cross platform with PCLs inside of Visual Studio. I showcased building out a PCL and also a lot of components to speed up the development process. It was not starter compatible for these reasons. However, tonight I spent a few hours to remove anything that made it not starter compatible without losing any features. You can find my starter version available here:


    I also feel that it is more than a "super basic hello-world app" as it has the following features:

    • HttpClient to async read rss feed
    • XDocument parse in background
    • Download and cache web images
    • Shows loading spinners on each platform
    • Shows off social sharing native
    • Gravatar loading!

    also another good starter compatible project is ChrisNTR's Days Until Xmas: https://github.com/chrisntr/DaysUntilXmas

    Friday, March 14, 2014 6:49 AM
  • User94 posted

    I have used Microsoft products for years I was a gold partner for 10+ years as well, the express products in Microsoft are not business level products in most cases and you find that a lot of products outgrow the express products very quickly esp as you start to use 3rd party products, so aligning Xamarin's products to Microsoft's express products is not a fair comparison at all. In most cases the requirement to use Visual studio with Xamarin's stuff is a nice to have but not essential, my original licence was full blown everything, today I use the Indie licence and move .cs files around between my mobile and windows products this has saved me a bunch of money.

    You get what you pay for in this world, I would rather Xamarin have the prices they have and invest in them, rather than cheap products that don't get enough attention because they don't make enough money.

    Writing software is a risky business, the risk lowers as you become more proficient, my moving into IOS development cost me well over £3,000 with nothing to show for the first year, but years 2-3 I have lived off the proceeds of two apps and I am happy with the decision.

    Indie does everything I need it to do, I don't need any extra bells and whistles.

    All The Best


    Friday, March 14, 2014 7:08 AM
  • User39 posted

    In your price list you're comparing apples to oranges.

    Or more specifically using Xamarin's tools to create cross-platform apps versus doing nothing at all.

    What you need to compare is using Xamarin's tools against using some other vendor's tools.

    In other words what additional cost Xamarin introduces, and then the numbers change: the only additional cost is the Xamarin license. You'll have all the other costs anyway.

    If you're doing both Android and iOS development and you're an indie developer, you'll most likely do fine with the Indie licenses, which is currently $538,20/year for both Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android (if you buy both together).

    So your options are:

    • Code in Objective-C for iOS with Xcode + code in Java for Android with Eclipse + code in C# for Windows Phone with Visual Studio [1].
    • Pay $538,20/year and code in C# on all platforms.

    Do you really think that additional cost is too much?

    [1] I know there are other supposedly cross-platform tools out there, but you're not going to get anything cheaper than this.

    Friday, March 14, 2014 9:24 AM
  • User1669 posted

    For being a (former) Program Manager, he sure sucks at math and resource planning.

    Friday, March 14, 2014 6:41 PM
  • User42311 posted

    @rmacias? I'm 100% new to Xamarin, unfamiliar, and in the process of evaluating, no plans have been made. The only incorrect math here is based on incorrect understanding of the products - easy for the high and mighty experienced folks to see mistakes. If this is how noobs are treated, I pity this community. So typical.

    I haven't even installed Xamarin yet, I'm just gleaning what I can from the site, docs, and this community right now, rather than send a team member off in the weeds to spin something up in a direction we might not go. I'd say that's pretty wise planning, thank you.

    To everyone else, thank you for your feedback and insights thus far.

    Friday, March 14, 2014 7:34 PM
  • User12211 posted


    Noobs are generally treated pretty well here. It's just when a noob's second post in the forums is a thread titled "Xamarin should be free" that people get a little ruffled. ;-)

    Do some searching and you'll see that we get one of these threads from newcomers every few months.

    We do value your potential contributions to the forums, so please don't be put off by the responses here. They're not necessarily the best examples of the community at large or even of the respondents in this thread.

