Web Dev

Pros and Cons of Xamarin vs Native Mobile Development

The web has drastically undergone a major transformation over the past couple of years. Thanks to the rapid technological advancement, the web has now become capable enough to effortlessly connect users and enable the exchange of data and ideas. Unfortunately, it is not enough. The truth is that when it comes to getting the most out of a computing device, there is nothing on par with native apps. In other words, native apps alone, work towards taking advantage of specific hardware requirements, APIs and other platform-centric optimizations of an individual’s electronic gadget.

Currently, there are primarily three platforms that account for the vast majority of computing devices. However, developing apps are a completely different story altogether. Objective-C, Swift, and Java are the first computer-programming languages that one thinks of when it comes to considering iOS or Android app development. Naturally, they are the most commonly used development tools. Nevertheless, they are not the only methods utilized to build performant and user-friendly mobile applications. Another, relatively recent and upcoming computer-programming language is Xamarin.

1. Pros and Cons of Xamarin vs Native Mobile Development

What is Xamarin? What are its advantages and disadvantages? How is it any different from Objective-C, Swift, and Java? These are some of the questions that might be wandering over your mind right now, the answers to which, are available as you proceed with the readings furthermore.

1.1 Understanding Xamarin

Xamarin is specifically developed to create applications for different mobile operating systems including Android, iOS, macOS, Tizen, GTX# and Windows. The system features a single shared .NET codebase. It received the name ‘Xamarin’ as it was developed by the company of the same name. Xamarin was acquired by Microsoft only in 2016. The special aspect about Xamarin is that it enables developers to create applications for all significant platforms seamlessly. These applications are indistinguishable from native apps, consisting of native user interface controls, platform-specific APIs and platform-specific hardware accelerations. If you are

1.1.1 What are the Pros of Xamarin?

Following given are the different advantages of Xamarin: Simplifies The Development Process

Xamarin has quickly become among the most, sought-after products in the market especially because it helps simplifies their development process. Some of the major companies that make use of Xamarin includes Fox Sports. The multi-national broadcasting sports firm uses Xamarin to develop its mobile sports app. The company ends up testing the same product, created using Xamarin, across hundreds of different devices. Alaska Airlines is another company that makes use of Xamarin to build its mobile travel app. Be it for checking in, boarding or changing flight information, Xamarin allows users to have a seamless experience on Alaska Airlines’ desktop and mobile devices. Cost Savings and Business Benefits

American market research company Forrester recently conducted research with the objective of finding out the cost savings and business benefits led by Xamarin, specific to visual studio cross-platform mobile application development. The research discovered that Xamarin was the main reason that led to the reduction of mobile app development and life-cycle management costs. It was further established that Xamarin was a hundred percent successful at optimizing the utilization of existing developer resources. Forrester then went on to conduct interviews to analyze the financial metrics of Xamarin’s four existing customers. Following given is the result of the research conducted:

  1. Over $1,365,003 reduction n mobile application development costs had been measured.
  2. Roughly $829,475 mobile app maintenance and upgrade efficiency gains using Xamarin for Visual Studio’s shared code base
  3. Around $6,558,360 savings on platform-specific mobile application developer expenses Seamless Cross-Platform Implementation

Since Xamarin makes use of C# language, it ends up covering over ninety percent of each platform’s respective language. Further, Xamarin also shares codebases, wrapping up APIs, data structures and .NET Layer, thereby enabling cross-platform developments. It is through this that development teams accomplish much more with less. Rapid Prototyping

Developers have access to a complete cross-platform UI toolkit with Xamarin.Forms. They make use of the multiple tools to design and develop interfaces that work on any device. In other words, developers can create single user interfaces across multiple platforms. Developers thus, end up sharing more code without having to further modify the UI for each platform. Enhanced User Experience

Xamarin enables developers to access each and every type of native API. Due to this, it is also made possible for users to utilize other native tools such as UI, Bluetooth, and SDKs to name a few. This way, Xamarin can take full advantage of the system and hardware-specific APIs. Users, thus can’t tell the difference between Xamarin and Native Mobile Development. Easy To Maintain And Update

Taking advantage of native frameworks, Xamarin makes it extremely easy to keep systems and applications updated. For example, it literally takes one day for any iOS or Android platform to keep up-to-date with the latest features. Therefore, users need not worry about their devices not being able to achieve the latest platform-specific features. They will be promptly introduced to the apps as and when Xamarin catches up.

1.1.2 What are the Cons of Xamarin?

Following given are the different disadvantages of Xamarin: Can Get Costly For Enterprises

Smaller companies or even freelancers can easily make use of Xamarin as they come completely free of cost. However, bigger companies or enterprises are required to purchase the Microsoft Visual Studio license in order to gain access to Xamarin. The starter pack license, which includes access to Visual Studio without advanced Azure DevOps, costs roughly $499. However, enterprises looking to gain access to all the features are required to pay $2,999 for an annual subscription. Different companies, different requirements and quite naturally, the costs of these licenses will also vary differently. Complications For Open Source Libraries

Xamarin is essentially designed to support most of the .Net libraries. However, it does not necessarily support all of the available third-party libraries. Android and iOS platforms are required to feature specific wrappers in order to be compatible with Xamarin. It can lead to several complications in case the need wrapper is missing. Does Not Support Heavy Graphics

Xamarin is actually not suitable for applications that consist of heavy graphics. Developers ideally make use of different methods to create each platform. These methods are primary decision-makers for visually laying out screens. However, if the platform is rich in UX or UI, it is essential that developers implement it natively. In case it has not been implemented natively, Xamarin will fail to support the said platform. Larger App Size

According to several reports, Xamarin is known to add over 3 to 5 megabytes worth of size for release. It features over 20 megabytes for debugging building purposes. In a time and age such as ours, users are constantly looking for ways through which app sizes can be minimized. It can be quite disadvantageous to know that Xamarin occupies so much space. You can also try this tutorial for further learning of Xamarin!

2. Conclusion

With more advantages than disadvantages, Xamarin clearly goes for the win! If you’re a developer who is looking towards developing applications for multiple platforms simultaneously, then there isn’t anything better than Xamarin to help you realize these goals. Thanks to Xamarin’s impeccable C# environment, it enables platforms to work seamlessly through native, cross-platform libraries and APIs. Keep all of the three major mobile operating systems in complete sync. Be it Android, Windows or iOS – Xamarin has proven to be a better option than most by reducing the overall development time and bringing newer features to the table at a much faster rate.

Saurabh Hooda

I have worked globally for telecom & finance giants in various capacities. My latest venture Hackr.io recommend the online programming courses for every programming language.
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