Xamarin vs Flutter: What to Choose for Your Project?

19 min read
Jun 09, 2021
Xamarin vs Flutter: What to Choose for Your Project?
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The use of cross-platform applications for modern business is no longer just a necessity, but rather a mandatory rule. In a rapidly developing high-speed market, it is especially vital for the owners of the company that as many people as possible can use their brainchild with maximum convenience. Now IT development can offer several options with which you can create a unique application that will meet all the requirements of the business owners and their future clients.

The most important question remains, what to use to get your application with the least risk and maximum benefit for both parties? Which source will provide you with more opportunities, make the development process easier and faster, and, at the end of the day, make your income grow. Our article about Flutter and Xamarin will help you understand which of these popular frameworks should be chosen for the implementation of your project and why.

A man is speaking

Flutter vs Xamarin: Intro

Flutter and Xamarin did not just enter into an active fight for customers in the world of IT technologies. These are two strong competitors – Xamarin, a pioneer of cross-platform systems, a fairly strong and experienced player, and a young progressive and very active Flutter, which is trying to push its older rival and seems to be doing it very successfully.

difference between flutter and xamarin

We should take a closer look at which framework should be used for maximum benefit. Start our detailed journey with Google Flutter vs Xamarin.

Flutter

Brief Overview

It appeared in 2017 as a new progressive development from Google, combining a framework and a full-fledged software development kit. A year later, the first stable version appeared which was already accompanied by loud applause and high expectations from all business owners.

So little time has passed, this high-speed novelty in the literal and figurative sense already creates version 1.22, and many are experiencing positive confusion, what is this stable version in the account. And now, according to the official Flutter community website, there are more than 100,000 apps developed on Flutter. It became famous as a destroyer of stereotypes and an expander of boundaries with the slogans “it’s all about the widget”, “code once”, “deploy twice”.

joke about widgets

It has enough power to compete with native applications due to its performance and a high-quality image is the same on all possible systems like Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux. Naturally, other frameworks can provide re-rendering of the code, but it is worth recognizing that SDK does it much faster. This important feature puts Flutter on the top list of the most progressive ideas for your business, and a single code base makes it easy to find an outsourcing team that implements your idea. Impressive, isn’t it?

Pros and Cons

Pros

The advantages of Flutter are so many that we were able to create a detailed study and reveal all the possible features and limitations to enable potential clients to have a complete picture before plunging into the world of Flutter with Xamarin for new projects. Let’s highlight the main aspects.

  • Cross-platform development and easy code. This gives a huge opportunity to reach a large target audience and create favorable conditions for users with different operating systems. It is based on the Dart language, which will not create difficulties for programmers who have previously worked with JavaScript and Group C languages. A single code base allows the programmer to easily adapt to a new environment and start developing a project without the need for a long and meticulous study.
easy to code on flutter
  • High performance. Dart is not only a simple programming language but also high-performance and huge ergonomic. Dart’s high performance is reflected in its ability to compile into native code for Android and iOS, and ergonomics in widgets that reduce the need for data exchange between the app and the mobile platform. These two factors make the launch of Flutter vs Xamarin performance comparable to the flight.
  • Hot reload. It is most convenient when every change in the code is automatically forwarded to the hardware or stimulator in real-time. Now you don’t need to restart the app and waste time we can spend on the launch. Is Flutter better than Xamarin with a “hot” side? A quick reboot has revolutionized keeping productivity at maximum speeds.
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  • All in widgets. This is not just a bright advantage, but a real pleasure for the eye to see an absolutely identical image of the app on different devices. The compatibility issue is resolved, even on older operating systems. All you have to do is enjoy the juicy images that are constantly being improved by the Flutter team.
  • Powerful support by Google. Google Flutter vs Xamarin has grown and is developing with you. It appreciates and values a new product so much that it is simply impossible to worry about the quality of the documentation. How is Flutter better than Xamarin? Programmers around the world claim that this is one of the most reliable and powerful supports they have ever worked with.
you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention
Cons

It is still quite young, its development is still in the process, and not touching the restrictions would not be quite right.