    Friday, March 14, 2014 8:01 PM
  • User1669 posted

    Re-read your first and subsequent posts. You were being a jack @$$ with your incorrect rhetoric. It's great you're planning things out, but you had bad numbers, made incorrect assumptions, slammed Xamarin based on your bad data. You didn't even know that the VS Express Editions do not support 3rd party plug-ins (being a self-proclaimed MS PM, you should have known that). And yet you slammed Xamarin for not supporting the Express Editions. And then in addition, you seemed to insist that Xamarin sold licenses to develop on WP8. Well, they don't and development is done using Visual Studio (Express or above).

    You also included price of hardware (which can vary immensely) into the cost of Xamarin. This was incorrect as you would incur this cost no matter which framework you choose to use (native, or a competing framework). As another poster stated, you should have compared the cost of the Xamarin Licensing for what you need, vs the cost of using another framework (native, Titanium, Phone Gap, etc). Point being, you didn't do your homework and then came on here and started being abrasive towards everyone on here. And now that I and others have called you out on it, you're getting your feelings hurt. Well if your feelings are hurt, then tough! I'm not here to be a consoler. I'm usually hear to help others out with technical assistance, or in some cases, ask for technical assistance. By the way, the popcorn picture was a reference saying that you're not the first couch CEO/PM/CIO/etc to some on here and demand free software.

    All data is here and you just need to do a little homework and ask for clarification rather than making demands that Xamarin change their business model. If act like a jerk, some will treat you like one. So be nice, and you'll be treated how you want to be treated. And it is expected that you do the same in return. No hard feelings here. Just think about how you say thing and come off to people. If you don't care how you act, neither do I (I'm only speaking for myself).

    Software Costs for What You Need

    • Xamarin Indie License (Android + iOS). You get a 10% discount if you buy both together = $299 + $299 = $598 - 10% discount = $538.20 per developer per year.

    • Windows Phone 8 Dev = VS Express Free or VS Pro $499 = $0 to $499

    • Total Software One Time Costs = Between $0 to $499

    • Total Software Costs Per Developer Per Year = $538.20

    Software Costs for what you want (Visual Studio Support Within Xamarin)

    • Xamarin Business License (iOS + Andoird ) = $999 + $999 = $1998 - 10% = $1798.20

    • Windows Phone 8 Dev Using VS Pro = $499

    • Total One Time Cost = $499

    • Total Yearly Cost Per Developer Per Year = $1798.20

    Now hardware costs will vary. You will NEED a Mac no matter what if you're developing for iOS. Doesn't matter if you go native, Xamarin, Titanium, Phone Gap, etc. A Mac Mini is more than enough for development. And that costs $599 brand new, and a little less for a refurbished one at the Apple site.

    This isn't rocket science. All you had to do is use a little common sense and then ask your questions here like an adult. Yet you came on here demanding free software and that Xamarin change their business model to accommodate you.

    Welcome to the family! ;)

    Friday, March 14, 2014 8:27 PM
  • User42311 posted

    Given that I have obviously caused confusion, I really need to clarify:

    • I never said VS Express editions can use plugins (and yes, am quite aware of VS capabilities as stated). I can see how this became assumed though due to bad context and crossing subjects, sorry about that, truly. I had jumped the gun in my understanding of the role of XS.iOS and XS.Android in conjunction with also developing WP8 cross plat, also blurred the conversation across posts between XS Biz/Starter and VS Exp, and was not at all referring to plugin support.

    • I never insisted Xamarin sold WP8 tooling, in fact, the question was specifically asked about the role of XS as it pertains to Win platforms (never specifically answer, but other posts have since clarified).

    • My purpose in showing costs, including hardware, was woefully misunderstood and went sideways, hence the apples to oranges complaints. I wont even begin to try and correct or explain the merit of it. Sorry ya'll didn't catch my point. No big, lets move on.

    • I'm not demanding anything. Xamarin doesn't owe me a thing, and can ignore everything I have to say. They don't need to change their biz model for me, but I did suggest they consider a change for their own benefit (see also, last paragraph below) - not a demand. If my feedback came across as a demand, I apologize. FWIW, I do subscribe to the philosophy that all feedback is valuable.

