An impeccably designed mobile app will certainly uplift your business and customer base and also helps you to firmly establish your presence in this steep competitive era. However, mobile app development comes across multiple development platforms and devices and this is truly challenging for the developers. Xamarin is one of the prime mobile app development technologies which offers a thinkable cross-platform solution that can easily work across multiple operating systems and devices. Based on Microsoft’s technology stack, Xamarin is a comparatively new technology in the field of mobile app development. But you must be astonished to know that it has a community of more than 1.4 million developers around the globe. Let’s dig a bit deeper and find out what is Xamarin and Why it is so popular?
Xamarin was created by the developers who developed Mono and it was introduced to the market in 2001. Initially, Xamarin was created as a commercial project until the company was attained by Microsoft in 2016. Very soon. Xamarin has become a popular cross-platform product for developing different mobile apps within the Microsoft ecosystem. Basically, Xamarin works on .NET and C# in order to produce original native Android and iOS apps with the same functions. It is a Microsoft-owned code language which uses cross-implementation of the Common Language Specification (CLS) and Common Language Infrastructure (CLI).
Let’s discuss some of the core advantages of using Xamarin for mobile app development.
Easy maintenance: Because of its cross-platform application, Xamarin makes maintenance and updates easier and simpler for the developers. You can simply do the changes or updates to the source file and they will be applied to both iOS and Android apps. So, it can be concluded that Xamarin saves both your time and money while keeps your apps updated.
A complete hardware support: Xamarin generally offers the use of a range of plug-ins and supporting APIs for cross-platform app development. This means you can really enjoy a native-level interaction with operating device hardware. So, with Xamarin mobile app development, you may face a little hardware compatibility issues as compared to others. While developing apps on the Xamarin platform, an app development company can stay relaxed because they need to build applications with commonly available device functionalities running seamlessly on assorted platforms. Moreover, Xamarin also allows the developers to link native libraries for designing apps with good-quality customizations.
API integration: Xamarin is the best cross-platform for mobile application development because it allows the developers to combine the same APIs and UI controls that they used for developing Android, iOS and Mac application in their respective platform-specific programming languages (Java, Swift, and Objective-C). Such binding competence allows the mobile users to install new features as early as possible when they are introduced into the device’s OS.
Shared app code: Why people are choosing Xamarin for cross-platform app development? The answer is this platform allows the developers to share the app code across multiple mobile platforms and OS. That’s why the popularity of Xamarin developer is increasing day by day and the companies are also hiring app developers who have a comprehensive knowledge of Xamarin. The important UI logics like input validation, web service calls, database interactions, back-end API integrations are all coded with C#. That’s why Xamarin has become a popular choice for cross-platform app development.
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Native user experience and feel: Most of the app users generally prefer an application with a native design. Xamarin Studio (IDE) allows developers to code with C# which provides the benefits of a native user interface, access to device-specific features, and most importantly native app performance. Xamarin streamlines code sharing across multiple mobile operating systems such as Android, iOS and Windows Phone while reducing the product development lifecycle.
Rapid mobile application development (RMAD): RMAD is one of the prime benefits of Xamarin. And for this reason, today’s enterprises prefer cross-platform development over native development because it quickens the development processes at an affordable cost. Indubitably, Xamarin satisfies this requirement by the companies and also delivers native app-like look and feel, steady performance across platforms, and unparalleled user experience. Xamarin UI development generally uses forms libraries to make the process rapid, simple and smooth. This is the reason behind the popularity of Xamarin and that’s why it is considered as a business-friendly platform.
Benefits of C#: Xamarin uses a single language and i.e C# to create various apps for all mobile platforms. C# is an advanced, general-purpose, and type-safe programming language which is primarily used for the Windows platform. This is an object-oriented and a modernized version of C++. It enables even the basic data types to be treated as objects. Since this language has type-safety feature, hence by using this language you can prevent type errors which can result in flawed program behaviour. Since the app developers are using this language, hence they don’t have to involve boilerplate or verbose type annotations which enhances convenience while also avoiding erroneous program.
First app development cycle: The most amazing thing about Xamarin app development platform is that this platform contains reusable code 90% of which can be recycled for the development of apps on various platforms. The coding language is based on C# language and.Net libraries. For Xamarin, the app developers can easily reuse a portion of original Xamarin codes to create various apps across different platforms. Thus, it will help them to save a chunk of time and effort and also accelerates the pace of the app development cycle. Because of simplified code sharing across different OS, users have a shortened product development lifecycle.
Complete development ecosystem: Basically, Xamarin comes in one package with a complete development toolset. It has its own IDE (Xamarin Studio that is now replaced by Visual Studio), the platforms itself (Xamarin SDKs), testing (Xamarin Test Cloud), distribution and analytics (Hockeyapp and Xamarin.Insights) platforms. So, there is no need to invest in additional tools. Moreover, you don’t need to integrate the third-party apps in order to build, test, and deploy your Xamarin apps.
The above, we mentioned some of the core advantages of Xamarin. But like any other thing, Xamarin also has some downsides. Let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages of using Xamarin for cross-platform mobile application development.
Delayed support for the latest updates: It is impossible for third-party tools to provide the immediate support for the latest iOS and Android releases. It requires some time to implement all the changes effectively. Though Xamarin claims that it provides same-day support, still there are some delays.
Limited access to open source libraries: with native app development, you are free to use open source technologies extensively. But with Xamarin, you have to use only the components provided by the platform and some.Net open source resources.
Only a few experienced people are there: Xamarin community is much smaller than iOS and Android. So, it would be an arduous and challenging job for you to find an experienced and deft Xamarin developer. A plethora of statistics has claimed that the Xamarin community makes 10 per cent of the global mobile development society. Though the community is small, still the platform provides extensive support to the developers.
You need to know basic knowledge of native languages: You need to use Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android to build mobile apps which may look and feel like native apps. This means you will still need to write a platform-specific layer of code. So, if you want to use the Xamarin platform, you need some knowledge of native technologies (Java/Kotlin for Android and Objective-C/Swift for iOS) Though with Xamarin.Forms, you don’t need this.
Not applicable for the apps with heavy graphics: one of the prime benefits of Xamarin is that you can share your code across the platforms. But you can only share the logic because UI code will be platform-specific. So, if you want to make game apps or complex animations, then it won’t be a prudent decision to use Xamarin. With a small amount of shared code, Xamarin becomes an unrealistic option.
App size is larger: Xamarin apps are larger than native ones depending on their intricacy and type. The size of a native app is half the size of a Xamarin app. Thus, you need to do additional optimization for your Xamarin apps to maintain the app size reasonably.
Inevitable software overheads: Since Xamarin app development creates a single app for all platforms, hence you can save time. But at the same time, it also involves in code linkage and referencing between target OS environments of different devices in use and.Net frameworks. It is true that this kind of effort is time-taken for initiation and downloads of the app.
Time: consuming nature of UI development: UI development on Xamarin platform is really a time-taken endeavour. Though Xamarin allows you to reuse maximum code across target device platforms, still it is very difficult to create a portable core UI. That ’s why Xamarin app developers are forced to do some portion of coding for the independent platform and this takes a huge time.
These are some advantages and disadvantages of using Xamarin for mobile app development and you should evaluate all these before making the final decision. Though most of the business houses prefer Xamarin because it lessens their time and cost by sharing the code and using a single technology stack. If you want to develop a pristine mobile application, then first consider your target audience and the purpose of the app and then, choose a platform for your application.
Norjimm is a popular mobile application development company India with years of experience in this field. The expertise has helped us develop several amazing apps which have helped meet the needs of different businesses with their innovative ideas.