We’ve just published VistaDB 5.5, the first release of VistaDB with official support for Xamarin on Android and iOS! This has been the #1 feature request for several years and we’re glad to finally be able to deliver on it. We’ve been working with a small group of customers to beta test this for almost two years. Fortunately there have been very few issues with the codebase itself but it took some time for us to get to comfort that the engine had been run long enough on a sufficiently wide ranged set of systems to give us confidence.
Using VistaDB With Xamarin
Over the years, Xamarin has evolved an impressive product that lets you share C# code across many platforms. Their goal has always been to let you reuse large blocks of your logic and code but that doesn’t mean you can just take a .NET assembly and drop it into a Xamarin application. While this may appear to work in some cases it won’t work reliably because to distribute to Android and iOS Xamarin has to recompile away from the traditional .NET MSIL into the native technology of those platforms.
The good news is that we haven’t had to go wild creating different builds of VistaDB for every possible variation of target. Since VistaDB has no user interface and was originally developed with MONO in mind we’ve been able to get away with adding just two new assemblies: VistaDB for Android and VistaDB for iOS. You’ll find a folder under the standard redistribution folder for each of those platforms right alongside .NET 2.0 and .NET 4.0. All you need to do is make sure your Xamarin application references the correct one.
Performance on Mobile
Another piece of good news is that VistaDB seems to perform pretty well on mobile systems: Our unit test libraries that exercise all the features of VistaDB run in a similar time on an iPhone 7 and a modern laptop. An older iPhone and Android system runs about as fast as an older PC. That said, as always your performance may vary depending on the way you’re using the database engine. In particular, mobile devices don’t have as much memory as typical laptops and desktops so this can be a big factor in efficiency under some workloads. The good news is that mobile storage systems are quite fast relative to traditional desktops and laptops which helps make up some of the difference.
New Version Numbering
We’ve modified our corporate standards for how we assign version numbers to eliminate problems with MSI installations. The key change is that every build we produce will vary in one of the first three places, even if we do a hotfix build. This ensures that Windows Installer will correctly replace all files and not treat any of these installations as a patch install.
You can see the effect of this in the version number of 5.5 – it’s 5.5.3 because it happens to be the fourth build we did on the master branch for VistaDB 5.5. Internally we’re varying development branch builds in the fourth place as it ensures these internal builds are clearly in order relative to the master branch they are building on.
So, gone is the ever-increasing build number at the end of our installations and you’ll see us change more significant version numbers more often as we go forward.
Getting the Latest Release
If you had active maintenance for VistaDB on or after 12/15/2016 then you’re entitled to VistaDB 5.5 as a free upgrade included in your maintenance, you can just go and download it right away! If your maintenance has lapsed, contact sales at Gibraltar Software and we’ll let you know your personal upgrade pricing.