    • I don't want free software. I think people deserve payment for great products. Huge proponent of that, and VERY disappointed that this thread feels like it went opposite. I want low barrier to entry and "pay as you grow", and I think that is good business and good strategy.

    All my mistakes are tied to my inexperience with Xamarin, requirements, and related licensing et all. Math wasn't the issue, but indeed, the facts and figures in the grand scheme were. I knew that, and even pointed it out hoping to lock the assessment down, yet got brutally attacked for it.

    And so, to bring it back to the actual title of the post...

    I digress that VS plugin should be "free". The title was intended to spark conversation - bad idea in the end. I maintain, however, that Xamarin can (and should) look at how to onramp people with a lower barrier to entry. Why not? For example, it would still cost a dev at least $1998 (or $1798.20), instead of $598 (or $538.20) if they want to do nothing more than use VS instead of or in addition to XS for coding. Meaning, if Xamarin scored my biz for 2x indie, is my use of VS plugin really worth that much more? - sure, maybe, but if so, why? whats to gain? not immediately obvious! That alone led me to my opening statement and title of this post, which explains my reaction, but I will bow out and say it doesn't excuse my approach to which some took offense. Sorry!

    Friday, March 14, 2014 10:29 PM
  • User26934 posted


    There are a couple more things you could consider.

    Firstly, take a look at the BizSpark program that MS runs for startups (http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/). It's fantastic value providing you meet the entry criteria and is designed for exactly the scenario you describe. This would completely remove your MS software costs for the first three years and give you a version of Visual Studio which plays nicely with plug ins. If you're still around after that you can probably afford to pay.

    Secondly note that the Business edition of Xamarin includes a couple of .Net components which the cheaper versions do not, for example System.Data.SqlClient. Hover over "Business Features" on the pricing page at http://store.xamarin.com for more info, and I'm sure an email to sales@xamarin.com will answer any further questions you may have.

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014 3:30 AM
  • User45825 posted

    OK - heres my 2p

    I'm a full time .NET freelancer (WPF) building enterprise .NET apps since 2001. I currently have successful Windows Store and Windows Phone apps (not under the Pinchscape banner so don't pay attention to my avatar on this forum).

    I'd like to create IOS and Android versions of my apps. Ideally I'd have the time and energy to learn IOS and Android programming to a high level, but that isn't going to happen, so Xamarin is the obvious choice.

    I've been playing with the trial and so far so good.

    However, for me having to slap down a couple of grand a year (rather than a couple of hundred bucks) just to use Visual Studio is an insult.

    I have Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate, a new top of the range Macbook Pro, a new top of the range Surface Pro 2, plus new(ish) versions of just about all the mobile devices on the market - so you can see my willingness to spend money on my business/passion is obvious - which is easy to understand when you consider that I haven't been out of work for a single day in over 8 years and my daily rate is over $1,200 .

    So why no Xamarin with Visual Studio ? Simple - its a rip off !!!

    Lets hope Microsoft buy Xamarin, and this great (but hugely overpriced) tech gets folded into the MSDN subscriptions (or even better - is free)

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014 11:55 AM
  • User45909 posted

    I am considering of getting licenses to Xamarin Business. The first surprise was that it costs $999 per platform rather than $999 for both iOS and Android; however, kudos to Xamarin team for not charging royalty fees per app deployment and I hope the company will not go into this direction.

    I'm sure the price has been studied by Xamarin; however, if you guys should try offering a sale of $999 for both platforms for a limited time, I'm sure a lot of people will get it. I mean, if you get more than twice the sales at 50% discount, you'll make more profit, and developers spend less individually. It's a win-win situation.

    Anyway... I am aware of the $28M funding of Xamarin, and this is a lot money that needs to recoup. Each platform needs separate development efforts, so I somewhat understand the costs.

    Thursday, April 3, 2014 10:28 AM
  • User42311 posted

    Guys, this thread has been horrifically misunderstood as a complaint about high cost of Xamarin. That is not at all the case.

