Xamarin Vs Nativescript – Comparison Of Mobile App Frameworks

xamarin vs nativescript

Mobile apps development is not easy as it seems. These days everybody wants to embrace a mobile-first approach as it smoothens business objectives, agile processes, feedback and implementation among complex functions. Now organizations can deliver great customer experiences with mobile apps because of the evolution of frameworks. As a developer you have to gain proficiency with various development environments and languages if you want to deploy a single app to multiple platforms. Frameworks like Xamarin and Nativescript allows developers to target multiple mobile operating systems while still using a programming language that they already know. As there are various frameworks to choose, a big question is, which one is best?  So, here we’re comparing Xamarin and Nativescript for mobile apps development. Before diving to the comparison Xamarin vs Nativescript , let us, see the What is Xamarin and What is Nativescript?

What Is Xamarin?

Xamarin is a well-known cross platform development framework to build native-like and performant apps. In 2016, it was acquired by microsoft. Now, the framework is being used by 15,000+ companies of various industries all over the world. Xamarin uses only one programming language, which is C# and .Net framework to develop mobile apps for various platforms. Also, it makes use of XAML- a markup and data binding language for apps. 

Xamarin acts as an abstraction layer that eases the communication of shared code for platforms. One can write apps and then compile it into native app packages(.ipa for iOS and .apk for Android).

This platform can be used to develop efficient cross-platform apps, apps with native like performance, apps with access to native APIs, apps with reusable components etc.  

What Is NativeScript?

It is an open-source framework to build cross-platform apps for ios and android using JavaScript. It transpiles one programming language to another while building native apps using Angular, Vue JS and TypeScript. Dissimilar to other frameworks that use Cordova for rendering a WebView-driven app UI, NativeScript has a rendering engine that provides native performance and user experience. This framework  is used to build simple gaming apps, apps with massive server connectivity,  real time apps, music or video streaming apps, geolocation apps, apps that can function with default apps of the device.

Xamarin Vs NativeScript- A Comparison

1. Architecture-

Xamarin-

It is not restricted to a single architecture. There are a chosen few patterns that turn out to be more valuable as compared to others. Model-View-Presenter (MVP) is the best approach to design native mobile applications with Xamarin. Also, you’d want to build Xamarin.Forms applications on the Model-View-View-Model (MVVM) pattern to make the most out of Xamarin’s offerings. Singleton, Publish/Subscribe, Command are some of the useful patterns for working in the xamarin ecosystem.

Nativescript-

It follows the MVC or MVVM architectural pattern, whereas this framework broadly functions on modules, CLI and Plugins. Structure of nativescript framework is composed with various modules and each of them is responsible to enable certain features. Root module and page module are the most important that make up the architecture. Together, they form an application Module including CSS style code, actual business logic, and XML-based UI codes. Nativescript manages module dialogs because of its MVC friendliness. 

2. Learning Curve-

Xamarin-

To be proficient in Xamarin, you must have a knowledge of C#, mobile development and architecture. As C# is a popular programming language, most of the developers can easily adapt to this environment. Microsoft offers learning resources for developers to get familiar with multiple components in Xamarin. 

Nativescript-

It offers extensive learning because developers can switch between TypeScript, JavaScript or Angular according to their need, feasibility and comfortability. Declarative coding style helps developers to learn nativescript rapidly. A detailed understanding of native performance  comes with development experience in Core Modules and design patterns. Available resources and documents might be overwhelming at the beginning but they prove to be more useful.

3. User Experience-

Xamarin-

One can create platform-specific UIs in xamarin and access all native APIs like Bluetooth, SDK etc. to bring apps to life. Developers can include themes, charts, UI controls and graphics from Xamarin’s component store. One can use material design components to build custom applications.

Nativescript-

You can build enterprise-level business apps with nativescript and this is one of the added benefits of it. Also, you can customize the free, professional grade UI elements of Nativescript. Since each feature is supported by native functionality and native controls, it gives you performance that improves the user experience. Nativescript also tests its libraries, templates and UI elements before implementation to achieve expected user-interface. In reality, you can take your user experience to a  next level by using methods like getFrameByld, classes like Frame, and properties like navigationContext.

