Many businesses are increasingly looking for ways to reduce the costs associated with cross-platform app development whilst ensuring that the user experience and overall quality remains high. Whilst native apps (iOS, Android & Windows) offer unparalleled performance and user experience, not all companies have the resources to develop natively for each application. We are now seeing a shift from the development of native mobile apps to cross-platform apps, particularly for large enterprise applications that requires apps to work seamlessly across multiple platforms and devices.
Cross-platform app development software and tools have come a long way in the last few years and has created a flexible, alternative approach to app development. Many of our recent client projects at xDesign have been built in Xamarin, a cross platform software tool that generates native apps with platform specific User Interfaces (UI) across iOS, Android and Windows.
So what is Xamarin? Why do we reckon it's the best cross-platform app development platform to use and what are the key benefits of using Xamarin?
Here’s the rundown.
What is Xamarin?
Xamarin was acquired by Microsoft in 2016 and has fast become one of the most popular software options for building cross-platform applications. In simple terms, Xamarin enables C# developers to write native iOS, Android and Windows apps using native user interfaces and a shared codebase across multiple platforms. Since it’s inception in 2011 over 1 million developers are using Xamarins products in over 120 countries worldwide.
Apps built in Xamarin have some immediate benefits including faster development times and reduced costs due to the single shared codebase.
The Xamarin suite incorporates several offerings designed to cater for different stages of the app development lifecycle. Let’s break down the components:
This is an API used to design an app experience across iOS, Android and Windows platforms leveraging native controls
Xamarin Test Cloud
Xamarin Test Cloud allows you to run automated testing on apps on over 2000 devices as well as building, testing and monitoring your apps performance in the cloud
Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android
These are the development environments used to build and deploy platform specific C# code.
This is Xamarins DevOps support tool which allows developers to distribute Beta versions, get real feedback from users, collect live crash reports and analyse test coverage.
What are the benefits of Xamarin app development?
- Shared app logic
- Native app performance
- API integration
- Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD)
- Simplified Maintenance
- Hardware Functionality
1. Shared app logic
A shared codebase essentially reduces the time and resources needed to complete app development. The shared codebase means it’s easier to develop across all three platforms- iOS, Android and Windows. Application logic underlying the UI layer such as database interactions and backend enterprise integrations are all coded only once in C#. Developers can share over 75% of the code across the different operating platforms. This not only saves time but also helps to reduce the number of bugs during the development process.
If you were developing an app natively in their different respective platforms, this would essentially require double the effort and double the time to complete. Building a cross-platform app in Xamarin is almost a no-brainer in this respect, particularly for large enterprise applications that need to run seamlessly across multiple platforms and devices.
2. Native performance
Although native apps undoubtedly provide a superior User Experience, cross-platform app development such as Xamarin are now also offering a native-like app performance. With Xamarin.Forms, the User Interface is rendered completely with native controls allowing the user to end up with a native UI experience. Xamarin has UI design environments for Xamarin Studio and Visual studio which allows specialised UI and UX tools. This helps developers to create a flawless user experience.
3. API integration
Xamarin allows developers to combine the same APIs and UI controls that are used for developing Android, iOS and Mac application in their respective platform-specific programming languages (Java, Swift, and Objective-C). Its unique binding approach facilitates support for new features right after they are introduced into a device’s operating system.
4. Rapid mobile app development (RMAD)
Rapid mobile app development is one of the key benefits more and more businesses are turning towards Xamarin for cross-platform app development. Using Xamarin means that app development can be completed faster and at a reduced cost compared with native app development. Apps built in Xamarin can easily satisfy business requirements by offering a native app experience across multiple devices and platforms whilst providing an excellent user experience at the same time.
5. Simplified maintenance
Xamarin greatly simplifies app maintenance requirements. If any updates or changes are required, developers can deploy these changes to the source code across all the platforms at once. The shared codebase also limits the number of bugs, however when bugs are found they can be fixed quickly and efficiently across the different platforms.
6. Full hardware functionality
Xamarin allows you to utilise native- level app functionality. It helps eliminate all hardware compatibility issues, using plugins and specific APIs, to work with common devices functionality across the platforms.
I think we can all agree there are a number of compelling benefits in favour of Xamarin app development and we at xDesign have seen a sharp rise in the number of apps being built and deployed with Xamarin.
Choosing whether to go with native app development or cross- platform development with Xamarin will depend entirely on your business requirements and what you’re trying to achieve. The best thing to do in this case is to consult with a skilled, experienced mobile app development company that can guide you through the right type of app development for your project
Looking for an experienced Xamarin app development company?
You've come to the right place! At xDesign, we’ve been building Xamarin apps for a number of years for our clients across multiple industries including logistics, aviation, financial services and more.
Our experienced Xamarin app developers build flawless cross-platform apps that provide an unparalleled user experience whether it be for innovative start-ups or established complex enterprise applications.
Want to discuss a Xamarin project with us? Get in touch. We'd love to hear from you!