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App Development
6 minutes read

Xamarin Alternatives for 2022

By Jose Gomez
By Jose Gomez
App Development
6 minutes read

Xamarin is one of the most popular cross-platform app development frameworks, but there are several Xamarin alternatives that you might consider using instead. Developing cross-platform apps has several advantages, but the main advantage is creating a single app for both iOS and Android platforms. 

However, if your app can’t deliver a quality User Experience to your target audience on both platforms, cross-platform development has little value. Mobile app developers use frameworks like Xamarin to create native-like experiences for users. Each mobile app development framework performs differently, so it is important to choose one that works best for your requirements. 

This post will explore the popular alternatives to Xamarin and compare and contrast them so that you can choose the best cross-platform development framework for your app. 

Popular Alternatives to Xamarin 

Before we begin sharing Xamarin alternatives, let’s quickly familiarize ourselves with the details of Xamarin. Xamarin is an open-source mobile app development framework created by Microsoft. Developers use the .NET platform and the programming language C# to create mobile apps using Xamarin. The .NET platform provides the base for app development, and Xamarin provides additional tools and libraries to give mobile apps a native-like feel and functionality. 

If you are well-versed in .NET, Xamarin is a great way to extend the capabilities of this platform. However, many developers are unfamiliar with the intricacies of .NET, and they require a different framework for cross-platform development. There are several popular alternatives to Xamarin, including: 

  • React Native 
  • Ionic 
  • Flutter

React Native 

React Native is an open-source app development framework created by Facebook. Developers can use JavaScript to create the bulk of their mobile apps while using React Native. JavaScript is one of the first programming languages most developers learn. So, many organizations have an easier time finding developers with JavaScript experience than .NET experience. 

In addition, this framework allows developers to include native code in their builds. For example, your development team can write out certain parts of your application’s code in Swift to create better features for iOS apps. Instead of creating two native apps, developers can use JavaScript everywhere and then use native-specific languages, like Swift and Kotlin, to enhance certain aspects of their Android and iOS apps. As a result, React Native provides nearly native app performance and User Experience levels.

To get a nearly native experience comparable to an app built with React Native using Xamarin, developers have to use Xamarin.Android and Xamarin.iOS tools. However, this is a very time-consuming task, and many developers choose to create their User Interfaces using Xamarin.Forms. Xamarin.Forms greatly simplifies and speeds up the development process, but it won’t provide the native look and feel associated with React Native. 

Ionic 

Ionic is an open-source UI framework initially created and released in 2013. It was developed on top of two other technologies, Cordova and Angualr.JS.  Developers can use web technologies HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create mobile interfaces for Android and iOS apps. However, since Ionic only deals with the front-end or look of an application, it requires a native wrapper to run on mobile devices. Typically, developers will use a Cordova wrapper.

Initially created to create hybrid mobile apps, Ionic can be used in cross-platform app development. However, when it comes to app performance, Ionic cannot keep up with the abilities of Xamarin or React Native. Ionic relies on web technologies to render the app, but this typically lowers app speed and performance when compared to other frameworks. 

The major benefit of using Ionic in app development is that it is often easier and faster to test. This streamlines the development process, and it can help get your product to market faster. 

Flutter 

Flutter is an open-source mobile app UI framework created and maintained by Google. This framework is interesting because it uses its own unique programming language called Dart. Dart is based on C, C++, and Java programming languages. Thanks to Dart, developers can create immersive, reactive mobile User Interface elements without using a JavaScript bridge. 

Out of all the frameworks we have mentioned so far, Flutter gives developers the most flexibility and freedom to create near-native User Experiences. Plus, with the power of Dart, developers don’t have to sacrifice app performance for looks. Flutter is also the only framework we have mentioned here that uses a single codebase. 

When it comes to detailed native interface designs and matching native platform conventions, Flutter is the most adept framework available. However, developers will have to learn Dart if they aren’t already familiar with it, and learning a new programming language can be time-consuming. 

How to Choose the Right Framework for Your Project

We have just covered the four most popular cross-platform development frameworks available. So, how do you know which framework is best suited for your project? First, you need to understand what skills your development team possesses. For example, if none of your developers are familiar with .NET, C#, or Dart, you will likely be able to rule out Xamarin and Flutter. 

React Native uses JavaScript, but you can also supplement your code with Swift or Kotlin to give it more native capabilities. If your team has experience with native app development, but you don’t have the time or resources to commit to developing two separate applications, React Native is probably the best choice for you. Finally, if you only need to create a native-looking User Interface, Ionic is easy to use because it relies on core web technologies HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. 

If you need additional help determining which choice is the best for your project, reach out to an app development partner. A partner can help you understand which technologies are the best suited for your project and guide you through the entire development process with industry experience and technical expertise. Perhaps Xamarin is the best tool for your app development project, or maybe one of the several Xamarin alternatives is a better fit for your business.

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