In the last decade, there has been a tremendous growth in the mobile industry especially regarding the Mobile Applications Development, and this is increasing. According to one of the reports, there are more than 3 billion smartphone users in the world and this number is increasingly rapidly every year. Majority of these smartphone are based on either iOS platform backed by Apple, or Android platform backed by Google. There are number of programming languages which can be used to develop the mobile application in these platforms. Xamarin and Flutter are such cross-platform development frameworks, which can be used to develop a cross-platform application. As these are most trending and growing technologies, we have done a quick comparison of them to help you with the best choice for your next Cross-Platform App Development
Xamarin is one of the leading open source cross-platform development framework which uses C# as the programming language is backed by Microsoft. Xamarin was founded in 2011 and was acquired by Microsoft in 2016, which later made it an open source platform, and now it has become an integral part of the Xamarin Visual Studio IDE.
Flutter is also an open source free cross-platform development framework tool which uses Dart as the programming language and is designed by Google to create high performance Android and iOS Mobile Applications. It provides a single code, which is also the case in Xamarin.
For its iOS and Android platforms, Xamarin uses Mono as it execution environment. In iOS platform, Mono runs along with the Objective-C on UNIX kernel, however, in android it runs along with Android run time on Linux. As its backed by Microsoft, Microsoft has provided a detailed documentation to technical architecture used for Android and iOS in Xamarin.
The Dart framework of Flutter uses Skia engine which is bigger in size as it has most of the components inbuilt and hence, usually doesn’t require a bridge to communicate with the native modules. The architecture of Flutter is explained in detailed in GitHub wiki. Overall, Flutter has a better technical architecture in place than Xamarin as it has most of the native components inbuilt in its framework itself.
Since Xamarin is an old cross-platform framework, it has huge community base all across the world. There’s a huge number of developers who uses Xamarin and hence, it is has a huge community forums to discuss the issues, problems, events, updates etc. Xamarin also actively organizes events like Xamarin development summit to keep its community active and strong.
Though Flutter is new, but the growth it is shown is very promising. It actually started gaining developer’s attention only after 2017. Even Flutter is organizing events like meet-ups, conferences and Flutter Live to keep increasing it developer base. Though rapidly growing, Flutter has a developer base which is lot lesser than Xamarin.
Xamarin uses platform specific native UI components for the platform specific apps using Xamarin.android and Xamarin.iOS. Advantage of this approach is it provides greater amount of flexibility and native like look for the cross-platform apps.
Flutter uses two different widgets for each of the platforms, for Android App Development it uses (Material widgets) and for iOS it uses (Cupertino Widgets). Using Skia graphics library, Flutter creates its own GUI components and hence, doesn’t use any native GU components. Hence, this is more advantageous to the developers for customization.
Looking at the current rate of growth, undoubtedly Flutter is the future considering its feature richness and ease to use. The only advantage Xamarin has at this point in time the existing huge developer base and the strong community support, which we are sure Flutter will catch-up with in the coming years.