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People wonder why is there a Xamarin vs React Native comparison and why is this issue so popular nowadays. The answer is in the value that these 2 open source frameworks provide - cross-platform mobile development services

Some of the businesses rely mostly on the mobile experience of their clients, thus they need to create quality apps for both Android and iOS users. Naturally, when we talk about creating an Android app we require a developer skilled in Java + Kotlin, and for iOS - Swift or Objective-C will do. But there is a downside to that - custom software development time grows because of the need to create 2 apps. Let alone the fact that the Android team and the iOS team might implement the same feature completely differently. As we well know the tools you use to create an app for Android will not work for iOS app development and vice versa. For that reason, developers use cross-platform solutions including Xamarin and React Native. Brief information about each of them:

  • Xamarin allows creating one single application logic using C # and .NET. In this framework, applications can send requests to API interfaces on devices. When the visual interface is defined, the C # logic is attached, and the app works on both Android and iOS.
  • React native is a JS framework based on JS and React created by Facebook. Due to the fact that the version for Android appeared later, the one for iOS has more components. With React Native, you don't build a "mobile web app", an "HTML5 app", or a "hybrid app". You build a real mobile app that's indistinguishable from an app built using Objective-C or Java.

From the above-mentioned, it is easy to gather that in case your development team has experience with .NET it will be easy to work with Xamarin. And if JavaScript is nothing new to the team then React Native won’t be hard to handle.

Let's move to discuss both frameworks in more detail with the pros and cons.

Xamarin

It is a framework based on the Microsoft technology stack. With a C#-shared codebase, developers can use Xamarin tools to write native Android, iOS, and Windows apps with native user interfaces and share code across multiple platforms, including Windows and macOS. Forrester’s research found out that Xamarin reduces mobile app development and life-cycle management costs while optimizing the utilization of existing developer resources.

Pros of using Xamarin

  • Single technology stack. Xamarin uses C# and .Net framework to develop apps for any mobile platform. Thus, you don’t have to switch between environments and about 75% of the code can be shared crosswise.
  • Easy prototyping. Such a tool as Xamarin.Forms provides developers with rapid prototyping. With it, one can create a single interface and share it across all platforms. 
  • Native Experience in UI. Xamarin Studio and Visual Studio provide the mobile team with the specialized UI & UX design tools that allow creating flawless UI.
  • Integrated Testing Environment. Xamarin has a TestCloud tool that allows testing apps automatically.
  • Cost-effective development. Naturally when the developer does not have to develop an app for each platform but can use a cross-platform solution instead - it reduces the development time and cost. 
  • Low maintenance. Updating and maintaining apps built with Xamarin is so much easier as there is no need to update features for each platform in case of new releases or bug fixes.

Cons of using Xamarin

  • Not all Open Source Libraries available. For now, the development team can only use components provided by the platform and .NET resources.
  • Not for heavy graphics. The UI is usually more platform-based than the code, so the apps with heavy graphics might experience troubles. If the UI is rich it would be better to use native implementation.
  • Problems with 3rd-party tools. It has been known, that developers often face a problem trying to integrate third-party solutions. So in case, there is a need to implement a specific integration that is not supported by the platform it is advised to go through compatibility guidelines.
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React Native

React Native is a JavaScript framework for writing real, natively rendering mobile applications for iOS and Android launched in 2015. It’s based on React, Facebook’s JavaScript library for building user interfaces, but instead of targeting the browser, it targets mobile platforms. Unlike Xamarin, React Native creates UI indistinguishable from the native one. Some of the most famous apps like Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, etc. were created with the use of React Native.

Pros of using React Native

  • Big Community. React Native uses JavaScript - one of the most popular and used programming languages in the world. So the community is huge. Besides, it is an open-source framework meaning any developer can contribute to the framework.
  • Native-like performance. The “Native” in the name kinda explains it - the user interface is created with the help of native modules and widgets, and sometimes it is even hard to tell if the app is for example native iOS or built with RN. This is one of the main arguments for this platform in the React Native vs Xamarin performance debate.
  • Reusable code. In case a business has a web app that is written in React they can create a mobile app with React Native using a large part of that code. 
  • One team for several apps. As with Xamarin, you don’t need “native” teams for both iOS and Android - React Native saves the day.
  • Reduce time and cost. For the reason described above the development, time decreases twice and so does the cost. Of course, not every aspect of every mobile app can be created with the help of an RN and there will be differences when creating some native iOS or Android features. But still, in the general picture, you reduce your spendings.

Cons of using React Native

  • Developers for native modules. To some extent, your mobile application development team might still need to write a minimal amount of native code during the app development. Thus there is still a need for native software engineers (Objective-C, Java).
  • 3rd-party components trouble. The list of third-party components that can be used with React Native is not long.
  • Performance issues. Some might note that apps created with the React Native on rare occasions work teeny-tiny worse than the native ones. 
  • Slower updates. As the technology is still young one can notice, that the SDKs updates fall behind the ones of Android or iOS. 

Famous apps built with the above-covered frameworks

For many, one of the key factors in the debates between Xamarin Native vs React Native or Xamarin Forms vs React Native is the number and status of applications built with each framework. We do not quite agree that this is the deciding factor, but here is a small list for your consideration.


React Native:

  • Facebook

  • Uber

  • Bloomberg

  • Instagram

  • Discord

  • Airbnb

  • Pinterest

  • Skype

Xamarin:

  • Oro

  • APX

  • Novarum DX

  • The World Bank

  • Storyo

  • Captio

Summing Up

As we can see there are a lot of similar advantages and disadvantages between the two frameworks. And to be honest, currently, it is no point in spending more time on Xamarin vs React Native debates. Xamarin's market share is currently 1.74%, while React Native has 42% of the market share. The existence of Xamarin in 2021-2022 remains a big question. React Native, in turn, remains one of the main multi-platform frameworks and fights with Flutter and View for the title of the best and most popular. Still, have no idea which one would be better? No problem - leave it for us to investigate.


Don't know what framework to choose? Our experts will help you!

Is Xamarin better than React Native?

No, in fact, React Native is a much more universal and therefore more popular framework for developing cross-platform applications. At the same time, Xamarin's popularity declined steadily.

Is Xamarin dead in 2021?

Not yet, but everything is heading towards this. At the beginning of the year, Microsoft announced that Xamarin's most important component - Xamarin.Forms will cease to exist in November 2021. This event can be considered the end of the framework.

What apps are built with Xamarin?

Popular apps built with Xamarin are:

  • Oro

  • APX

  • Novarum DX

  • The World Bank

  • Storyo

  • Captio

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