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Ionic Vs Xamarin – A Comparison That You Must Know

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・4 min read

These day hybrid apps popularity is growing exponentially. Developers are going hybrid due to the benefits like- multi-platform support, development costs, code reusability, lower time to market and so on. Ionic and xamarin are two popular frameworks for building hybrid applications. Selecting the best one from these two frameworks can be confusing as the difference between ionic and xamarin is not only about performance but also about UI/UX experience, app size, code reusability, third-party SDK etc. So here we’ll compare ionic and xamarin on the basis of various parameters and help you to choose the best one. But before digging to the comparison ionic vs xamarin, let see the overview of each one in detail.

What Is Ionic?

It is an open-source UI toolkit which allows you to create hybrid cross-platform mobile apps. It uses Webview for mobile rather than using native device elements. Framework uses Javascript codebase like vanilla Javascript, React, Angular or Vue. Moreover, Ionic has numerous components that give native functionality. The framework is known for giving proficient performance with least DOM control.

This framework is used to develop hybrid apps, cross platform apps, native wrapper, high performance UI/UX app etc.

What Is Xamarin?

Xamarin is one of the most popular cross-platform development framework to build native-like apps. Xamarin SDK was open-sourced and made available free within Microsoft Virtual Studio. The framework is used by 15,000+ companies and various industries like energy, transport and healthcare. It makes use of a single programming language, C#, along with .NET framework to build mobile apps for various platforms and requirements. Also it uses XAML that is a markup and data binding language for an app. Xamarin acts as an abstraction layer that carry out communication of shared code for the platforms. One can write app and then compile them into native app packages.

Xamarin is used to develop apps with native-like performance, applications with reusable components and that need hardware acceleration.

Ionic Vs Xamarin- A Comparison

1. App Architecture-
Ionic uses AngularJS MVC architecture, a software design pattern including Model View Controller, to build single-page, cross-platform apps optimized for mobile devices. With this kind of architecture, multiple developers can work simultaneously and so reduces the development turnaround time and increases productivity.

Xamarin environment supports various architectural patterns and is not bound to a single architecture like many other patterns. There are some patterns that turn out to be more useful as compared to others. Model-View-Presenter (MVP) is the best when designing native mobile apps with Xamarin. You need to build Xamarin.Forms apps on Model-View-View-Model (MVVM) pattern to make the most out of Xamarin’s offerings.

2. User Experience-
It offers a rich, seamless in-app experience for both iOS and Android apps to develop a native-like persistent and transient UI navigation. Its hybrid approach kills the need to submit a latest version to the application stores. This allows for the rapid development of features within a native mobile app container which delivers live updates to users’ devices. Also there is no need to download the app apk time to time for new updates.

With xamarin, you can create platform-specific UIs and access all the native APIs like SDKs, Bluetooth to bring apps to life. It uses native UI controls to bring hardware acceleration into the focus, the apps do far better than solutions doing code interpretation during runtime. Developers can add themes, UI controls, charts and graphics from Xamarin’s component store. You can use material design components to build custom apps.

3. App Size-
Size of a simple hello world app created in Ionic is 3.2MB. Also, the use of special tags during production build- prod -release further reduces app size.

A simple Hello world app can be as large as 15.6Mb for Xamarin.Forms and as low as 3.6Mb for Xamarin.iOS. While the Xamarin environment adds an impressive overhead prompting larger application size, the more smaller size for native applications is a result of Xamarin Libraries, Mono runtime, and Base class library assemblies used in Xamarin.

4. Testing-
Testing of Ionic app is Simple. You don’t need extra testing devices or an emulator as the app is tried in multiple browsers through WebView. Browsers offer built-in testing and debugging tools to make testing easier. Also, Ionic CLI has all the functionalities for web component testing.

One can simply test all the features of app across thousands of devices to fix the bugs before release and so can shorten the development cycle. Also it supports automated and stern UI testing which filters out all the anomalies in the app by replicating user-behaviour. Be it taps, swipes, rotations, or even waiting for UI components to load, it’s all possible while testing with Xamarin. Instead of being convenient, testing with Xamarin is rapid as you get results from comprehensive testing very quickly before app deployment.

5. Code Maintainability-
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