As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, developers are constantly seeking powerful frameworks to create robust and versatile cross-platform applications.
In this quest, Xamarin has been a go-to choice for many years. But now that.NET Multi-platform App UI (MAUI), a replacement for Xamarin.Forms have been released; developers have an option that offers an improved and unified method of creating apps.
In this blog post, we will delve into the basic differences between Xamarin vs MAUI, shedding light on their unique features, development approaches, and potential benefits.
We will explore how Xamarin, a battle-tested framework, has paved the way for MAUI, which aims to address its limitations and offer an even more seamless development experience.
By understanding the distinctions between these two frameworks, developers can make informed decisions and leverage the right tools to deliver exceptional cross-platform applications. So let’s explore the fascinating world of Xamarin vs. MAUI together!
So let’s begin.
What is Xamarin?
A cross-platform UI framework that uses XAML and C# is called Xamarin forms. It is well-known for its rapid prototype capabilities and is often used to develop products that do not focus on platform-specific characteristics.
Xamarin Forms is perfect for apps that need to be consistent on all platforms. You can share codes up to 99%. This technology has managed a large community that contributes to UI components.
Microsoft announced in May 2020 that despite relative popularity among developers, they will merge.NET and Xamarin Forms, launching.NET MAUI. The new tool will offer native APIs as well as native UIs for faster and more reliable apps.
Pros of Xamarin
- Apps for All Platforms
Xamarin.Forms make it possible to create portable versions of apps that can be used on multiple platforms. Xamarin.iOS allows you to create apps for tvOS and watchOS on Apple, Tizen, and tvOS. So, if you want to develop an iOS app for your business, then it would be better to hire Xamarin developerswho are proficient in developing an app for ios devices.
- One Tech Stack to Speed Up Development
Xamarin’s compatibility with .NET is one of its greatest benefits. Xamarin’s C# allows for 90% code sharing across platforms, which speeds up the engineering process.
- Close to Native Performance & Native UI
With the aid of Xamarin’s native components, developers may build a platform-specific user interface to simulate a native app. Visual Studio allows you to share elements across multiple platforms. However, for complex apps, developers will need to write native code on Android and iOS in order to provide a native-like experience.
The Xamarin framework’s next development is concentrated on enhancing speed and functionality. The rendering of apps will be smoother with a thinner abstraction.
- Open Source Technology and Strong Corporate Support
Microsoft acquired Xamarin, a company that makes software development kits (SDKs) for mobile devices. This SDK includes runtimes, libraries, and command-line utilities.
Visual Studio included an MIT license that allowed anyone to use the SDK. Microsoft was able to further develop the platform by removing this barrier.
- Simple App Maintenance and Updates
The use of only one programming language simplifies the updating of apps, as you can update two applications at once. When Xamarin updates any of the files in the Xamarin platform, both Android apps and iOS get new functionality. Engineers can now work on multiple projects at once, as updating two apps takes only half the time.
Cons of Xamarin
- Limitation on Open Source Library Access
Xamarin uses the elements that are provided by the platform as well as the .NET libraries. You might find that the choices are not as extensive as they are for native iOS and Android app development.
Xamarin doesn’t support all third-party libraries available for Android and iOS, and developers will often need to spend extra time developing the element that they require.
- Not Recommended For Apps with Heavy Graphics
You may need to use native tools if your app requires/has a rich UX/UI. Apps with a high degree of appearance or user interaction will require a long time to develop.
- Larger App Size
Xamarin apps could be bigger than native apps. The data libraries, Mono Runtime, and base class libraries all affect how big Xamarin apps are. There are several ways to reduce the size of large apps. Developers use linking and other optimization methods to reduce the size of the app. Remove nonessential code to reduce the file size.
- Support for Platform Updates is slightly delayed.
Third-party tools cannot provide immediate support for iOS and Android because changes take time to implement. Using Xamarin requires you to wait for the support team’s response to new releases.
- Compatibility issues with third-party libraries and tools
Xamarin apps could be bigger than native apps. The data libraries, Mono Runtime, and base class libraries all affect how big Xamarin apps are. The majority of libraries offer solutions for native technologies but not Xamarin.
