Xamarin is a cross-platform development framework for building mobile apps (for Windows, iOS, and Android) from a single shared C# code base. It offers an all in one technology stack for all mobile platforms. Developers can use Xamarin app development to create apps for all the major platforms simultaneously, which are usually indistinguishable from native apps. This is because they take advantage of platform-specific APIs, native UI controls, and platform-specific hardware acceleration. Xamarin uses C#, which is a popular object-oriented programming language for web and mobile app development and networking. Xamarin has its pros and cons, which we will examine in more detail to determine whether it is good for Android development or not.
Single Tech Stack
Xamarin app development provides 60% to 95% of reusable code with native UI, controls, and performance. Each platform’s particular APIs, data structures, and language are catered to using a .NET framework that enhances cross platform mobile app development.
Minimal Time to Market
Using shared code bases for Xamarin app development eliminates time that would otherwise be spent rewriting, translating, or recompiling code in order for it to work on different platforms. Months and possibly years of the development cycle are shaved off in process. This allows cross platform mobile app development to occur simultaneously for all 3 major platforms.
Xamarin app development requires limited maintenance as once the source file has been updated, the changes are immediately reflected in all the platforms. This eliminates the need to update the source code of each platform individually should any bug fixes, updates, or new features be available for deployment.
Complete Technical Support by Microsoft
Xamarin is owned by Microsoft and is a part of its software development bundle, which places it on a different pedestal when it comes to continuous developer support, stability, and performance.
Native Integration and Performance
Xamarin apps perform at a level that is comparable to a native app. This is because it uses an array of native technologies and elements for optimized results. It comes with 100% native API access, a native UI for unique visualizations, and native compilation.
The biggest disadvantage of Xamarin app development is the price tag associated with it. Commercial development of Xamarin apps involves Microsoft Visual Studio licensing, which doesn’t come cheap. You will have to shell out $1,199 for the annual Professional subscription or $5,999 for the Enterprise license in the first year alone.
Xamarin needs to work with multiple platforms at the same time, which means that all the apps created by Xamarin app development come with overhead where additional memory, bandwidth, computation time, or other resources may be required. The disadvantage this poses is that Xamarin apps are heavier and take up more space than native apps, making them a little slower in execution time.
The Xamarin community is pretty restricted in size when compared to communities for other technology stacks. When specialization is the key to success for many app development niches, Xamarin’s tools and community are pretty limited. The ecosystem, though, is becoming more robust with time as Xamarin app development gets more popular.
Xamarin is great for Android mobile app development as it uses one shared code base between 3 different platforms, which substantially reduces the cross platform app development time required to fully develop an app. It’s time to market is reduced because of this feature so that you can launch your mobile app in the market with both speed and agility to your advantage. The guaranteed Microsoft technical support that it comes with is also a major plus point, not to mention the limited maintenance of source code that is required. Although it may require more storage space than native apps, the fact that it comes with 100% native API access means that it is more versatile and therefore more desirable regardless.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!