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Last Updated: January 06, 2023
differences Xamarin.Forms vs. Xamarin Native
Published On: October 16, 2020

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When you consider cross-platform development tools, Xamarin comes out on top as the gold standard. Then again, after deciding to build apps in Xamarin and C#, you have to make another choice. You need to choose between Xamarin.Forms and Xamarin Native. So, how will you know which one of these two is perfect for you? If you continue reading, then you’ll find out.

Android and iOS are the two most influential players in the mobile app market. They dominate the entire game. As a result, business companies need to come up with applications that can meet the diverse requirements of each OS. Releasing native mobile apps for Google Play Store and Apple App Store can be a long and expensive procedure, even if you work with the best Xamarin app development company. Besides, every business company doesn’t have enough time or the necessary funds to develop native mobile apps. That’s why cross-platform frameworks gained the popularity that they enjoy today.

When you opt for cross-platform app development services for mobile devices, you let your organization add its presence in both Android and iOS markets. Microsoft recently acquired Xamarin, as it’s one of the best frameworks for cross-platform app development. It’s full of features, and it’s agile as well as cost-effective. These aspects make it the ideal choice for business companies to build cross-platform smartphone applications.

If you never paid attention to Xamarin mobile app development before, then it’s time to do so now. However, you may not be able to decipher the purposes served by Xamarin.Forms and Xamarin Native. A renowned Xamarin app development company knows which one to choose. That’s why they wish to enlighten you with their knowledge. There are several factors to consider before you decide.

An overview

App developers often use the word “Xamarin Native” or “Xamarin Traditional” instead of Xamarin.Android or Xamarin.iOS. It’s a toolkit for cross-platform app development purposes. Developers use it to create mobile applications via C# and .NET frameworks. The platform-independent codes of the Xamarin Native applications remain stored inside a Portable Class Library or a shared project. The tools, including Xamarin.Android, Xamarin.Mac and Xamarin.iOS help in implementing native user experience and platform-specific functionalities.

Xamarin.Forms, on the other hand, is an advanced version of Xamarin Native. It allows developers to write one XAML to target several platforms at the same time. The applications developed using Xamarin.Forms possess all the features and functionalities of the Xamarin platform. With it, developers can write business logic in C#. They can also define UI in code or in XAML format. In doing so, it’s possible to share it between platforms.

The Differences:

Here are a few differences between Xamarin.Forms and Xamarin Native that will help you in making the right decision for your project.

(1) App development time: One of the main reasons why Xamarin Native gets so much attention from the providers of Xamarin development services is that they can share the amount of base code between the platforms. This feature reduces the development time significantly and increases the speed of the process.

significant time to develop app for Xamarin platform

However, the maximum limit of code sharing is only 75%. Things tend to get a little more interesting with Xamarin.Forms. The rest of the code that the developers can’t share in Xamarin.Platform is the native UI code. Xamarin.Forms let developers use one XAML code for all the UI of all platforms. Understandably, code sharing increases to almost 100%. As a result, creating an app using Xamarin.Forms decrease the time required.

(2) The complexity of the UI: The complicatedness of an app’s user interface and graphics are two crucial factors. Developers can share the UI code among multiple platforms by using Xamarin.Forms, as already mentioned earlier. It sets a few limitations to the complexity of the UI that the developers can implement easily. As Xamarin.Platform allows developers to create UI specific to every platform, it simplifies the task of adding more intricate graphical representations and animations. A few things work perfectly for one platform, but they may not perform adequately for another. Naturally, introducing alterations becomes mandatory. Xamarin.Platform possesses the necessary flexibility to do it. Therefore, Xamarin Native is what an app developer would choose to create an app with a complex UI and intense graphics.

(3) The cost of development: It isn’t only about the time required to build an application. The expenses incurred during the process are also a deciding factor. So, if you choose Xamarin.Forms, then you should look for the providers of Xamarin development services that specialize in .NET development. A .NET developer has the skills needed to create a stunning app. If you pick Xamarin Native, however, then you’ll need a developer with experience in both native platforms and write high-quality code for the UI of each. Understandably, your expenses will increase. So, you should go for Xamarin.Forms if you’re working with a tight budget.

(4) Maintenance and updates: As Xamarin.Forms share almost every bit of the code for all platforms; it becomes clear that maintaining and updating the app regularly will be easier. It’s mainly because only one code will take care of all the updates. With Xamarin.Platform, developers have to pay attention to the base code and then move on to the individual code sets for the platform individually. There aren’t any unified methods of doing them all at once. It adds more time and expenses to the maintenance and update process. Xamarin.Forms is a much more feasible option for apps that need regular updates.

Another difference: Functionalities

There are times when you need your app to gain access to a device’s native features. However, a few features are present in some platforms but absent in another. In such a situation, if you want to use these features in the platforms that they work on, one Xamarin.Forms base code won’t be enough. Xamarin Native, on the other hand, can give the developers access to these features in specific platforms while the others work differently. Apps with different functionalities for various platforms will work better if created using Xamarin.Platform.

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Jayanti Katariya

Jayanti Katariya is the CEO of Moon Technolabs, a fast-growing IT solutions provider, with 18+ years of experience in the industry. Passionate about developing creative apps from a young age, he pursued an engineering degree to further this interest. Under his leadership, Moon Technolabs has helped numerous brands establish their online presence and he has also launched an invoicing software that assists businesses to streamline their financial operations.

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