Wrappers are a good option if you need to integrate third-party services. Otherwise, you’ll have to create bindings to get to the next step in the app development process.
What is Maui?
MAUI, which is a development of Xamarin Forms, is a.NET 6 UI Framework with advanced code reuse. Additionally, it features a platform-neutral design.
MAUI allows you to create high-performance apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS. The framework is an essential part of cross-platform tech stacks and development platforms.
It simplifies designing by binding assets to the platform but still offers extensive customization options. Microsoft MAUI lets you write a codebase that can be used on any platform.
On the other hand, it allows you to enrich the native features of each platform by adding them. Developers can use MAUI to create native applications by using a single.NET Project and including platform-specific subfolders. However, to create a top-notch cross-platform app, it would be best to hire .Net developers.
Android apps, for example, compile C# code into CIL (common intermediate language), which is then compiled into native Android code. iOS apps are compiled in native assembly code, just like Android apps. This is done to optimize performance.
Pros of Maui
- Familiar programming language:
.NET MAUI uses a familiar programming language. It is based on C#,.NET and other popular languages used by the developer community. This means developers don’t need to learn a different programming language in order to use.NET MAUI. They can therefore be more productive and speed up their development process.
- Visual Studio Integration:
.NET MAUI integrates seamlessly with Visual Studio (Microsoft’s Integrated Development Environment). Visual Studio can be used to create.NET MAUI apps, allowing developers to benefit from the productivity and advanced debugging tools of Visual Studio.
- Support for the most recent version of.NET:
.NET MAUI is compatible with the most current version of.NET. Developers can use the new features, performance improvements, and other enhancements offered by.NET in order to create faster applications.
- Support and Community:
The.NET MAUI is a growing community, so there are many resources for developers with questions or who need assistance. Microsoft, which created.NET MAUI, offers continuous updates and support for the tool. This ensures that it is up to date with the latest technology and trends.
- Responsive design:
.NET MAUI is a responsive design tool that uses XAML (a markup language) and C# to design the UI. These tools enable developers to create responsive layouts which automatically adapt to the screen sizes of devices the app runs on. Developers can now create interfaces for devices with different resolutions and sizes.
- Control and Components Library:
.NET MAUI offers an extensive library to help developers build sophisticated, customized interfaces. Apps for iOS, Android, and Windows may be created using these controls and elements. This allows developers to create high-quality, consistent apps across all platforms.
Cons of Maui
- Limited ecosystem maturity:
.NET MAUI was still a relatively new framework. In contrast to more known frameworks like Xamarin, there may be fewer tools, libraries, and community support available. Forms.
- Learning curve:
If you’re not already familiar with Xamarin.Forms or .NET development, there might be a learning curve to understand the concepts and best practices of .NET MAUI.
- Compatibility issues:
Since .NET MAUI is designed to be cross-platform, there might be certain platform-specific features or APIs that are not fully supported or may require additional customization.
- Performance considerations:
Cross-platform frameworks often introduce some overhead compared to native development. While .NET MAUI aims to optimize performance, it may still not achieve the same level of performance as a fully native app.
- Limited platform support:
While .NET MAUI supports major platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows, it may not cover all niche platforms or have the same level of integration as native development options.
Xamarin vs. Maui–Key Differences
|Definition||A framework for building cross-platform apps||An evolution of Xamarin for building UIs|
|Architecture||Uses the Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) pattern||Uses the Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) pattern|
|Target Platforms||iOS, Android, Windows, Mac||iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, and more|
|UI Development||Xamarin.Forms or platform-specific UI||Multi-platform UI development with XAML|
|Code Sharing||Enables maximum code sharing across platforms||Enables maximum code sharing across platforms|
|Tooling||Xamarin SDK and Visual Studio||.NET SDK and Visual Studio|
|Ecosystem||Large and mature community and library support||Growing community and expanding library support|
|Performance||Native performance through platform bindings||Native performance through platform bindings|
|Future Support||Will continue to be supported by Microsoft||Primary focus of future cross-platform apps|
Xamarin vs. Maui–Detailed Comparison
The architecture of Xamarin.Forms vs. NET MAUI differs significantly. Xamarin.Forms rely on a page-centric architectural approach that uses pages, views, and controls to create the app’s user interface. .NET MAUI, on the other hand, has a flexible architecture based upon a single view root that can contain multiple child views.
