With the increasing use of mobile technology, it has become a paramount requirement to have a mobile application compatible with every operating system. For this reason, cross-platform development has gained hype and demand. There are many frameworks that aids in cross-platform development that includes Xamarin, React Native, Flutter, Native Script, Phonegap and ionic, etc. In this blog, we are going to discuss Xamarin and React Native and their contrast (Reach Native vs Xamarin).
What is Xamarin?
Xamarin is an open-source platform used for the development of advanced and innovative applications for Android and iOS with the assistance of .NET (a platform for app development). Xamarin is a part of .NET, which includes additional features to the .NET platform. Xamarin uses C# programming language for writing codes. It is basically an abstraction layer that manages communication of shared code with primary platform code. It is a project by Microsoft.
How does Xamarin work?
Xamarin app development can transform the entire Android and iOS SDK to C#. Why there is a need for this transformation? It is because we want a cross-platform based application. Hence C# is used to code for both platforms. Therefore you need to remember less of syntax. Almost any Android and iOS are accessible in C# through Xamarin tools.
Regarding the User Interface (UI) development, you need to build the UI separately for different platforms. Then the UI is combined with the common codebase. The common codebase is the shared C# code that connects with the specific platform UI code. You can also build actual native application UI. Native application UI provides the feel of the user’s choice and also the application itself behaves like a usual native app. There are two options to build the UI. One is the original native method and the other is to use Xamarin.Forms.
Xamarin.Forms is an open-source UI framework. Xamarin.Forms allow developers to build iOS, Android and Windows applications from a single shared codebase. Xamarin.Forms let developers create UI in XAML with code-behind in C#. These UIs are extracted as native controls on each platform. Some examples of features are
- XAML UI language
- Data binding
Xamarin.Essentials is a library, which provides cross-platform APIs for native device features. It is a concept that simplifies the process of accessing native functionality. Some examples of functionality are
- Device info
- File system
- Phone dialer
- Screen lock
Additional Features of Xamarin
Xamarin combines the capabilities of native platforms and includes the number of additional features like
- Complete binding for the primary SDKs – Xamarin allows binding for almost all the underlying platform SDKs in both Android and iOS. These bindings let the user navigate and use them easily and also provide strong compile-type checking during development. These strongly-types bindings have fewer run-time errors and help in building high-quality applications.
- Other programming languages’ libraries – Xamarin allows the developer to invoke other programming languages’ libraries like Objective-C, Java, C, and C++. It helps in using a wide array of third party code. This feature helps the developer to use existing iOS and Android libraries written in these programming languages.
- Modern language constructs – Xamarin applications are coded in C#, which is a modern language. It contains significant improvements as compared to Objective-C and Java. These improvements can be dynamic features and functional constructs.
- Strong Base Class Library (BCL) – Xamarin applications use the .NET BCL. It is a huge collection of classes that have complete and reorganized features such as powerful XML, Database, Serialization, IO, String, and Networking support, etc. Existing C# code can be compiled in order to use it in an app. It provides access to many libraries that add functionality over the BCL.
- Modern Integrated Development Environment (IDE) – Xamarin uses Visual Studio. Visual Studio is a modern IDE that includes features like code auto-completion, a sophisticated project, and solution management system, a comprehensive project template library, integrated source control, etc.
- Mobile cross-platform support – Xamarin provides high-level cross-platform support for the three major platforms of iOS, Android, and Windows. Applications can be written to share up to 90% of their code. Xamarin.Essentials offer a combined API to access common resources in all three platforms.
Xamarin.Android applications compile from C# into Intermediate Language (IL). IL is then Just-in-Time (JIT) compiled to a native assembly at the time of application launching. Xamarin.Android applications run within the Mono execution environment, along with the Android Runtime (ART) virtual machine. Xamarin provides .NET bindings to the Android and Java namespaces. The Mono execution environment calls into these namespaces through Managed Callable Wrappers (MCW). It provides Android Callable Wrappers (ACW) to the ART that allows code to invoke in both environments.
Xamarin.iOS applications are completely Ahead-of-Time (AOT) compiled from C# into native ARM assembly code. Xamarin uses Selectors to uncover Objective-C to managed C#. Then Registrars are used to uncovering that previously managed C# code to Objective-C. Selectors and Registrars are called “bindings” that allow Objective-C and C# to communicate.
Why is Xamarin used?
The major reasons for using Xamarin for mobile application development are
- It is not confined to only mobile app development
- The codes written in the Xamarin framework can be reusable.
