Ionic or Xamarin- Which One Should You Opt For?

Sep 10, 2021
4 min read

Xamarin and Ionic are two of the most successful options for mobile app development available today. Both attempt to make app development quicker, more comfortable, and more convenient to a more extensive audience of developers. The key distinction between Ionic and Xamarin lies in the ecosystems that they cover. Ionic is a platform that follows widely-known and standards-based web technologies, languages, etc. to produce amazing mobile experiences. It is developed on the more extensive web and JavaScript ecosystem. Xamarin is a Microsoft product and contains the Microsoft ecosystem.

The decision between Ionic and Xamarin depends a lot on which strategy and community you are prepared to bet on. Even if you’re an existing C# or .NET developer, your choices are boundless. There’s never been a bigger time to change to the web. This article aims to support you to acknowledge fundamental differences between Ionic and Xamarin so that you can get a notified decision between them.

Xamarin VS Ionic: Different Strategies

Xamarin is often related to as a ‘Native’ cross-platform framework, as well as a Microsoft-supported framework. It uses C# simultaneously with native libraries that are covered in the .NET layer. Developers can approach a codebase that can then be ported to any native device, using the unique intermediate language C# here.

Ionic, on the other hand, employs web technologies such as JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS to create apps. The core of Ionic is based on AngularJS and is inscribed with Sass. Typescript is employed as the main programming language. Both of them practice all their resources to create apps for various operating systems using a single technology stack. This decreases the workload, cost, and time spent by the developers.

Xamarin VS Ionic: Performance and Code

Xamarin gives developers two opportunities for developing mobile apps,

  • Android & Xamarin.iOS: This is the procedure for creating apps that are more similar to native apps. Alternatively concentrating on the codebase, centers mainly on business logic. Native UI controls and leverages platform-specific hardware expeditions to attain near-native performance. This performance is not possible if solutions read code at runtime.
  • Forms: Rather than concentrating on platform-specific behaviour, Xamarin.Forms converge on broad code sharing. This enables developers to recycle up to 96% of source codes. Still, this thus reduces the performance of the app significantly in contrast.

Furthermore, Ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation is practiced for iOS codes, and for compiling Android codes Just-in-time (JIT) is used.

Unlike Xamarin, Ionic uses web technologies to recreate native functions as well as present the application. Since Ionic doesn’t accept any native components, the strategy is comparatively slow. Native wrapper Cordova is used to relating to the native API and adjust with the underlying platform. However, Ionic is unquestionably excellent when it comes to the testing method. Thanks to a host of pre-made and pre-styled components, the testing means can be achieved immediately. The development cycle becomes quicker and projects can be achieved more immediately. Ionic solely applies JIT to run codes, both for Android and iOS. Since running JIT on iOS is difficult, it uses a platform browser called WKWebView for iOS.

Xamarin VS Ionic: GUI

Both Xamarin.Android & Xamarin.iOS develop into play for building the user interface.

  • Android & Xamarin.iOS: In this method, developers operate with native platform-specific UI. They use native user interface buttons and layout to create the final UI. The end outcome resembles and responds similarly to a native mobile app.
  • Forms: Xamarin.Forms outline each page and its controls automatically in line with platform-specific interface components at runtime. This accelerates the development but misses the native appearance and sense.

Ionic renders everything utilizing HTML5 and CSS alternatively of using native components. From there, Cordova is practiced for creating a native mobile presence and AngularJS to make the app feel more natural. Current updates have made native-style user interface elements and layouts that were only possible in Native SDKs on iOS and Android before.

Xamarin VS Ionic: Price

Since the beginning part of 2016, Xamarin has remained free to use. It has been an open-source product beneath the MIT license. It is integrated as a component of Visual Studio IDE. The free version or the non-enterprise version supports up to 5 users. Based on subscription, there are professional and enterprise permits that unlock further characteristics. The professional user license costs and the enterprise license for a year are $539 and $2,999 respectively. Or if you prefer to get it every month, then the professional license is $45 and the enterprise license is $250 for a month.

Comparable to Xamarin, Ionic has a free and a paid variant of their product. The ‘basic’ account is an open-source framework. There’s no need to spend on anything even while the development process is going on. And then there’s a paid version named Ionic Pro. It is further divided into three units based on users’ requirements and peculiarities; developer, team, and business. Each allows further characteristics such as extended duration of history tracking and collaboration devices.

Xamarin VS Ionic: Suitable Project Type

Xamarin is the perfect framework for building complicated apps that can be smoothly integrated with current enterprise applications and architecture. This is because Xamarin practices C# for sharing code and business logic among the server and the client. Also, since Ionic has restricted support for native API, Xamarin is most useful for creating apps that completely utilize native device peculiarities.

On the other hand, Ionic is exactly the appropriate framework for relatively simple projects, doesn’t require much customization, and resembles & appears slightly like a native.

If there is a skillful development team behind you who remembers how to get the max out of the web technologies then Ionic can do miracles for you. Furthermore, Ionic is more resilient in contrast to Xamarin. Unlike Xamarin, MVVM, MVC and MVP are backed by Ionic.

Wrapping Up

Each project is complex with different purposes and various processes. Xamarin is a great choice if you want to place more towards more powerful performance, stability, and maintenance. Additionally, if you are more focused on fast development and code sharing preferably than UI, then Xamarin.Forms can be helpful. On the other hand, if you are operating on a more limited budget and yet require a great app, then Ionic is the best tool for you. Ionic Pro is more than competent in creating full-scale public apps with superior app structures. At the end of the day, your decision will depend on what your obligations, intentions, and possible resources are. Both Xamarin and Ionic are proficient in cross-platform mobile frameworks. The more you know, the more it’ll assist you to determine the right one.