Ionic vs Xamarin vs React Native: Which One to Choose for Mobile App Development in 2021
The trend of building cross-platform apps is growing in the mobile app development arena. Majority of enterprises today wants to build an app that works seamlessly across all platforms (e.g. Android, iOS and web). And, for that hybrid app development is the best approach - it enables developers to build apps faster and release them instantly in the market.
According to market research, the popularity of hybrid app development will allow the cross-platform app market to grow up to 78.45 billion USD by 2021. A variety of cross-platform frameworks are available for developers to choose from.
Despite this, many companies fail to choose a suitable cross-platform framework as most of them appear similar from an architectural perspective. But, that’s not the reality.
The popular question that arises in the mind of most of the mobile app developers - when choosing between popular cross-platform frameworks is:
What is better: React Native, Xamarin or Ionic?
Let’s find it out in this blog in detail:
But before we dig deep to figure out the between React Native, Xamarin, and Ionic framework - let’s understand them one by one-
Getting the Basics Right
What is React Native?
React supports both Android and iOS platforms and its developers focus on building apps with high efficiency and performance.
What is Ionic?
Ionic is a free, open-source, and extremely popular platform for building high-end hybrid mobile apps. This platform uses a library of mobile and desktop compatible CSS, HTML and JS components to build intuitive mobile apps.
What is Xamarin?
Developed and owned by Microsoft, Xamarin is a popular framework for cross-platform app development. It uses pre-existing tools, libraries and codes in C# for building iOS and Android apps.
Benefits of Hybrid App Development
Unified Technology Slack: With hybrid apps, you don’t need to maintain a separate code base for each platform. It works on the philosophy of “write once, run anywhere”
Code Reusability: With hybrid apps, up to 85% of the code can be reused from one platform to another, instead of writing the same method, classes or functions in other languages.
Cost-Effective: The apps built using hybrid tools are also less costly, compared to native ones.
Smooth Maintenance: Making systematic changes in-app functionality or code across all platforms is also easy as there is no need to maintain the separate app for each platform.
Jump to Read: Native vs Hybrid Applications: A Fair Comparison Guide
A Detailed Comparison Between Xamarian vs React Native vs Ionic
We will figure out the difference between Ionic vs Xamarian vs React Native on the basis of following points:
- The Language Stack:
- Code and Performance
- Market Popularity and Community Support
- Graphical User Interface
- Code Sharing
- Platform Support
The Language Stack
Xamarin: With Xamarin, you get the option to use C# with .Net programming environment to build multi-platform apps. Remember, binding native open-source libraries for iOS and Android is a must in case of Xamarin.
Who Takes the Lead Here?
Code and Performance
React Native: The app built using React Native offers performance similar to native ones. It renders code from native API. It does not require native modules code sharing across different platforms. Although, the rest of the JS code (approx 90%) can be shared. This ensures high-performance capabilities in apps built using this framework.
Ionic: Ionic offers lesser performance as compared to Xamarin and React Native. It uses web technologies, instead of native components, which reduces the app speed and performance. To understand in detail, you must partner an expert enterprise mobility solution expert company.
Xamarin: iOS or Android apps built using Xamarin are mostly compared to native apps as their cross-platform capabilities focus on sharing business logic, instead of the codebase. Xamarin apps use native UI control and hardware acceleration to deliver close to native performance.
Who emerges strongly in the performance battle?
React Native wins in the app performance category closely followed by Xamarin.
Market Popularity and Community Support
React Native: React is a clear winner when it comes to the most popular cross-platform frameworks, according to Stack Overflow recent survey. Its developer community is growing faster and is also the second most loved framework for app development among developers. A large number of third-party libraries and familiarity among developers makes it a leader.
Ionic: Comparatively, Ionic is the second most popular framework. The open-source nature and constant community interaction by its developers make it highly popular. On Ionic forum, developers can through their queries and get answers, Similarly, it also has a Slack community where developers across the globe collaborate for app development.
Xamarin: Microsoft is putting vehement efforts to educate and grow the community of Xamarin developers. Xamarin presently offers an e-learning portal called Xamarin university for budding developers to improve their apps development skills. According to the Stack Overflow 2019 survey, Xamarin popularity is growing rapidly; it features in the list of top 5 cross-platform frameworks.
Source: Stack Overflow
Who Wins Here?
React Native, without a doubt, is the most popular framework for hybrid app development, followed by Ionic and Xamarin.
React Native: React Native developers can use its various libraries for free to develop world-class mobile apps.
Xamarin: This open-source framework is available under the MIT license. Developers must install Visual Studio IDE to use it -which is available under a subscription basis. Although, a free edition for students and non-enterprise ventures with a user limit of 5 is also available.
Ionic: As an open-source framework, ionic is available in two variants - free and Ionic Pro. Ionic Pro is a paid version with three options - developer, team and business - which you can subscribe to fast pace your mobile app development process.
Who takes the pricing round?
Well, React Native is the most cost-effective framework in the pricing category, followed by Xamarin and Ionic.
Graphical User Interface
React Native: Apps build using this framework delivers smooth user experience closer to native apps. React JS library with extensive UI elements streamlines the whole UI development. It also interacts with native iOS and Android UI controllers to improve user experience.
Xamarin: You can build app UI in two different ways using Xamarin.Android/iOS or Xamarin.forms. The first one takes a bit longer but it enables a native look and feels in terms of UI.
Ionic: It renders everything in HTML and CSS, and doesn't utilize native elements at all. Cordova is used to give native mobile experience. It enables Ionic apps to look like native ones.
Who takes the lead in the GUI aspect?
React Native takes the upper hand in GUI category followed by Ionic and Xamarin
React Native: Native components written in Objective-C, Swift or Java are utilized by this framework. Hence, developers can easily use the native code if they need to optimize an app and boost its performance for heavy tasks like video rendering, image editing and so on. However, the native modules can’t be reused across multiple platforms.
Ionic: Universality is a major feature of apps built using ionic. No matter - what OS you select, Ionic apps will run equally on all of them. Although, some UI elements do adapt as per the native rules of the chosen platform, which required additional development efforts.
Xamarin: As most of Xamarin apps are built-in Visual Studio, it does not require switching between the development environments. In case of Xamarin.Forms, up to 96% of source code can be reused which speeds up the engineering cycle.
Winner: React Native Vs Ionic Vs Xamarin
Remember there is no one-size-fits-all option in the case of cross-platform development tools.
All three frameworks analyzed here have powerful capabilities that can help in building high performing mobile apps. Your project-specific needs and preferences will give you an exact idea about which one to choose among these three.
If we talk about present market popularity, React Native seems is clearly the most suitable option to choose as it excels in the majority of the areas like app performance, community support, etc.
In the end, it all depends upon what features you want and what you hope to achieve through your mobile app. A cross-platform framework chosen by you might have pitfalls, but it’s probably the right choice for you as its functionality matches your project requirements.
Wrapping it Up….!
Hope you enjoyed the detailed comparison between Xamarin vs. Ionic vs. React Native. Also, if you are looking to build a top-class hybrid app solution, you can join hands with cross-platform app development experts at A3logics.
Drop us a line to turn your app idea into reality!