If you are an app developer interested in building cross-platform applications for mobile phones, you will inevitably face the choice between two of the most major frameworks: Xamarin and Ionic. Here are a few comparisons between Xamarin and Ionic to help you make your decision.
Price : Ionic Framework is available for free. While Xamarin is available with a free developer license, if you are gearing towards production license, you will need to procure a commercial license. This will cost $1,000 per developer per year. However, there are some people who feel that Xamarin is well worth the extra cost. Why? Read on to find out more.
Development speed : If you are rushing to develop and release your app, Ionic is the perfect choice.
Firstly, with the help of a ripple emulator, Ionic provides zero-compilation and incredibly fast feedback times – to the sub-second! In contrast, Xamarin requires compilation and deploy times, eating up at least 10 to 15 seconds of your time every time you push out a code. Ultimately, Ionic clearly has Xamarin beat in terms of the time it takes to witness the results of your coding.
Secondly, UI debugging also sets the two apart. Ionic wields a combination of the Ripple emulator and Chrome tools to make UI debugging incredibly easy. On the other hand, Xamarin offers limited help in identifying and tweaking elements.
Ramp up time : Users have stated that Ionic faces memory management issues. This in many cases leads to poor performance and high ramp up time. Thus, Xamarin is preferable in terms of ramp up time, as it does not face as much memory issues or complex language mixtures.
Learning curve : Xamarin has a steeper learning curve than Ionic. The Ionic Framework is built around web technologies, as it is mostly based on JavaScript. On the other hand, Xamarin is C# based. If you are a completely newbie to C# programming, Xamarin will be more difficult to learn. However, if your team is already familiar with C#, it is very easy to work with Xamarin. Or if you are a .Net developer, you can simply use the .Net library in Xamarin. An added bonus for Xamarin is that you do not have to learn multiple languages to code for different platforms such as Android, iOS or Windows. All you need to do is speak C#!
Support : Xamarin is owned and supported by Microsoft, and is thus more reputable and “legitimate”. If you are a fan of Microsoft, Xamarin will be perfect for you, particularly because Xamarin only supports the MVVM pattern. In contrast, Ionic supports all MV* Patterns (MVC, MVP, MVVM), offering more flexibility.
End product and user experience : Given that Ionic is HTML-based, it will ultimately only be able to provide user experience that is merely average. You will have to work with default controls and less customization. On the other hand, Xamarin clearly performs better as you will be able to produce a fully native app, giving your users the best and fastest experience. User experience is a crucial component in app development, and can set you drastically apart from competitors, so it’s important to keep this in mind.
Conclusion : Both Xamarin and Ionic clearly have their own pros and cons. In the end, it is up to you to weigh the various factors and decide which framework best suits your needs in app development.

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