Flutter Vs Xamarin: Which is Better?
In today’s era, every third person in the world owns a smartphone, which accounts for 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world, out of which 925 million people use the iPhone. There is no surprise why the mobile and mobile app development companies are thriving.
The only issue businesses face is to get two different mobile applications for their business. This means hire Android developers & hire iOS developers separately, or they have to choose between the two. This is because the two applications run in completely different ways, and you will comply with this if you have used both Android as well as iOS mobiles.
To resolve the confusion of businesses, the term Cross-platform was introduced. Cross-platform is a term in computing, which means that the software so made can be implemented on multiple platforms. And to build cross-platform applications, developers use Flutter and Xamarin which in turn gave rise to xamarin vs flutter.
Which is better: Flutter vs Xamarin
The answer to this question is explained in this article. So let us begin.
Flutter vs. Xamarin: Introduction
Flutter and Xamarin are both cross-platform mobile app development frameworks. By using these frameworks, mobile app development companies in india make apps that are ready to run on multiple platforms using just a single code-base.
Being the first-ever cross-platform language, Xamarin was launched back in the year 2011 by the engineers who created MONO. Acquired by Microsoft and integrated into the .NET platform in 2016, it is now one of the most prominent alternatives to fully native mobile app development.
On the other hand, we have Flutter, a project started by mighty Google, which has been heavily promoting since its release in 2017. Both Flutter and Xamarin, are technologies that help app developers in building cross-platform mobile apps faster by using just a single programming language as the base-code.
Though Xamarin has been in the industry since 2011 and is now part of the Microsoft community, Flutter has also gained a considerable acceptance rate since 2017.
Now, we will compare Flutter vs Xamarin using the following six criteria:
- Programming language
- Technical architecture
- Installation Process
- Community Support
- Testing Support
- App Size
After defining all our tests, let’s start exploring each of these in detail:
- Programming language
We are all aware of the critical benefits of using a cross-platform mobile app development technology. The key benefits of using a cross-platform mobile app framework are that it is capable of using a single programming language for developing apps for both iOS and Android.
Xamarin – C# (.NET)
Ever since its release, Xamarin has been using the C# language day to build cross-platform mobile apps. C#, as we know, is a trendy language as it has been widely used in the Microsoft community for ages.
C# is being used to build .NET frameworks since 2002, and it got popular with some of its cool features like portability, metaprogramming, and functional programming.
Since C# is being used for web development for a very long time, the transition from web development to cross-platform mobile development feels smooth to C# developers with Xamarin.
Flutter – Dart
This is possible because it supports most of the OOPs concepts. Being easy to get started with, Dart has excellent and easy-to-follow documentation freely available on the official Dart site.
C# is a universal language because it has been around for quite a long time. There is also a massive community of C# developers globally.
Though Dart also comes with a great feature set, it is rarely used or used by young developers and is less known in the developer community.
Considering this, we can come to the conclusion that Xamarin wins this point in the programming language category.
- Technical architecture
While choosing a cross-platform mobile app development framework, it is vital to consider its technical architecture. If we know the internals of the framework, we can make the best out of it and choose the one which is better for your project.
Xamarin – Mono
Xamarin uses the Mono execution environment for cross-platform app development. Talking in a bit technical terms when working on iOS, Mono runs along with the Objective-C runtime and on the Unix kernel. And in the case of Android, it runs along with Android Runtime on Linux.
The documentation provided by Microsoft is an explanation of iOS and Android architecture used with Xamarin.
Flutter — Skia
Flutter uses the Dart framework, which comes with most of the inbuilt components. Dart has so many frameworks, such as Material Design and Cupertino, all packed inside, which provides all the necessary technologies needed to develop mobile apps.
Using the Skia C++ engine, the Dart framework follows all the protocols, compositions, and channels. Precisely saying, Flutter has everything needed for mobile application development in the Flutter engine.
Flutter is the clear winner of the architecture battle. This is because of all the inbuilt packages which come with the Flutter. While Xamarin does not have great support for the Kotlin and Swift runtime, which are supposed to be the official runtimes for Android and iOS apps.
- Installation Process
The installation method, from the users’ point of view, must be straightforward without having complicated steps. This makes learning easy for new developers.
Xamarin – Visual Studio (Xamarin SDK)
Xamarin uses the Visual Studio IDE. Xamarin SDK for iOS and macOS, if needed, can be installed later. We also came across that there is hardly any documentation or resources available about installing Xamarin without using Visual Studio.
