Xamarin or Ionic: Which is Better for Mobile App Development in 2021? Cross-platform frameworks are the talk of the town due to the advantages they offer. However, the decision to choose between Xamarin or Ionic is a tricky one.

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Have you decided to go for cross-platform apps and are now confused about choosing between Xamarin or Ionic? Don’t worry! Relax and consider the following analysis to overcome your doubts to choose the better option for you.

Undoubtedly, cross-platform apps are the talk of today’s technology world in which Xamarin and Ionic are stealing the show. You can not ignore one for the other as both are perfect according to the app’s requirements.

Although it’s pretty tricky to decide which one to opt for, i.e., Xamarin or Ionic, one can quickly resolve with the help of some comparisons. But, before moving further to the comparative analysis, let’s have a look at the below facts that will help you better understand the usability of both platforms:

  • As per Statista, Xamarin is used 14% by software developers across the world.
  • Developers used Ionic 18%, a bit higher than Xamarin.
  • According to the market and market research, the Cross-Platform app is rapidly growing, and likewise, the estimation increased from 25.19 Billion dollars in 2015 to 80.45 Billion dollars in 2020.
  • Almost 5 million apps are built using the Ionic Cross-platform application.

Both Ionic and Xamarin have their own characteristics to make successful mobile applications for businesses. Based on your app requirements, you can choose either of these.

xamarin

Moreover, here is the detailed analysis of the cross-platform apps related to code reusability, performance, user experience, application size, and other features.

Code Reusability: One of the most challenging tasks while creating a cross-platform app is to maintain the code. At the same time, It is also the most practical benefit because once developers develop a single code base, they can use it on different operating systems, i.e., Android and iOS.

Xamarin: To maintain a single code base and deploy it over other operating systems is quite tricky. But here in Xamarin, it is not the case as the developer needs to make changes in the source file. Simultaneously, it gets reflected over all the other apps fixing the bugs and updating the apps.

Ionic: Developers find it difficult to maintain the code as they have to rewrite the codes several times. And worse is backward compatibility that breaks most of the time, leading to a frustrating experience for the developer.

And the winner is Xamarin


  • Performance

While developing an app, performance is critically important as it determines the usability of the app.

Xamarin: Xamarin is known to provide almost native apps like performance. Hence it is one of the most sought cross-platform apps today.

Ionic: Ionic uses pre-existing plugins to speed up the performance, and the framework has interactive times of less than 1.8 seconds. Even if Ionic is a non-native platform, it excels in performance.

And the winner here is Ionic


  • User Experience

User experience is one of the most significant aspects of an application because it allows users to engage with the app and enhance satisfaction.

Xamarin: Seamless user experience is somewhat a developer ambition while working on the application. Xamarin facilitates you to take advantage of the standard interface elements by providing a component library to reuse a code.

You can create separate platform-specific UIs which help users provide a better experience.

Ionic: Ionic gives a native app-like experience as it delineates any new version’s usage to the app store. Additionally, a user does not need to download an app apk from time to time for the latest updates.

It’s a tie


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  • Language Stack 

Xamarin: As far as language is concerned, Xamarin uses C# with .Net framework to create mobile apps for any platforms, i.e., iOS, Android, and Windows. Hence one can share 90% of the code across the platforms.

Ionic: Ionic uses JavaScript, HTML, and CSS to develop the app and facilitates developers to quickly transcript the language.

And the winner is Xamarin.


Also read: Build Your Dream App With Top Xamarin App Development Companies


  • Community

ionic vs Xamarin

Xamarin: Needless to say, the community is vast, including 1.4 million developers scattered all over the world in 120 countries. You can connect with them using platforms like Xamarin Blog, Stack Overflow, Xamarin Q&A, Reddit, etc.

Ionic: Since it was launched in 2013, the community has surpassed five million developers. It’s a huge number to decipher the popularity and demand of the application as well. You can connect with them through Github, Reddit, Glitter, or Stack Overflow.

It’s a tie


  • Application Size

Xamarin: Xamarin adds 5 megabytes for releases and 20 megabytes for debug builds, leading to size increment.

The application’s size may be larger than the native app platform, but not in every case. Because it depends on the kind of app, the developer is working on. 

Ionic: Developing an app using javascript, HTML, and CSS requires writing lots of code with various plugins and dependencies, leading to a larger one than the native app. Since Ionic version 4 came into effect, the issue is almost resolved.

And the winner here is Ionic


  • Popular Applications

ionic or xamarin

Both the cross Platforms apps have helped several businesses to become international brands.

Xamarin

HCL: HCL has adopted Xamarin and its visual studio to synchronize its team dispersed globally.

The World Bank: Earlier, the international financial institution used legacy paper and laptop methods that were time-consuming and inconvenient at the same time.