4. Code Maintenance-

Xamarin-

Code maintenance is important in cross-platform app development. The sheer number of cycles make it complex to implement a basic change across the various platforms. When you work with xamarin, you just need to make changes in the source file and it will automatically reflect across all the apps. This eases updates, adding new features and bug fixes in Xamarin.

NativeScript-

As this framework focuses on native functionality, it requires less effort to examine where the problem lies. Here the code is shared between multiple platforms, so it takes fixing of a single codebase to correct multiple issues of devices. Besides, the HTML code shared as modules separates between various platforms by using http.get commands and abstractions. The components reusability for building various features for different devices is high with nativescript. Through this, developers can access more solutions and opportunities to sustain existing codes.

5. Performance-

Xamarin-

Xamarin.Forms-

It presents 90% code reusability, app performance generally falls behind its native counterparts. Common functions like booting, processing API requests, serialization/deserialization and image loading/saving, Xamarin.Forms’ apps showed weak metrics as compared to native apps. 

Xamarin Native-

Apps developed for android turned out to be comparable with native apps in terms of performance. There are some instances where SQL BulkInser operation where Xamarin.Android seemed to perform better as compared to native apps. Xamarin.Android is a good alternative to native apps.

Xamarin.iOS apps were not able to keep up with performance metrics of native iOS apps as did Xamarin.Android, however that’s a common case for cross platform app development. Various factors affect app performance and Xamarin native lets you to create apps that can’t be differentiated from natively developed ones.

NativeScript-

Animations built with NativeScript perform good at 60 FPS. Also nativescript provides ability to offload types of long-running processes to maintain a balanced frontend speed for fast performance. Ability to offload in NativeScript is achieved through a multiple-threading model. Performance improvements in nativescript relies upon the use of best practices like merging manual tool instrumentation to optimize performance and  tracing of execution time within the app. 

6. Debugging-

Xamarin-

It provides debugging through visual studio and xamarin studio too. Xamarin also provides a performance profiler.

NativeScript-

It provides an extension for Visual Studio Code and Telerik Platform extension for Visual Studio that provides the same level of debugging functionality inside of Visual Studio. As nativeScript creates full iOS and android projects as part of the build process, native android and iOS profiling tools can be used.

Pros Of Xamarin-

  • Rapid development- With xamarin, development time reduces because it uses a single tech stack and shareable codebase.
  • Native user experience- It uses native APIs and toolkits that serve to  native application design and performance. As it uses system and hardware-specific APIs, it’s impossible to distinguish between a Xamarin and native app. 
  • Single tech stack- Xamarin creates apps for multiple mobile platforms using just one language that don’t require switching between environments because everything can be done in Visual Studio. 
  • Simple maintenance- Update changes in the source file and it reflect across different apps.

Pros Of NativeScript-

  • Programming language- Nativescript makes use of XML- Esque-based markup language like HTML to develop apps with customized features.
  • Developer-friendly CLI- NativeScript CLI allows you to do anything from adding a platform to deploying apps to particular platform or device. Plugin installations and app debugging is rapid and more comfortable.
  • Native functionality- Native script accesses native device API through native components developed with native performance.

When To Choose Xamarin?

  • You can choose Xamarin to build efficient cross platform apps.
  • Xamarin is good to build iOS, Windows and android apps built with .NET from single shared codebase. 
  • Choose xamarin when you want to integrate modern backend services and maximize access to native APIs in your app.

When To Choose NativeScript?

  • You should go with nativescript when you want to build native apps without writing boilerplate code for native APIs and you want to focus on strengthening business goals.
  • Select nativescript when you have to integrate features of modern Javascript frameworks like Angular and Vue.js to native user interfaces.
  • Choose nativescript to build apps rapidly.

Wrap up-

Selecting the best framework for mobile apps development is a crucial task. If a decision goes wrong, it affects the complete app development and performance. Above comparison will surely help you to select the best one between Xamarin vs Nativescript. If you’re still confused to choose the best one, consult with solace experts. Dedicated experts at Solace will help you through consultation and development. You can also hire xamarin developers of Solace for best android app development that will help you to achieve the business goals. Connect with Solace and get a free quote for android apps development. We will be happy to help you.

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