    The proposal of a free VS plugin has nothing to do with lowering the cost, or profits for Xamarin. It has to do with onramping and skew strategy.

    Xamarin limits the size of your app in it's free edition - so in reality, whether you have a FREE plugin and used VS or not for actual coding makes no hill of beans difference in the grand scheme - you're still on track to pay for Xamarin licenses down the road as you get serious about app building. THAT is the point of "VS plugin should be FREE". I agree with many of the points made by others (despite the fact that they woefully misunderstood and abused the crap out of me here) such as the fact that Xamarin has great value and is a lower cost to cross platform dev than probably anything else in the industry.

    Maybe there is something else Xamarin should consider that applies only to enterprise folks (team workflow, advanced debugging, profiling, etc) that can be withheld for biz edition. Coding in VS doesn't feel like enterprise-only at all, as many/most independents use VS (we're coding C# for heaven sakes). This is the rub. Not rocket science indeed.

    Thursday, April 3, 2014 3:02 PM
  • User125 posted

    Nah, I get what the issues are. However, I want to put out some comparison of the marketplace: 1. There are various toolkits for .NET. These are not free. Infragistics toolkits cost more money than Xamarin charges. http://www.infragistics.com/products/pricing?p=professional These toolkits don't allow developers to target other platforms. Xamarin costs less than these other toolkits, Xamarin gives us more, and costs less. 2. Yes, phonegap is free. Given the quality of the applications produced, I much prefer Xamarin. Sometimes, free is worth what we get from it. Apps produced by Xamarin call native apis at the same level as ObjectiveC or Java. That is what I want. There is value here. 3. A lot of companies give away stuff for free. Great for them. I've been doing development for almost 30 years professionally. I've found that products that have been paid for result are better than I have gotten from "free" products. I get support, documentation, and a community that forms around a product. I've been here for a long time. I'd like to make sure that Jon Pryor has a roof over his head, gets paid, and doesn't have to worry about some of the basics of his life. I need this. When there is a problem, I need to know that I'll get a resolution. Jon, Miguel, Joseph, Nat, Stephanie, Allie, Craig, Chris, Jon, The Andrews, etc. All of these people deserve to get paid regularly. That means charging the people that actually use the product. I've done three startups, two of which were successful. In those two successful startups, we created a product that customers paid for. If you create value, people pay. Shouldn't the investors get paid as well? 4. I'm not trying to create a big argument, but XCode and the Android toolsets from Google are free. They are available.

    Now, to your point of development not feeling enterprisey, I agree. There is a lot of bugs that the needs to be resolved. The problem is that stability doesn't pay the bills. New features pays the bills. I would suggest that you raise issues in the bug tracking system to get issues resolved.

    Thursday, April 3, 2014 6:43 PM
  • User125 posted

    Any just to be clear, I'm not trying to create or extend an argument. I think that there are some marketplace factors that are important.

    And yes, I do agree with you (once again) about the feel of the Xamarin "enterprise" offerings.

    Thursday, April 3, 2014 6:58 PM
  • User22852 posted

    I actually agree with dapug here and know people not using xamarin because of the cost structure.

    Firstly I don't see the point in having a time limited trial period given that all apps built during the trial expire on device after a day. Why stop hobbyists dipping in and out of the product over whatever time period suits and then if they finally make something they can ship or what to demo to people for more than a day, they buy a license. That change will get people skilled in the tool set and using it. I can only see it making more money for xamarin.

    Secondly the fact you need the professional license for the VS integration is something that pretty much no one likes, and the only reason you don't see so much moaning on here is because so many people got grandfathered in.

    It all feels like it went wrong after the VCs got involved!

    I also agree with the point that a lot of the xamarin experience is generally pretty flakey. It makes me nervous how many probs I have on a day to day basis backing this horse for an enterprise app.

    Was kind of hoping MS was going to announce a buyout at build and this could all have got resolved.