  • Large app weight. Flutter, with its seemingly large-scale functionality, can not boast of the ease of applications. Yes, this can be a problem for developers who will try to reduce the weight of the app and customers if your mobile phone has a limited amount of memory. However, in the modern world, increasing the amount of memory for most is not a huge task, because customers understand that you need to sacrifice something for the functionality.
joke about large apps
  • Lack of a wide range of libraries and plugins. Because of its youth, Google Flutter vs Xamarin has not yet created a huge number of libraries for its own use, and some plugins are still in the process of development. However, in order not to give the system reverse gear, it allows you to find the functionality that suits you outside of Flutter and implement it into the system.
  • Native APIs. Flutter doesn’t have many ARIs of his own at the moment. Be prepared that you will need additional packages that will need to be properly implemented in the Flutter ecosystem. At the same time, Dart and Flutter are constantly evolving and there is a possibility of a delay in the codebase. However, a new version is coming out soon in which the Flutter masters have already solved all the current problems?

Xamarin

Brief Overview

If you ask, which one started the first development of apps that are very similar to native Flutter or Xamarin, then the unequivocal answer is Xamarin, which was created back in 2011 in America by the developers of Mono. In 2016 it was bought out by Microsoft and the framework was integrated into the NET. platform and now it is a part of the C#/.NET/Visual Studio group. Xamarin is also an open-source framework for building cross-platform applications.

Barack Obama's speech

Just a few days ago, in early January 2021, Microsoft released the latest updated version of Xamarin Forms 5. The company plans to develop Xamarin on MAUI in the future, which caused little indignation among developers. However, the company hastened to assure that the transition will be smooth and gradual, which will create an opportunity not to rewrite applications to new code.

Microsoft is already working on tools to avoid giving developers and business owners unnecessary headaches. In total, over the past couple of updates, Xamarin forms vs Flutter has undergone more than 60 internal changes, and if you follow the statement of Microsoft, the framework is actively entering the competition Xamarin vs Flutter for better functionality. Let us wonder if it will succeed?

Xamarin - sounds good, doesn't work

Pros and Cons

Pros

To avoid repeating one fact several times, Xamarin vs Flutter both provide cross-platform application development and are both quite effective at it. We can say that Xamarin was the discoverer of this technology, which was then successfully picked up by Flutter. Now let’s go through the advantages that differ in Xamarin forms vs Flutter and understand why Xamarin vs Flutter performance is also productive.

  • Powerful technology with a complete ecosystem. Powerful C# and .NET technologies, known even to a novice programmer, make it possible to create a flexible application with wide functionality, so you do not need to spend even a couple of days learning the structure of a new language. Everything is ready!
this is the best
  • Strong support from Microsoft. Two of the most powerful tech giants like Microsoft and Google provide support for their offspring with excellent documentation. In the confrontation between Flutter vs Xamarin, we can talk about high competition, and it is not possible to find a certain leader. All Microsoft documentation is simply clear, and Xamarin developers have the ability to use Xamarin Test Cloud which is a strong advantage.
  • Fast development and testing. Many developers will appreciate the possibilities of using shared code, as well as using the native Test Cloud in Xamarin native vs Flutter, which runs tests on more than 2000 devices that you choose. If you combine these advantages, Xamarin vs Flutter performance creates a combination of speed of writing and testing at the same time.
Mr. Krabs is talking about money
  • Competitive Performance. With built-in API access, Xamarin vs Flutter performance fights for the high-speed level of its applications. The process is optimized thanks to hardware acceleration and native compilation. Аt this point, an intense struggle can take place with Xamarin vs Flutter performance for future projects.
Cons

Despite the fact that it is quite an experienced player, over the years of its activity, it has not yet overcome some important aspects that make it difficult to develop applications. It should be highlighted.

  • Large additional weights of apps. Stably, you need to add 5 megabytes to the finished application, or the debug build will add about 20-25 megabytes. In this part, Xamarin native vs Flutter applications are clearly leading the way; Xamarin forms vs Flutter have not yet fully optimized this process.
  • The license costs money. Flutter or Xamarin is a free platform with open source access, this is true, it is worth considering that it is only for small companies. However, commercial Xamarin development requires a license and purchase of the Microsoft Visual Studio IDE. If you are willing to spend extra money, then the question is closed. However, as practice shows, no one wants to pay more if there is an alternative. Therefore, in the pricing policy, which is Flutter better than Xamarin, the answer seems rhetorical.
bad news
  • User experience limitations. The interface is very similar to the native one, but it has its own significant limitations that you need to take into account before you start working with Xamarin forms vs Flutter: limited generics in iOS and limited access to support for dynamic languages for Android.
  • “Lock-in” system. When starting development with Xamarin, remember that the code you write will only be valid on the stack .NET and you won’t be able to reuse it in another development stack.
  • API updates’ time. Developers face a lag in the work of updates and for many, this is a real problem. When new SDK packages are released, the API update takes time and you need to restart, because there may be multiple lags in the work.
joke about xamarin

