The Pros and Cons of Xamarin Development

A Tool for Every Toolbox

Xamarin is a highly useful app development platform that allows engineers to code once and use the product across various operating systems (OS). However, it may not be useful for every project or every company. Here we explore some of the benefits as well as the disadvantages of Xamarin development, as well as considerations for hiring an external vendor to help.

Xamarin Software Development

What Is Xamarin?

Xamarin is a Microsoft platform that can be used to create mobile apps with native performance on multiple platforms, such as Android, iOS, Android Wear, and Apple Watch. With Xamarin, developers can use .NET and C# to create apps, resulting in shared logic among OS. 

The main benefit of using Xamarin is the ability to write code just once that works for different environments. Developers who use it also get access to the .NET ecosystem of packages and libraries. 

The Pros of Xamarin Development

Xamarin app development offers plenty of benefits, including:

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    Multiple Platforms, Single Code
    Xamarin provides the ability to write one single code for an app and use it across multiple platforms (such as Android and iOS). This process saves engineers time and costs compared to native app development.
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    Near-Native UX
    Xamarin also offers tools for making the near-native user experience (UX) even closer to 100%. Xamarin Forms provides the ability to “translate” app elements across platforms or create native code for each operating system.
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    Testing Tools
    Xamarin provides tools to test for problems. Its Test Cloud function enables developers to test across 2,000 devices, to ensure the highest possible quality no matter who is using the app. The Insights function delivers helpful data about things like the number of users, session lengths, and crashes.
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    Open Source
    As part of Microsoft’s Visual Studio, Xamarin’s libraries and tools are free and open source.
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    Straightforward Updates
    With one programming language for multiple platforms, engineers can update all the versions of an app at one time.
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    Microsoft Support
    Because Xamarin is part of Microsoft’s software development package, developers get continuous support, learning opportunities, and platform stability and performance.

The Cons

Every coin has two sides. These are the drawbacks:

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    Smaller community
    Because Xamarin is a newer platform, its community is still growing. So, companies seeking an experienced Xamarin developer might have trouble finding one, while engineers may have problems finding help when they face challenges.
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    More bugs
    Being a newer platform also means more bugs and fewer resources to manage them.
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    Limited library
    While the Xamarin library is extensive, more complex projects may require additional native coding.
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    Larger size
    Xamarin apps contain a package that includes the app itself as well as the libraries. So, apps are usually much larger than those that are native-built, leading to slower download and install times.
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    API lag
    Developers must wait for Xamarin to integrate OS updates before they can update an app. These updates are sometimes delayed.
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    Price
    Xamarin itself is free as part of the .NET platform. But development requires the use of Microsoft Visual Studio which can be beyond the budget for some.

The Alternative: Outsourcing Xamarin Development

Some companies may not have the resources to perform Xamarin development in-house. In these cases, you can outsource this service with excellent results. BairesDev is one of many vendors that provide this service. Here are just a few of the reasons outsourcing makes sense for Xamarin or any kind of software development:

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    Cost Savings

    Hiring in-house software developers can be an effective option for many companies. A stable team of professionals who fully understand your company and its offerings can help you grow those offerings and your business. But such a team comes with a high cost. You must go through the hiring process, which is expensive in itself, and follow up with providing salaries, benefits, onboarding, and training.

    You must pay these expenses even when things slow down. When you work with an outsourced team, you avoid these charges. Of course, you must pay for outsourcing, but it often ends up being less costly because you only pay for the services you need when you need them. Rather than conducting a search every time you require a new employee you conduct a search once for an outsourcing firm that provides the help you need from then on.

    You understand how much each resource costs up front, so you can easily ramp up or ramp down the service as your needs change. In addition to human resources, you also save on equipment and technology, which outsourcing services often provide.

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    Greater Efficiency

    With hiring and training tasks off your plate, you can focus on core competencies, enabling you to create greater value. For example, when you spend more time and energy on research and development, you create new products or services that can enhance your company’s reputation and bring in additional revenue. This approach may have far-reaching effects. When you create higher quality products, you cut down on the need for customer service.

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    Flexibility

    As good as in-house professionals may be, they may not have the expertise you need at a particular time. When you partner with an outsourcing vendor, you get access to a wide range of skill sets and experience levels. So, it’s likely you’ll be able to get the specific type of help you need when you need it.

    This approach can work for hiring an entire team or simply bringing in supplemental help to work in a blended (some in-house and some outsourced) environment. This process also works well when you simply need more people to take on more or larger projects.

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    Security

    Everyone knows how important security is. That’s why outsourcing firms take it very seriously, keeping team members up to date on the latest security solutions. These professionals work with a variety of companies across industries, so they not only know the latest methods, but also know how to employ them to your best advantage. This issue goes back to cost in that security breaches can be expensive in both money and time.

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