This article explains the difference between Xamarin and Native mobile apps, their pros and cons and when to use one over the other.

What Is Xamarin

Xamarin is a cross-platform framework, created by Microsoft, that allows developers to create apps that can work on multiple platforms, including both Android and iOS.

Written primarily using a single programming language (C#), Xamarin will convert this code automatically into the native code on the selected devices, primarily mobile devices.

What Is a Native App

The two main mobile operating systems, Android and iOS, are written in their own (native) languages (Java for Android, and objective C for iOS).

Native apps are those written in the language of the device’s operating system.

Complexity of Development – Multiple Languages Vs Single

With their own nuances and platform-specific constraints, a developer could potentially have to write two versions of the same app for their respective operating systems, without using Xamarin.

With a single, shared codebase, a developer can effective ‘kill two birds with one stone’ by writing a Xamarin app that will run on two (or more) platforms.

Of course, there are instances where platform-specific code maybe required for either an Android or iOS device, due to their inherent differences, which a developer working on two separate, native apps, could have to implement individually for each platform that they’re working on.

Xamarin also allows a developer to write platform-specific code, when necessary. Though in most cases during the development, the shared codebase will suffice, the flexibility and relative ease-of-use of Xamarin can be highly beneficial to developers, companies, and their clients, in terms of efficiency and productivity.

Project Timescale and Cost

By creating native code for multiple platforms from a single code base, Xamarin can reap huge rewards in terms of cost and timescale.

With, for example, an app for both Android and iOS only requiring a single app to be built, rather than two.

For SMEs and even larger companies, utilising Xamarin can prove to be a lucrative design choice, given the significant savings on cost, time and ease of maintenance.

When to Use Xamarin

Xamarin can be used effectively in almost all instances. F2B Digital have created Xamarin apps for clients for a wide range of different client use cases – including guest management apps, transportation apps and hypnotherapy apps.

When to Use Native

There are some instances where development of apps would be better suited to native.

Xamarin’s shared codebase allows developers to create efficient apps that run on their respective platforms with only minimal effects on performance.

However, for apps, such as games, that use a lot of graphics and are ‘processor-intensive’, then the development of the app may require native development and a more frugal approach to design.

Summary

Xamarin is a powerful, effective and efficient mobile-app development tool that can be applied to a wide range of different applications, delivering a satisfying experience to its users.

Here at F2B, we love Xamarin! We have successfully designed, implemented and delivered several Xamarin apps to our faithful clients. We have the skills, expertise and experience to create beautiful, robust and elegant apps, with relatively low costs and overheads, thanks to the efficiency of Xamarin.