Xamarin Vs. React Native – Which Framework Should You Choose for Cross-Platform App Development

Employees discussing app development framework

By Jai Gupta

Both Xamarin and React Native are two frameworks that are growing at a rate of knots and have achieved unprecedented success during the last few years.

Xamarin, which was first launched during 2011, is a toolkit for cross-platform application development, which allows all developers the chance to create native Windows, Android and iOS apps with the same branding and UX.

Xamarin works entirely through the Mono framework to offer users a full suite of solutions bordered on the common device functions and APIs of different platforms. The framework forges compatibility on different operating systems by sharing code that helps usability across platforms.

Xamarin is an easy transition for all developers that have been working on C#. The framework allows all organizations and applications the chance to use C# programming language that can easily run on the .NET CLI as well.

React Native, just like Xamarin, is also a development framework that assists developers in cross-platform mobile app developments. The platform allows organizations the ability to develop and build mobile applications for iOS and Android devices through a unified tech stack. React Native was first developed in 2015 and has since come a long way to leverage React libraries and JavaScript to build multiple applications in one space.

Debating Between Xamarin and React Native

It is a pretty well-known fact within the mobile app development circle that Xamarin and React Native are the two main powerhouse frameworks used for app development across different platforms. Both these frameworks carry features of their own, but since they perform the same function, they are always put against each other for a healthy comparison.

When it comes to choosing between Xamarin Development and React Native, the differentiation is based on one very important consideration. The consideration is whether the project is to be done using JavaScript or C #. Organizations and developers that prefer working on C# will opt for Xamarin, as the framework is better suited for the programming language and carries all the functions that developers working on it would require.

On the flip side of the coin, programmers and developers that are using JavaScript as the language of choice would want to work on React Native as the best bet for cross-platform applications because the language best works with this framework.

Knowing that both these frameworks are equally suitable for cross-platform applications, we will shed some more light on them and find out the best one for your project.

Side by Side Comparison of React Native with Xamarin

We now perform a side-by-side comparison of React Native with Xamarin to help you find out the best framework for your cross-platform development. You can run your eyes through this comparison to help you make the right choice.

Availability And Cost

To begin with, React Native is an extremely flexible framework, which allows developers to choose an IDE of their choice. React Native is also a winner when it comes to basic availability and usage cost because the framework is available for free. The developers of the framework can use services without wasting any costs.

Xamarin also has a free version for users, but the free version provided by Xamarin does not include as many features and resources as the paid version does. Additionally, the free version by Xamarin also does not compare with the free resource provided by React Native.

Tech Usage

The React Native framework leverages one of the most commonly used and popular programming languages in the field of web and app development – JavaScript. Programmers and developers with extensive knowledge of working on JavaScript will have no problem devising their own cross-platform applications and solutions using React Native because the framework is easy to configure when you are aware of JavaScript.

As we have studied above, Xamarin uses C Sharp programming language on the extensive .Net framework. Xamarin has unconditional support from Microsoft and helps provide a rich editor with native platform integration, a robust set of tools and a free-of-cost debugger.

It is hard to pick a winner when it comes to technology alone. Both frameworks have exciting features and include the latest tech offerings. The choice here would depend on preference and what the developer wants to work with.

Development Environment

React Native development comes with a prominent Reload feature that empowers developers and editors to see the impact of their code changes live. The ability to view these changes in real-time is a major game changer and can prove the experience for users.

React Native also carries a Hot Reload feature, which works to keep the application up and running as developers go behind the scenes to inject new versions on it.

Xamarin, on the flip side, has a much friendlier and more interactive development environment for users. The application allows developers to write down code specifically compiled for Mac and iPhone apps on Windows. Xamarin also leverages the features of XCode IDEs and Visual Studio to design applications on Mac.

Community Support

Our final metric of comparison is the community support offered for both frameworks. A recent survey places React Native as the 8th most beloved cross-platform framework in the market and the 6th most popular overall framework. React Native came in 3rd in the list of most wanted frameworks released by another researcher.

Xamarin didn’t do as well in the same polls as it ranked 11th for most wanted and 10th for most popular cross-platform. These results go to prove that React Native has bigger and better community support.

While your eventual choice should come down to the kind of project you have in mind, we agree that React Native is free to use and comes with better overall community support than Xamarin.

About the Author

Jai Gupta is a proficient Xamarin certified developer with 7+ years of experience as a Senior Software Engineer in development of web-based application and mobile application. His knowledge on the subject has helped him win various awards and accolades since the early stage of his career and his technical writeups are worth reading.


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