Flutter Vs Xamarin: Which One to Choose?
Blog / Cross- Platform / Flutter Vs Xamarin: Which One to Choose?

Flutter Vs Xamarin: Which One to Choose?

Sitaram Sharma By Sitaram Sharma | January 23, 2020
flutter vs xamarin

Over a decade, the mobile industry has witnessed many changes and tremendous growth. Especially in the past 5 years, the number of smartphone users on the global level has reached 45% of the total population. As per Statista, the number is supposed to reach 50 billion the mark in 2020.

Mobile phones work on three major platforms such as iOS, Android, and Windows(that is losing the mark). With this comes the comparison between the frameworks such as Flutter Vs Xamarin for cross-platform mobile app development. 

Why Opt For Cross-Platform App Development?

The reason to choose between flutter and Xamarin mobile development frameworks was due to the shortcoming of traditional native mobile app development. The native apps are extremely expensive and slow in nature. Not only this, but the coding is done separately for different platforms.

This requires toolkit and a development team with specific skill sets for every platform that can be time-consuming and costly. This makes mobile app development companies go for cross-platform apps. A single code can help in developing the app for different platforms.

The cross-platform app development helps in managing the time, reach more users, and retain maintenance cost. However, it is not easy to dive into the cross-platform apps since the development can be done on the basis of different frameworks such as Xamarin, Flutter, XDK, and Cordova.

Flutter Vs Xamarin are the two major frameworks that iOS and android app developers opt for. The frameworks have their own set of pros and cons that makes them ideal for development. 

Before going for the Xamarin Vs Flutter, let us understand the frameworks.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is the major framework that is used for the development of cross-platform apps. Created in 2017 It is open-source in nature that is the development by Google. The framework is majorly famous for front-end development.

Apps Developed Using Flutter

Advantages of Flutter:

  • It is customizable in nature due to pre-built widgets with an extensive library.
  • Flutter framework is famous to have a complete development ecosystem including CLI tools, pre-built widgets, and other major tools.
  • It has the feature of a hot reload that helps in fixing bugs while implementation of code.
  • Google-owned Flutter is reliable in nature due to brand support.

Disadvantages of Flutter:

Flutter supports only limited Native APIs that make developers go for third-party packages.

  • The apps developed on Flutter are of larger size due to packages used and other libraries mode. 

What is Xamarin?

Xamarin is the cross-platform app framework that is open-source in nature is the oldest language founded in 2011.

Apps Developed Using Xamarin

Advantages of Xamarin:

  • Xamarin apps are famous for native-like performance.
  • The Xamarin.Forms offer seamless user experience due to standard interface elements due to the template library.
  • For small teams, Xamarin is free.
  • Xamarin helps in developing mobile apps with complete development ecosystem such as Microsoft Visual Studio, .NEt, and C#.

Disadvantages of Xamarin:

  • Xamarin apps are of larger size than native apps due to the libraries of C# development.
  • The new updates and features of Xamarin are reflected in the tool after a delay.
  • The code must be written as per platform-specific in some UI elements.
  • Xamarin works well with simple UI but with the complex app it depends on heavy graphics that affect the speed of the app. 

Flutter Vs Xamarin – What To Use?

Xamarin and Flutter are used for the development of cross-platform apps that use a single code. Google-owned Flutter app development framework was introduced in the market in 2015 with the topmost platform – Dart.

Whereas Xamarin, founded in 2011 uses Microsoft .NET platforms to develop the apps using Visual Studio IDE integration. Both the platforms have different aspects in the market that makes them ideal for the use. To make it easy to understand the difference, here are the essential points.

  1. Programming Language
  2. Portability
  3. Access to Native OS
  4. Community Support
  5. Price
  6. App Size
  7. UI Component

#1 Programming Language

Is flutter faster than Xamarin? This is something many developers ask. Let us understand the aspect of programming language to understand it in a better way. 

Xamarin and Flutter are the two major programming languages that are used for cross-platform app development. The major reason is the ability to develop apps over different programming languages while integrating the respective Flutter and Xamarin mobile development frameworks.

Data-based framework – Flutter – is a famous platform for Java developers. The object-oriented concepts are easy to understand with Dart syntax to develop apps that are easy-to-follow documentation. Dart has a set of amazing features that can be used in app development.

Whereas Xamarin depends upon C# to develop cross-platform apps. However, Microsoft C# is a famous language with a large community support that makes it ideal for the developers. Xamarin can easily integrate the .NET tools that make it easy to use as functional, metaprogramming, and portable language.

#2 Portability

Even though the Windows Operating System for mobile apps is no longer used by the users, Xamarin still offers support along with iOS and Android. Whereas Flutter is entirely focused on the iOS and Android apps that give Xamarin an advantage.

To understand the Flutter Vs Xamarin, it is best to know about the overall setup as well.

