Xamarin vs. React Native: Which Cross-Platform App Development Framework to Choose

Xamarin vs. React Native: Choosing the Right Cross-Platform App Development Framework

The term 'cross-platform app development frameworks' refers to the convenience of writing code once and running it on multiple platforms. Among these frameworks, Xamarin and React Native are currently the top trending options. In this blog post, we will conduct a side-by-side comparison of Xamarin vs React Native, highlighting various factors such as performance, scalability, cost, development environment, and more.

So, what impact do these cross-platform frameworks have on mobile app development, and what fundamental factors should we consider when choosing between them? Before delving into these questions, let’s provide a quick overview of both frameworks and explore the importance of cross-platform frameworks in building cutting-edge mobile apps.

What Is Xamarin

Xamarin is an open-source cross-platform app development framework that enables developers to create native mobile applications using C# and .NET. It allows developers to share up to 90% of the codebase across iOS, Android, and Windows platforms, reducing development time and effort. The software applications built using Xamarin offer a native-like feel and experience on each platform without coding in several different languages. With Xamarin, developers leverage their existing skills in C# and benefit from shared code logic along with built-in libraries, tools, and features to accelerate the development cycle and promote efficient maintenance. This framework is widely used for building cost-effective, high-quality mobile apps, making it a popular choice for developers aiming for cross-platform compatibility.

What Is React Native

React Native is an open-source framework for building cross-platform mobile applications using JavaScript and React. Developed by Facebook, it allows developers to write code once and deploy it on both iOS and Android platforms to maximize code reusability. React Native leverages a virtual DOM and native components, offering a performance close to that of native apps. This framework is popular for its efficiency in developing visually appealing and responsive mobile applications which make it a preferred choice for businesses and developers aiming for a cost-effective solution with a streamlined development process and a consistent user experience across different platforms.

Xamarin Vs. React Native: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Xamarain and React Native both are extensively used for building responsive cross-platform mobile apps but some factors reflect their uniqueness and help developers select the framework that best fits their project needs and requirements. Let’s dive into an in-depth comparison of Xamarin vs React Native to gauge a better understanding of each platform:

Performance And Scalability

One of the key factors to consider when choosing between Xamarin and React Native is the performance and scalability aspect. Both of the cross-platform app development frameworks can deliver exceptionally performing apps, but Xamarin offers better performance and optimization for apps that require computationally intensive tasks. On the contrary, React Native's amazing feature called “hot reloading” allows developers to identify changes made to their code in real-time without requiring the need to rebuild and redeploy the app, leading to faster iteration and development as compared to Xamarin.

Regarding scalability, both Xamarin and React Native offer capabilities for scaling app features. Xamarin leverages native APIs, while React Native employs various performance optimization techniques, including the use of native modules and code splitting, enhancing app scalability.


Xamarin, launched before React Native has amassed a sizable user base but ever since the launch of React Native, it started gaining significant popularity among the developer's community. React Native framework now surpasses Xamarin and is more preferred by developers globally with a 32% respondent share in cross-platform development in comparison to a 12% respondent share according to a 2022 survey conducted by Statista.

Backed by Facebook, React Native boasts a larger community, extensive third-party libraries, and a strong focus on developer experience. Its flexibility and ability to share code across platforms have contributed to widespread adoption. Additionally, React Native is built on JavaScript, one of the most used programming languages among developers worldwide as of 2023.

The large and active community of react native seamlessly contributes to the React Native frameworks by creating additional libraries and tools to extend its functionality. This allows the react native community to find resources and support when building React Native apps.

Development Environment

Xamarin and React Native offer distinct development environments. Xamarin uses Visual Studio, a robust IDE by Microsoft, providing a comprehensive set of tools for C# development and seamless integration with Azure services. This makes it favorable for enterprises in a Microsoft-centric ecosystem.

React Native, on the other hand, supports various IDEs, with Visual Studio Code being a popular choice. React Native's flexibility allows developers to use their preferred tools. Its development environment is lightweight and easy to set up, catering to a broader audience, including web developers familiar with JavaScript. Ultimately, the choice between Xamarin and React Native often depends on the existing technology stack and developer preferences.


React Native holds an advantage in availability compared to Xamarin. React Native is entirely open-source and free, providing unrestricted access to its features, libraries, and tools. This accessibility fosters a larger developer community and facilitates widespread adoption.

In contrast, while Xamarin does offer a free version, its full feature set is available only through the purchase of the Enterprise edition. React Native's open-source nature contributes to its popularity, particularly among smaller teams and individual developers, as it eliminates barriers to entry and encourages collaborative innovation without the constraints associated with purchasing a premium version for full functionality.

Flexibility and Customization

Both Xamarin and React Native are known for offering flexibility in app development. React Native allows developers to write native modules in native languages using Java, Objective-C, or Swift whereas, with Xamarin, developers utilize C# to write native code leveraging existing .NET libraries. However, the point that needs to be noted here is that the development of a cross-platform app using Xamarin is restricted to Visual Studio only in comparison to React Native where developers can select their preferred IDE or text editor, which leads to greater flexibility.

In terms of customization, React Native provides a high level of flexibility in UI customization with a rich set of third-party libraries and Native UI components. Xamarin while powerful, may have limitations in achieving certain design nuances that React Native can offer.

