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Xamarin vs. Android Studio — A Comparison Guide with Pros and Cons

There’s too much heat in the app development industry right now and it’s the outcome of the competition growing between Android app development technologies. Android offers its own SDK for the development of mobile apps, but for some, bearing the overall costs can become a bit much.

But thanks to the proliferation of cross-platform development technologies, investors can now have Android applications built with the same reliability and vigor. Among the many names, Xamarin and Android Studio are two names that have made their own mark.

Both he technologies are considered great for Android development but they come with their own set of pros and cons. So to have the best-performing apps with fewer resources, it becomes vital to know about the basics of these two platforms.

This article covers the fundamental of Xamarin and Android Studio and compares them on the basis of their advantages and disadvantages.

Xamarin: What it is and its Features?

What started off as a commercial project in 2011 became a major development technology by 2016. Today, Xamarin is owned by Microsoft and is considered a potent app development software. Microsoft defines Xamarin as,

“an open source platform that can be used for developing performant cross-platform applications (chiefly Android and iOS) with .NET and C#.”

Technically, Xamarin can be seen as an extension that enhances the functions of the .NET platform. It provides the platform with tools and libraries that are used for creating apps on macOS, Android, iOS, and other platforms. The notable features of Xamarin are:

  • Provision of a base framework that makes the native features accessible
  • Support for wearable devices like Apple Watch and Android Wear
  • Availability of editor extensions to offer functionalities like code
  • completion and syntax highlighting for the creation of mobile pages
  • Seamless integration with numerous third-party libraries including Google Play services and iOS
  • Popular cross-platform plug-ins like Text-to-Speech and Battery Status
  • Easy development: Xamarin uses a single codebase of C# for building apps. Hence it becomes easy for developers to work with it and build superior applications.
  • Better at handling issues: Xamarin’s two major products namely Xamarin.Android and Xamarin.iOS can efficiently and automatically handle problems like memory allocation and platform interoperability.
  • Code Reusability: Xamarin works with C# along with .NET for app creation. This means that developers can reuse almost 95% of the source code. The code reusability leads to fast development. Additionally, developers can also use Visual Studio to build apps in Xamarin, which further speeds up the development process.
  • Better Testing Facilities: Developers can use Xamarin’s Test Cloud, (now a part of Visual Studio App Center) along with its Test Recorder for carrying out automated UI tests. Developers can also cross-verify for performance-related issues prior to an app’s release but this would require an additional fee.
  • Easy Maintenance: Maintaining and updating Xamarin apps is simple. When a developer installs updates or applies changes, the modifications get automatically reflected in both iOS and Android versions. However, this will work if the apps use Xamarin.Forms.
  • The latest platform updates receive delayed support because of the use of third-party tools.
  • Xamarin is not appropriate for apps that need heavy graphics like gaming apps. This is because the UI codes mostly need to be platform specific which makes it difficult for developers to go for complex animations or custom UI.
  • Xamarin apps might face compatibility issues during the integration of third-party libraries.
  • Compared to native applications, Xamarin applications are larger in size and require more space. This is because maximum space gets utilized by its associated libraries.

Android Studio: What it is and its Features?

Android Studio is the official Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that is based on JetBrains’ IntelliJ IDEA. In the app development industry, Android Studio is considered the axe that is used to sharpen Android apps.

Android Studio replaced Eclipse Android Development Tools as Google’s primary IDE for native app development. Some of its most notable features include:

  • A feature-rich emulator for app debugging, an extensive layout editor, and Grade-based build support
  • Support for C++ and NDK, and Android Wear apps
  • Availability of Lint tools for checking version compatibility, usability, and performance
  • In-built support for Google Cloud Platform for integration with Google App Engine
  • Availability of template-based wizards to enable the creation of Android designs and components

Advanced Tooling: The most obvious benefit of using Android Studio is the availability of advanced coding tools. Be it template-based wizards, app-signing capabilities, or Android-specific refactoring, the advanced toolsets enable developers to create premium apps with excellent coding structure in way less time.

Deployment of Faultless apps: Android Studio comes with an Android Virtual Device, its emulator that allows developers to run and debug apps in it. Additionally, it also has Lint tools with which the developers can check app performance prior to its development, thereby leading to the deployment of flawless applications.

More Customization: When it comes to customization, Android Studio offers developers more room for it, courtesy of its advanced development tools like a highly flexible Gradle-based system and multi-preview APIs. Thanks to its layout editor, developers can also create richly-designed custom UI.

Easy Integration: An IDE’s worth is defined by its support for multiple languages along with development tools and technologies, and Android Studio happens to be a worthy one on that note.

It supports C++ and Java along with extensions like Go. The recent versions also support Kotin. Its support for different languages also makes for easy integration with third-party tools.

Massive Support: Google’s technology has its own perks. The very first one is massive community support. Also, Android is the operating system that happens to enjoy the largest market share. So if someone’s looking for help, it’s always available.

Android Studio takes quite a few minutes to install before a developer can start working on it. No matter how good your system’s configuration is, one needs to sit and see through its lengthy installing process.

  • Another drawback of Android Studio is its system requirements. It won’t work on a low-end system. You need to cross-check the processor, RAM, and OS before working with it.
  • Android Studio’s emulator is good when it comes to feature, but not good enough when it comes to fast testing. Compared to third-party emulators, its own emulator works slower and can handle the testing of one app at a time.
  • System lags are common with Android Studio and can often hinder a developer’s work. Developers can face problems like system freeze or sudden restarts.

The Notable Differences

At this point, we are familiar with the pros and cons of both Xamarin and Android Studio. So let’s run a quick comparison.

  • The first marking difference is that while Xamarin can be used for the development of cross-platform applications, Android Studio is only meant for native Android apps.
  • In terms of customization and third-party integrations, Android Studio gains an upper hand because of its in-built support systems.
  • When it comes to testing, it’s a tie between Xamarin and Android Studio since both technologies come with support for an advanced set of tools.
  • If one is going for native Android app development, then the deployment is certainly easier with Android Studio as it is Google’s home technology.
  • Both Xamarin and Android Studio offer corporate support but Android has been around for a longer time, which means that it has more resources and better support.

When it comes to app development, it is undeniable that both Android Studio and Xamarin stand to be useful in their own ways. But a close comparison will make it clear that Xamarin is more suitable for the development of cross-platform applications.

So start-ups looking for the same should seek out an established Xamarin app development company. But when we talk about native Android apps, Android Studio is the most viable option.



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A Smith

Albert Smith is a Digital Marketing Manager with Hidden Brains, a leading enterprise web & mobile app development company specializing in IoT, Cloud & Big Data