The age of technology has come and zoomed past us at a rate we couldn’t have fathomed. Mobile app development is no longer something only multinational corporations with the big money get to do. The smartphone industry is seeing a boom in application development, be it rudimentary or otherwise. We see more and more software-making platforms for even ordinary people to dabble in app development. This era of low-cost app development across all forms of computers is only possible due to platforms that make it easier for us to visualize our ideas. And as a result, helping us implement them. And one such platform is Xamarin. A cross-platform app development software, Xamarin allows you to create the mobile app that you want, on all the platforms there exist. Xamarin caters to every developers need, eliminating the cost of hiring an agency to create the app they want.
What Exactly Is Xamarin.forms? How Does It Work?
As mentioned above, Xamarin is a cross-platform app development software that makes it easier for you to make the same app on different systems. Xamarin helps you develop low cost applications for Windows, iOS and Android systems. However, the real question is, how exactly does Xamarin do this, and how does Xamarin.forms help?
We answer this question by starting from the beginning. Firstly, is Xamarin a software in on itself? Or does it rely on a pre-existing framework? Well, Xamarin is a software with a lot of its own admirable features, but at its core it is an extension of a .NET framework that is used to create any sort of applications. Xamarin uses this .NET framework and extends upon it to accomodate for low cost mobile app development. Secondly, how does Xamarin behave as a cross-platform software? Well, the answer to this one, is quite simple. Xamarin works on the language C#, and all code written on Xamarin is then abstracted to the system that the app is being developed on. C# on Xamarin works for Windows, iOS and Android.
Lastly, how does Xamarin.forms work? How does it help independent mobile app development? Well, Xamarin.forms is a feature of Xamarin that enables the user to share up to 90% of the code written in C# for abstraction on various systems. Originally, Xamarin only accommodated the sharing of business logic and independent code on the applications. However, due to the creation of Xamarin.forms, now common C# code is also up for sharing across all platforms. This reduces redundancy of code, and also frees up time on the app development life cycle.
Why Is Xamarin.Forms Better Than Other Cross-Platform Softwares?
Xamarin.forms boasts a lot of features that other cross-platforms do not have right now. Apart from being one of the most easy to use cross-platform app development softwares, it is affordable and once adept at, can also become a source of money for a developer. As a developer just starting out in mobile app development, Xamarin also makes it easy for you to create multiple application models. This is all because there is no need for you to spend time learning multiple languages for the app development. Though Android and iOS use different base languages in app development, Xamarin helps you create apps for both systems easily. All you need is a good knowledge in C# and XAML.
Other features of Xamarin.forms that set it apart from other cross platform softwares today are –
Complete binding for the SDKs
Xamarin.forms provides fully bound SDKs for both Android and iOS. These are strongly typed and easy to navigate, making it easier to use. Xamarin provides type checking during compile-time and development time. This reduces the number of runtime errors and makes for a higher quality application.
A Single Language For Multiple Platforms
As mentioned above, Xamarin.forms just needs a good knowledge of C# and XAML. The base C# code is then abstracted to fit the UI of all the different systems, reducing the time on the app development life cycle. This reduces redundancy and makes time for the developer to focus on the more platform specific features of the app.
Purely Native Applications
Despite having more than 75% of its code shared across the three platforms, the look and feel achieved by Xamarin.forms on their respective systems is completely native. There are little to no details left behind and there is very little independent code needed.
Shared App Logic
Mentioned before, Xamarin.forms helps share almost 90% of the code written for the development of the app. On the other hand, Xamarin helps us share the logic to this code, making it easier to abstract the code for various platforms.
Better Suited For Tighter Budgets
Xamarin.forms is better suited for a tighter budget. Especially if you are an individual developing an app, and do not require pomp and show around it, Xamarin.forms is the best way to go. With little to no development cost, Xamarin.forms is the best software for the tight of budget.
Mobile Cross Platform Support
Xamarin.forms is all about support. It offers more than 90% of the code across all three platforms. It also provides you with a unified API across the platforms, greatly minimizing the time required for development and release.
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Not All Sunny – Disadvantages to Using Xamarin.forms for App Development
While Xamarin.forms has many, many advantages, it goes without saying that there are some flaws. Still being rectified, some of the qualities that make Xamarin unique, are the same that make it discouraging to use in some cases.
Time Consuming UI development
While the app development life cycle of an application on Xamarin.forms is quite less, this is countered by the time taken for the platform-specific UI development. This means, that developers need to keep in mind that the base code that they are making, needs to be abstractable to all three platforms. And such code is time-consuming to make. And hence, the disadvantage to using it.
File Size Issues
Due to the amount of code, and the shareability of the base code, the size of the file turns out to be larger than ideal, oft ranging between the 13 to 15 MB range.
Unavoidable Software Overheads
Though Xamarin.forms is built on the principle of making app development faster by using a shared code, the linking of the same code between the OS of the systems and the .NET frameworks, makes it more time consuming to download and initiate.
Trying Something Else On For Size – Alternatives to Xamarin.forms for App Development
Xamarin.forms may be one of the best when it comes to cross-platform app development softwares. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t find other softwares just like it out there, and try them out for size. Some softwares that we particularly liked were –
- MAUI – Read more about MAUI – Multiple Application User Interface here.
- Uno Platform – Read more about it here.
- Eclipse – Read more about it here.
- Flutter – Read more about it here.
We hope that today we could help you find the perfect fit for your cross-platform app development needs. With Xamarin.forms and its many features, creating, developing and releasing new applications has never seemed so easy. And we hope that today,we have opened up that path for you.