Xamarin vs flutter: What’s the best one in 2021

Cross-platform development is one of the most talked-about topics in the tech industry right now. Companies are increasingly selecting hybrid frameworks over native frameworks. There is an increase in demand. So the cross-platform domain has a sharp increase in the number of frameworks on the market. Meanwhile, two of the most common cross-platform development frameworks are Xamarin vs flutter. Flutter came with the support of Google, but Xamarin has been around for a long time. Thus. In this blog, ArrowHiTech will make clear for you the differences between Xamarin vs flutter. So you can make a decision which one is better for your development? Read it carefully from now on.

Xamarin vs flutter is both two cross-platform mobile development platforms that allow you to create native-like mobile apps from a similar codebase.

Introduction about Xamarin?

Xamarin vs flutter

What is Xamarin?

Xamarin was released in 2011 as an open-source, cross-platform programming framework. It lets you construct apps by using C# that operate on different platforms without having to convert or rewrite code.

What is the purpose of Xamarin?

When code and business logic must be shared across several platforms, Xamarin helps a lot. In addition, using Visual Studio and Xamarin, you can design cross-platform apps in C#.

Xamarin is a technology based on the.NET legacy. Moreover, in case you have a basic knowledge of how.NET and Visual Studio work. So you can build apps using Xamarin is simple. Furthermore, you don’t need to learn a new programming language like Flutter. Therefore, this will help the development of cross-platform applications

Should we use Xamarin?

Advantages:
  • High performance: Xamarin applications have native-like performance metrics. Thanks to Xamarin’s API’s great optimization. So the Xamarin team’s determined effort to make similar to the native-like performance numbers.
  • Hot reload: Recently, Xamarin introduced a hot reload feature. It allows you to see changes to your source code in real-time. This feature helps boost and speeds up the developer experience. Therefore, it allows you to spend more time completing the details of your Xamarin applications.
  • Full ecosystem: Xamarin provides a new ecosystem of development frameworks for creating a wide range of applications. With Microsoft Visual Studio that has C#,.NET and Xamarin, you’ll be able to create fantastic cross-platform apps.
  • Experience that runs smoothly: Using the Xamarin Forms API, you may leverage Xamarin’s standard interface components to reuse your code across platforms. So you should use Xamarin if you need more exact customization. Besides that, you also should use Xamarin. iOS and Xamarin. Android for highly customized, platform-specific designs in case you need more exact customization.
  • It is completely free to use: Xamarin is a free-to-use open-source framework. Therefore, you may quickly build up your new project in Xamarin without worrying about the framework or coding environment fees.
Limitations:
  • Updates are slow: When introducing the new features, it takes time for the changes to show up in the Xamarin tools. This can obstruct the development process and reduce developer satisfaction.
  • App size is quite large: Xamarin apps might add up to 5–10 MBs to the size of their versions. As a result, your end users’ storage load may increase.
  • Graphics that are quite heavy: Due to changing UIs to platforms causes a lot of platform-specific modification. Therefore, building applications with complex user interfaces can be difficult for Xamarin. Thus, this defeats the goal of creating cross-platform codebases in some cases.
  • Customization specific to the platform: You have to change your codebase for each platform to meet platform-specific standards. Therefore, it leads to wasting the learning time.

Introduction about Flutter

Xamarin vs flutter

What is Flutter?

In 2018, Google released Flutter, an open-source, cross-platform application development framework. Moreover, it’s intended to provide developers with a simple cross-platform programming interface while also improving user performance. Additionally, on smart devices, Flutter has been known to reach truly native-like performance. Therefore, it can also be used to publish web’s performance apps

Also read: Flutter: Comprehensive guide for the beginner to start their projects

What is the purpose of Flutter?

Flutter is very helpful for creating cross-platform mobile apps that run on both Android and iOS. Besides that, Dart is the programming language used by Flutter. With the source code, the combination of Dart and Flutter provides excellent portability. Moreover, Flutter focuses itself on high performance and a positive developer experience.

Flutter is used in a variety of applications, including:

  • eBay
  • Alibaba Group
  • Google Pay
  • Google Ads
  • Dream11
  • Groupon

Should we use Flutter?

