Karl Gorman
29
April
2021
Tags: Cross-platformDevelopmentReact NativeXamarin
Xamarin vs. React Native XAMARIN VS. REACT NATIVE

Xamarin vs. React Native. Which Software to choose in 2021?

In the last few years, the concept of Cross-platform development completely broke new grounds for developers, and it’s no wonder why! It allows them to write code once and employ it into distinguished platforms such as Android, iOS, and Windows. Moreover, implementation of such practice is a key to hit the jackpot for companies that aim to create mobile apps, whether for internal use or for app stores.

Cross-platform is now a cornerstone of software development as it helps users save time, money, and effort altogether. Today, around one-third of developers in the world harness cross-platform technologies, while the rest plump for native apps. Interestingly, there are dozens of cross-platform frameworks, with Xamarin and React Native being the A-listed. But as they say, “no one size fits all, “ the choice between the two most common frameworks, Xamarin or React Native, is always a matter of giant consideration. Let’s have a deeper insight to find which software is best to choose in 2021.

Cross-platform development

Cross-platform development refers to building a single application capable of running on different operating systems or multiple platforms, mainly Android and iOS. With this approach, there is no need to develop multi versions of the app; instead, one single code system can be deployed on several platforms at once.

The main purpose behind the introduction of the cross-platform concept is to make the product reach a wider audience. Above all, this helps software companies develop and launch the product faster and with quality. Simply, it is a cost and time-effective way to promote mobile app development.

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Pros and Cons of cross-platform development

Pros

In comparison to native mobile apps, cross-platform development is an ideal choice in many ways. Although both possess significant advantages in the world of software development, here we will discuss the key benefits of the latter, as it has taken off in a big way lately.

Rapid Development

The foremost advantage of opting for cross platform frameworks, whether Xamarin or React Native, is the faster development of mobile apps. The major reason behind this fact is that it takes only one codebase to leverage when it comes to launching a digital product.

Lower Cost

As there is no requirement to invest in the additional platforms technology stack, just like in native app development, the cost to develop multi-platform apps is quite low. In addition, there is also a whopping save in money on app improvements, fixing, and customization.

Wider Audience Reach

In the case of native app development, mostly startups are stuck with a decision to choose between iOS or Android apps. However, in the case of cross platforms frameworks, the companies can target the market of both the platforms, including that of Windows, Blackberry, and other OS devices, ultimately resulting in a broader audience reach.

Cons

Bad Performance

Cross-platform frameworks endeavor to provide apps similar to that of native apps, but unfortunately, they lack in the aspect of performance. Even though both types of applications are similar in functionalities, native mobile apps work much faster in comparison.

Poor UI and UX Design

Native apps are incredible when it comes to animated features, 3D effects, and graphical features. Unfortunately, this is not the case with cross-platform applications as they cannot use features in-built into mobile devices.

Takes a Long Time For New Feature Support

Cross-platform applications take longer to update whenever Google or Apple announces new features for Android or iOS, respectively. Nevertheless, in the case of native apps, the functionalities start improving immediately after the OS update.

Cross-platform development tools

The fact that mobile applications are adding a significant impact on business development, the companies are in the hunt for the best software framework to develop the same. Fortunately, cross-platform app development provides plentiful choices in the form of frameworks. A few of the finest of the widely accepted cross-platform frameworks include Xamarin, React Native, Flutter, PhoneGap, NativeScript, Ionic, Titanium, Sencha, Monocross, and Unity.

Out of all the listed frameworks, Xamarin and React Native are popular choices among developers to build state-of-the-art mobile apps. But the question arises, which is the best software to choose in 2021? To find the answer to the dilemma, let’s explore the concept of Xamarin vs React Native in a broader form.

What is Xamarin?

For beginners who are looking for a response to what is Xamarin, it is an open-source platform used to develop modern applications for iOS, Android, and Windows with the .NET. With the help of this framework, Xamarin developers can write the business logic in a single language and achieve native performance and look on every platform. C# is a common Xamarin programming language as it provides significant improvements over Java and Object-C.

What is Xamarin used for?

Xamarin is purposely used by Xamarin developers to write native Android and iOS apps that provide the same feel and user experience as in the case of native apps. The reason being, it allows users to share 90% of apps across platforms.

In other words, it is an ideal choice among developers who aims to share code, test, and business logic across multi-platforms. In addition, the software framework also helps to write cross platform applications in C# with Visual studio. A few best examples of the app developed by Xamarin development language are Storyo, Just Giving, The World Bank, APX, Olo, and many more.
Xamarin development tools

The technology stack of Xamarin comprises a list of tools and libraries that helps to boost the experience of developer and performance of apps developed on it. These include Xamarin Programming Language, C#, Xamarin-Supported IDEs (Visual Studio, XCode), Development Tools (NuGet, Xamarin Inspector, Prism, MFractor, Resharper), Design Tools (InVision, Sketch, Balsamiq, AdobeXD), Unit Testing Tools (NUnit, xUnit.NET, Visual Studio Unit Testing Framework), and Beta Testing Tools (Instabug)

Xamarin Vs Xamarin.Forms

In addition to the aforesaid tools, Xamarin holds utter significance because of its popular feature, Xamarin forms. It is one of the well-known mobile development frameworks extending the .NET developer with tools and libraries. The beginners often get confused between Xamarin and Xamarin.Forms. Thus, to let them clear the meaning, here we have curated the difference between the two, that is Xamarin vs Xamarin.Forms.

