Xamarin vs PhoneGap

By EGO March 26, 2015


Working in the fast-paced, innovative mobile development business, we found that it’s essential to be in a mainstream and have an understanding of solutions and options available.
Having implemented different technologies and approaches to mobile development over the years we’d like to sum up the output we got from using such cross-platform tools as PhoneGap and Xamarin.

The choice of the technology is usually made basing on multiple factors, such as timing, costs, and product objectives. So for the very basic applications with pretty simple functionality and UI, any of the solutions might be applicable and well performing. However, when the product is complex or is supposed to scale up and have additional iterations, then the choice of the tech stack should be made more precisely.

Xamarin is a C# based solution for cross-platform apps development. Using the capabilities of C# and wrapping all native iOS and Android libraries allows Xamarin to make changes, over the course of the project lifetime, and making improvements to the application rather quickly. The code base is shared so the main effort needs to be focused on UI implementation for different platforms.Since all the native features are supported in the end apps are looking and perform in a native way.

Using PhoneGap for app development you’ll create HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files in a local directory, much like developing a static website. Approaching native-quality UI performance in the browser is not a simple task, right? On most platforms and browsers today, reaching native UI performance and responsiveness isn’t possible, even with the help of Sencha Touch. Additionally, PhoneGap has very limited capability for interaction with other apps or device capabilities, and this would not be cross-platform anyway, as there aren’t any standards in HTML5 except for a few, like geolocation, camera and local databases.

To sum up, all the ideas we created a table where there is compared performance of the application built with PhoneGap vs. Xamarin by different criteria, we tried to pick up the most important ones. It was made basing on the experience we have implementing both technologies. So our favor here goes to Xamarin basing on the output we get in the end and user experience. Hope that this data might be helpful for you to decide which technology to use!

1. Native performanceUsually is slow and worth performing, especially on older Android devices and iPhone4Stable performance on iOS, Android & WinPhone devices
2. Native UIThe UI is general, doesn’t have native look for different platformsProvides ability to create individual UI for different platforms
3. Native featuresYou’ll need to write additionally native features
on native languages – Objective C/Java, so need good skills and additional resources in that as well to build the app
All native features are supported by Xamarin and can be implemented. No need to use something additionally
4. Data amountProblematic to display big amount of data in listsPossible to display any amount of data
5. Launch timeIt usually takes longer time to launch PhoneGap app on a deviceProvides an opportunity of high speed launching
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