Sharing code on multiple platforms

These articles explain the different options available for sharing code across platforms, including Windows, Android, iOS, and more.

Code sharing overview

Learn about the different code sharing options available for Xamarin projects, including .NET Standard Libraries and Shared Projects. Portable Class Libraries are also supported, however they are considered deprecated in favor of .NET Standard.

.NET Standard

.NET Standard is the preferred option for sharing code across platforms. Code is built against a specific version (2.0 provides the best API compatibility with existing .NET Framework code) and can then be consumed by other projects that support that level or higher. .NET Standard projects are supported in both Visual Studio 2019 and Visual Studio 2019 for Mac.

Shared Projects

Shared Projects let you write common code that is referenced by a number of different application projects. The code is compiled as part of each referencing project and can include compiler directives to help incorporate platform-specific functionality in the shared code base. This article discusses how Shared Projects work and how to create and use them with Xamarin projects.

Portable Class Libraries

Portable Class Library projects let you build and distribute assemblies that contain shared code to run on multiple platforms. To create a Portable Class Library (or "PCL") you first select which platforms to target, then write code against a sub-set of the .NET Framework that is available in the profile defined for those platforms. PCLs are considered to be deprecated in the latest versions of Visual Studio; developers are encouraged to use .NET Standard 2.0 instead.

NuGet projects: Multiplatform Libraries for code sharing

NuGet packages can be automatically generated from PCL or .NET standard projects; and Shared Projects can be packaged into "bait and switch" NuGet packages using the separate NuGet project type. This section explains how to create NuGet packages for each code-sharing scenario.

Manually creating NuGet packages for Xamarin

Tips for creating NuGet packages that work with the Xamarin platform.

Use C/C++ Libraries in Cross-Platform Xamarin Projects

This technique allows you to decouple the evolution of your C/C++ libraries, a C# binding in a NuGet, and your Xamarin applications. Functionality is provided by the native-platform C/C++ library, but all platform-specific code is isolated from the final Xamarin application(s), allowing the highest-possible performance with no code duplication.