Flutter vs Xamarin: Let’s Start to Compare

What is the essential difference between Flutter and Xamarin in terms of all functional aspects? At this point, we are ready to tell you in more detail about the features of each system in particular, so that it will be easier for you to decide whether to cooperate with one of them. Often on the Net, you can see the question: “Is Flutter better than Xamarin?” Well, you’ll see for yourself!

Programming Language

Flutter

It uses the Dart language for writing code, which was previously not very popular among programmers. However, its similarity to JavaScript, flexibility, excellent documentation from Google Flutter vs Xamarin performance made it the undisputed leader in the industry, even compared to Xamarin, which is based on one of the most widespread C# languages.

flutter vs. vamarin language

Xamarin

If we compare Flutter vs Xamarin, the second uses C# as one of the most popular programming languages, which certainly has gained a huge number of advantages such as a high level of nativity, while in its work it does not need Swift or Java at all. Application markup uses XAML, which allows developers to reuse code with their own clean user interfaces. One significant BUT, the code is only valid in .NET and this fact has an influence on Xamarin vs Flutter performance.

Architecture

Flutter

The architecture of Flutter is arranged quite simply and organically at the same time. Most of the necessary components are already built into the Dart framework, so communication with native modules is often not required. Already implemented frameworks such as Material Design and Cupertino, which contain technologies for creating applications.

This is not a huge hassle and is insanely pleasant for both companies and employees. It has an engine with Skia, powerful and reliable, with a large number of necessary protocols and channels.

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Xamarin

Xamarin has a Mono environment for use in iOS and Android. Mono is combined with different components to give a smooth response. For example, in Android, it runs along with Android Runtime, for iOS, it uses Objective-C runtime and Linux kernel. Support for Swift is also present in Xamarin, but it is worth noting that it is still not official. Here the architectural struggle Flutter with Xamarin ends.

Installation

Flutter

What is cool about Flutter – its installation does not take much time and effort, because you just need to download a file for the operating system you need and you are ready to work. Download the file, update it and you can easily enjoy the process because all the documentation is already on the official website.

Xamarin

And then the real Xamarin vs Flutter struggle for the convenience of installation begins. If you ask whether it is possible to download the boot file and start working out. First, find Visual Studio at least 2019, install Community, Visual Studio Professional, and only then start the process. You can’t do without a strong link to the Visual Studio documentation!

mem about xamarin

API

Flutter

If you have started working with Flutter, then no doubt you will have all the tools available to create a rich, diverse visualization. Its apps are so beautifully rendered through API access, navigation, state management, libraries, and testing. It is possible to access third-party libraries to get even more benefits, and Material Design and Cupertino will easily make it possible to tear off the user interface identically on both iOS and Android.

Xamarin

If you compare Flutter with Xamarin, then Microsoft has created very reliable documentation that works properly. Officially, Xamarin is supported by iOS, Android, Forums, mac OS, watches, tv OS, etc., and there is also a huge database of components and modules that developers use.

UI Components

Flutter

You probably remember the famous phrase that caught the Internet – “All about widgets”, where the main advantages of Flutter are revealed. Flutter with Xamarin creates cross-platform applications, but Flutter uses its own built-in widgets for them. Thanks to this, unique beauty apps are created from a large library of customizable widgets. As we mentioned earlier, there is access to navigation, various interaction models, layouts, and so on with support for animation and movements.

flutter widgets joke

Xamarin

Is it better to have your own built-in interface components or those that are easy to embed? Be that as it may, Xamarin Native vs Flutter boasts built-in systems, which you can learn in the documentation on the official website. At the same time, your own components can be just as bright, but they are already there.