Learning Curve

Depending on the developer’s skills and expertise and the complexity of the app, it becomes easier to select either Xamarin or React Native. Xamarin is extensively used for general-purpose or desktop apps using C# and the .NET framework. Additionally, Xamarin offers detailed documentation, including tips and guidance on best practices for optimizing the app’s performance.

On the contrary, React Native is a popular choice for developers who have a grip command over JavaScript and the React framework. JavaScript offers plenty of resources, including how to use libraries and components, for building cutting-edge web and mobile applications.


React Native has continuously evolved through frequent updates, addressing performance issues, and expanding its capabilities. The framework's commitment to staying abreast of technology trends is evident in its dynamic ecosystem. On the other hand, while Xamarin has notable strengths, React Native's proactive approach to refinement and innovation has contributed to its widespread adoption and reputation for being at the forefront of mobile development advancements.

The two frameworks cater to diverse needs, with React Native's consistent evolution playing a pivotal role in its popularity and adaptability within the ever-changing landscape of mobile app development.

Code Reusability

Both Xamarin and React Native emphasize code reusability, allowing developers to write code once and deploy it on multiple platforms. Xamarin employs the .NET framework, enabling substantial code sharing through its Xamarin.Forms for UI and Xamarin.Essentials for cross-platform APIs.

However, achieving a native look may require platform-specific adjustments. React Native, utilizing JavaScript and React, promotes extensive code reuse with a component-based architecture. It excels in sharing business logic, but platform-specific modules may be necessary for certain functionalities. React Native generally offers a slightly higher level of code reusability, making it attractive for projects where maximizing shared codebase across iOS and Android platforms is a priority.


Xamarin and React Native differ in their compilation approaches. Xamarin compiles code into Intermediate Language (IL), which is then Just-In-Time (JIT) compiled at runtime, allowing for platform-specific optimizations but potentially leading to longer startup times. React Native uses Ahead-of-Time (AOT) compilation for some performance-critical tasks, translating JavaScript to native code before runtime, and enhancing startup speed.

While Xamarin's JIT compilation offers flexibility, React Native's AOT compilation often results in faster app performance, especially on startup. However, both frameworks employ various optimization techniques, and the choice between them may depend on specific project requirements regarding startup speed and runtime performance.


Xamarin and React Native are both initially free, but cost considerations arise based on specific circumstances. Xamarin is free for individual developers and small companies, but the Visual Studio Enterprise annual edition, often required for larger enterprises, can cost nearly $3000. This cost is in addition to potential expenses for third-party tools and services.

On the contrary, React Native remains entirely free, making it more appealing, especially for smaller budgets or individual developers. The cost factor, including potential licensing fees, can influence the choice between Xamarin and React Native, particularly for businesses with varying financial capacities and project requirements.

Why Do We Use ReactNative at CygnisMedia for Cross-platform App Development?

Cygnis Media stays at the forefront of utilizing the cutting-edge React Native framework for building powerful web and mobile applications. Our team of experts has hands-on experience and command over the React Native framework to cater to businesses looking to develop state-of-the-art mobile and web apps that can run and perform smoothly across various operating systems, such as Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, etc., while providing a native look feel and experience. Along with its renowned acceptance and popularity among the developer's community, there are many other reasons for choosing React Native for cross-platform app development:

  • JavaScript Language: Utilizing JavaScript, a widely-used language, simplifies development and attracts a broader pool of developers.
  • Large and Active Community: React Native has a vast and engaged community, providing extensive support, documentation, and a wealth of third-party libraries.
  • Hot Reload Feature: The Hot Reload feature enables real-time code changes, accelerating the development process, enhancing the developer's productivity, and contributing to overall project efficiency.
  • Performance: React Native delivers high performance through its use of native components, resulting in an app that feels and performs like a native one.
  • Native-Like User Interface: React Native enables the creation of a native-like user interface, enhancing user experience and visual appeal.
  • Reusable Code Components: Components developed in React Native can be reused across platforms, promoting code efficiency and consistency.
  • Fast Development Cycle: The framework supports rapid development with its modular and reusable components, contributing to shorter development cycles.
  • Live Updates: Facilitates the delivery of over-the-air updates to users without requiring app store approvals.
  • Facebook's Backing: React Native is maintained by Facebook, ensuring ongoing updates, improvements, and alignment with industry best practices.
  • Wide Adoption: Many well-known companies, including Facebook, Instagram, and Airbnb, have successfully used React Native, showcasing its reliability for large-scale applications.
  • Ease of Integration: React Native facilitates seamless integration with third-party plugins, modules, and native modules, expanding functionality and capabilities.
  • Strong Developer Tools: React Native provides a set of robust developer tools, easing the debugging and profiling processes.

Choosing React Native for cross-platform app development offers a balance of efficiency, performance, and community support, making it an attractive option for a wide range of projects we deliver.

Need to build a cross-platform mobile app? Contact us


Xamarin and React Native are both renowned open-source frameworks for building cross-platform apps. In our Xamarin and React Native comparison, we've covered many factors to highlight and compare the key points of both frameworks. Xamarin boasts significant advantages and is especially a great option for those looking to build apps deeply integrated with Microsoft technologies. However, we vouch for React Native for its unmatched popularity, robust community support, cost-effectiveness, faster development, ease of integration, etc., making it a superior choice for cross-platform app development compared to Xamarin. If you're envisioning a cutting-edge, cross-platform app, our team stands ready to turn your ideas into reality. Contact us for a seamless and efficient cross-platform app development experience with the robust React Native framework.

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