The choice of whether to use a cross-platform or native technology when building a mobile application in 2022 isn’t very difficult. Cross platform technology will be the right choice in 90% of cases – with exceptions coming only in cases of very specific performance needs or particular native functionality that isn’t available. The real choice is between different cross-platform mobile development tools. The list of technologies includes a wide array of futuristic sounding words like Xamarin, Cordova, lonic, React Native, Flutter, Unity, NativeScript, PhoneGap, ApacheFlex, Kendo, Kivy and others.
There are really only 5 technologies in this expansive list that merit your attention. According to the results of a developer survey published by Statista in 2022 the top 5 tools based on their market share in 2021 were Xamarin, lonic, Cordova, React Native and Flutter. This list can be divided into two groups – those losing popularity (Cordova, Xamarin, Ionic) and those gaining popularity (Flutter, ReactNative) Why is this the case? And which technology will be the ultimate winner moving forward? We will explore those questions below.
Let’s start with the losers.
Xamarin was created in 2011 as an open-source cross-platform mobile applications framework for building responsive iOS, Android and Windows applications all sharing the same C# code base.The estimated code reusability rate of about 80% offered a very efficient experience for those building with a focus on a Windows based audience.. After an acquisition by Microsoft in 2016 huge hopes were put on the technology., Since then it has failed to live up to expectation and has been losing popularity steadily. The latest research shows that in the past 3 years Xamari's market share has fallen from 26% to only 11%. One of the common concerns about Xamarin is that build and run times may be too slow for the realities of the 2020s. In practice, the reality of Xamarin performance rarely has lived up to theoretical expectations. More specifically, it is hardly possible to finish a production quality project that works on both Android and iOS without bugs. In light of these challenges and with the rise of ReactNative and Flutter…it might be wise to hold off on building your next application with Xamarin. However, NET MAUI which was launched in 2022 (and described by Microsoft as the next evolution of Xamarin) has the potential to raise the former Xamarin technology from the ashes. But that doesn’t seem so likely.
Even more important than the pros and cons of Xamarin, Cordova and Ionic, the fact is that much better frameworks have come along. This pattern follows the common historic software pattern of inevitable evolution where older technologies are replaced with ones that more specifically meet developer and end user needs.. It’s safe to say that cross platform development is currently a competition between two participants; React Native and Google Flutter.
During the last couple years of guiding technology choices at ScrumLaunch, our work and results support the thesis that React Native is a great choice for cross-platform application development in 2022. Given that popular apps such as Instagram, Uber Eats, Pinterest, Wix and Coinbase all use React Native there is no doubt about its supremacy over other frameworks.
Research from Statista places Flutter as the leading cross-platform mobile development framework in 2021 beating outReact Native by only 4%. If you are building a mobile application in 2022, choosing either Flutter or React Native would be great options because of the mix of performance, robust community support and positive future outlook (this suggestion is based on ScrumLaunch’s 6 years of delivering mobile apps).
At ScrumLaunch, we are continuously analyzing and investing in new technologies, monitoring their growth and assessing their pros and cons based on our customer needs.
Author: Maryna Kharchenko
Maryna is research analyst at ScrumLaunch responsible for tracking the latest trends in the technology industry and providing insights to our clients and the broader startup community.
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