In this blog, we address the burning query and compare three of the most popular mobile app cross platforms, i.e, ReactNative Vs Flutter Vs Xamarin.
As of today, there are 5.11 billion unique mobile users in the world. Given the demand for apps, platform and device diversity is ruling the mobile landscape. Therefore, hybrid/cross-platform app development is emerging as an economical option.
What is cross-platform development?
The cross-platform mobile app development enables you to create mobile applications for various platforms such as iOS and Android with simply one technology stack, i.e, ReactNative Vs Flutter Vs Xamarin
So instead of creating several versions of your app, each written using an exclusive native language for a specific platform, you can write your code once and use it on several platforms at once.
What are the benefits of cross-platform development?
- One Code for all- as the cross-development platform has a single codebase, exporting it to multiple operating systems is a cakewalk.
- Uniformity- A single shared codebase allows you to maintain the same look, feel, and experience overall platforms. Any update or bug fixing will automatically reflect everywhere.
- Saves Money & Time- All you need is one team working on a shared codebase, rather than having separate teams with different skill sets working on multiple native versions of your app. This saves time, money and streamlines all the efforts with a productive outcome.
- Increased Market reach- To have your product service app published on multiple platforms allows you to enhance your market reach without any added effort, thus improving your chances of getting more downloads and users.
To begin with there are several cross-platform mobile app development tools and frameworks available. These are
- React Native
- Native Script
Out of these, the widely used are- React Native, Flutter and Xamarin.
Followed by a short brief for each platform we will list their advantages and disadvantages for you to analyze and choose the best out of three. Also note the cross-platform that you choose also depends on your business type.
React Native was developed by Facebook in 2015. It’s an open-source, cross-platform mobile app development framework. The code used for the developing application makes it accessible on both iOS and Android devices. The resulting apps are both reliable and robust.
- Imperative Programming Approach- It requires developers to define a series of actions. These describe how the app performs to create a user interface.
- Declarative Programming- Simple Code and easy coding making the final product easier to maintain
- Compatible Architecture- This allows the freedom of separating app code into independent blocks. Resulting in, flexible development, making it easier for the app to upgrade and update.
- Ready to use Solutions and Libraries- Since React Native has been around for a longer period, developers have built a variety of tools and libraries to automate regular processes. So whoever uses react native, will have answers ready if they are stuck at any part of the process and can perfect their product
- Hot Reloading- The feature allows you to speed up the development process by having your app reload automatically each time there is a change in your code.
- The inability to deal with complexity- React Native is not efficient when it comes to apps with multiple screens, interactions, transitions, and complex animations.
Apps created using React Native (Popular Examples)
- FB Analytics
- FB Ads Manager
- Uber Eats
Created by Google in 2017, Flutter is a cross-platform, open-source framework for creating UI. Although it is the newest, with regards to React Native & Xamarin, yet it is the popular framework among the front-end developers. Applications for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, Google Fuchsia and the web are developed using Flutter.
- Declarative programming Approach- This approach increases the speed of development. Additionally, any changes in the UI doesn’t need a change in the recompilation of codes.
- Hot Reloading- It lets developers build UIs more speedily and effortlessly. It inserts updated code into running Dart Virtual Machine, allowing swift reflection of the changes and fixing of bugs.
- Development of MVP- Flutter facilitates budget-friendly and time effective development of MVPs. It is the top choice of developers to build MVPs for Android and iOS.
- Custom Built- Flutter offers an extensive library of pre-built widgets. You can easily make changes in the existing ones if need be or create your own.
- Large app side- The resulting Flutter apps can be quite large. This forces the developer to decrease the number of libraries, packages used, compress images. Moreover, the developers have to avoid using any animation, to deliver lighter apps.
- Ecosystem Dependency- The developer will need third-party packages since Flutter doesn’t offer several native APIs. Also, it is not compatible with CI (Continuous Integration), for instance, Travis & Jenkins.
Apps created using Flutter (Popular Examples)
- Google AdWords
- Google Greentea
- Birch Finance
Xamarin is a full-fledged platform built to develop high performing apps for iOS, Android and Windows. It was launched in 2011 by Mono.
- Performance level- The resulting apps from Xamarin perform like a native app.
- Ecosystem Dependency- It is an out and out open-source platform to build a mobile app since it equipped with C#, .Net and Microsoft Visual Studio.
- Limited Maintenance- Once you make changes to the source file, they apply directly to the apps. It eliminates the requirement to exclusively update the source code for the app.
- Expensive for Enterprise- Although it is free for individuals and small firms, large enterprises have to buy a license for Microsoft’s Visual Studio. The basic features access to Visual Studio excluding Azure DevOps or cloud services starts at $499.
- Restrictive Support- Xamarin does not support all of the available third-party libraries for Android and iOS.
- Community Support-Out of the three platforms, Xamarin has the least community support available. Forum and help support aren’t not easily available.
Apps created using Xamarin
- Skulls of the Shogun
- SuperGiant Games
- The World Bank
- Just Giving
- Thermo Fisher Scientific
To sum it up, there is no-one-fit for all! The cross-platform you choose, i.e, ReactNative Vs Flutter Vs Xamarin, depends on your requirements and needs. For instance, Xamarin will allow you to use 96% of the code, which is higher than any other cross-platform development. But if you want to develop an app quickly, go with Flutter. Nevertheless, React Native has a powerful performance among cross-platform frameworks. It is an extraordinary framework that is intelligible and offers an interface that is similar to native apps. Identify the right fit for you and your business accordingly.