Advantages:
  • Easy to learn: Because it concentrates on keeping the codebase as easy as possible, Flutter is significantly simpler to understand than many other cross-platform frameworks. Moreover, it reduces a lot of boilerplate in the process.
  • Hot reload: The hot reload feature allows you to change your source code and keep track of it on your test device in near-real-time. As a result, the development process is considerably more linked than it is with other frameworks.
  • High performance: Flutter may confidently claim to match real nativelike performance measurements thanks to ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation. Flutter is a suitable cross-platform framework for large projects because of its unrivaled code reusability and performance.
  • It is completely free to use: Flutter is free to use.
Limitations:
  • App size is quite large: Flutter, like all other cross-platform frameworks, has a lot of baggage. The ability to run on different platforms comes at a cost. Therefore, the app file size also rises.
  • There aren’t any third-party libraries available: Another significant disadvantage of developing apps in Flutter is the lack of community-created libraries for usage with the framework. Because Flutter is one of the most recent technologies.
  • Support for iOS is faulty: Because Flutter is a Google product, it is focused on the Android platform. Therefore, iOS support is secondary.

Xamarin vs flutter: Which one is better in 2021?

Finally, we can compare Xamarin vs Flutter. So now we will compare Xamarin vs flutter based on some criteria 

Xamarin vs flutter

1. Programming language

  • Xamarin – C# (.NET): Xamarin has been using the language to create cross-platform apps since the beginning. C# is a well-known programming language that has long been utilized in the Microsoft community
  • Flutter – Dart: Flutter was first released in 2011 by Google. Moreover, at that time, it was only used by a small percentage of developers. Dart syntax is simple to understand for Java and JavaScript developers.
  • Analysis: Because it has been around for a long time and is supported by Microsoft, C# is a widely popular language. Therefore, there is a large C# developer community worldwide. Meanwhile, Dart offers a rich feature set as well. However, it’s less well-known and used in the development community. As a result, between Xamarin vs flutter, Xamarin is the better programming language

2. Technical architecture

  • Xamarin – Mono: the Mono execution environment runs with Objective-C runtime and on the Unix kernel. Besides that, on iOS, it runs with Android Runtime on Linux or other kernels on Android. Moreover, the documentation provided by Microsoft provides a full explanation of the iOS and Android Xamarin
  • Flutter – Skia: Flutter uses the Dart framework. As a result, it’s larger and doesn’t always need the bridge to interact with native modules. Dart contains numerous frameworks, such as Material Design and Cupertino, that provide all of the necessary technology for developing mobile apps.
  • Analysis: Although the Xamarin appears to be strong, it lacks good support for the official runtimes for developing Android and iOS apps, Kotlin and Swift. As a result, in this battle, Flutter wins

3. Installation

  • Xamarin – Visual Studio (Xamarin SDK): The Xamarin IDE is typically used with Xamarin, and the Xamarin SDK for iOS and macOS can then be installed in Visual Studio. Therefore, you may find a step-by-step installation tutorial for Visual Studio with Xamarin SDK here. However, without Visual Studio, there is very no documentation or resources for installing and utilizing Xamarin.
  • Flutter – Binary download from source: By downloading a binary from GitHub for a certain platform, you can launch Flutter. On macOS, we must first download the file and then add it to the PATH variable. Besides that, Flutter could simplify the installation process by supporting package managers. So users don’t have to go through these extra processes.
  • Analysis: The Visual Studio IDE is required for Xamarin installation. However using the command line, you also can install Flutter.  Therefore, Flutter is significantly easier and lighter to install. Furthermore, it can be done without the use of an IDE.

4. Onboarding

  • Xamarin: Xamarin configuration is similar to Visual Studio and the Xamarin SDK. So developers who have already worked with VS Code may rapidly come up to speed. However, Xamarin needs different settings for iOS and Android. For example, Xamarin. Xamarin and iOS. Android. Moreover, the Xamarin guideline helps new developers through the onboarding process. In case the developer has not worked with the Microsoft ecosystem. So they have to learn both Visual Studio and the Xamarin SDK. But Xamarin provides a lot of resources to help fresh developers run quickly.
  • Flutter: The Flutter guideline includes instructions for setting up the IDE and platforms for both iOS and Android. You can read all information about setup guidelines on Flutter install for macOS  Besides that, Flutter also provides a tool to help developers with the setup called flutter doctor. 
  • Analysis: The Flutter instruction is much simpler than Xamarin’s.

5. API for development and UI component

  • Xamarin – component that has reached maturity: Xamarin supports a variety of platforms, including iOS, Android, Forms, watchOS, macOS, tvOS, and others. Therefore, it has a large number of UI components and modules for developers to use. Xamarin may also be used to create specific components such as layout, buttons, pop-ups, databases, and so on.
  • Flutter – a variety of components: Flutter includes UI rendering components, device API access, navigation, testing, and numerous libraries. Therefore, it reduces the need for third-party libraries. Furthermore. Flutter also has support for Cupertino and Material Design. Thus, it allows developers to create UIs that work on both iOS and Android.
  • Analysis: Xamarin has a big advantage over Flutter thanks to its extensive documentation and development API. Moreover, Xamarin supports more platforms than Flutter.