    Friday, April 4, 2014 4:52 PM
  • User22852 posted

    Of course you can see how it ended up like this - its a classic market segmentation dilema. Clearly large corps can afford the 2k a year (although they get volume discounts unlike the poor 2 man indies ironic really). So the question xamarin obviously faced was how to we create a tier that they will buy so we don't leave money on the table. Unfortunately the only thing they had that is convincing is VS integration - I don't think those extra components would swing many buyers.

    Its a bad decision thats bred a lot of bad will to xamarin, but I can see exactly how they got there!

    I do hope it gets re-evald soon though, as whenever I look at news reports on xamarin stuff there are people bringing these things up in the comments. Its gone from a bunch of plucky upstarts to a company that a noticeable number of people have a negative vibe about. Its a shame though as clearly no one working at xamarin deserves that.

    Friday, April 4, 2014 5:06 PM
  • User46788 posted

    As a hobbyist, your app better be awesome to cover the price for this thing, because it takes a lot to recoup $1000 per platform (assuming I truly want to leverage my existing development environment). But I guess who cares about the little guy, huh?

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014 4:56 AM
  • User61106 posted

    Talking about business.. Analyzing the new generation of development and social things..

    Today, when you have a powerful tool that can reach a lot of people and it is cheaper than a hot dog or it is free, you are closer to be the next guy on the list to get your billions of dollars on pocket.

    Selling a million of licenses by year.. by 9,90$ Month, will generate a big fortune in the eyes of social community.. and the potencial of your business will be so large that some big company will offer to you billions for that..

    Think small, be small..

    Today, nothing can be done for a specific part of people..in this case for the RICH ones.. I doubt that you guys can sell that much of licenses.. but this is yours policy.. sell less for a expensive price.

    Xamarin have a community with 600k more developers.. What a potential!!

    .$..Sell a lot of indies!!. $ Indie license have a good price!!$! .. puff!! don't worth a cent. You guys can fire yours stones.. but who really pay for that? you certainly prefer to expend you time and your money in others things...

    Microsoft need to buy the Xamarin for starts to worth it. They have eye for Business and for Social Community.

    Think beyond.. and more beyond.. Get out of the BOX!! Free your system!!

    Regards, RC.

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014 3:34 PM
  • User54047 posted

    I agree that the visual studio plugin should be available to all teirs. Limit the build host facility sure, but let us use VS.

    Another point to factor in here... Xamarin supporting and maintaining Xamarin studio seems like a high maintenance burden. I understand that Mac doesn't support VS so they have to offer something for Mac users, but VS really is the king.

    The thing that gets my goat is that MSDN bizspark subscribers are excluded from the MSDN discount offer. Why? These are the people who need it most. I really do not understand why Bizspark members are excluded. Seems like a kick in the nuts and an intent of making the barrier to entry higher for startups?

    My 2c

    Wednesday, July 2, 2014 11:30 PM
  • User1603 posted

    Let's get this into perspective shall we.

    How much is a subscription to MSDN? Not free. How much is VS? Not free. How quickly does MS or Apple or Google fix the bugs that are sent back to them? Not quickly (or in some cases, ever). While Bizspark does offer a free subscription, Xamarin does not have the deep pockets of MS. Does Apple give Xcode away for free? Yes and no. Yes, you can download it, but without having first bought a Mac, you can't use it (I'm excluding hackintoshes here), so your copy of Xcode could actually be around the $3500 mark in reality (and Xcode really is an unpleasant piece of kit!),

    I have absolutely no objections to paying for my Xamarin business licences - and yes, $2000 a year is not cheap. However, I know that I'm going to get top notch support, a pretty quick turn around with bug reports and a constant development line so when iOS 8 or Android L comes out, I will be able to use it from day 1. This is what I pay for and this is what my business relies on

    Would I get that as a free plug in? I doubt it as without the revenue line of the licences, the hugely talented guys at Xamarin would not be in business and we'd be back to eating dung for breakfast and smashing our heads against the wall with the insanity that is Java and unfriendliness that is ObjC.

