Xamarin vs Flutter: Which one is better?

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In today’s smart technology age, more and more people use applications to meet any needs. With that in mind, software development teams should deliver fast and efficient applications compatible with every platform. Moreover, launching high-performing apps with sophisticated user experience and brand-driven UIs is a must. Let’s discover what technology is better — Xamarin or Flutter — when it comes to creating a cross-platform mobile application.

What’s exactly Xamarin technology?

Designed by a US-based company, Xamarin is used as a cross-platform framework for creating apps on Android, iOS and other platforms with C#. Not only does it provides a native UI interface, API access and native performance, but it also allows creating highly competitive mobile apps that feel natural on different platforms. Over 15,000 companies in the energy, transport, healthcare and other industries opt for Xamarin technology to develop their mobile app solutions — BBC Good Food, Alaska Airlines,  UPS Mobile, etc. are among them.

Key features of Xamarin technology

Let’s grasp some key features of mentioned above technology:

  • Complete development ecosystem: with a full package of development tools build, test and deploy Xamarin-based app solutions quickly and easily.
  • Fast development: Written in C#, Xamarin offers a reusable code across all the platforms (iOS, Android, Windows). Not only does it help developers accomplish tasks faster, but it also speeds up the time to market and reduces the time and cost of mobile app development.
  • Native user experience: You can deliver a completely native experience for users by taking full advantage of the system- and hardware-specific APIs, SDKs, etc.
  • Rapid prototyping: With access to a complete cross-platform UI toolkit, software engineers don’t need to modify the UI for every platform — they can create a single user interface working on any device.
  • Convenient Maintenance: You can eliminate the need to update the source code of your apps individually — just make changes to the source file and discover results.
  • Modern Integrated Development Environment (IDE): With the help of IDE, you can use a great number of features for authoring, modifying, compiling, deploying and debugging and create native code with ease.

What’s exactly Flutter?

Being Google’s free, open-source mobile SDK, Flutter is utilized to create cross-platform mobile apps. With a great number of reusable UI elements including sliders, buttons, text inputs, API interfaces, command-line tools, it has everything for creating high-quality applications. Based on Dart language, Flutter is quite easy to learn if you’ve used Java or JavaScript languages. Not only does it help software engineers develop mobile apps that look like native apps, but these apps are also high-fidelity and effective. Famous companies like Google, Realtor.com, Tencent, The New York Times, eBay, Groupon, Alibaba Group, BMW, Square opt for the Flutter technology to build high-performance and high-fidelity apps for iOS/Android.

Key features of Flutter technology

Let’s overview some essential Flutter’s features to be in the know:

  • Accessible native features and SDKs: Not only can you make the app development process easier with Flutter’s native codes, third-party integrations, and platform APIs, but you can also get access to the native features and SDKs on both Android and iOS platforms.
  • Stateful hot reload: Thanks to this feature, software engineers can make changes in the code with ease and see results in real time — while the app is running.
  • Native performance: Utilizing Dart’s native compilers, you can implement scrolling, navigation, fonts, etc. to provide full native performance.
  • Huge Widget Library: With a rich set of fully customizable widgets, you can deliver expressive and flexible designs with a focus on native end-user experiences.
  • Full consistency: Only by providing full alignment of business logic and user interfaces for both platforms can you bring about high-fidelity and highly customized user experiences.
  • Cross-Platform Development: There is no need to write code twice — you can use the same code for two apps. Not only does it save you time and energy, but it also significantly accelerate the mobile development process.

Flutter vs Xamarin: What technology to opt for in 2021?

Here we offer a comparison of Flutter and Xamarin technologies. Let’s dive into the details below!

Development and Testing

Xamarin includes a Live Reload feature that enables software engineers to make code changes in real time without the need to be deployed or compiled. As for Flutter, it has a Hot Reload feature that allows software specialists to see the changes in the written code instantly. Moreover, they don’t need to reload the whole app. As for testing, Xamarin provides its own testing environment and supports unit testing. Flutter framework opens up ample opportunity for testing, including integration, widget or unit levels. This puts Flutter slightly ahead.

Architecture and Code Reuse

Supported by Microsoft (Xamarin) and Google (Flutter), these frameworks have a well-designed technical architecture that encourages their use. Flutter framework allows software engineers to produce code for both platforms while Xamarin enables them to reuse up to 95 % of their application code while Flutter’s code reusability reaches 80 %. What’s more, Xamarin’s code can be reused only within the .NET tech stack.

Performance and UI components

Thanks to the usage of native Xamarin’s components, you can fully meet the standards of native development. However, when it comes to handling heavy graphics, Xamarin shows lower performance. Moreover, software engineers should create native code for Android and iOS to create UI components and achieve a native user experience. As for the Flutter framework, it utilizes the hot reload feature and its rendering engine to communicate with native components. This helps software engineers to deliver top-performance cross-platform app solutions.

Learning Curve

Stemming from .NET languages, Xamarin configuration is heavily dependent on Visual Studio. That’s why software engineers who are familiar with VS Code can pick up quickly. This significantly reduces the learning curve for many software engineers. To start with Flutter, developers can use the CLI tool. Not only does it guide them through the setup, but it also helps them find out all the tools to be installed and configured on the local machine.

Popularity and Community support

Over 1.4 million developers worldwide use Xamarin technology to deliver cross-platform mobile app solutions in different industries including media, transportation, finance, healthcare, and gaming. According to a survey, 45.4 of respondents are interested in Xamarin technology while up to 69 of developers opt for developing applications with Flutter. This means that Flutter shows more explosive popularity and wins the battle. Moreover, tech giants such as Google and Microsoft support both frameworks. Let’s overview Flutter vs Xamarin comparison table below! 

Xamarin Flutter
Open SourceYesYes
Backed byMicrosoftGoogle Inc.
Code reuseUp to 75%-95%Around 80%
Development and testingIncludes Live Reload feature and testing automationIncludes Hot Reload feature, multi-level tests and testing automation
PerformanceLower performanceHigher performance
UISome elements have to be written separatelyAdaptable elements
Learning curveRequires less time to start codingMedium learning curve
Community supportLess popularMore popular

Bottom Line: Ready to make a decision?

From this comparison, Flutter and Xamarin frameworks provide comparable tools and capabilities for native-like apps development. If you want to create an efficient cross-platform app and maximize the reusability of its components, opt for Xamarin development services. If you aim to develop a high-performance mobile solution with data integrations capabilities and flexible user interfaces, Flutter technology is an option for you. Only by identifying the requirements of your future solution can you make a wise decision.