FLUTTER, XAMARIN, REACT NATIVE: A COMPARISION

The cross-platform framework comes with an ultimate goal to go for a single codebase and utilize it across various platforms. This way, we may offer our partners with assistance while picking the best tool for targeting the aims.

TOOLS IN CROSS-PLATFORM SOLUTIONS

  • Flutter
  • Xamarine
  • React Native
  • Kotlin Native
  • Ionic2, and more

So, today Wetech Digital will pick the popular and established solutions in the market named, Flutter, Xamarin and React Native for the comparison.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

To compare these frameworks, it is better to set the way our fairly, making yourself limitless starting from a technical point to the native code.

We should include the technical phase also. For the same, rather than just presenting a high-level overview, we will cover a few fields that we considered as important while utilizing these frameworks. Testing support is too investigated along with the easy creation of customized UI and the need for UIs and platform-specific code. We are too, going to notice their behaviour with the services, third-party libraries, hardware, sensors, and native APIs.

This is not going to be a diagnosis of these technologies but instead, a complete guide about choosing the best for the project.

FLUTTER, XAMARIN, REACT NATIVE: A COMPARISION

Let us discuss all, one by one.

XAMARIN

Oldest among the other three frameworks, Xamarin is open source but its development was done behind the doors and doesn’t allow much input externally on the code. The developers of.Net enterprise seems to be happy but its reputation for performance, stability, and tooling is not good. iOS/Android or Xamarine roadmap is not available publicly but for Xamarine.Forms, one is available. Being the only paid and oldest, for the framework, it reveals well on its thorough documentation.

It has a powerful Slack community, solid Stack Overflow support and loads of meetups. Searching.Net engineers will be easy but sourcing them along with the knowledge of native mobile may be harder.

Wrappers are offered by Xamarin to many third-party libraries that saves much time. The Xamarin Components library holds many extensions, where the bindings are found for Adobe Analytics, Firebase, Play Services and more. There are both, the free and paid bindings. Ratings of the majority of wrappers are low, even that is offered by Xamarin.

There are two ways for the development of the application, one is Xamarin.Forms and the other is by creating per platform distinctive app modules.

The nature that Xamarin holds, allow you to have almost shared UI code while using Xamarin.Forms and need nothing offering platform-specific UIs. The UX that is based on the platform on which the forms run doesn’t hold any feature that can reveal it.

There is no option of sharing most of the logic and UI code if the projects carry along per-platform UIs, but still, the better caliber can be owned to interact with APIs and native components. A few business logic can be shared that is entirely detached from the platform details.  

NUnit can be controlled by Xamarine, a good framework for the unit tests that is important to C#. To make Component level testing comfortable, mocks are created easily. Besides, the split of Xamarin code is done into Forms, Android and iOS may need the duplication of test code for all platforms. The application performance is checked by the profiler on iOS side but Android doesn’t have such a tool. On the ground of UI integration tests, Xamarin shines. Xamarin purchased Calabash a few years before that is a well-known UI testing framework for mobile. It too developed the test suite of Xamarin which is robust, featured and easily accessible.

React Native

In 2015, on GitHub, an open source named, React Native was released publicly. On Google and Stackflow, this framework clutches much popularity comparatively.  There is an opaque roadmap although it is a semi-mature framework. On GitHub there is a dedicated page which sticks lists of placeholders. It has strong support on Stack Overflow with various Discord chat and subreddit users. Searching for native mobile developers with JavaScriopt and React knowledge can be a huge task.

The majority of iOS and Android native APIs are supported by React Native. As it owns a large community of developers, even if there is no availability of official API, there are many 3rd party libraries to pick. React Native doesn’t hold various hardware-specific APIs, but again, availability of third-party libraries is there. Official APIs for sensors, camera, NFC, biometrics, and Bluetooth are handy with React Native, yet location and WiFi APIs are also there.

For the custom graphics, drawing API is not actually offered by React Native. For the custom solution, existing components need to be composed, but it is too important to own a fully customized outline without addressing platform specific code.

It’s not hard to build simple UIs as developers are found familiar with components of React. For distinctive per-platform UIs, the management of different iOS and Android implementation is managed by React Native.

For carrying out testing at the unit level, JavaScript frameworks are there with the developers. But, when we talk about UI/automation testing, the scenario is still in dark. Despite of availability of third-party libraries, there is still unclear path invading the follow-up.  

FLUTTER

For less than almost three years, publicly available Flutter took around one-year building-up its identity among the developers’ community. Developed by Google, Flutter is a well-known technology that develops a compact C++ engine and Dart for the implementation of a receptive UI framework.

Although Dart is not attracting more users in the survey of Stack Overflow developers, the early posts are in favor of using Flutter. Our own Flutter exploration at Wetech is revealing positivity. For Flutter, there is no roadmap but you can get a connection with the specific details and milestones on their working.

As a niche language is Dart and platform is like a newbie, hiring developers may not be easy but, Kotlin and Java developers can easily pick it. For Android developers, it is not hard to upgrade the existing team as Flutter has the caliber to integrate Android Studio and IntelliJ.

It supports not only NFC payments and Bluetooth but also sensor and hardware APIs. Many plugins are already surviving but some are still under alteration.

For Flutter, custom UI is the main focus, to offer a deep custom UI, the framework is leveraged. A full UI stack implementation is provided by Flutter, which to become capable of performance, portability, and customization, doesn’t utilize native UI components. For the custom UI for all the platforms, the current device is to be detected and the decision is taken regarding layout to create, which may become slow. It is necessary to notice the possible embed of FlutterView in a native Android layout in order to blend it with native UI on the same screen. This is possible when it comes to iOS, but the documentation is still under process.

Next, the testing step, it clears that new behavior of Flutter. Dart allows an outstanding framework for unit testing and Flutter grants an option to test the widgets at the speed of unit testing. Running the integration tests is however complicated somewhat. In the end, Flutter permits the execution of performance tests with the flutter_driver package.

So, in native mobile development, where do you find yourself with cross-platform frameworks’ current state.  Xamarin is quite experienced and has attained a lot of success tales supporting it. React Native is followed by a large community and is carrying a few good tales on its back. When it comes to potential, Flutter shows some, also permits easy embed, so it can be appended to the existing applications and can get growth.

CONCLUSION

Cross-platform frameworks are not the magic wands, these work well only when utilized with ultimate awareness of the related strengths and limitations. The success stories of each platform conclude an effective and valuable way of tackling the problems.

The possible difficulties can encounter in staffing the skilled cross-platform team and too should not be neglected. At Wetech Digital, you will find the proficient team that can come up with a sure-shot outlook.