    As for why MSDN subscribers don't get a few subscription - I would imagine it will have been down to the negotiations between MS and Xamarin. If Xamarin gets $300 from MS for each Bizspark and needs (say) $600 per user to make a profit, then they have to find that $300 from elsewhere to be able to run it. No company does something to run at a loss.

    While I also agree that the limitations of the indie licence are a bit of a barrier, they are only the same sort of barrier as MS puts in place with the knee-capped versions of VS they put out.

    I completely agree with Wally over Phonegap. It's free and you get what you pay for on it which in my experience is something close to dire.

    At the end of the day you have to weigh it up. Do you endure the pain of Java/ObjC native or with some plugin or other to make it look a bit nicer, do you pay for an MSDN subscription (which is costly), do you pay for Apple Support (which is awfully costly) or do you buy Xamarin which while it's not cheap is far more productive than the other routes (IMO)

    Thursday, July 3, 2014 3:19 PM
  • User42311 posted

    I would like to suggest to readers that they refer to my post at the top of this page (2), wherein I also summarize here:

    • Nobody (at least not me, who started the thread) is asking for a free lunch. Xamarin needs to and should be paid for their awesomeness.
    • There is a restriction on app size applied globally across WHATEVER you build, so why restrict tooling? (herein is essence of the "free" plugin request)
    • The VS plugin is about preference on coding IDE. But the real money is in the platform license, which Xamarin still captures you on, and rightfully so. (re: prior bullet)

    Making these changes only helps Xamarin by exposing their awesomeness to more people regardless of ones IDE preference, who, when they get serious about building a real app (i.e. > 32KB) are absolutely ready and willing to pay Xamarin to jump on board the awesome.

    As it happens in my current case, I have a dev team that decided to go another route and not even try out Xamarin because our "evaluation" plans include building a proof of concept, wherein we:

    • want to use the tools we already have (VS, regardless of how you got it, Biz Spark or otherwise)
    • want to evaluate things in the way and environment we intend to use long term (not indie, then switch to VS later, which then requires project restructuring!)
    • need more than 30 days

    It is a shame to have Xamarin lose out in this way, and is a major opportunity for them if they were simply aware and make an easy, small tweak in strategy, and that was the very cause for me to come here and start this thread. It has nothing to do with "I want a free lunch".

    Thursday, July 3, 2014 4:30 PM
  • User54047 posted

    @dapug? exactly. No one is asking for Xamarin to be free here. We just want to be able to use Visual Studio with the indie license. Limit the build host to biz only, thats fine, but let us use the IDE thay we are familiar with.

    I see the worth of the biz license, but don't need it yet, but i do need visual studio. Anyway....

    Sunday, July 6, 2014 1:16 AM
  • User12211 posted

    Limit the build host to biz only, thats fine. But let us use the IDE thay we are familiar with.

    Without the build host, the VS plugin is useless as you can't build an iOS project without it.

    I don't see the VS plugin (with build host) as a "business" feature. If Xamarin Studio for Windows allowed developing iOS applications, it might be different, but since it doesn't, you need the plugin to get the same functionality you would get if you developed on Mac. Otherwise, Xamarin Studio may as well be a Mac-only IDE.

    That being said, Xamarin's argument is, since you have to have a Mac to build iOS applications anyway, you can develop your iOS app on the Mac using Xamarin Studio with the Indie license. Thus, they consider the plugin a "business" feature.

    Since you can use XS on the Mac (which you already have to own) and avoid paying the extra bucks, it's hard to argue.

    Sunday, July 6, 2014 1:36 AM
  • User1053 posted

    Actually, the idea of being able to use VS in the Indie license to EDIT (and NOT to also BUILD) the projects makes sense. I am currently very happy to do my work in VS but building seems to go faster in XS. So, I am actually not building from VS at all. For me it is the ability of using ReSharper, quickly refactor and better intellisense (be it real or just perceived).

    I could see the Business license level promoting the ability to build from VS, or to do headless/CI project builds. To me seems an enough of a product differentiator.

