Top 10 Alternatives to Xamarin

The introduction of mobile technology has made it easier for people to access the Internet. To be more specific, mobile technology has given rise to several applications to manage different activities like banking, ticket booking, watching live videos, getting connected to people through live streaming, and many more. Mobile apps are developed primarily for two different platforms, Android and iOS.

Cross-platforms like Xamarin help to accelerate mobile app development and reduce the total application cost. Although it’s a great platform, Xamarin may not be ideal for specific use cases. So, this article will help you to understand the best alternatives to Xamarin better.

Xamarin Overview

Xamarin is an open-source software tool for developing Android and iOS apps. This tool comes from Microsoft’s house and uses .NET and C# to handle the app development proceedings. While .NET acts as a base platform to develop mobile applications, Xamarin adds more prowess to the scenario when creating a specific application type. The Xamarin framework uses an additional set of libraries and tools to extend the .NET platform for developing particular types of apps for Android and iOS.

While Xamarin is an excellent open-source framework for extending the .Net functionality, there are several alternatives available of late. Some of these alternatives have produced even better results compared to Xamarin. Today, we shall be discussing some of the best options to Xamarin.

What are the disadvantages of Xamarin?

  • Application overhead
  • Insufficient access to open-source libraries
  • Limited number of engineers available to work on the technology

Top 10 Alternatives to Xamarin 

These are the best alternatives to Xamarin framework.

React Native

React Native is an open-source JavaScript framework. It is used for developing Android and iOS based mobile applications. Applications developed using React Native never target the browser but rather the platform for which it is being developed. In other words, natively rendering and real web applications can be created using React Native. Also, due to its open-source nature, the codes can be easily shared between the platforms, making it easy enough to develop apps simultaneously for iOS and Android. Codes for applications created using React Native are written using JSX and JavaScript. The JSX is an XML-Esque markup language.  

The primary advantage of React Native is its ability to translate the markup into native, real UI elements, thus leveraging the available options for rendering views on any and every platform being worked upon. At the same time, when working with React, the main UI thread remains untouched. So, the app does not need to sacrifice its capabilities to maintain high performance at a constant level.

Flutter

An open-source mobile UI framework, Flutter is available for free from the house of Google. Using Flutter, developers can develop native mobile apps for Android and iOS in the most expressive ways and quickly. Flutter offers reactive styles without the use of any JavaScript bridge, making it the only framework with mobile SDK to do so.

A lot of people compare Flutter to React Native. However, it must be kept in mind that Flutter uses a single codebase while React Native uses CSS, HTML, and JavaScript to develop applications.

Flutter comes with a bunch of customizable widgets, supporting a modern reactive framework. Apps developed through Flutter offer interface details and platform conventions like icons, fonts, navigation, scrolling, and a lot more. Using Flutter, the developers enjoy higher flexibility when creating customizable designs for apps.

Cordova

Cordova is another open-source alternative to Xamarin. This platform uses CSS, JavaScript, and HTML for developing mobile applications with native mobile functionalities. Cordova is best suited for developing mobile apps that may use hybrid features like geo-location tagging, camera, file system, etc. 

The Cordova UI acts like WebView, occupying the entire screen and runs in the native container. Because of this, the native containers keep changing as per the mobile operating system used. The presence of an elaborative library makes it even more convenient for mobile apps to produce the best native user experience. The apps developed using the Cordova Framework promise a richer user experience across different mobile platforms.

Ionic Framework

Ionic is a popular open-source front end framework used for developing Android and iOS applications. Using the Ionic framework, you can easily develop a native mobile user interface. However, it must be noted that the Ionic Framework does require a native wrapper for an app to run on mobile devices. This HTML framework has been developed on top of Cordova and Angular JS. 

Using Ionic Framework, apps can be given that slick animation style and attractive design for a compelling view. Are you planning to develop a hybrid app? Go for Ionic Framework, and you will be able to save a lot of your working time. Also, using Ionic, apps are developed in a well structured modular way, ensuring timely update and easy maintainability.

Phone Gap

Adobe’s PhoneGap is a software development framework ideal for developing native mobile apps. Using PhoneGap, a developer will need only web development languages like CSS, JavaScript, or HTML, to develop an app. The need for a mobile programming language is not required. Using PhoneGap, applications for different mobile operating systems like Windows, Android, iOS, and Blackberry can be developed.  

