Xamarin or Ionic? Which solution is best for your app development project?
You know that you have a great idea for a new app, but how do you choose the right framework to use for it? We’ve looked at two of the most popular frameworks, Ionic and Xamarin, to help you understand which might work best for you.
Why it’s critical to get your app development right
On average, worldwide consumers spend just over four hours a day using apps on their mobiles, which is a 30% increase in just two years, and by 2023 mobile apps are expected to generate $935 billion in revenue. The mobile app is ubiquitous, touching all parts of our day-to-day lives and they are becoming more and more important for any business wanting to remain competitive by connecting to more customers in a meaningful way.
The potential to reach a vast potential audience makes it very important to get your mobile app right from the start, ensuring that its design, functionality, and reliability keep consumers engaged. Therefore, its development needs to be managed properly and choosing the right framework for building an app is a key early decision.
Why Xamarin Vs Ionic?
Xamarin and Ionic are popular frameworks for mobile app development for multiple platforms, making digital product development quicker, easier and more accessible to developers. The benefits of cross-platform mobile development are its cost-effectiveness, efficiency (as code can be reused) and the easier deployment of new features because separate applications aren’t needed. But are there any differences between what Xamarin and Ionic offer? If so, how do you know which to choose for your project?
Xamarin is Microsoft’s cross-platform framework for creating mobile apps which uses C# and .Net frameworks and supports the development of apps on all major platforms, including iOS and Andriod. Xamarin has two different application development frameworks:
- Xamarin Native:to create platform-specific user experience with complex and intense graphic UI for each platform
- Xamarin Forms:allows the sharing of UI code across the multiple platforms and all updates can be performed on a single codebase
Benefits and disadvantages of Xamarin and Ionic
Both frameworks enable the development of apps, although utilizing different ecosystems, but understanding the challenges and benefits of each begins to reveal how each may be utilized in different ways to capitalize on their strengths.
Benefits of Xamarin:
- Uses a single tech stack which is C# with sharable codebase to develop the app. This saves time and effort and helps to speed up development for the various platforms
- User experience will match the Native application. Xamarin has the ability to translate app UI elements across the platform which leads to getting the Native App look and feel
- Supports the majority of hardware compatibility e.g., Camera, Location, etc.
- Is compatible with both MVC and MVVM architectures
- Maintenance and updates to apps are simplified across all the platforms
Challenges with Xamarin:
- Not great for apps with rich graphics, complex UI and animation
- App size is larger than normal
- Xamarin’s library is extensive, so complex projects may require additional native coding and custom development
- Xamarin is a free and open-source, but commercial developments require a license to use Microsoft visual studio
Advantages of Ionic:
- Very flexible because it’s built on standardized web technologies which enable the development of great user experiences and animations
- Quick development and shorter time to market compared with native and other cross-platform frameworks
- Scales efficiently because the number of active users doesn’t affect performance
Disadvantages of ionic:
- Uses WebView to render the app, so loading times vary based on screen complexity, leading to performance issues for complex graphics and UI’s
- Apps can experience random crashes and debugging is a challenge requiring more time than usual
- Hot reload is not available in Ionic; it refreshes the whole app whenever the developer makes some changes, affecting development speed
- Using older versions or Angular CLI won’t provide code uglification, which leads to security threads
When to choose Ionic or Xamarin?
Considering these pros and cons highlights that Xamarin is a good framework that provides users with a close to native-like experience whilst Ionic excels at providing a cross-platform WebApp experience. Taking this into consideration, when it comes to choosing which to use:
- If you’re looking for a user experience close to native look and feel.
- If you want to integrate with modern, backend services and maximum access to native API’s
- If you aren’t worried about app size
- If your app is simple, not requiring lots of customisations and complex integrations
- If you’re looking to launch your app in a short time with limited features
- If you want your apps to be on iOS, Android, Web or desktop from day one
Fast tracking your app development
Even with frameworks such as Xamarin and Ionic available, even to start-up entrepreneurs and SMEs, mobile app development is a challenging and complex process because creating an app that stands out from the crowd and captures the imagination of the consumer, while making competitors jealous, is about so much more than the framework you use.
Not only do you need to choose the right tools and framework, but you will also have a budget to work within, limitations in the capabilities of your own team to accommodate, and the need to understand how your app can evolve to accommodate changing business needs. And all this should be underpinned by a clear vison of why you are embarking on the project and what it needs in order to deliver strategic value for your business.
At Incepteo we routinely have clients come to us trying to tackle these problems, but with decades of experience in delivering software solutions, we’ve developed the technological know-how as well as the business experience to advise on how to deliver an effective, bespoke app solution.
We’ve already talked about How digital innovation will help steer business resurgence after Covid-19, but the statistics for mobile app usage speak for themselves; digital transformation is a long-term investment, as well a means to drive recovery.
Taking time to truly understand our clients, their market, their business aims, aspirations and applying our entrepreneurial approach, we align short and long-term goals with the right technology. When it comes to making choices like which mobile app framework to use, we’ll guide you to make the choice based not just on what the technology can do but what it can do for your business.