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For the past few years, the mobile industry has gone under some tremendous changes and outstanding growth especially when it comes to software development. As pointed out by Statista Reports, at any given point in time there were more than 2 billion smartphone users in the world, and this number has been estimated to be increased to over 5 billion by the end of 2022. Out of these smartphones, almost 100% of the devices run on 3 platforms, Android developed by Google, iOS developed by Apple and Windows Mobile developed by Microsoft.
For some time being, mobile application developers depended on the platform-specific tools in order to develop native applications, these applications could run only on a single platform. For example, Kotlin or Java is used for developing Android Native apps, while Objective-C, as well as Swift, is used for developing iOS specific apps.
Native Mobile App Development ShortComings.
Traditional mobile app development has always been slow and expensive because the business has to develop a separate app for each individual platform and has different development teams each with individual skills for each toolkit. Today we have the availability of cross-platform mobile development toolkits that help the companies businesses reduce the time taken to develop, the maintenance costs as well as to reach more users. In simple words, cross-platform mobile development simply means creating mobile applications that run on more than one platform. There have been several cross-platform frameworks available to programmers and developers today including the Intel XDK, Cordova, Xamarin and Flutter to name a few. By comparing the features being offered, the strengths, and the drawbacks of each, we can help to decide which framework is best suited for the job, and when to use one over the other.
Overview of the Flutter and Xamarin Frameworks
Xamarin has been one of the leading open source cross-platform development technologies that are run by Microsoft. It makes use of the C# language to develop mobile apps for Android, iOS and Windows Mobile platforms. Xamarin allows developers to access native Android and iOS APIs and provides a shared C# code base as well as app testing across the devices via the Xamarin Testing Cloud. Xamarin was invented way back in 2011 by the developers behind the Mono which used CLI (Common Language Infrastructure) as well as the Common Language Specification known as Microsoft .NET. Microsoft later acquired Xamarin in 2016 and made Xamarin SDK an open source platform, which then became an integral part of the Xamarin Visual Studio IDE. Developers also need knowledge of iOS and Android besides C#.
Recommended Reading: Flutter In Mobile App Development
Flutter is also an Open Source as well as a free cross-platform tool that has been developed by Google that allows developers to create high performance native mobile applications for Android as well as iOS. The framework makes use of the Dart programming language as well as the light C++ engine. It provides a single code base similar to Xamarin. The framework offers API’s. The framework also offers APIs and SDKs for 2D rendering, painting as well as simulation gestures, and allows the use of existing Swift, Objective C, and Java Code. It comes equipped with Machine Design Widgets that is a Google Product.
Xamarin and Flutter Comparison:
Even though Flutter is relatively new in the mobile development with its beta version launched in January 2018, the Flutter Cross Development Framework has triggered some discussions across the mobile development community. Compared with Xamarin, different experts have contrasting opinions on the two popular frameworks.
Related: React Native Vs Flutter
Currently, Xamarin is more popular among developers as 7.2% Stack OverFlow 2018 survey respondents said that they use Xamarin, and Microsoft claims to have around 1.4 million Xamarin Engineers while Flutter has not made it to the list at all. The Flutter community is not yet large enough yet compared to Xamarin. However, engineers do recognize Flutter as a budding alternative to Xamarin
Flutter is aimed at iOS and Android development, on the other hand, Xamarin is aimed at Android, iOS, Windows platforms as well as macOS apps. Xamarin’s bigger ecosystem gives it an advantage over Flutter. The fact that Flutter apps are not portable to the Windows Platform is not a large shortcoming as Statista recent survey claims that approximately 98.5 % of Smartphones today run either Android or iOS. Xamarin can be a one size fits all framework when you want to develop apps for Windows Mobile.
Flutter is not compatible with 32 bit OS devices, so if you’re planning to develop apps for the older phones such as the iPhone 5, Xamarin could be a better choice.
Let’s Compare Xamarin and Flutter Side By Side:
We have seen the features and benefits of each of the cross-platform. We have also analyzed which Framework works best for which situation as well as the pros and cons of each. If you are looking to hire Xamarin developers to develop your mobile app or if you’re looking to hire Flutter developers to develop your mobile app, do contact us. We shall be glad to assist you in your mobile software development task.