- It also supports smartwatch apps.
- Xamarin supported apps have simplified maintenance
- Xamarin.Forms provide unified designs.
- It provides access to Native Application Programming Interface
- 70 to 80% of code sharing can be processed in all major mobile platforms
- It has the ability to control Visual Studio
- There is a powerful Mono.NET framework for developers.
- It gives the best user experience (UX) and high performance
- It is the most time and cost-efficient platform for mobile app development
- It is also compatible with the development of hybrid apps with the help of a portable razor framework.
What is React Native?
How does React Native work?
For processing communication, there is a bridge between these two threads that are the main part of React Native. The bridge has three important features
- Asynchronous – It allows asynchronous communication between the threads, ensuring no intervention between each other.
- Batched – It transmits messages from one thread to the other in an improved manner.
- Can be serialized – The two threads do not share or operate with the same data. In its place, they exchange serialized messages.
Why is React Native Framework used?
- Previously, it was created for only iOS development. With its increasing popularity, Facebook decided to provide assistance for the Android platform as well. Hence, using a single codebase for both platforms can develop React Native apps.
- Initially hybrid and mobile web apps were famous for compatibility concerns. But when it comes to performance, complicated apps like hybrid apps lags more than expected. In order to solve this problem, developers made the best of React Native. It supports the compatibility for both platforms without any lags.
- Another pro for using React Native is that it supports faster development, ability to reuse components and can be maintainable. And it is a time-saving process.
React Native vs Xamarin
After looking thoroughly at both the frameworks, let’s compare which is more preferable to use. Preferences depend upon the requirements of mobile application and how far it goes in cross-platform frameworks.
React Native vs Xamarin: Technology
Xamarin – It used C# language for coding along with the .NET framework. Being backed by Microsoft means that it can be used within the Visual Studio environment. It provides the developers ease of using the respective tools like rich editor, native platform integration and a set of debugging tools.
Conclusion – As both of them are supported by the best technology, therefore choosing either of these depends upon the developer’s choice.
React Native vs Xamarin: Code compilation
React native – It used JIT (Just In Time) compilation for Android app development. But in the case of iOS apps, it directly decodes the JS code. It is because of Apple’s policy that restricts the execution of dynamically generated codes on its devices.
Xamarin – It uses the JIT compilation for Android apps using the C# codebase. But for iOS app development, it has a better approach that is AOT (Ahead of time) compilation for compiling managed codes.
Conclusion – Since AOT is the better approach of compilation; Xamarin is preferable for iOS app development. As far as the compilation is concerned, Xamarin is a better choice for Android app development as well.
React Native vs Xamarin: Available Components
Both frameworks have a diverse and broad range of components with proper documentation for developers to use them. Hence, again it’s a developer’s choice to choose the better option according to the preferences.
React Native vs Xamarin: Development Environment
React Native – IDE of React Native is highly flexible and allows developers to use the text editor of their choice. The best feature is the Live Reload feature that enables developers to view the effects of the change created to the code in real-time.
Xamarin – Xamarin has a friendly development environment. It allows the developers to write code on Windows and even on an iPhone app. The code can be compiled on a Mac because Apple doesn’t permit the developers to do so any other way. Xamarin also leverages Microsoft’s Visual Studio and Apple’s XCode for application development.
Conclusion – In regard to IDE, Xamarin has more preferences over React Native.
React Native vs Xamarin: Cost
React Native – As React Native is an open-source project, developers and businesses can use the framework and its libraries at absolutely no cost.
Xamarin – Xamarin platform is also open-source and available for free, but using the Visual Studio incurs a cost for enterprise users.
Conclusion – Since cost is the major factor while choosing the framework so, React Native is a better choice.
React Native vs Xamarin: Popularity
The best measuring strategy to assess the popularity of both frameworks is to look for online search trends. According to the Google survey for React Native and Xamarin, people seem more interested in React Native than Xamarin.
Comparing, on the whole, React Native is a better framework for cross-platform app development.
Q. Which is better, React Native or Xamarin?
Q. Which framework allows the diversity in the Development environment, React Native or Xamarin?
A. Xamarin has the only development environment that is Visual Studio while React Native uses different flexible IDEs and text editors.
Q. Which framework is faster for app development React Native or Xamarin?
A. In React Native, you don’t need to recompile your code while making some modifications. You can simply use the feature of Hot Reloading that instantly reload your code without recompilation. This feature saves a lot of time. In the case of Xamarin, you have to compile your code each and every time you make changes using Visual Studio.