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In a recent project the RedBit team worked on, we decided to use Xamarin.Form to  build an app for Windows Phone, iOS and Android. Xamarin Forms is still a v1 product but the Xamarin team is rapidly releasing updates to fill in some gaps. As a developer you still have the opportunity to extend Xamarin Forms, for example by building custom renderers. We’ll have a series of blog posts on some learnings from the team to help extend Xamarin.Forms and meet our client’s requirements.

For this first post we’ll be looking at how to implement GZip Compression across iOS, Android and Windows. The benefit to using GZip is there is less data going over the wire reducing mobile data consumption. In the US it’s not much of a problem to send large amounts of data because of unlimited data plans, but in Canada (and other parts of the world) data is not so cheap. In terms of compression, here is a chart showing the difference in data size making a request to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gzip.

To read more about how to use GZip Compression with Xamarin Forms head over to the RedBit post to see the entire walkthrough.

For a while now I’ve been using a Mac as my laptop for various customer projects dealing with iOS using ObjectiveC, Xamarin (aka MonoTouch & MonoDroid) and PhoneGap. With my history of Windows Phone development I always get asked “Why are you carrying a Mac? Did you dump Windows Phone?” and my answer to that is “No”.  I still use one everyday but also building for other platforms using different languages.

I know there are some developers who may want to try Windows Phone but are running OSX. In this article, I’ll just outline some of the things you will need to get started with your existing machine.

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To build for Windows Phone 8 you do require Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro OS and your hardware should be minimum 4GB Ram and 64-bit (x64) CPU. My MacBook Pro is a 2011 model 8GB Ram 2.3GHz i7. You can either buy a version of Windows 8 or download a 90 day evaluation version.  Below I have other ways to get the software for special cases.

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