Advantages & Disadvantages of Xamarin

Advantages & Disadvantages of Xamarin
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Written by Shuvhojit DebDecember 2, 2021
15 min read
Xamarin
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Techiio-author
Shuvhojit Deb

Full Stack Developer

Hello guys, today we'll know everything about Xamarin.

About Xamarin

It’s impossible to ignore Xamarin when talking about the key approaches to mobile application development. Xamarin is a tool used for cross-platform mobile app development that allows engineers to share up to 90 percent of code across major platforms. Being a comparatively new tool, it is based on the Microsoft technology stack and already has a community of over 1.4 million developers.

The platform was built by the developers behind Mono, an open-source development platform based on the .NET Framework, led by Miguel de Icaza and first introduced in 2001. The Xamarin company was founded on May 16, 2011.

However, unlike its predecessor, Xamarin was created as a commercial project until the company was acquired by Microsoft in 2016. Xamarin became a popular cross-platform product for developing mobile apps within the Microsoft ecosystem. This acquisition broke the financial barrier for using Xamarin. As Microsoft made Xamarin SDK open-source, it became part of Xamarin Visual Studio Integrated Development Environment (we discuss the best IDEs to use for Xamarin development below).

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Main features of Xamarin

  1. Complete binding for the underlying SDKs – Xamarin contains bindings for nearly the entire underlying platform SDKs in both iOS and Android. Additionally, these bindings are strongly-typed, which means that they’re easy to navigate and use, and provide robust compile-time type checking and during development. Strongly-typed bindings lead to fewer runtime errors and higher-quality applications.
  2. Objective-C, Java, C, and C++ Interop – Xamarin provides facilities for directly invoking Objective-C, Java, C, and C++ libraries, giving you the power to use a wide array of third-party code. This functionality lets you use existing iOS and Android libraries written in Objective-C, Java, or C/C++. Additionally, Xamarin offers binding projects that allow you to bind native Objective-C and Java libraries using a declarative syntax.
  3. Modern language constructs – Xamarin applications are written in C#, a modern language that includes significant improvements over Objective-C and Java such as dynamic language features, functional constructs such as lambdas, LINQ, parallel programming, generics, and more.
  4. Robust Base Class Library (BCL) – Xamarin applications use the .NET BCL, a large collection of classes that have comprehensive and streamlined features such as powerful XML, Database, Serialization, IO, String, and Networking support, and more. Existing C# code can be compiled for use in an app, which provides access to thousands of libraries that add functionality beyond the BCL.
  5. Modern Integrated Development Environment (IDE) – Xamarin uses Visual Studio, a modern IDE that includes features such as code auto-completion, a sophisticated project and solution management system, a comprehensive project template library, integrated source control, and more.
  6. Mobile cross-platform support – Xamarin offers sophisticated 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, and Xamarin. Essentials offer a unified API to access common resources across all three platforms. Shared code can significantly reduce both development costs and time to market for mobile developers.

Advantages of Xamarin

1. Single Technology Stack

Xamarin app development is one of the most sought-after ways for businesses to ensure time-effectiveness as well as ease of creation for the developers. The single language in the technology stack that is C# can be used for creating multiple solutions without having to switch environments, all thanks to the Visual Studio. The single technological stack in the Xamarin Framework makes it easy to use and learn.

2. Native User Experience

Xamarin application development results in the creation of applications that offer native or near-native experience with the use of Xamarin. forms. The frameworks have access to the native APIs that are currently used for platforms like Android, iOS while the nativeness is the result of some platform-specific elements that can be found in C# and Visual Studio. In addition to this, Xamarin. Forms further ensure the creation of convenient UIs for platforms like iOS, Windows as well as Android.

3. Open-Source and Microsoft Support

Being an open-source framework, Xamarin is constantly improving as we say. Apart from this, the framework is backed by the most dominant power in the world that is Microsoft, making it rather scalable, stable as well as robust.

4. Shared App Logic

With almost 95% of the code that can be reused once it's written, Xamarin app development is considered one of the easiest tasks to perform. This strategically reduces the amount of time required for the completion of the application tasks while significantly reducing the effort required as well. The developers can run a single codebase across multiple platforms with only a minimal change required.

5. Integrated Testing

Xamarin test clouds, unlike others, allow the developers to test their application continuously during the development process which thereby results in faultless code generation. In addition to this, the Xamarin test cloud can be used across multiple mobile platforms to test the application without having to buy multiple devices for individual testing. Finding performance issues before the release of the application makes way for a rather cost-effective solution when compared to other frameworks.

6. Cost-Effective

Since the Xamarin app development framework uses a single technological stack as well as a reusable code, the time required by the developers for the development of a single application is significantly reduced while at the same time allowing them to release their software faster to the client. Since the entire process is carried out between C# and the Visual studio, the organization only requires a single team to work on the task as it is streamlined significantly thereby eliminating additional expenses required for multiple teams. tart building on a smaller level and scale up moving forward.

7. Easy Maintenance

Since the frameworks allow code reuse, the application was created with Xamarin. Forms are rather easy to maintain. Applying changes to the source code when concurred with an issue can be ultimately seen on the other aspects as well thereby saving time and money. Apart from this, the large community is always ready to support with issues at hand while providing proper documentation as well as training.

Since Xamarin app development with its many benefits has been proven rather beneficial for business organizations, the popularity of the framework seems no bound in the present times. Developing the mobile application with Xamarin results in cost-effectiveness as well as increased efficiency in addition to getting the native apps like experience as well.

Disadvantages of Xamarin

1. Time-Consuming UI development

In UI creation on the Xamarin platform time becomes an important issue. It provides you with the ability to reuse code around the application platform target. A portable version of the core UI is difficult to build. This is why experts in Xamarin App Creation thoroughly cod for an independent platform, a time-consuming process.

2. Inescapable Software Overheads

While Xamarin helps to save a lot of time, it produces a single application for the entire platform. On the other hand, the relation between the references and code to the destination OS environment of various devices and.net frameworks often indicates that the time taken to start up and update the apps will be increased.

3. Problems with App file size

Even more, time-consuming, it needs more space to store the device file size by using Xamarin’s total core libraries as well as the device stores features in the wrong client file size. The size of the store range can be between 3 MB and 15 MB.

4. Lack of community support

This was one of the most significant downsides of Xamarin. Android, iOS, and NET developers have huge community support forums, groups, and communities with a wealth of information. When compared to all those, Xamarin is relatively new, so the community still has to develop. If you happen to hit roadblocks during app development, there is no guarantee that you will be able to find a solution for it online. You might have to hire a Xamarin Certified Partner, a partner program that will help you with your issues as they have more access to support resources.

Conclusion

When comparing the pros and cons, the listed drawbacks are usually considered to be collateral damage. Most business owners choose Xamarin mobile app development platform as it decreases the time to market and engineering cost, by sharing the code and using a single technology stack. Yet the purpose of the app and its target audience might be an even more important factor to consider.

Based on our team’s experience, the best use case for Xamarin is enterprise mobile solutions. With standard UI which covers 90 percent of the projects, all the core product logic can be easily shared across the platforms. Hence, platform customization will only take 5-10 percent of the engineering effort.

In the case of consumer-facing apps with heavy UI, the amount of shared code decreases drastically. Thus, Xamarin cross-platform development loses its major benefit and might equal in time and cost to native solutions.

Xamarin
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Shuvhojit Deb
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