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?
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.
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-
With this framework, developers find themselves rewriting codes to maintain stability in their applications, making code maintenance a substantial challenge. Mostly backward compatibility breaks which makes it a more frustrating experience.
For cross-platform app development, code maintenance is a big issue. Lots of iterations makes it complicated to implement a small change across different platforms. But this is not the case with Xamarin. You just need to make a change in the source file and it will result across all the apps. This eases the bug fixing, updates and adding new features in xamarin.
6. Learning Curve-
To be experienced in Xamarin, you just need the knowledge of C#, mobile development and architecture. As, C# is a popular programming language, developers who are proficient in it don’t take long to adapt to this environment. Microsoft offers learning resources for developers to get familiar with the lots of components in Xamarin.
When To Choose Ionic?
You can choose Ionic to build an app if-
- You need to build a simple app which doesn’t need high-end customizations, and needs a native-like experience.
- App idea is new
- App size should be small
When To Choose Xamarin?
You can choose xamarin to build an app if,
- You want to integrate modern backend services and maximum access to native APIs in your app
- Want to build efficient cross platform apps
- Not conscious about app size
Selecting the best app development framework is a complicated task as there are lots of frameworks in the market. Some of them are Xamarin and Ionic. Xamarin is a framework that provides users native-like experience. Ionic is a framework that provides high end customization. Apart from this, the above comparison will help you to choose the best framework for app development. If you are still confused to choose the best one, consult with Solace experts. We are here to help you through consultation and development. You can also hire Xamarin and ionic developers of Solace team for effective app development. Connect with Solace and get a free quote for an effective and efficient app development as per your requirements. We will be happy to help you.