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Mono for Android lets Visual Studio devs get their droid on

Apr 6, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Novell announced the availability of Mono for Android, which enables Microsoft .NET application development for Android. Mono for Android consists of a plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio, a core Mono runtime, a software development kit, and bindings for native Android APIs, all starting at $399 per year, says the company.

With Mono for Android, .NET developers, independent software vendors, and C# developers using Microsoft Visual Studio can build Android applications in a familiar environment with a common code base, says Novell. Mono, which is already available in a desktop PC version and a "MonoTouch" Apple iOS version, is Novell's Linux-compatible, dual-licensed (commercial and open source) .NET clone.

Mono is hosted by the Mono Project, which also offers a Moonlight clone of Microsoft's Silverlight multimedia technology.

Mono for Android comprises a core Mono runtime, bindings for native Android APIs, and a Visual Studio 2010 plugin. The plugin offers a software development kit for building, debugging, and deploying applications, says Novell.

Visual Studio 2010 with Mono for Android plugin
(Click to enlarge)

The Android plugin enables Visual Studio developers to stay within their preferred IDE, use their existing C# programming knowledge skills, and call upon familiar .NET code, libraries, and tools, says Novell. Apps can be deployed to an Android simulator, Android device, or an Android application store, says the company.

Developers using both Mono for Android and MonoTouch can share common code between Android phones and tablets and Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices, says Novell. Similar code compatibility is also said to apply between Mono for Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, Windows desktops, and Windows Server. In addition, a Mono for Android add-in enables "MonoDevelop" users to develop on OS X, says Novell.

Tutorials on the Mono for Android site show how to introduce Visual Basic developers to Android UI basics such as widgets and lists, and develop various layouts for Android devices. The layouts include linear, relative, tablet, grid, tab, and list (pictured at left). 

Stated Miguel de Icaza (pictured), Mono project founder and vice president of Developer Platforms at Novell, and formerly co-founder of the GNOME project, "We developed Mono for Android to give both individual developers and businesses a way of sharing their code across multiple mobile platforms, increasing efficiency and reuse of their C# and .NET expertise across the board."


All editions of Mono for Android are available now at Novell's online shop. Mono for Android Enterprise Edition is available for $999 per developer for a one-year subscription, which includes maintenance and updates. A five-developer Enterprise license supports five concurrent developers and is available for 3,999 per year.

Mono for Android Professional Edition is available for $399 per developer for a one-year subscription. For a limited time, existing MonoTouch customers can receive a 50 percent discount off a similar Mono for Android Edition by using their activation code as a discount code.

More information about Mono for Android, including extensive tutorials and documentation, may be found at Novell's Mono for Android page.

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