2. Project Structure
Xamarin.Forms are different from .NET MAUI in that they have different project structures. Xamarin.Forms developers can become frustrated when they have to work with multiple projects that target multiple platforms.
They may also find it difficult to keep images, fonts, and platform-related codes organized. .NET MAUI addresses these issues by allowing developers to work on a single project.
.NET MAUI, being a simple app project, uses a structure based on multiple targets. The.NET MAUI application contains a Platforms subfolder, which includes subfolders for Android, iOS Maccatalyst, and Windows.
This folder is used to target the platform-specific code needed to launch the app. You can also multitarget based on the file name.
3. Platform-specific APIs
Xamarin.Forms offer a set of cross-platform APIs for iOS, Android, and Windows. Some platform-specific APIs are not available on all platforms or require custom renderers.
.NET MAUI, on the other hand, provides a collection of platform-specific interfaces that allow developers to access native functionality from each platform directly.
4. Development Environment
Xamarin.Forms are compatible with Visual Studio and Visual Studio for Mac but require Xamarin Studio to be installed..NET MAUI does not require any extra tools or extensions.
5. Code Sharing
Xamarin.Forms enable code sharing across platforms. However, some platform-specific codes may need to be written. Developers may more easily exchange code between platforms thanks to .NET MAUI, which also lessens the requirement for platform-specific code.
6. Design-Time Data
Xamarin.Forms allow you to preview the layout of an app without having to run it. This can save a lot of time when developing. .NET MAUI goes one step further, allowing developers to create design-time data and use it with live data. This makes it easier to test scenarios during development.
Xamarin.Forms let developers use custom themes to customize their apps. However, the theming system is complex. .NET MAUI offers a simplified theme system to make it easier for developers to create and apply their own themes.
8. Lifecycle Management
Xamarin.Forms have a built-in lifecycle management mechanism to control the navigation and app state. .NET MAUI simplifies the management of app state and navigation with a lifecycle system that is common to all platforms.
9. Desktop Support
Xamarin.Forms don’t have native desktop support, but third-party tools such as Electron can run apps. .NET MAUI provides native support for macOS, Windows, and Linux, allowing developers the ability to build cross-platform desktop applications.
10. Hot Reload
Xamarin.Forms have introduced Hot Reload. This feature allows developers to make UI changes and view the results instantly without having to restart the app. .NET MAUI goes one step further by introducing Hot Reload 2.0. This version includes support for changing the logic of an app, making it easier for developers to iterate their code.
Xamarin.Forms’ performance has been criticized, especially on Android devices. .NET MAUI fixes this problem with a new renderer that increases performance on all platforms. Apps become quicker, more fluid, and more responsive as a consequence.
While Xamarin.Forms and.NET MAUI have many similarities, and they also share several differences. Developers should be aware of these key differences when selecting which framework to use in their projects.
Before selecting a framework, one should analyze its particular advantages and disadvantages. The choice between Xamarin.Forms or.NET MAUI ultimately depends on the needs and preferences of your development team, as well as the specific requirements of the project.
Can I reuse my Xamarin code in Maui?
Yes, one of the advantages of Maui is that it allows developers to reuse a significant portion of their Xamarin code. The transition from Xamarin.Forms to Maui involves updating and adapting the code, but the core business logic and structure can often be reused.
Can I migrate my Xamarin.Forms app to Maui?
Yes, Microsoft provides migration guides and tools to help developers transition their existing Xamarin.Forms applications to Maui. While the process may involve some code changes and adjustments, the goal is to make the migration process as smooth as possible.
Xamarin vs. Maui: What are The Basic Differences?
Yes, Xamarin is still supported by Microsoft. However, the focus has shifted to the development of Maui, which is considered the future of cross-platform development with. NET. Xamarin will continue to receive updates and support, but developers are encouraged to transition to Maui for new projects.