Xamarin vs React Native are two competing frameworks for cross-platform app development. They are both free, open-source platforms that each offer their own significant advantages, and each has its associated pros and cons. In this post, we’ll take a look at how they compare when it comes to performance, popularity, and support and offer an overview of each framework’s pros and cons.

Xamarin vs React Native - What is Cross-Platform App Development?

The 276 million people who use smartphones in the U.S. spend 80% of their time on them using mobile applications. Cross-platform development allows engineers to build mobile apps that can run on multiple platforms, saving companies money and reducing development time.

The massive shift from desktop to mobile traffic means companies must develop apps focused on user accessibility and convenience. Those that do create apps that function across multiple platforms find themselves richly rewarded, with equally happy Android and iOS users.

Whether you call it unifying, streamlining, or dismantling silos, the point of cross-platform apps is an end-user expectation companies would be wise to respond to. Today, most organizations understand this concept but remain unsure about which approach will help them best deliver what their customers want. Put another way, they don’t question whether they need to build mobile apps, but rather how. This is why we compare Xamarin vs React Native. Deciding on which one to build an app around will fundamentally shape the way the project goes.

Xamarin vs React Native

React Native in Cross-Platform APP Development

React Native is a cross-platform mobile app development framework developers can use to build mobile applications for iOS and Android devices with one tech stack. Developed in 2015, the framework enables engineers to leverage JavaScript and React libraries to build mobile applications using native UI components that provide a higher-quality user interface.

React Native’s elements allow for faster development time and offer a vast library of UI components, including:

  • A JavaScript framework that supports cross-platform development of all JavaScript features.
  • A lightweight JavaScript programming language that allows developers to create interactive pages.
  • IDE tools like Atom, Visual Studio Code, and Nuclide.

What is Xamarin?

Like React Native, Xamarin is a cross-platform app development tool developers use to produce native Android, iOS, and Windows apps with unified and branded UXs. First launched in 2011, the popular framework employs the Mono framework to communicate with the Application Program Interface (API) of common mobile device functions. Many developers like Xamarin because it’s an easy transition that allows them to build robust applications using the C# programming language that runs on the .NET Common Language Infrastructure.

Xamarin’s elements minimize development and allow users to navigate across multiple channels.

  • The Mono .NET framework supports cross-platform development of all .NET framework features and also delivers a more extensive toolkit for Linux developers.
  • Its C# language includes features like LINQ, Generics, and Parallel Task Library which streamline the transition between platforms.
  • IDE tools like Visual Studio and XCode are the most frequently used complements to the Xamarin platform.
Xamarin vs React Native

Xamarin vs React Native

Its generally accepted by the mobile app development community that React Native and Xamarin are the two go-to frameworks when creating mobile apps. But when it comes to choosing between the two, there’s one vital question developers need to consider: do they prefer using JavaScript or C#?

  • Those who prefer JavaScript are probably better off using React Native.
  • If C# is the preferred programming language, Xamarin is typically the better choice.

Because both frameworks are viable options for cross-platform app development, it’s helpful to weigh each approach’s advantages and disadvantages in a side-by-side manner.

Availability and Cost

  • React Native is extremely flexible, allows developers to choose their preferred IDE, and is entirely free, including all of its libraries.
  • Xamarin does offer a free version, though it doesn’t have quite as many resources as React Native and using the Visual Studio requires a fee.


  • React Native uses JavaScript, one of the most popular and commonly used programming languages.
  • Xamarin uses the C# programming language and the .NET framework. It also comes with plenty of support from Microsoft and provides developers with a robust set of tools, including native platform integration, debuggers, and a rich editor.

Development Environment

  • React Native’s Live Reload feature lets developers see in real-time the effects of any code changes, offering a considerable advantage, particularly in terms of time management. The framework’s Hot Reload feature allows the app to keep running even if developers inject new file versions.
  • Xamarin has what many developers consider a much friendlier development environment, as it enables them to write code that’s specifically designed for iPhone apps on Windows and compile it for Mac. The framework also uses Visual Studio or XCode IDEs to develop Mac apps, both of which are substantially easier to use than React Native.

Community Support

  • A recent StackOverflow survey found React Native ranks as the sixth most popular development framework on the market and third for the most wanted framework.
  • Xamarin was voted tenth most popular and eleventh in the most wanted category.

General Consensus

The StackOverflow survey did a good comparison between Xamarin vs React Native. It claims that React Native is a more popular choice than Xamarin, but it must be noted that which framework developers choose often comes down to a question of allegiance. So, while there’s plenty of debate over which framework outperforms the other, it still comes down to whether developers prefer C# or JavaScript.

The bottom line is both frameworks are open-source and support cross-platform development, helping accelerate time to market for brands that want to bridge multiple consumer channels. In the software development sphere, it’s fair to say that Xamarin is seen as the wise and cultured grandfather while React Native is the high-energy and dogged young guy with loads of charisma. Conventional wisdom, then, says:

  • Xamarin is reliable, but React Native is agile.
  • Small-scale projects benefit from React Native’s insanely intelligent code, but enterprise-level solutions might want to choose Xamarin because of its long-established reputation.
  • Apps intended for multiple platform release can be done more quickly if they use Xamarin, but those that aren’t as inherently complex can benefit from native development.

In the end, the best way to know which framework is the right one for your cross-platform app development is to consult with a professional software development specialist who can help you make the right decision based on things like intended use, functionality, and audience. To learn more about cross-platform app development, talk to the team at Zibtek today.