Cross-platform apps, in comparison to native apps, allow developers to reuse code across operating systems. By using a cross-platform framework you will be limited in your ability to incorporate custom designs and intricate animations, but the benefit is that you only have to write one code base. This means that your costs could be half the price of coding separately for each platform.

There are a number of cross-platform development frameworks that serve different purposes, and one may be more fitting than the other based on your applications’ objectives. As an industry-leading software development company, we believe that the two most common cross-platform development frameworks are Xamarin Forms and React Native. We have taken the time to break down the pros and cons for each of them. 

Xamarin Forms vs React Native on Android and iOS

Xamarin Forms is a mobile application framework that enables .NET developers access to a cross-platform UI toolkit. 

React Native is an open-source mobile application framework that enables you to build a mobile app with JavaScript. 

Xamarin Forms and React Native both use a single language to develop iOS and Android applications. Xamarin Forms is created using C# while React Native is written in JavaScript. These frameworks allow developers to use one language which helps save time. 

There’s no one answer as to which framework is “better”, but the different characteristics of Xamarin Forms vs React Native can determine which framework is a better fit for your project.

Xamarin Forms vs React Native pros and cons

Xamarin Forms 

Choosing Xamarin Forms to develop mobile apps is a great way to save time, money, and resources. Xamarin Forms delivers mobile apps with a shared code base. It has over 20 cross-platform user interface controls and several different page layouts including a navigation page. If your development team has experience with .NET, learning Xamarin Forms might be easier to grasp. 

Xamarin Forms Pros:

  • To make things easier and save development time, Xamarin provides a binding engine which connects UI elements to the data or services that support them.
  • There’s a UI toolkit for developers to build interfaces.
  • It is supported by Microsoft, which means you have access to a support team and they have a large community of users who can provide simple and quick solutions.
  • Having gone through numerous releases, Xamarin Forms is mature and stable. 

Xamarin Forms Cons: 

  • If developers want to do anything outside of the toolkit, they’ll have to drop down to native code. This is where customization becomes limited.
  • Xamarin might not be the best choice for your project if you’re looking to create a lot of graphics.
    • This is great for simple forms but adding in fancy gestures or animations is nearly impossible.
  • Xamarin Forms can be slow and take up a lot of space on devices.
Xamarin Forms vs React Native pros and cons

React Native 

React Native does not require the knowledge of special tools or technology to develop your app. You can incorporate React Native features into the code of an existing app or use the Cordova-based code. 

Some React Native features include: 

  • Same code used for iOS and Android 
  • Live reload feature which allows the developer to see the latest changes immediately 
  • Modular and intuitive interface 
  • Access to a mobile phone’s camera or user’s location
  • Incorporates the functionality of other native apps 

React Native is considered a more accessible way to create an app since there are a large number of JavaScript developers. If your development team is experienced in JavaScript, then they should be able to easily use React Native.

React Native Pros: 

  • React Native is a cost-effective solution and reduces the development time as it requires less resources.
  • React Native does not require building something from scratch. If you already have an app, you can leverage the existing code base and introduce new JavaScript components as deemed necessary. 
  • React Native projects can be tested quickly and accurately. 
    • This applies to developers when they’re checking the accuracy and health of their code. 
  • This framework renders code to native APIs directly which improves the app’s performance. 

React Native Cons:

  • React Native is a constant work in progress – the continuous updates to the technology make your app obsolete relatively quickly
  • In most cases, you’ll need some native code specific to iOS and Android. 
  • It does not support all native features in iOS and Android. 
  • There are a limited amount of ready made components within the development framework.You can solve this issue by writing all the code, however, it takes more time and defeats the purpose of using this framework. 
Xamarin Forms vs React Native: which is the better fir for your project?

So what’s it going to be? Xamarin Forms, the more stable, but less popular option or React Native, the more popular, but less stable option. Both Xamarin Forms and React Native have their advantages and disadvantages for developing a cross-platform app, but the decision ultimately comes down to which option is the right fit for your project. Pay attention to their different characteristics to make your final decision.

If you are unsure on which framework to choose for your project, you can reach out to our team for some input to make sure your project is successful!