Utilizing cross-platform development, especially in the case of products such as mobile applications, isn’t exactly new. Obviously, the cross-platform app market is growing considerably each year. This means that, to engineers, the ability to develop across platforms simultaneously is not only useful but also financially savvy.
Of course, cross-platform development does not come without its own downsides. For example, the cross-platform code is often spottier than code natively developed for a specific platform. This is why cross-platform development aids such as Xamarin, React Native, and Ionic have become so popular. Today we’ll be looking at these three frameworks in terms of performance, efficacy, and user-friendliness so that you can choose the right framework to build your cross-platform app in.
Microsoft’s Red Headed Development Child: Xamarin
Xamarin works in two formats: Forms and.Android/iOS. The .Forms format is less specific and allows you to automatically develop cross-platform. The downside for this improved flexibility is a less efficient translation of code. On the other hand, the.Android/iOS format features close to native performance when cross-developing. Needless to say, the.Android/iOS format is better if you’re willing to put more time into your development cycle. Overall, Xamarin is decently efficient, and if you learn how to use it, it can be quite a powerful tool for making cross-platform apps feel natively developed.
Although Xamarin is less popular than Ionic or React Native, Microsoft has been pushing this platform for a while and has dedicated quite a lot of resources towards its success. This means that it has good user-friendliness, both in the form of manuals, as well as in the form of excellent customer support. Although it is the priciest option of the three (by far), as well as the least used, Xamarin has the potential to really become something in the next few years if Microsoft plays their cards right.
Quantity over Quality: Ionic
Ionic is the second most popular, as well as second priciest, the framework on this list. Although it can be useful for developing simple apps or developing basic helper apps for other development cycles, Ionic lacks in power when it comes to Xamarin’s or Reacts Native’s ability to develop apps cross-platform that feel natively developed.
The Opensource Workhorse: React Native
Additionally, React Native provides the best user experience, boasting a huge community of users more than willing to give advice and a helping hand to new users. It’s also the only framework on the list that is completely free, being a true opensource development tool. Without a doubt, React Native is a great option for those who aren’t afraid of tackling a project head-on in order to get the best possible results.
Personally, I’d recommend React Native. Of the three, it has the biggest user community and is the most well understood. This means whether you need to make the app yourself, or you’re outsourcing, it’s a good choice. It’s also free. However, if you have a .NET team and are familiar with Microsoft, it may be a good idea to jump on the Xamarin train while it’s taking off – if the platform expands like I think it will, that early experience could become very marketable in the near future. Finally, if you just need efficacy, don’t shy away from Ionic. If you’re just looking to develop a smaller, less public, more corporate app, Ionic can really pack a punch in how much it can expedite the development process for you.
Have you used one of these frameworks? If so, what was your experience? Which do you prefer? We’d love to hear from you!