    Sunday, July 6, 2014 6:08 PM
  • User64662 posted

    Well, not to revive a dead-ish thread, but I will say my excitement level about Xamarin and getting to use C# to make some cross platforms apps has gone from being super excited, to browsing for new books on Java Android development after reading this thread.

    Xamarin obviously has a completely different idea of what "Indie" means than what I'm used to it seems. I may could see my initial apps maybe paying for a single-platform (1 year) license of XS Indie. But the whole point was to use it to make something cross platform, so to do that I need to spend another $300 and purchase a Mac?

    Or my other option seems to be to spend $999 * 2 for the "Business" edition plus $500 on VS 2013 Pro? Do I still need a Mac if I'm just trying to use VS on a PC with the plugin? If not, this is the option that appeals to me the most, but $2000/year + $500 is just not possible.

    It's also seems a bit odd that if all I wanted to do was write a few components to sell to other Xamarin users, I have to basically do exactly this same thing.

    Ideally I could pay $300 (or less) for 1 platform for Xamarin Studio and then upgrade that to support a second platform (maybe $200 per additional platform) and not have to buy Visual Studio at all. Is this even something that is being considered or is there some barrier that prevents XS on a PC from doing what the VS plugin does?

    I'm more than willing to pay $200-300 for something that I can extended for roughly the same price to a second platform to stay on PC, but if it's going to take $2500 to do this I will certainly not be using Xamarin which is sad because I like the IDE and love C#.

    Friday, July 18, 2014 8:46 PM
  • User45825 posted

    I think Xamarin need to be very careful about how they play the game here. I've just spent $2000 on business edition in order for me to take advantage of some very specific opportunities where I wouldn't have enough time to create native apps for the 3 mobile platforms, so it makes sense. Outside of that opportunity I simply wouldn't pay that kind of money - period. I am pretty well connected on LinkedIn and know a LOT of developers who are .NET developer freelancers like me and they wouldn't pay for it either (unless there was a very specific project that would make it financially worthwhile). I don't see anyone hooking up with Xamarin to become Xamarin certified because that costs ANOTHER $2000 per year (you have to take the university to be allowed to take the exams - of course). I understand that we have all gotta make money, but the opportunities for developers to make money are severely limited in a world full of great open-source (free) software and free mobile apps now being the norm - so it's gonna be hard for anyone to justify these types of costs. Of course businesses can afford that kind of money, but it's the indie developers that drive this marketplace, and the innovation that happens within it. It will only take someone like Microsoft or Oracle to release some similar tools for free (it'll happen one day) and Xamarin will be no more - overnight. Xamarin have 680,000 'users', but how many of those are paying customers ? I'd bet about 1-2% max, with the rest being devs who've tried the 30 day trial, looked at the prices then said NO!

    Not getting the pricing right seems like a wasted opportunity to make a whole lot more money, and have a much stronger community.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014 11:54 AM
  • User65347 posted

    I have to agree completely with @DeanChalk?, as a recent uni graduate who has learned a lot of C# in their course with developing windows apps, I'm now trying to utilise my C# skills and know-how for developing Android (and possibly iOS) apps without having to go and all the learn different languages and development tools, I have come to look into using Xamarin.

    Unfortunately the pricing model used by Xamarin is quite prohibitive for Indies and for I believe for some businesses as well. I would like to see some serious changes in the pricing structure for Xamarin, especially into possibly an à la carte structure where you pay for what you need on either a month-by-month basis, or even prepaid on 6-monthly and 12-monthly instalments. This is what Microsoft has now done with Visual Studio online, so I can now use VS2013 pro without having wait and save up to buy the expensive perpetual edition.

    I loved the 30-day business trial and the ability to integrate with VS, but having to pay $700 extra for the privilege, per platform annually, I think is quite outrageous, especially if I'm not going to utilise the other features available in the business plan.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014 12:41 PM
  • User94 posted

    I know where you guys are coming from, here is my take on things, I have been writing software for more than 20 years, I was a MS gold partner for 10 years so got all the tools as part of the deal so spent most of every day inside visual studio, I originally purchased the business edition of Xamarin but downgraded in year two to the indie version I took the view that I did not need the VS integration I am happy swapping my code between platforms as I seem to spend weeks in the XS then weeks in the VS so it works well for me, all of the extras in the business edition I don't need, the only thing I miss is the ability to email software Q's.

