React Native Vs Xamarin: Is React Native Better than Xamarin or the Other Way Round?


Mobile applications have brought a major shift in the way businesses function. With the users’ intent to gain information on the go, mobile applications are gaining traction more than ever. The growing trend for developing more mobile apps for each product is also observed.

Despite the small app size on the mobile phone, they come power-packed in performance. So, let’s put the two mobile technologies under the lens and check how they deliver this power-packed performance. We are going to discuss React Native and Xamarin in this blog today, and how they compare with each other.

What is React Native?


React Native is a free and open-source mobile application development framework developed by Facebook in 2015. It leverages JavaScript and React’s capabilities to build cross-platform mobile applications.

The top mobile applications built using React Native are Facebook, Facebook Analytics, Instagram, Uber Eats, Walmart, Discord, among many others.

Pros and cons of React Native


React Native is in great demand because of the many benefits it offers:


  • The availability of the native UI components offers the applications the native look and feel and a high-quality user interface.

  • Allows for faster development as the UI components are readily available.

  • Offers access to native functionalities like camera, GPS, accelerometer, voice, etc.

  • With the hot reload feature, React Native can apply changes and they get reflected right away without having to compile the code.

  • It is free, open-source with great support offered by Facebook.

The disadvantages of React Native can be listed as follows:



  • Navigation in React Native is not to the optimum level and cannot be compared to native navigation.

  • Developing animations is a sore point with React Native.

What is Xamarin?


Xamarin is a free, open-source mobile application framework that leverages C# in Visual Studio for mobile apps development. It can help in building cross-platform apps with a single codebase, however, helps you achieve native app development at the same time. It is developed by Microsoft and introduced in 2011.

As per the official documentation, Xamarin allows for 90% of the time for cross-platform app development.

A few of the most famous applications built using Xamarin include The World Bank, Olo, APX, FreshDirect, games like Skulls of Shotgun, SuperGiant Games, etc.

Pros and cons of React Native


The advantages of Xamarin are as follows:


  • Xamarin is popular for building apps that offer a native look and feel.

  • Xamarin.Forms are something that can help with a library of templates with the use of interface elements. The developers can essentially reuse the code across different platforms making the app development process an easier task to handle. Xamarin.Android and Xamarin.iOS help in building platform-specific native UI components.

  • Xamarin comes with an entire suite of products from C# to .Net to Visual Studio for a complete cross-platform mobile application framework experience.

  • Xamarin is open source.

As with any product, there are disadvantages as well, let’s see the drawbacks of Xamarin:



  • There are software update delays usually reported with Xamarin. Whenever the new features or updates are rolled out, a gap is observed before they reflect in the Xamarin tools which sometimes results in hindering the app performance.

  • The Xamarin apps are larger than the native apps. The reason behind it is the fleet of libraries used to convert the C# requests to native requests.

  • Building a simple UI works fine with Xamarin, but when it comes to heavy GUI especially for games might turn out to be a cumbersome process in Xamarin as it results in a lot of platform-specific coding.

React Native Vs Xamarin:

Now that we have a fair idea of what React Native and Xamarin are, let’s understand their technical prowess in different areas and see how each performs against the other.


Performance:

The one which gives the most native performance is the winner, despite their cross-platform capabilities. And Xamarin has an edge over React Native in this aspect as it offers the better native app experience among the two. Furthermore, Xamarin is capable of running the fastest code on both Android and iOS.
Xamarin is the winner.

Popularity:

When it comes to the game of popularity, despite Xamarin’s existence for a longer period, React Native has surpassed Xamarin in terms of popularity. One of the main reasons could be that Xamarin is maintained only by Microsoft whereas React Native is open-source.
React Native is the winner.

Programming language:

When it comes to programming language for React Native and Xamarin, React Native leverages JavaScript while C#, F# are used in Xamarin.
While JavaScript is originally meant for web applications development, it is used for mobile app development but with some workarounds.
However, the learning curve is simple for JavaScript as compared to C# giving both JavaScript and React Native equal footing where the programming languages are concerned.
It is a draw.

Developer Community:

React Native is younger as compared to Xamarin. However, the fact that React Native is JavaScript-based, its popularity, and being open-source are the reasons why the developer community is large for React Native as compared to Xamarin.
React Native is the winner.

Development Environment:

Both React Native and Xamarin have some special features that enhance the performance. React Native has the hot reload feature that updates the app without the need for compilation.
On the other hand, Xamarin.Forms, Xamarin.Android, and Xamarin.iOS help in reusing the code with the help of a library of templates, and help in building native UI components specific to the platform. As Xamarin helps with a better native look and feel with its components.
Xamarin is the winner.

Compilation speed:

JavaScript uses JIT for compilation. And as a rule of thumb compiled languages offer better speed than interpreted languages. It’s because the compiled languages convert the code into machine language.
However, C# also used JIT for compilation for Android and not iOS. And further, C# uses ahead-of-time (AOT) compiler which is touted to run faster.
Xamarin is the winner.


Cost:

Both React Native and Xamarin are open source for individual use and small companies. However, the Visual Studio Enterprise edition which is required for xamarin increases the cost to about $3000 per annum.
React Native is cost effective.

Bottom line…


While both React Native and Xamarin fare up equally when we consider different factors, but, React Native takes the lead in the aspects that matter the most. React Native is a more popular and inexpensive alternative to Xamarin.














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