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Flutter vs Xamarin

This blog is a comparison between two cross-platform frameworks, Flutter and Xamarin, and can help you decide which one best suits the project requirements of your organization. In modern times where there is a need for quick development, native interfaces, sleek UI's, the developer community needs to adapt to open source frameworks.

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It is a complex and perplexing task to develop mobile applications like Native Apps for Windows, Android and iOS. There are many frameworks available for developers to develop mobile applications. Different apps require different languages to develop a framework like Android and iOS based on Java language and Objective-C/Shift language.

The above requirement states that the developers should know all the languages to develop a single framework, thereby complicating finding suitable developers. It can be handled by developing an operating system supported by a mobile framework using Flutter and Xamarin. 

Flutter and Xamarin are cross-platform mobile app development frameworks using which users can develop apps that can run on multiple platforms using a single code-base.

In this Blog, You will Learn these Topics

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a UI(User Interface) toolkit with an open-source framework for developing cross-platform and mobile applications. Google developed Flutter to deliver high performance and quality for Android and iOS, Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems.

It was released in May 2017 and provided a powerful, easy, efficient, and simple SDK to write the mobile application in Dart, Google's language.

Google launched Flutter and has been in high demand since its release in 2017. The built-in widgets are the added advantage in Flutter, and they have built-in UI toolkits and do not require UI toolkits from a third party.

Flutter also consists of a hot reload feature allowing the developers to view the changes without restarting the apps. Flutter is extremely fast rebuilding the entire framework, which includes engine rendering at every change.

If you want to enrich your career and become a professional in Flutter, then enroll in "Flutter Training" - This course will help you to achieve excellence in this domain.

What is Xamarin?

Xamarin is a software company that provides software development tools allowing the users to develop applications using C# and the .NET framework for Android, iOS, and Windows. Built on the .NET Framework, users can run Xamarin easily across multiple platforms.

Since Microsoft owns Xamarin, the tech giant, users cannot immediately use the upgraded features of the upcoming Android or iOS update. Though Xamarin apps look similar to native, the UI look cannot be designed to look like native forms, but a platform-specific code can be added to achieve native UI.

The two ways to build a User Interface are using the original native methods to build the UI and incorporating Xamarin.Forms. These forms can build UI for different platforms all at once and have almost 100% code sharing if these are chosen over Native UI Technology.

Difference between Flutter and Xamarin

Flutter

Xamarin

Google created Flutter.

Microsoft created Xamarin.

The applications are developed using the Dart programming language.

Applications are developed using the C# programming language.

It can work with any IDE.

It cannot work with any IDE; it supports Visual Studio only.

Third-party services are needed at times.

No third-party services are required.

No proper documentation is maintained, i.e., no well-written documentation.

It is well-documented and formatted as compared to Flutter.

The installation of Flutter is easy.

Installation of Xamarin is also easy.

The percentage of reusability of code is low as compared to Xamarin.

The code reusability and support code reusability is high and much larger.

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Features of Flutter:

1. Simplified and agile development

The ideology of Flutter is its agility provided to the developer. With the help of a widget system, it is easier to create interactive elements while building the software. Thus, the final product will be of high quality compared to Android and iOS versions. With the "hot reload" option in Flutter, it becomes easy to view the changes made to the code, and with the instant feedback to the dev option, there is an increase in productivity.

2. Single language for development

The Dart language is the only source in Flutter for creating its programs. This simplifies developers' work, as they need to know only Dart to perform their tasks. As Dart is very similar to C# and Java, adapting to Dart is not complex.

3. Simplified initial setup

The installation of Flutter is very practical and simple. It only requires installation of the development IDE to start and build a new project. There are no hidden configurations or complex dependencies, so the developers can heave their work faster.

4. Application execution speed

When different versions of an app are built for different applications, the main problem with the tools is execution performance. The results derived from such tools are below expectation. But with the Flutter framework, which uses its components, the load and execution time of the applications has been greatly reduced, leading to the most native quality obtained for the published apps.

5. Google Support

Google extends its full support to Flutter, and its vibrant and active community offers a series of solutions making the best use of the tool. Flutter documentation is easy even for a beginner or an expert programmer.

Related Article: What is Flutter?

Features of Xamarin:

1. Complete Binding for the underlying SDKs 

Xamarin offers the bindings for the whole underlying platform SDKs for Android and iOS. The bindings are strongly typed; they are easy to use and navigate, providing successful type checking during the compile time. As a result, the product obtained or the application developed is of high quality with very few runtime errors.

2. Objective-C, Java, C, and C++ Interop 

Objective-C, Java, C, and C++ libraries can be directly invoked in Xamarin. Hence a user has the power to choose from the wide array of third-party code that has been previously created. Therefore, existing iOS and Android libraries can be written in Objective-C, Java, or C/C++.

3. Language Constructs 

The Xamarin applications are written in C#. C# is a modern language developed making improvements in Objective- C and Java. The changes made are Functional Constructs such as Parallel Programming features, LINQ, Lambdas, sophisticated Generics, and Dynamic Language Features.