While there are other open-source frameworks available, PhoneGap promises cross-platform compatibility and better access to the native APIs. Also, PhoneGap’s back-end support is robust and hence reduces the developers’ efforts, thus speeding up the overall development process.

Native Script 

Another open-source framework to develop native mobile apps, NativeScript focuses primarily on the use of JavaScript for the development process. NativeScript supports Vue JavaScript and Angular frameworks. Using NativeScript, developers can easily use 3rd party libraries from np.js, Maven, and CocoaPods without the use of wrappers. NativeScript uses reflection for handling native API endpoints. This suggests the non-requirement of separate binding layers to access metadata and information about the native APIs.  

The updated version of NativeScript, version 2.0, uses Angular for developing cross-platform apps. The introduction of Angular also allows the developers to share significant volumes of code between the mobile and web apps.

Swift 

Swift is an open-source framework from Apple. Released back in 2014, Swift tends to be a multi-paradigm, general-purpose, and a truly compiled programming language for developing apps. Swift’s key feature is its ability to correctly interoperate with different types of Objective C codes developed earlier. Swift combines well with Cocoa Touch frameworks from Apple and has been developed with the LLVM Compiler Open Source framework. Swift can perfectly handle different codes from the Objective C runtime library to make a program run without any disputes.

Swift can be best described as a genuine alternative to Objective C language that uses the modern programming language principles to create simpler syntaxes. Swift never uses any pointers, which may cause disputes during the time of the program running.

Android Studio

Here comes the official IDE for the entire Android Application Development Scenario – Android Studio. It is the most essential tool for developers working on applications to be used with Android devices. It works on the IntelliJ IDEA.

Android Studio has support for all the programming languages that fall under CLion and IntelliJ like C++, Java, Go, and Kotlin to name a few. All the Java versions are supported in Android Studio. Using Android Studio, developers enjoy Gradle-based build support, app signing capabilities, ProGuard integration, Android-specific refactoring, a well-featured and rich layout editor, template-based wizards for developing android components and designs, support for the development of different Android wear apps, and in-built support for the cloud platform from Google.   

Unity

Unity is another excellent cross-platform framework (basically a game engine) that offers support to 25+ platforms. This game engine has the finesse to develop the most innovative 2D and 3D games and augmented and virtual reality-based programs. The engine can be used for games, and other industry works like architecture, construction, engineering, automotive, and movie projects.

Unity is cross-platform based and offers users the option to develop games in both 2D and 3D. C# is used for the primary scripting of the API. When developing 2D games, Unity can import Sprites and also the advanced level 2D world renderer.

On the other hand, when developing 3D games, Unity is capable of texture compression, resolution settings, and mipmaps for every platform being supported. It also offers support for reflection mapping, full-screen post-processing, screen-space ambient occlusion, parallax mapping, bump mapping, render to texture, and dynamic shadows with the help of shadow maps.

Apache Flex

Apache Flex is another stable and highly effective open-source framework. Using Apache Flex, you can develop mobile apps for different platforms like Blackberry, Android, and iOS. This framework can also develop traditional apps for desktop and browsers using the same codebase, tools, and programming model. In short, developing mobile apps becomes a lot easier using this particular framework.  

Using a single codebase, multiple versions of an app can be developed using Apache Flex. This is the biggest advantage of this open-source framework. The codes created in this framework are deployable and reusable across every major platform. The presence of containers, data grids, forms, lists, and buttons helps in designing stylish application UI.

Conclusion

A best in class application requires the perfect open-source framework to get designed. While Xamarin is considered one of the pioneers in this category, the present scenario brings in many alternative options to choose from.

We have tried to point out some of the best alternatives to Xamarin for developing native mobile apps. You can give them a try. If there are some other frameworks you find more intriguing and compelling, please feel free to mention it in the below comment box.

FAQ

What is Xamarin?

Xamarin is an open-source software tool for developing Android and iOS apps. This tool comes from Microsoft’s house and uses .NET and C# to handle the app development proceedings. While .NET acts as a base platform to develop mobile applications, Xamarin adds more prowess to the scenario when creating a specific application type.

What are the disadvantages of Xamarin?

– Application overhead
– Insufficient access to open-source libraries
– Limited professionals available to work on the technology

What are the best alternatives to Xamarin?

– React Native
– Flutter
– Cordova
– Ionic Framework
– PhoneGap
– Native Script
– Swift
– Android Studio
– Apache Flex
– Unity


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