    On the indie side I think Xamarin is priced ok, I have a couple of apps on the app store that pay me more per month than the indie costs me per year so not worried about the price, I do think the free edition needs to be opened up a bit more in terms of size of app so that reasonable size apps can be written with it with the idea that once you need to build for the app store you need at least the indie version to create those builds, e.g. Adhoc and store builds are not capable in the free version.

    The idea of using my original C# projects in Xamarin has paid for all the tools many times over, a project I spent two years writing in C# for windows, was ported across to Xamarin in less than a day, so well happy.

    End of the day Xamarin have to make money to pay for good developers to keep working on the tools, so pricing has to work for Xamarin.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014 1:52 PM
  • User77757 posted

    I am planning to port a WP app to Android and later to iOS. Xamarin was going to be my choice. But I dont want to invest $500+ on tools when I dont see any returns. $500/yr is a big investment for a hobbyist. I think the model is broken. How can a guy making a couple of grand a year compare to guy getting a couple of dozens a year. Not fair!!

    Bizspark from MS is a good starting point but Xamarin still charge a lot even after the discount, My suggestion is to charge $50 for the first app. The developer after that can comapre his experiences and then pay more for building subsequent apps. Push comes to shove learn Java. Java is an ugly cousin of C# . I used it in 1990's and early 2000 and may have to brush up. Cheers!

    Monday, October 20, 2014 4:56 AM
  • User114475 posted

    Curious to hear Xamarin's response to UE4 going free. Trusting you'll make more money giving it away for free because it's an awesome product (like Xamarin very much appears to be) plus exploding your user base versus squeezing dollars up front. The current pricing model feels like the early micro-trans games that had painful pay walls. Studios are learning that games that are fun to play first and that monetize second surprisingly make more money. Would this also be true for Xamarin? I would certainly be more willing to download and try and then pay for the Indie version if Forms was in it. Epic Games also did something interesting, before it went free(!), where you paid $20/mo but you could cancel your subscription at any point but keep using the software - just without updates. If you wanted the latest and greatest, you had to get back on the subscription. This takes a lot of pressure off of people who just want to pay $25 to play with Xamarin but don't want to feel rushed into doing all their hobbying within a 30 day window.

    Sunday, March 15, 2015 7:30 AM
  • User69303 posted

    Trusting you'll make more money giving it away for free...

    Sometimes I wonder if people even think before they post.

    It's not Xamarin's responsibility to make creating apps a profitable business, that's down to the developer. What I see in the mobile apps space is lots of wanna-be or amateur developers jumping on the bandwagon of trying to make a lot of money from some badly-implemented or poorly-thought-out concept that sells many copies for a couple of bucks, and if they can't then they start to blame whoever is selling the tool they want to use. This is fundamentally dreadful and 'bottom of the barrel' approach to making software.

    $500/yr is a big investment for a hobbyist.

    Hobbies are option pursuits - if you can't afford it, choose another hobby.

    But I dont want to invest $500+ on tools when I dont see any returns.

    Making a return on your investment is your problem to solve, not Xamarin's.

    Monday, March 16, 2015 7:31 PM
  • User94 posted

    @MichaelBoth I could not agree more, writing software is a risk esp if you are trying to make money out of it, I have spent more than 20 years making money out of software development Xamarin is no different to all the other tools I have used at some point you have to pay to get the extras out of tools I think Xamarin have got their pricing and structure about right I would say that the only thing that should be included in the indie that is not is the profiling tools because that is not an enterprise feature IMHO, but that is only my view.

    My first year with Xamarin tools I did not make a penny but all subsequent years I make more per month than the tools cost per year, so well worth it for me.

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015 6:21 AM