Flutter apps are not portable for the windows platform but it is not counted much since Windows OS is not a priority for mobile app development. Whereas Xamarin is used to develop the apps for iOS and Android platforms.

The Windows-less Flutter development is not considered a huge shortcoming since the majority of users are on iOS and Android. In addition to this, with 32-bit OS devices, Flutter is incompatible which makes Xamarin developers a good choice for the apps for iPhone 5 and less version. 

#3 Access to Native OS

Flutter is built with the help of Dart programming language that makes it easy to compile with Ahead of Time (AOT). it is an advantage of Flutter over Xamarin.

However, Dart Virtual Machine (VM) is essential for compiling AOT with Flutter. This is important due to the unsupported feature of the iOS platform for dynamic or JIT compilation.

Flutter has the ability to access APIs and services of different platforms for sensors and storage packages. The platform channels can be implemented with the help of Flutter Libraries.

Whereas, the Flutter Vs Xamarin Native OS is different when it comes to Xamarin. It the machine code compilation is done with the C# code followed with packed in.app. 

In order to compile the native platform code, intermediary machine code integration is accomplished. This is done for iOS apps compilation with AOT and Xamarin.Android apps with jiT compilation.

#4 Community Support

The interest of developers plays a vital role in the popularity of the respective technology. They start to share information, knowledge, and crisp code of the platforms forming a community. This community helps the developers to solve any issue soon and learn something new regarding the specific platform.

Xamarin is a framework that integrates with C#. it is a Microsoft-based platform that is considered as a large community platform. This means that any proposals, issues, or problems can be discussed among the people included in the community setting.

The mobile app development company even participates in the conference to understand Xamarin in a better way. In addition to this, it is the oldest framework that is used for cross-platform app development. That is another reason that developers use it more.
Whereas, for Flutter Vs Xamarin, it is different. Flutter has gained a lot of popularity over time but it is nowhere near the popularity of Xamarin. It is rapidly growing with time but with limited support, the issues are not solved easily.

#5 Price

Xamarin is a product that is free for a small team or individual. Otherwise, Visual Studio follows the subscription model with the renewal charge of an annual basis. It has VS Professional, VR Enterprise, etc. models that can be linked together.
Flutter is an open-source and free platform that doesn’t charge anything from the development team or companies. It is another advantage of Flutter over Xamarin that makes it a good choice.

#6 App Size

The app size holds a lot of importance in the app development world. It includes a large size that covers up a lot of space over the disk. This is something that a user never appreciates. Hence, it is best to be aware of the total app size before diving into the development world.

Xamarin is an ideal choice because of the binary-like size of the app. It is a bit bigger as per the release bundle. The performance optimization and code are not done before launching it over app stores.

Flutter follows a different story since it is bigger in the binary size for Android and iOS apps. However, the framework can be a bit heavy for the mobile phone. The Flutter and Xamarin mobile development frameworks depend widely on the app size that makes developers keep it as a priority. 

#7 UI Component

The native components support is the major part of the cross-platform app development. The API is essential to allow mobile apps to access the native modules easily.

With Xamarin app development, the cross-platform development APIs are used for solid documentation. This helps in supporting different platforms including tvOS, watchOS, macOS, Forms, Android, and iOS.

This has a lot of UI modules and components that help in developing buttons, layouts, databases, and pop-ups. This has a direct impact on the Xamarin vs Flutter performance.

Whereas with Flutter, UI rendering components are the major part for stateful management, testing, navigation, API access, and libraries. The Flutter frameworks are added to develop the app along with Cupertino and Material Design that helps in UI rendering.

Compare – Flutter Vs Xamarin

FeaturesFlutterXamarin
Release DateMay 2017December 2012
SupportGoogleMicrosoft (2016)
Programming LanguageDartC#
PortabilityiOS & AndroidiOS, Android, & Windows
Access to Native OSAOT & Dart VMYes
Community SupportGrowingLarge
PriceFreeFree – Individual or Small TeamSubscription model
App SizeSmaller BinarySmaller binary
UI ComponentCustomized WidgetNative

Conclusion

These are the key differences of Flutter Vs Xamarin that defines the use of these frameworks in a detailed way. However, it is best to be aware of all the major components while choosing the best out of both. 

These components are going to be part of future development helping the community to set out the development of projects.

Flutter vs Xamarin Cross-Platform Mobile Development are extensively used for apps to develop native-like features. There is no doubt that Xamarin is famous due to market trust but Flutter is slowly gaining speed in the development world. 
What are your opinions, “Is flutter better than Xamarin?” or “Is Xamarin going to rule for a long time?”.

Sitaram Sharma
Sitaram Sharma

Co-Founder and VP Mobile Architect of Appventurez. A software professional who is highly experienced in Android, Flutter, React Native. He is a passionate developer with excellent programming skill who believes in bridging the technology gap and making the life of a large number of people much easier through his wide knowledge and experience.

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