Flutter – Binary download from source
Flutter can be easily installed by downloading the binary for a specific platform from GitHub. Talking about macOS, we need to download the flutter.zip file and add it as a PATH variable.
There is room for improvement of the Flutter installation method by supporting package managers. Some of them are Homebrew, MacPorts, YUM, APT, etc. in order to avoid extra steps during installation.
As we have seen, Xamarin installation is entirely dependent on the Visual Studio IDE, while on the other hand, Flutter installation can be done through the command line.
Though Flutter installation requires an extra step of adding the binary to PATH and downloading it from the source code, the facility of Flutter is much more accessible and independent of IDE.
- Community support
You must be knowing that as soon as developers adopt a language, they form a community to share knowledge. More robust, the community better the support.
Xamarin is older than Flutter, and so it has a vast community spread all over the world. There is a community forum to discuss problems, issues, and proposals. Also, Xamarin is a socially active framework! It has a Twitter handle where all the Xamarin related events are updated.
The Xamarin community has more user engagements because it is the oldest cross-platform mobile app development framework.
Flutter is very young as compared to Xamarin, but still, it managed to gain a lot of attention with the help of Google promotions in the Google I/O conference in 2017.
The Flutter community is growing at a constant pace these days; meetups and conferences are taking place online.
The biggest event conducted by Flutter was last year named as Flutter Live in December 2018. We can say that the Flutter community is growing at a constant pace; yet, there is still not enough support available.
Clearly, the Xamarin community is vast as compared to the Flutter community. Since Xamarin has been acquired by Microsoft, the community growth has grown even faster.
Looking for some app ideas for your business? Check out the Top 35 App Ideas for 2020
- Testing support
The best way to get quick feedback on the code you have written is to run test cases for it. There has to be a testing framework associated with every mature technology allowing developers to create units, integration, and UI testing for their mobile applications.
Xamarin supports every type of testing within Visual Studio, e.g., unit tests, and UI tests. Xamarin also has its cloud test environment for running the tests. To top it all, Xamarin has dedicated support for UI testing, Xamarin.UITest API.
Another impressive point about Xamarin apps is that they can be tested with other third-party testing frameworks such as Appium independently.
Flutter provides its users with a rich set of testing features to test apps at the unit, widget as well as integration level. Flutter has a prominent widget testing feature where the user is able to create widget tests and run them at speed similar to that of unit tests.
Winner: It’s a Tie
- App Size
The size of the binary and app is important for the user. Apps with large size are generally disliked and are bulky for the system.
Xamarin provides us with support for lots of platforms, but the size of the binary is relatively small. When Xamarin apps are bundled for release, the app size gets slightly bigger. There is still no code and performance optimization before it is released on app stores.
Flutter app binaries are usually bigger and contribute to increasing the size of the apps. As mentioned on the Flutter FAQ page, the Flutter core engine takes up 2.7 MB + there are the framework and app code, which makes app binaries a bit heavy in size.
Winner: It’s a Tie
Xamarin and Flutter are both excellent options and are equally useful to work with. Drawing any conclusion is not appropriate because, ultimately, both frameworks have some pros and cons.
In this post, we collected the best information available to give you everything you need to know before you hire mobile app developers to get your cross-platform mobile app made.
We hope that all your questions were answered. If still any queries are left unanswered, then feel free to ask them in the comment section below. Cheers!
Frequently asked questions:
Q1- Which is the best company for an app based on Flutter?
A1- PixelCrayons is the best company to choose for an app based on flutter. The company has an experience of 15+ years in web and mobile app development.
Q2- Is Flutter better than Xamarin?
A2- Flutter a very young framework and Xamarin has been in the industry for a long time. But both of the frameworks are equally good. You can choose either.
Q3- Where can I hire a cross-platform app developer?
A3- You can hire the best cross-platform app developer at PixelCrayons. The company has done almost 13800+ projects which is enough to state how experienced the developers at PixelCrayons are.
Q 4- How much time and budget is required to complete a project?
A 4- The estimate of time and budget depends entirely on the size of the project you want to build. Once you choose the app development company for you, it will tell you the exact time and budget required by discussing every component in detail.
Q 5- Is my idea safe with the company I choose?
A 5- A good company always takes care of its client’s privacy and safety. At PixelCrayons, we sign a Non-disclosure agreement to gain trust and protect the ideas of our clients.