Cross-platform frameworks for app development can significantly cut down on the amount of time needed to develop apps for both desktop and mobile environments. Selecting the appropriate framework is essential to prevent starting from scratch and switching to a new framework later in the development process. It is designed to give a mechanism for writing once and deploying broadly.
If you’re choosing a framework for Android, iOS, and Windows app development, Xamarin has many advantages to offer.
Advantages of Xamarin:
The fact that Xamarin is so well-known is one of its greatest advantages. One of the earliest cross-platform development frameworks available, Xamarin was developed in 2011 and has roots in the open-source Ximian and Mono projects.
Due to the extensive use of Xamarin and.NET in the development of apps over a lengthy period of time, the procedure has been well-honed. More than a million people worldwide have downloaded the Xamarin software development kit since it was officially adopted into the.NET ecosystem by Microsoft in 2016 and acquired by the tech giant.
It is simple to understand why: Xamarin enables developers to use.NET and C# to create native apps that avoid the overhead of certain competing frameworks and provide high speed. Through a single application programming interface, the Forms framework offers a mechanism to guarantee a uniform appearance across devices (API).
Xamarin is available when platform-specific APIs are needed.
A cross-platform API called Essentials provides translation for functions including sensor access, geolocation, device statistics, and safe storage. Additionally, even while Xamarin focuses on mobile development for Android and iOS devices, it enables developers to share the underlying code with any.NET-compatible platform, such as Windows, macOS, Linux, and others.
The list of businesses that have used Xamarin to create widely-used applications is impressive as well. UPS’ mobile app, which includes integrated automated customer service bot functionality, was created on the platform; JustGiving, an online platform for charitable donations, uses Xamarin for its Android and iOS apps; and Microsoft itself uses Xamarin for its Seeing AI app, which increases accessibility by narrating the environment to a visually-impaired smartphone user.
While larger businesses will need to purchase Microsoft’s Visual Studio development environment, Xamarin is also entirely free to use for individual developers, early-stage startups, and smaller businesses. But by doing this, developers are ensured of a usable and well-supported development environment thanks to Microsoft’s backing.
Disadvantages of Xamarin:
Before starting to develop cross-platform apps with Xamarin, there are some drawbacks to be aware of, and the aforementioned license needs, which may pile up for larger businesses, are only one of them.
Although Xamarin is one of the more established cross-platform development frameworks, it has been overtaken by more recent entrants. According to a 2021 Statista developer poll, the two most popular, Flutter and React Native, are utilized by 42% and 38% of framework-assisted cross-platform mobile app developers, respectively; Xamarin is used by only 11% of developers.
When it comes time to expand your team for additional development or application maintenance, a less well-known framework may make it more difficult to locate the employees with the capabilities you require. However, because Xamarin has been around for a longer period of time, the staff that is currently accessible is usually more experienced, so any difficulties you may have in obtaining entry-level employees may be offset by the ease with which you can locate senior-level engineers.
Many of Xamarin’s rivals have expanded beyond mobile, making it possible to deploy apps for both mobile and desktop using a single codebase. But Xamarin continues to prioritize mobile.Nothing in Xamarin is aimed specifically for desktop platforms. However, because of its integration into.NET, it may be possible to share up to 75% of a codebase between mobile and desktop. You’ll still require two development branches, but they don’t have to be distinct from one another.
The.NET MAUI framework, which Microsoft describes as “the evolution of Xamarin,” has also just been released with Visual Studio. Using C# and XAML in a single codebase, MAUI is a new framework for creating contemporary, cross-platform, natively built apps for iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows. In the upcoming months, Socket Mobile will formally enable MAUI development and continue to offer the resources programmers require to make high-performance applications.
Picking a framework/Conclusion:
When it comes to creating mobile apps, Xamarin has a lot to offer, especially if you want to avoid coding for each platform separately while still targeting a variety of operating systems and platforms. The benefits of the flexibility and scalability it may provide to projects should not be underestimated, despite the fact that it has some drawbacks.
In some situations, Xamarin is the only sensible option for a framework for cross-platform mobile apps. If you already work in the.NET ecosystem, Xamarin allows you to start developing right away without having to learn anything completely new—and in the familiar setting of Visual Studio, no less.
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