The Agent that Rebuilt the Build Host

“Are you done using the Mac yet?” This was a common sentence
I heard uttered though out the offices of the clients I would work at doing
various mobile projects with Xamarin in companies where they only sprung for 1
mac for the mobile team to use to build iOS apps. It was that, or the colorful
choice words from a developer’s mouth when visual studio would crash and the Xamarin
Build host still thought another machine was connected. In fact, unless you
have worked on a Mac Laptop with a Windows VM, you probably have fought with
the build host at some point in time. Thankfully, the Dev Team at Xamarin, has
worked hard to no longer make this a problem in their latest roll out of Xamarin
dubbed Xamarin 4. Their solution to this once plaguing Issue?  Xamarin Mac Agent.

Above: The Toolbox and Banana Finder solutions are connected to the mac at the same time!

Unlike the old build host which ran as a secondary program
on the mac, slow and rather clunky to use and allowing only 1 computer to be
connected at a time, The Xamarin Mac Agent has changed all this by being
rewritten from the ground up giving developers a faster setup and connection
time, while allowing multiple connections to this box at one time. They achieve
this by connecting to the mac over SSH and starting new MSBuildProcess on the
windows side, each managing their own SSH connection to the build host which
them manages the iOS designer, and the Build agent. They also have made the UI
interface of connecting to Visual studio much easier to use and work with, and
a clearly visible connection icon is present when connected to the Xamarin Mac
Agent.

Above: a photo of just how clean and clear the new Xamarin Mac Agent is to the developer.

You can
find out more about how the Build Host works as well as how you can get yourself
up and running using this latest innovation here: https://developer.xamarin.com/guides/ios/getting_started/installation/windows/xamarin-mac-agent/

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Author: Mitch Muenster

Microsoft & Xamarin MVP, Xamarin Certified Developer, biohacker, & public speaker

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