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Difference between Flutter and Xamarin

The demand for mobile apps day by day increasing to a considerable extent. Due to this, the developers have searched a fast framework to build the app. Many developers have started using a cross-platform feature to make a fast app that gives many features to design e-commerce apps, interactive apps, and social apps.

In this section, we are going to compare the differences between Flutter and Xamarin, which helps us to identify which framework is best for our app idea. Before making a comparison, we will discuss in brief about these technologies.

Flutter and Xamarin

What is Xamarin?

Xamarin is an open-source, cross-platform mobile development app for iOS, Android, and Windows with .Net. It is an abstraction layer that manages the communication between shared code and platform code. It allows the developer to write the code once and can be reused it everywhere and achieve native performance, look and feel, etc. on each platform.

Xamarin is a software company that originated in 2011 and now acquired by Microsoft in 2016. It is a framework that develops the mobile application using the C# language. It also uses HTML and JavaScript to develop apps like a website for mobile apps using JS libraries. Xamarin tools are easily available to download with Visual Studio. We can use Xamarin tools to develop an app on Windows by downloading and installing Visual Studio, which could be a free version or a premium license.

Advantages or Pros of Xamarin

The pros of Xamarin technology are listed below:

Performance: Xamarin apps are famous for having native-like performances.

Complete development ecosystem: Xamarin apps are build using C#, .Net, and Microsoft Visual Studio, which makes it a complete cross-platform mobile app development framework.

Shared App Logic: It is a powerful feature of Xamarin, making it the most useful cross-platform development tool. Application Logic such as the input validation, web service calls, database interactions, and backend enterprise integrations are coded once in C# and can share 75% of the code across various operating systems. It saves the time and effort of the developers.

Xamarin Component Store: Xamarin believes in Collaboration and Component sharing. It allows the developer to choose the host free or paid component that includes UI controls, cross-platform libraries, and third-party web services to build the app logic with a few lines of code.

Seamless user experience: Xamarin provides the advantage of Native UI, access to specific device features, and, most importantly, native performance. These features make the user experience amazing.

Disadvantages or Cons of Xamarin

The following are the disadvantages of Xamarin Technology:

Updates delay: If the new features or updates roll out in this technology, these changes are usually delayed until they are reflected in the Xamarin tools. This may cause issues with our app.

Heavy graphics: Xamarin is not suitable for building complex applications or mobile games with heavy graphics.

Platform-specific code: Sometimes, we might need to re-write some parts of the UI in our app in native code, such as Kotlin or Java for Android, and Swift or Objective-C for iOS.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a cross-platform UI toolkit that allows us to create fast, beautiful, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop using Dart programming languages. It builds the app with one programing language and a single codebase. It is free and open-source. Google initially developed it in May 2017 and now manages by an ECMA standard. It is a growing technology in popularity to deliver excellent native experiences.

Google introduced it as an SDK (software development kit) to create modern mobile apps for iOS and Android. If we use Android Studio, it is integrated with inbuilt Java and Objective C and Swift on iOS.

Advantages or Pros of Flutter

The pros of Flutter technology are listed below:

  • It is backed by Google.
  • It supports the Hot-Reload feature that makes the app development process extremely fast. The Hot-Reload feature reflected the modified code as soon as the alterations are made.
  • It reduces the time and effort of testing because of the cross-platform feature. This feature allows the testers not to run the same set of tests on different platforms for the same app.
  • It has an excellent user interface because it uses a design-centric widget, high-development tools, advanced APIs, and many more features.
  • It is similar to a reactive framework where the developers do not need to update the UI content manually.

Disadvantages or Cons of Flutter

The cons of Flutter technology are listed below:

  • It primarily supports Dart programming for coding, so a developer needs to learn new technologies.
  • The Flutter is a comparatively new language, so it does not have good community support.
  • It provides very limited access to SDK libraries. It means a developer does not have a lot of functionalities to create a mobile application.

Flutter vs. Xamarin

The following comparison chart explains the main differences between Flutter and Xamarin:

Parameters Flutter Xamarin
Definition Flutter is an open-source, cross-platform UI toolkit to create fast, beautiful, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop. It builds the app with one programing language and a single codebase. Xamarin is an open-source, cross-platform mobile development app for iOS, Android, and Windows. It allows the developer to write the code once and reused it everywhere.
Backed By It is backed by Google Inc. It is backed by Microsoft (from 2016).
Initial Release May 2017 December 2012
Language It uses Dart programming that was introduced by Google in 2011 to build mobile apps. It uses C# and XMAL programming language for creating applications. This language is primarily used for web development.
Installation We can use the Flutter framework by downloading the binary for a particular platform from GitHub. If we use the MacOS platform, it is required to download the flutter.zip file and add it as a PATH variable. We can create a Xamarin app by using Visual Studio IDE for installation and Xamarin SDK.
App Size Flutter app is bigger because it uses app binaries that are usually larger in size. Its binary size is relatively small, so the app is also in a smaller size.
Performance Its performance is amazing because it uses the Dart engine and hot reload feature. Its performance is slow because it has a profiler that reported performance issues.
Testing Support It has a wide variety of testing features along with a unique widget testing feature. It also supports testing at the unit and integration level. It supports various types of testing in Visual Studio, like Unit tests and UI tests. It also tests the app using third-party testing through frameworks, like Appium, XCUITest, or Expresso. It also has its own cloud testing environment.
Technical Architecture Flutter uses Dart Language, and here everything comes in the Dart engine, such as Material Design, Cupertino that provides all the necessary technologies to develop mobile apps. It also uses the Skia C++ engine that follows all the protocols, compositions, and channels. It uses the Mono execution environment for developing a cross-platform app. This execution environment runs along with Objective-C runtime and Unix kernel when we work on iOS. If we work on Android, it runs with Android Runtime.
Documentation It has well organized and more informative documentation where we can get everything that we want in one place. It has a rich set of documentation and development API to the developers. In comparison to Flutter, it supports more platforms.
Community Support Flutter is a new technology, so it does not have strong community support. However, it is advertised by Google; therefore, it would be very popular in the coming year. It has huge community support and a vast marketplace because C# is backed by Microsoft.
Hot Reload It provides support for the Hot Reload feature. It does not have a concept of a hot reload feature. But it provides loads of modules and an amazing development API that depends on the Visual Studio IDE.
User Interface Flutter has an excellent user interface in comparison to Ionic. Its user interface is not good because it renders everything in HTML and CSS.
UI Elements Widgets Native Component
Code Reusability Up to 80 % Up to 96 %
Compilation AOT and Dart VM iOS-AOT/Android-JIT & AOT
IDE Support Android Studio, Visual Studio, and IntelliJ Idea. Visual Studio, Xcode.
Platform Support It can deploy on Android, iOS. It can deploy on Android, iOS, and UWP.
Popular Apps Hamilton, Google Ads, Alibaba, Cryptograph, etc. Microsoft, UPS, Word Bank, BBC, etc.

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