Since the institution got the app, it is helping to collect data and conduct surveys conveniently.

Storyo: It is a video story creator app built by engineers who rendered up to 170 countries worldwide after developing it.

Alaska Airlines:  Alaska Airlines always believes in investing in new and trending technology. With more than 15k team members, 17 million customers a year, and over 75 years of history, they wanted to create an app that could better fit their travel technology solutions.

Thus they adopted Xamarin technology to concentrate on native features like Touch ID or push notifications leading to realizing their goals. You can also hire mobile app developers to stand out from the crowd.

Ionic

Just watch: Just watch also uses Ionic technology and provides extensive use of search engine applications to its users.

Pacifica: Pacifica is very popular among its users as it is a mental health app giving them clinical advice. It comprises different features like tracking your mood all along the day. Undoubtedly, Pacifica is one of the successful apps created with Ionic technology.

And the winner is Xamarin.


What are the Pros and Cons of Xamarin and Ionic?

Pros of Xamarin:

  • Faster development: Xamarin affords more rapid growth as it allows you to reuse the code that’s been written for one OS on other OSes as well.
  • Native user experience: Since the business logic is written using native APIs in Xamarin, it’s possible to provide a rich user experience.
  • API Access: In Xamarin, you’ll have direct access to essential mobile OS functions such as camera, GPS, etc., giving you more flexibility in your app development process.

Cons of Xamarin Framework:

  • Cost: Xamarin is a paid solution, so it’s always going to add unnecessary costs to your budget.
  • Not suited for heavy graphics-based apps: Since rich graphics-based apps require more CPU capacity, app developers might find the performance lacking in Xamarin.
  • Slower than native code: The application logic is compiled .NET code which isn’t as fast as native ARM code.
  • Native APIs are not available on all platforms: Xamarin also doesn’t support some of the advanced native APIs on iOS and Android.

Pros of Ionic Framework:

  • Open source: Since it’s an open-source framework, Ionic is free to use and can be customized by using CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.
  • UI widgets available: Ionic offers a bunch of user interface elements such as side menu, dialog boxes, loading bar, dividers, etc., which can be used to extend the functionality of your app.
  • iOS and Android SDKs available: Ionic is compatible with iOS and Android SDKs, so you don’t need to code for both platforms separately, saving time and resources in the app development process.

Cons of Ionic Framework:

  • Limited in performance: Performance is a severe challenge in the Ionic development process as it uses web technologies that can’t match native performance.
  • Lacks native plugins: There’s no easy way to access native device features such as GPS, Camera, Push Notifications, etc., using Ionic Framework.
  • Difficulty in debugging: While debugging your app in Ionic, you’ll have to use Chrome or Safari web browser for debugging the app.

Conclusion

As discussed above, you might have understood that both platforms are suitable to go. But making it more precise for you to select, you can consider the app’s following requirements.

Choose Xamarin if:

  • You are well versed in C# and .net framework.
  • You are not much bothered about application size.
  • You want to get maximum access to native APIs like Bluetooth, SDKs in your application.

Choose Ionic if:

  • You are familiar with web-based technology.
  • You want to experience a new idea and are going to launch a new startup.
  • The requirement of your application is simple means it doesn’t need customizations highly.

So, get your app developed accordingly by India’s one of the best app development companies. You will also be reaping the results of having an app and driving your business to a new height in no time.


Xamarin App Development


Frequently Asked Question 

What is Xamarin?

Ans. Xamarin is a cross-platform framework that enables sharing code between iOS, Android, and Windows apps. It uses C# for the shared code. Despite being first introduced in 2011, it came into wide popularity after Microsoft bought it in 2016. The official documentation suggests using Xamarin because of its features like sharing code, UI components for all 3 platforms, ability to debug on any device.

What is Ionic?

Ans. Ionic enables you to build apps using open web technologies – HTML5 CSS3 and JavaScript. You can use Cordova or Capacitor plugins instead of WebViews in your app. The official documentation suggests using Ionic for its features like customizable UI components, ability to integrate with other services, performance, and ease of cross-platform development.

What is the difference between Xamarin and Ionic?

Ans. Xamarin enables you to build native apps using C# code, while Ionic enables web apps using HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. Xamarin uses native UI components of each platform, while Ionic uses a custom library to mimic them.

When should I use Xamarin and Ionic?

Ans. Xamarin is a suitable preference for you if you want to build a native app using C#. You can also customize UI components to an extent. Ionic is the way to go if you’re developing a cross-platform app using open web technologies and using third-party plugins in your app.

Is Ionic better than Xamarin?

Ans. While there is no clear winner among these two, it’s up to you as a developer to decide which framework suits your requirements the best. Ionic provides a cross-platform experience but is limited in customization and extensibility. Xamarin provides native expertise at the cost of cross-platform support and customizability.

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