6. Developer efficiency

  • Xamarin: Xamarin offers a large number of modules and a powerful development API. However it is highly based on the Visual Studio IDE. Non-Microsoft stack developers will find it difficult to understand VS Code or a similar IDE. Furthermore, learning C# will take a long time to learn. UI is rendered by Xamarin using nativeUIControllers.
  • Flutter: Flutter has a hot reload feature, as well as the demo app makes it very simple to start. However, when apps become more complex, developers will need to learn and apply new Flutter concepts. Furthermore, Dart is not a widely use programming language. Moreover, many IDEs and text editors do not support it.
  • Analysis: Xamarin provides excellent developer resources and tools. Flutter is still very new. However when the Flutter community grows, it will quickly catch up.

7. Support from the community

  • Xamarin: Xamarin has a large user in the world. Therefore, it is easier to discuss something, proposals, and problems in the forum. Xamarin also has a Twitter account for all things about Xamarin. Because Xamarin is the oldest cross-platform mobile app development framework, it has a larger developer community.
  • Flutter: Flutter gained lots of attention after Google introduced it during the 2017 Google I/O conference. And then the Flutter community is quickly expanding these days with online meetings and conventions. However, there are still insufficient resources for developers to solve common difficulties.
  • Analysis: The Xamarin community is much larger than Flutter. Now that Xamarin has been acquired by Microsoft. So the community is growing even faster. Flutter is still very new. But it has a quickly increasing community.

8. Support for testing

  • Xamarin: Within Visual Studio, Xamarin supports all types of testing. It also has its own cloud testing environment where the tests can be conducted. As noted in the documentation, Xamarin unit testing may be set up for each unique platform project. In addition, Xamarin apps can be independently tested using third-party testing frameworks
  • Flutter: Flutter has a lot of testing options that can be used to test apps at the unit, widget, and integration level. Flutter offers a unique feature. Because it allows us to construct widget tests to check the UI and run them at unit test speeds.
  • Analysis: Testing well support in both Xamarin vs flutter. However,  Flutter is better because it supports widget testing and allows for testing at various levels.

9. Size of the app

  • Xamarin: Xamarin supports a large number of platforms. But the binary is quite small. When Xamarin apps are packaged for release, the app size increases slightly. Before releasing to app stores, there is no code or performance optimization.
  • Flutter: In comparison to native iOS and Android apps, Flutter app binaries are often larger, and their apps are larger
  • Analysis: Xamarin vs flutter both build large apps as cross-platform technologies. However, Xamarin binaries are smaller than Flutter binaries. Hence Xamarin wins this round.

10. Support for DevOps and CI/CD

  • Xamarin: App Center, Jenkins, and TeamCity are the CI/CD systems that Xamarin apps can use. More information on the Xamarin Continuous Integration service can be found here. 
  • Flutter: Flutter already has an official CI/CD solution. Flutter comes with a powerful command-line interface. Using the command line tools and the instructions in the Flutter manual for building and distributing apps, we can construct a binary of the app
  • Analysis: Flutter provides excellent build automation capabilities and can be used to deploy apps directly from the command line. However, CI/CD is also well supported by Xamarin.

11. Others

  • Performance: Flutter performs substantially better than Xamarin apps. Because Flutter’s hot reload feature also helps developers work more efficiently
  • Code sharing / time to market: Xamarin allows you to share code across various platforms. Around 96 percent of code can be reused between platforms. Flutter also allows for the sharing of a large amount of code. Because it uses its own UI components. But Flutter developers may need to write native code to support a few features that Flutter does not support. As a result, Xamarin’s time to market may be shortened 
  • Native user experience: Apps created using Xamarin vs flutter is native. Xamarin vs flutter both build apps that have a look and feel similar to native apps.
  • Price / open source: Despite the fact that Xamarin has some great features, it is free to use with. Xamarin is developed behind closed doors, several native functionality, like 3D-touch and Force touch. So it will not be available. In contrast, Flutter is open source. Flutter has lots of advantage over other frameworks

Conclusion: Xamarin vs flutter

From a developer’s standpoint, we’ve compared both Xamarin vs flutter in this article based on some factors. This comparative guide is provided for informational purposes only. Because the decision on which framework to use will differ between projects. Hopefully, this post will help you make a perfect decision for your development. Besides that, ArrowHiTech also provides you the great Flutter App Development Services. Thus, don’t miss it.

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