Xamarin Advantages And Disadvantages
Xamarin is well etched in the market, it doesn’t need any particular introduction or explanation. Nevertheless, it is imperative to say that it is one of the most popular programming platforms used for developing mobile applications that run on both Android or iOS applications. The applications developed through C# and Net framework are created in Visual Studio and released on various platforms.
It is a dream come true for developers because if they were developing different apps for different platforms, they would have to spend a considerable amount of hours on it, and the companies hiring them would suffer losses, because of the developer time, payment and resources involved in it. Xamarin reduces development time and efforts, because it lets you build cross-platform apps.
On an average, you can use about 75% of the shared codes, and cut down development time by 60%, easily. And that’s not all. There are several other advantages to using the framework in mobile app development. And of course some disadvantages as well. Let’s walk through both of them in this article. First the advantages of the platform:
1) Framework equipped with Visual Studio
As it is equipped with Visual Studio, the framework lets you build powerful and modern IDE. It gives you the necessary .NET/C# framework to develop top performing real-native binary code output to create high-performing native applications.
You can also manipulate features like sophisticated project, project template library, code auto completion and many more. All you need is a few weeks to make use of your C# knowledge and Xamarin’s code reuse feature to release a new cross platform app that looks and feels like native.
2) Shared app logic
Another noted feature of the platform is the shared code logic that can be written just once, but deployed across various platforms. This is because components like business objects, app logic and data access layers are all shared across these platforms.
As you don’t have to write the code from scratch, all you need to do is make sure to write a few codes that are unique, and the rest will be shared. This makes sure your app reaches the market in no time.
3) User Interface
The developer has the freedom to choose User Interface layout, a great benefit while designing apps according to user interests. However, the interface itself poses a disadvantage, which we will discuss later.
4) Xamarin Test Cloud
You can test all your apps quickly in the Xamarin Test Cloud, and take them to unseen levels. The cloud lets you test any app on thousands of devices, and you can make use of its incredible reporting system where you will be able to pinpoint the bottlenecks and fix them in the shortest time possible. If you are looking for flexibility, then the test cloud is the answer.
5) An incredible component store
The framework is amazing, you have an incredible collection of UI controls, themes, charts, graphs, cloud services and a host of powerful features to help enhance the functionalities of your app. And this contributes to the speed with which you can develop your app.
6) Easy subscription plans
There are a few subscription plans, which makes it easy for individuals, businesses and enterprises. The plans come in different price ranges, and depending on the use and business requirements, you can make an informed choice.
7) Go live within weeks
Imagine how much time, money and resources you would have to waste if the developer has to learn, develop, and maintain different codes for different apps! You need to have more number of developers for the job. But the good thing with Xamarin is that a single code works on multiple platform. Since the developer needs only C# language skills, there is no learning curve, and you can go live in weeks.
Disadvantages of Xamarin
There are a few disadvantages to Xamarin, check them out here
1) App overhead
The built-in app overhead leaves a large footprint. This could affect download time and storage space required for app in user devices. Of course, the Xamarin team is trying their best to work on these issues, but app users still have to enjoy the maximum benefit from this.
2) Lack of community support
This was one of the most significant downsides of Xamarin. Android, iOS and NET developers have huge community support forums, groups and communities with a wealth of information. When compared to all those, Xamarin is relatively new, so the community still has to develop. If you happen to hit roadblocks during app development, there is no guarantee that you will be able to find a solution for it online. You might have to hire a Xamarin Certified Partner, a partner program that will help you with your issues as they have more access to support resources.
3) Can’t share codes outside Xamarin
Developers cannot share codes with other developers or teams if they are using only Swift, Java and Objective CA code written using C# and Xamarin, cannot be shared as it is, instead you may have to import and bind Java & Objective C with C# if you want to work on this framework.
4) Some manual coding required
The phrase “write one, code anywhere” scenario is not entirely true because some of the codes will have to be written individually for each platform. The UI development for each platform will be time consuming, especially since it has to be done manually.
Xamarin is definitely a better choice when compared to hybrid apps because they just show the app within a frame on whichever device you are running it on and connect to the platform-specific APIs to make it work. This makes it slower and less elegant.
One of the first questions that developers ask their employers would be whether they would be requiring a native app or a cross platform one. If the company wants to develop an app quickly for multiple platforms, and deliver a native-like feel, then Xamarin would be a good choice. Hiring highly professionals would ease the process for you.
If you are still trying to get a hang of Xamarin, then try the download version and get a taste of what it has to offer.
Picture Source: Flickr.com/ Hilligsøe
The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at www.Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.