Where Xamarin is a cross platform to write code that runs on multiple platforms, Xamarin. Forms, on the other hand, is an approach for executing mobile app development. It is a framework from Microsoft that is meant to create a cross platform user interface. Clearly, it is quite hard to predict the difference between the two as both are cross-platform for building native feel apps. However, a few attributes that make the concept of Xamarin vs Xamarin.Forms a little transparent are differences in application development time, development costs, UI complexity, update and maintenance, and app functionalities.

What is React Native?

React Native is an open-source framework created by Facebook Inc. to develop mobile apps. It is one of the finest JavaScript frameworks that let React Native developers create natively rendered applications for Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Web, and UWP.

At present, React Native is a leading solution for mobile development. The popular examples of mobile apps developed using this JavaScript framework include Instagram, Facebook, and Skype. Interestingly, it can be used either in existing iOS or Android projects or to develop an application from scratch.

Why use React Native?

React Native is a great source to bring into light innovative and high-performance mobile applications for business or technical use. The best part about using this one of the best JavaScript frameworks is that it is a faster and cheaper way to execute the goal of mobile development, in contrast to native apps. Other significant benefits that make this framework the picture-perfect choice among React Native developers are a complete development ecosystem, seamless user experience, time and cost-effectiveness, and native-like performance levels.

React Native development tools

According to a survey, 42% of software developers make use of React Native framework. Other than its incredible benefits, the popularity of the framework is because of its out-of-the-box tools that make the development process smoother and convenient.

The essential tools for React Native development include Ignite CLI, Expo, TypeScript, Microsoft CodePush, svgr.now.sh for react-native-SVG, ESLint, React Navigation, Native Base, Visual Studio Code, Reactotron, Redux, Redux Saga, Deox. The use of these top-hole development tools helps React Native developers to enhance code maintainability, keeping the base of code consistent, delivering apps faster, and making the scaling of the DEV team easier.

Xamarin vs. React Native. Side-by-Side Comparison

Both Xamarin and React Native empowers endless mobile applications in the software world. Now that there is a precise idea about React Native and Xamarin pros and cons, their uses and purposes, it would be easy to compare both on the basis of popularity, development languages & components, and other attributes such as performance, availability, and support & ecosystem. Let’s start with React Native vs Xamarin based on the essential factors.

Popularity

Though popularity is not a top key to identify the worth of software, it plays a significant role in future decision making in the world of software or application development. Comparing React Native vs Xamarin in terms of popularity, the latter lacks behind for it is not extensively open-sourced and maintained only by Microsoft. Above all, The Stack Overflow Insights also made it evident that React Native stands high in the popularity list.

The popularity of React Native actually surpassed Xamarin in 2017. The latest 2020 Developer Survey proposes that in the race of React Native vs Xamarin, 57.9% of developers prefer the former for building applications.

Development language and Components

The matter of development languages also holds substantial significance when it comes to selecting the most suitable between the race of Xamarin vs React Native. Where the development on the former platform is based on .NET languages such as C# and F#, the latter on the other hand uses JavaScript. Although JavaScript was not initially meant for React Native, it works well with the framework.

Both JavaScript and C# are the ideal choice for developers who wish to develop mobile applications with ease. While C# is the fifth most popular programming language for development in 2021, JavaScript holds the seventh spot in the list. Additionally, both help to enhance productivity and save a developer from a steep learning curve.

Furthermore, the in-built components of the Xamarin vs React Native frameworks are another consideration that helps companies cherry-pick the best framework out of two. Talking specifically about React Native, it consists of some pre-built components, however, most of them are not adaptive. On the flip side, even though many beginners are not aware of Xamarin pros and cons, the fact that Xamarin.Forms present a complete cross platform UI toolkit that makes it a better performer for building customized apps.

Other Attributes

Performance

Xamarin vs React Native performance is hardly comparable because both present near-native experience when one develops mobile applications. Nevertheless, diving deeper into the elements, it is witnessed that Xamarin runs the fastest code on iOS and Android and possesses a User Interface (UI) for harnessing native tools with convenience. Simply put, in Xamarin vs React Native performance, the former wins with a slight difference.

Availability

In contrast to React Native Vs Xamarin, the former holds the upper hand when the attribute of availability is considered. While Xamarin has a free version but its features are limited, thus making it difficult for developers to build applications in a cost-effective way.

Support and Ecosystem

Developers should also mull over the attribute of support and ecosystem when they are on the hunt to find the best out of Xamarin vs React Native. This basically includes the availability of documentation, tutorials, and forums. React Native has a wide range of tutorials and learning materials for developers in comparison to Xamarin, thus being the A-list choice of beginners.

Wrapping Up

Cross platform development is all that modern business needs to be on the crest of a wave. Even if there are plentiful cross platform frameworks available to write and develop mobile apps, Xamarin and React Native are the top choice of most developers.

Surprisingly, the experienced developers are well-versed with Xamarin’s pros and cons, thus believing it to be the top-hole technology for accomplishing software goals. But as the process innovates, even React Native holds equal importance. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that the choice of one in the race of Xamarin vs React Native, actually depends upon the project requirements, the budget of the company, and goals.