10 Nov 2017

Cross-Platform Mobile Development and Why Enterprises Should Choose Xamarin?

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Written by Amit Dhandal

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Gone are days when you deploy separate teams for separate mobile platform builds. Oh yes, you can still choose to, if you want to. However, for the last few years, Cross-Platform development tools have been maturing. The story that started with Native, continued with Web/Hybrid apps, has now progressed to cross-platform apps.

  • Native (Swift, Android) apps use platform-specific programming language
  • Hybrid (ionic, Phonegap) uses a thin native container that wraps HTML5 and Javascript and delivers the experience.
  • A cross-platform mobile development tool lets you write code once and use it multiple times for various mobile OSs. Well! Almost. No cross-platform is yet able to offer fully reusable, write once, build multiple mobile OSs. There is a high-level reusability offered by the two top Cross-Platform tools.

Enterprises need to keep in mind that what they build meets the business objective. We have written an article that speaks about the model to support such development. Coming back and speaking about the the topic of discussion, enterprises will have the choice to build native or cross-platform apps. When efficient resource utilization and shorter time to deployment outweigh UX, going cross-platform does make sense.

Why Cross-Platform?

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  • Save cost: You will need a single team to build apps for iOS, Android, Android Wear, Mac, and UWP apps.
  • Save time: With a single team maintaining and enhancing the app, you will save time by getting things done faster.
  • Leverage existing talent: Leverage existing programming talent or resources. No need to learn a platform-specific language.
  • Focus: Businesses often want to capture the window of opportunity. You would rather build something that works with the current resources than focus on the sleek look and feel offered by native apps.
  • Maintainability: Single Team to maintain single code base across platforms.

Benefits of using Xamarin:

  • Very Very Close to Native: Xamarin is far better than a hybrid mobile solution. In fact, a Xamarin App can be called a native app. Code written in Xamarin is complied Ahead-of-Time (AOT) directly to native ARM assembly code for iOS. For android, it compiles to Intermediate Language (IL), which is then Just-in-time (JIT) compiled to a native assembly. It means Xamarin provides full hardware support linking with native libraries.
  • Shared App Logic: Almost 90% of the logic can be shared between platforms. That is huge reusability!

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    (Ref: https://developer.xamarin.com)

  • Open Source with Microsoft Support: That’s a killer combination! Xamarin, post-acquisition by Microsoft has become an Open Source Shop. Xamarin SDK, runtime, libraries, and command-line tools have become open source. They all are available under MIT license as a part of Visual Studio. With Microsoft’s support, there will be a predictable future and increased reliability.
  • Quicker Release Support: Xamarin supports T+1 day release for new operating system version releases. That is if iOS releases a new version on Day 1, Xamarin releases a supporting version on Day 2!
  • Ecosystem Support: Besides offering the core cross platform development platform, Microsoft offers full suite of the ecosystem.
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Enterprises can accelerate their mobile development efforts using a Cross-Platform Mobile Development Platform like Xamarin. Currently, 15000+ enterprises trust Xamarin to cater to their enterprise needs. Over a million developer community is collaborating online. There are alternate choices in the market like React Native and it will be worth the comparison however Xamarin with its mature ecosystem is set to take the lead in the market. On someday, we will compare cross-platform development tools. In the meantime, if your business needs to build an app, Xamarin could be a wise choice.