4. Base Class Library (BCL) 

The applications in Xamarin use the .NET BCL, which is a huge collection of classes with streamlined and comprehensive features such as Serialization, IO, XML, Database, Networking support, and String.

5. Integrated Development Environment (IDE) 

Xamarin uses visual Studio on Windows and Xamarin Studio on Mac OS X.  These IDE's involve features such as a sophisticated Project and Solution management system, integrated source control,  code auto-completion, and a comprehensive project template library.

6. Mobile Cross-Platform Support 

This tool offers cross-platform support for the three major mobile platforms of iOS, Windows Phone, and Android. The mobile library in Xamarin offers a unified API to access common resources across platforms. The common resource access reduces the development costs and marketing time for developers targeting the popular mobile platforms.

7. C# language 

Xamarin uses only C# language to create apps for all mobile platforms making it an all-time option for building high-performance apps with the native look and feel.

With the integration of Xamarin into the .NET platform by Microsoft, Xamarin now extends the capabilities of .NET.

Where is Flutter used?

Businesses use Flutter to use cross-platform mobile apps that work on both Android and iOS. The following are a few applications that are developed using the Flutter framework:

  • Google Ads
  • KlasterMe
  • Reflectly
  • Xianyu by Alibaba
  • Postmuse – Instagram photo editing app
  • Hamilton
  • Lunching
  • Pairing
  • Watermaniac
  • Cryptograph
Related Article: Flutter vs React Native Which one is better?

Where is Xamarin used?

Xamarin is a base framework to access native platform features. The apps that are developed using Xamarin are 

  • Olo
  • MRW
  • CA Mobile
  • APX 
  • Novarum DX
  • The World Bank
  • Storyo
  • Captio 
  • Fareboom
  • Picturex 
  • Vanderlande 
  • Insightly CRM
  • Alaska Airlines

Which is Better: Flutter vs. Xamarin

1. Project complexity

Complex projects require a detailed focus on testing and development. Such projects need an expert tool that supports testing. Flutter takes the upper hand compared to Xamarin regarding project complexity.

2. Development Speed

Xamarin provides better development tools than Flutter, which are even easier to use. Hence Xamarin can be used when there is a need for speed in the development of any project.

3. Availability of developers

Developers who use Flutter are easier to find than the developers who use Xamarin as Flutter is most popular and much loved and preferred. If finding developers is a crucial factor for you, then choose Flutter. Hence, finding the developers is crucial for projects, and Flutter wins the point here.

4. Cost

Development on a large commercial scale is more expensive using Xamarin than Flutter. And the reason for Xamarin being expensive is due to the license cost of Microsoft Visual Studio IDE. Flutter is the best option available when the project's budget is low.

Flutter and Xamarin offer the best possible solutions for cross-platform mobile development. Although Xamarin and Flutter have many advantages, they have limitations too. So one has to choose the development of a framework carefully considering the project requirements.

Related Article: Comparison Between Flutter vs Ionic 

Limitations of Flutter:

  • The Flutter apps are larger, occupy a lot of space, and take a long time to download or update.
  • Flutter does not support Apple TV and Android TV.
  • Though Flutter uses Dart Language, it sometimes uses Java, C++, C#, and Objective-C to overcome the coding challenge.
  • Flutter does not support third-party libraries, which increases the task of programming.
  • There are no guidelines to develop Flutter apps.
  • The Framework changes rapidly, making it difficult to maintain the code in the long run.
Related Article: Flutter Interview Questions for Beginners

Limitations of Xamarin:

  • The first and foremost limitation of Xamarin is its cost, i.e., it is quite expensive.
  • The open-source nature of Xamarin set limitations for some specific platforms.
  • The code written in Xamarin can be used only within the.NET development stack.
  • The community of Xamarin developers is noticeably smaller than Android and native iOS. Hence it is a challenge to find an experienced Xamarin developer.
  • Although a huge components store is owned by Xamarin, a specific capability or integration is needed within the developing app that is not provided by the platform.
  • While integrating third-party resources with Xamarin apps, some issues might arise.

Conclusion

Both Flutter and Xamarin are reliable options for creating a Framework. Hence drawing any conclusion on any of these would be inappropriate. Each of the frameworks has its pros and cons. Xamarin was launched before, and it is maintained well. Xamarin fits in with most of the projects, but it is best suitable for the cross-platform approach if it is a long run project.

Flutter has promising features for tech enthusiasts, but it should be analyzed carefully for startups. But if the organization already has a tech stack that does not satisfy the organizational needs, migrating to Flutter is the correct choice with a higher budget for fast growth.

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Last updated: 27 June 2022
About Author
Madhuri Yerukala

Madhuri is a Senior Content Creator at MindMajix. She has written about a range of different topics on various technologies, which include, Splunk, Tensorflow, Selenium, and CEH. She spends most of her time researching on technology, and startups. Connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter .