Can Google’s Flutter Beat Microsoft’s Xamarin for Cross Platform App Development?

With the growing popularity of mobile apps, small and large business owners are building applications to engage the audience. iOS and Android are the most popular mobile app development platforms. Developers target both of these platforms to reach more users. Cross platform mobile applications are the need of the hour. Developers need to write a single codebase and apply it across multiple platforms. Sharing the code helps to save a lot of time and money.

There are several tools in cross platform solutions marketplace. Some of the common ones are Xamarin, Kotlin Native, React Native, Unity, Ionic 2, and Cordova/PhoneGap/Titanium.

We’ll discuss Xamarin – the most popular and competitive player in the field of cross platform app development and Flutter- Google’s new player.

Xamarin and Flutter Frameworks Overview

There’s no doubt that Xamarin is the top open source cross platform development technology. Being run by Xamarin, it uses C# language to build applications for iOS, Android, and Windows. It has been a favorite choice of most developers and users across the globe. The developers should possess some knowledge about iOS, Android and Windows along with C# to develop feature-rich cross platform apps using Xamarin.

Flutter is a popular open source and free cross platform tool by Google that is used to build high-performance native mobile apps. This framework uses Google’s Dart programming language along with the light C++ engine. Flutter offers APIs and SDKs for simulation, 2D rendering, gestures, and painting also.

Flutter and Xamarin Comparison

Google unveiled Flutter in 2015, and a beta version was launched in 2018. Since then, it is being used by the developers and organizations all over the world. Flutter has its own UI components and an engine to build amazing applications. As it uses DART, an ahead-of-time (AOT) language, it allows the apps to communicate with the native platform. Developers can build complex applications without affecting the startup times and performances. It has unique widgets. Flutter implements Skia – an open source 2D graphics library. Although it is young, it competed with Microsoft cross platform mobile framework Xamarin.

Xamarin is one of the oldest players in the market that is used in enterprise environments. As it has been around since a long time, it has a large community of supporters. If you are skilled in C# and .Net, Xamarin development can be the perfect solution for building apps. Xamarin is suitable for only logic code sharing but not a good fit for User Interface code reusing. Using native modules is not advisable with heavy graphics or animation.

Xamarin or Flutter – Which one to choose?

Developers who are new to cross platform mobile development can choose Flutter as it is likely to become a hot trend in the coming few years. Startups trying to establish their presence in the market can opt for Flutter to release mobile apps for multiple platforms. As startups have to deal with limited time and budget, Flutter can be helpful. Xamarin is more mature in several ways. Complex and long-term projects usually use Xamarin.

Cross platform app development is no child’s play. No matter what framework you choose, one needs to be very careful while developing the mobile app for various platforms. Check the limitations of each framework and make the right decision.

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Xamarin Vs Native Mobile App Development – Let’s see Who Wins

Xamarin Vs Native

Sam wanted to build an on-demand app for his food delivery business and he looked for developers locally. As he had no knowledge about mobile app development solutions, he approached a few leading companies to get suggestions. Most of the agencies suggested him to opt for Xamarin for building cross platform application while a few others suggested native app development. He was confused as to which platform he should select for developing his first app. He did some research online and found out the pros and cons of both technologies. If you are also confused between Xamarin and native app development, this is the right post for you.

Mobile apps are becoming advanced these days. Mobile app developers use different approaches for building feature-rich apps. Xamarin is one of the best cross platforms across the globe as it facilitates faster and cost effective app development solutions. Xamarin developers can write an app in C#, and share the same code across multiple systems.

Native Vs Xamarin Development

Native approach for mobile app development is a popular strategy these days. Programmers all over the world use native approach for building feature-rich mobile apps. Developers build a single app in each software and then check it for errors before submitting it to the respective app stores. This framework is used for creating separate applications for different mobile app platforms. Java is used for developing Android apps and iOS is based on languages such as C or C++. The techniques for building iOS and Android apps are completely different. Xamarin is one of the latest revolutionary inventions that is used for building cross platform applications.

When should one use Xamarin for mobile app development?

  • If the developers are not well versed with native languages, but know C#, then Xamarin can be used. Developers who are skilled in C# and .Net can create mobile apps easily. There is no need of mastering Java, Objective-C, or Swift.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly gaining popularity since the last few years. If you are planning to build an IoT application that requires accelerometer, gyroscope, and other hardware capabilities, you can choose Xamarin. This framework is fully compatible with IoT devices and so, you will not have to look for third party solutions for adding the features and functionality you want.
  • Startups and small enterprises that do not have a huge budget for mobile app development can select Xamarin app development as the backend for both OS will be identical. Xamarin is a cost effective option for building cross platform apps.
  • Testing software for Android platform is no child’s play. An app that is built for Android may not work well on iOS devices. The app built should be compatible with all the screen sizes. With Xamarin, developers can use cloud services called Test Cloud. They can simulate the real activity of the users on more than 2000 devices. Though Test Cloud costs you money, it is worth spending as testing on it will ensure that your app is flawless and bug-free.

Related Post: Important Xamarin Tools for Building Cross Platform apps

When should native development be preferred?

  • If you are looking for lightning-fast speed apps, Xamarin won’t be of much help. Apps that are updated frequently can use native app development approach. Interactive and high-performance gaming apps can be built using native approach to avoid downtimes.
  • Native approach can be used to build “lightweight” apps for different platforms.

Which technology wins the race?

Xamarin can duplicate 95% of the code while building an app. This framework is an issue-solver and helps developers save a lot of time and efforts. Xamarin is surely a great alternative to native development. If you want to build a mobile app, but not sure of how to develop it, turn to our company. We have a team of experienced Xamarin app developers who can build scalable apps matching your exact business requirements and help you achieve your objectives. We can build cross platform/hybrid mobile app for your business easily and also ensure that you get the best value of the money you spend.

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Important Xamarin Tools for Building Cross Platform apps

Xamarin_Tools

Xamarin is a popular cross platform framework that is used for developing Android, iOS, OS X and Windows applications. This framework uses Visual Studio and C#. As it helps to save a lot of time and efforts, it is a trusted choice of several developers and enterprises all over the world. Developers can share the code between Android and iOS apps and compile it into native code. It offers the benefits of native UI and native performance.

In order to build a cross platform app with Xamarin, you would need some tools. We have compiled the list of essential tools required for Xamarin development:

Xamarin-Supported IDEs

Visual Studio:

This is Microsoft’s modern and sophisticated IDE with a lot of features for building mobile, web, and desktop applications. Visual Studio is used for developing mobile apps with .Net, .Net core applications, cross platform Unity games, and ASP.Net core web apps. Visual Studio Code helps the developers create cloud and web applications easily. It is a one stop tool for develop apps, manage small and large teams, and build services. As it has a rich editor, debugging, and source control, it facilitates app development across different platforms. It makes continuous integration for different platforms and speeds up the development process.

Developed by: Microsoft Corporation
Platform: Windows, Mac
Release date: February 1997
Written in: C++, C#
Pricing: Free for students and individual developers. Professional or Enterprise annual subscriptions start at $ 1,199 or $ 5,999, while cloud subscriptions start at $ 539 yearly.

XCode:

XCode is a comprehensive development environment for building apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. If you want to build iOS applications with Xamarin on Visual Studio on a Windows system, you require a Mac computer for remote compilation and debugging.

Developed by: Apple
Platform: Mac
Release date: 2003
Pricing: Free

Xamarin Development Tools

NuGet:

This is an important tool for developing any modern apps. It offers a unique mechanism by which programmers can create and share useful code for app development. Usually, the code is bundled into packages with compiled code with the other content required in the projects.

NuGet has a central repository of more than 100,000 unique packages that can be used by .Net developers for building different types of apps. Developers can host packages privately in the cloud or private network. The programmers can also make packages available to a specific group of users.

Developed by: Microsoft Corporation, .NET Foundation
Platform: .NET Framework
Release date: October 5th, 2010
Written in: C#
Pricing: Free, open source

Prism:

This is a great framework for developing loosely coupled, yet maintainable XAML applications in Xamarin Forms and Windows 10 UWP. It offers a wide collection of design patterns that are used in writing well-structured applications.

Developed by: .NET Foundation
Pricing: Free, open source

MFractor:

It contains XAML IntelliSence, and image tooling to simplify Xamarin app development. MFractor provides an enhanced XAML editor for supercharging your Xamarin.Forms development. It also helps the developers find code issues immediately and fix them with a few clicks. It adds the missing elements such as image import wizard, mobile-specific navigation shortcuts, and localization assistance. MFractor can be customized according to your specific project requirements with a rich configuration engine.

Developed by: Matthew Robbins, Tom Bowers
Platform: Mac
Pricing: Free. Professional version at $300.

Resharper:

It is a Visual Studio extension for .Net programmers to offer on-the-fly code quality analysis. You would get to know instantly if your code requires improvement. Resharper warns the users about the problems in the code, and also provides the quick fixes to solve the issues automatically. Developers can choose the best quick fix from the range of options provided.

Developed by: JetBrains
Platform: Windows
Pricing: Plans start at $129 per year

With so many tools for Xamarin development, you can leverage the features and build an outstanding cost effective application that works on multiple platforms offering a native feel. i-Verve has a team of expert Xamarin developers for hire who understand the clients’ exact business requirements and offers custom Xamarin solutions.

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