IDEs Support

Flutter

Unlike Xamarin, Flutter is completely free from the development environment and many people are impressed by this adaptability. You are no longer tied to Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, or Visual Studio Code and can choose what you like or are personally comfortable with. Moreover, what is the difference between Flutter and Xamarin at this point? You can use all IDE options freely.

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Xamarin

In this position, the difficulties begin for the developer, if he is not associated with Microsoft. Unbreakable chains to the Visual Studio IDE bind Xamarin forms vs Flutter. What difficulties can arise here and why is Flutter better than Xamarin in freedom of choice? The concept of VS Code or similar IDE is difficult to implement in this perspective. And more importantly, for corporate users, you need to buy a Microsoft Visual Studio IDE license, which is already stopping many.

Performance

Flutter

It uses the Dart language, which compiles the source code into its own, creating an application that strongly resembles the native one. Another main advantage is the creation of a hot reboot, which is just a gift of fate for developers; they can make changes as much as necessary. In addition, here, the competitive spirit of the Flutter vs Xamarin performance newcomer simply knows no bounds.

if compare flutter vs xamarin performance - flutter wins

Xamarin

It has Profiler, which has a serious arsenal of tools for data refinement and performance analysis. This platform uses its own components to design its own interface and run its own codes on the machine, which creates high performance. If we compare Xamarin vs Flutter performance, it will be clear that the younger audacious competitor has long stepped on the heels of an experienced one.

In terms of Flutter vs Xamarin performance, the first one can only envy the speed of the aircraft; such a funny characteristic can be read on many forums about the Flutter.

Testing Capabilities

Flutter

It has huge testing resources in the widget, module, and integration areas. Google Flutter vs Xamarin has created excellent documentation that makes life much easier. Nevertheless, the company decided to go further and win the competitive process of Flutter vs Xamarin. How is Flutter better than Xamarin What is the difference between Flutter and Xamarin?

flutter vs xamarin

In addition, here you should pay attention to the support for testing widgets, which can occur at different levels. Such fantastic, you see?

Xamarin

Thanks to the well-coordinated documentation, you can run module tests in your own test environment and create separate testing for the platform, which will save you a lot of time. Xamarin native vs Flutter also has a user interface test function with special API support. And what’s also incredibly cool, if you don’t want to use Visual Studio, choose XCUITest, or Expresso, for example.

Community, Support, and Documentation

Flutter

Despite the fact that Flutter is quite young but very active in terms of support, community, and transparent documentation, which Google Flutter vs Xamarin is constantly improving. So, maybe we know the winner – Flutter or Xamarin forms?

The community is growing rapidly, and there are new requests. Flutter’s active life began in 2018, after the large-scale premiere of Flutter Live. Google does everything to ensure that developers around the world do not have problems with clear and structured documentation available.

joke about coding without reading documentation

Xamarin

As you already know, Xamarin is the founder of cross-platform development and after its purchase by Microsoft; the community has become large and influential. The main difference between Flutter and Xamarin on this point is age. Microsoft support helps you discuss issues, discussions, and suggestions by creating the Xamarin Summit.

It is worth adding that there is also a Twitter handle for all the Xamarin related, which helps developers communicate and find information much easier. Therefore, in this Xamarin vs Flutter contest, the winner cannot be determined.

Code Reuse

Flutter

It allows you to use a large amount, about 80-90%, but sometimes developers have to add their own code to support certain elements. In this fight, sometimes Xamarin vs Flutter come out on equal positions, and sometimes Xamarin wins. It all depends on the adaptability and qualification of the programmer.

Xamarin

Xamarin boasts a reusable 96 % codebase; it uses business logic, network layer, and data logic. These high numbers appear when using the Xamarin Forms, Components, and C# programming. Xamarin native vs Flutter shows a great result and you can’t argue.

Pricing

Flutter

The huge difference between Flutter and Xamarin is in price policy. We have come close to the most intriguing aspect from an economic point of view-pricing policy. Flutter here can be said mercilessly simply. It is completely free and you only need to spend money on a talented developer. By the way, what is their salary and how much does it cost to develop on Flutter or Xamarin forms? We’ve already figured it out!

Xamarin

Flutter with Xamarin course positions itself as an open free software development kit, but the pitfalls begin in the form of a license for commercial development, which you need to buy. Prices in particular for Visual Studio Enterprise start from $499 to $2,999, you should definitely take this into account when choosing Xamarin forms vs Flutter for the next projects.

