Is Xamarin Still Used?

Is Xamarin Still Used?

Xamarin is a popular cross-platform app development framework using C#. Microsoft purchased it, turning it into an open-source product and boosting its popularity. It is used to create mobile applications using C# and the.NET framework for Android, iOS, and Windows. Additionally, it enables programmers to share their code across all platforms.

Even though it has many benefits, the framework is possibly dying. However, given that it is transforming into .NET MAUI, it cannot be said to be dead. As it was announced in May 2020, Microsoft deprecated Xamarin.Forms in November 2021 in favour of Multiform App User Interface, which will replace the framework. This article discusses the framework, its popularity, and its future in the development industry. 

Backstory of the Framework

The framework’s evolution was inevitable, as it had a troubled and confused development history. Although it was a good theoretical framework, it was poorly implemented, bug-ridden, and bloated. Therefore, Microsoft replaced it with MAUI to compete with more recent, user-friendly, and convenient modern development frameworks. The developers found it difficult to work with the framework for many reasons. The major drawbacks it possesses include the following.

  • Open Source Libraries with Limited Access
  • Incompatible Third-Party Libraries and Tools
  • Not Recommended for Complex Apps
  • Larger App Size
  • Delayed Support for the Latest Platform Updates  
  • Costly Solution for Business Users
  • Limited Talent Pool and Community

1. Open Source Libraries with Limited Access

You must use the platform’s limited elements and the .NET open-source libraries. So, you’ll have to do a lot of native coding independently, as the options aren’t as diverse as those for iOS and Android native development. Additionally regrettable is the fact that the platform does not natively support all third-party libraries for Android and iOS, forcing developers to spend extra time creating the necessary components.

2. Incompatible Third-Party Libraries and Tools

As mentioned above, the framework does not support third-party libraries and tools unless you use specific plugins or integrations outside the platform. For this platform, you can use wrappers or create bindings before moving on to the next phase of app development if it is necessary to use third-party integrations.

3. Not Recommended for Complex Apps

Complex apps that demand a rich user interface, rely heavily on appearance, or extensively use user interactions are incompatible with Xamarin. It is because it will take more time to develop using the framework, and the developers should have extensive knowledge of iOS and Android native technologies. So it is only suitable for smaller and less complex apps that are easy to develop and work with. 

4. Larger App Size

The next problem is the size of the apps created with the framework. Compared to natively built ones, their size can vary and become larger. Their base class libraries determine the size of Xamarin apps, the Mono runtime, and their data libraries.  

It is possible to reduce large app sizes in a few different ways. The best way to remove code and keep the file size under control is to use additional optimizations like linking, which is what many developers do. Eliminating unnecessary code is another method for reducing file size. 

5. Delayed Support for the Latest Platform Updates  

Since changes take time, third-party tools cannot offer immediate support for the most recent iOS and Android releases. It takes time for the support team to catch up with new releases when using the platform. So, using the platform for app development means delayed support for the latest platform updates. 

6. A Costly Solution for Business Users

Of course, the framework is a free and open-source platform for individual developers. But it is a costly solution for business users. You will have to switch to a more advanced set of tools for enterprises with many developers. The first year of getting into the advanced version will cost you more than later because you will get discounts. So many developers refrain from using Xamarin, as the framework is not worth investing in due to many other inconveniences.

7. Limited Talent Pool and Community

Xamarin developers are hard to find because of the relatively small community of developers available. According to a survey conducted in 2020, only 5.8% of developers used the platform. Microsoft started providing extensive support through free courses to encourage developers to use the framework.

Future of the Framework

Every framework or piece of software is bound to change as time passes. The same goes with Xamarin. Now the framework is about to get replaced to evolve into a better version. Microsoft has officially announced that it will be merged with .NET to become .NET Multi-platform App UI, or MAUI. 

Microsoft will continue to support Xamarin for an additional year in order to ensure a smooth transition once MAUI is released, although the precise time is still unknown. More developers who work with C# and.NET core features will be drawn to the Xamarin platform as a result of the merge. 

So the answer to the question “Is Xamarin still used?” is here. Yes, it is still used, and Microsoft will continue to support it until May 1, 2024. There won’t be any new updates to the platform or official support from Microsoft after that point, but apps created with the platform will still function and be maintainable.

The reason it cannot be labelled dead is due to the number of apps out there currently using it. There are many companies that use apps made using the framework and have invested money in them. As time goes on, there will only be a few developers on the market to support or maintain it. New and more effective solutions are inevitably developed as technology advances, especially.

Interesting Links:

What is Xamarin?

The Good and The Bad of Xamarin Mobile Development

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