Xamarin vs Flutter: Comparison Table

FlutterXamarin
Introduced20172011
OwnerGoogleMicrosoft (now)
InstallationEasy startMore complicated
Programming LanguageDartC#
Code ReuseUp to 80-90%
+ creation own code for some elements
Up to 96 %
Business logic
Data access
Network communication Xamarin.Forms
CompilationAOT & Dart VM (Virtual Machine)iOS-AOT/Android- JIT&AOT
Platform Stable SupportAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS, UWP
ArchitectureSkiaMono
PerformanceVery close to nativeAlmost native
3-rd party Library CompatibilityHighModerate
TestingHigh testing support
+ special testing for widgets
Strong testing support
UI ComponentsBuilt-in Customize UI componentsNative UI Components
App SizeRelatively bigRelatively big
Heavy Graphics and AnimationModerate and richPoor
Community SupportStrongLimited
PopularityHighHigh, but reducing
DocumentationVery clear and accessibleClear and accessible
PriceFreeFree, but for commercial rate – from $499 up to $2999
Used ByGoogle
Realtor.com
Tencent
The New York Times
Groupon
Alibaba
Group
Square
Dream 11
BMW
eBay
Fox Sports
Olo
Siemens
Pinterest
BBVA
The World Bank
Alaska Airlines
UPS
American Cancer Society
JustGiving

Having carefully studied this comparative table, you can understand why the struggle of Flutter or Xamarin forms is so bright and long-lasting. The world’s leading large corporations are divided into two camps, each preferring the features of a particular system. Is Flutter better than Xamarin after the table? Which one wins the party – Flutter vs Xamarin performance?

But let’s rely on the obvious facts, in the Flutter vs Xamarin confrontation, the leader in performance, fast development, bright widgets that are easy to test and which are just nice to be planted – Flutter. It wins the advantages and as of 2021, it will only grow, because Google is constantly developing its subsidiary software enterprise, creating its brand-free popularity.

Xamarin, of course, is not without a huge number of advantages, such as a high degree of similarity with Xamarin native vs Flutter applications, built-in UI components, and familiarity with many programmers with C#.

Before you understand which side you are on – Google Flutter vs Xamarin, ask clear questions for your future project:

  • What goals and objectives do you need to implement in your project?
  • What tools can Flutter or Xamarin provide you with?
  • Are you willing to pay more for a license?

Having received the answers to these simple questions, you can easily decide with whom you should continue more productive communication – Flutter or Xamarin forms are ready to go.

What You Should Choose: Flutter or Xamarin?

Obviously, Flutter and Xamarin are both strong players in the cross-platform application market. However, many business owners are still confused about Flutter vs Xamarin as their main strategy. We created this article to give you tips and opportunities to understand the situation and make the most correct decision for you, without pitfalls and currents.

We will once again go through the most important points for the implementation of the project so that we can say with confidence in which aspects Flutter is better than Xamarin and how the difference between Flutter and Xamarin influences the projects.

  • Flutter is a more reliable tool for creating complex projects that require increased attention to development and testing, where Flutter has huge advantages.
  • If you need a super-fast beautiful application with huge functionality, go to the Flutter vs Xamarin performance’s side boldly. Speed is its middle name.
  • If you want to easily have an experienced talented employee, this is also not a problem, because Flutter is becoming mega-popular.
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  • You will find it easier to find a Flutter developer than a Xamarin one, despite the great popularity of the development language.
  • You don’t want to pay for the licensed version, and you don’t have to – Flutter is freely available.
  • You want to have powerful documentation and strong support – this may also apply Flutter or Xamarin forms, but the Flutter is growing so rapidly that we are not sure what it will be at the time of publication of the article.

If you are ready to start with Flutter, it’s vital to know the cost of development for great results.

Conclusion

Cross-platform apps are already the reality that everyone has been waiting for. The business offers us huge prospects, not to plunge into which would be a huge mistake. Corporate giants Flutter and Xamarin are trying to provide the best that they have in their arsenal to implement the most daring business solutions.

After reading our article, you are now aware of the difference between Flutter and Xamarin and can confidently choose your leader. But if you are still not sure about your choice – ProCoders is always there for you to help! Contact us now, and we’ll find out, which solution is the best for your business.

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