Xamarin Vs. Cordova - Is It Right to Compare?

Rating — 5·10 min·July 18, 2023
Xamarin Vs. Cordova - Is It Right to Compare?
Xamarin Vs. Cordova - Is It Right to Compare?
Have you ever thought about building a prominent business app? Are you looking for ways to launch a great solution, stay under budget and expand your business? Take a look at this article comparing Xamarin and Cordova to get the answers you have been looking for.
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Mobile app market revenue is expected to grow to almost $190 billion by 2020! But before you can make a mobile app that works for you and your business, you should be ready to overcome several difficulties:

  • Develop a breathtaking idea

Obviously, you are not the only one planning to use a mobile app to fuel business growth. To outshine the stiff competition, you must develop a one-of-a-kind idea. Your solution must meet specific needs and address issues no existing apps have yet solved.

  • Decide on an approach

What kind of app would you like to build? Are you only interested in native apps, or are you also considering web and hybrid options? Find out more about Native vs Hybrid vs web development approaches and decide which is most suitable for you.

  • Select a powerful toolset

It is crucial to select development tools that allow you to build a simple but powerful UI/UX that attracts users with seamless functionality. In addition, your solution must be able to cope with thousands of simultaneous users and work well even with a poor Internet connection.

Cordova and Xamarin have both earned spots on the list of the top 10 most used development tools. Now, let’s guide you through Cordova vs Xamarin specifics: their features, strengths, and weaknesses. With this article, you’ll be able to find the best solution for your next project and multiply your revenue with a simple mobile app.

Different approaches in app development

Xamarin and Cordova represent different approaches: cross-platform and hybrid app development. And here’s how they differ:

  • Hybrid app development
    A hybrid application is a web app that uses webview to run on iOS, Android or any other platform. The app is written once and is compatible with all operating systems. However, the UX and performance of such an application is usually lower since it isn’t customized to each platform specifics. But the short time-to-market is the definite advantage of hybrid applications.

  • Cross-platform app development
    The cross-platform approach is the usage of one programming language (C#, JavaScript, etc.) to develop applications for different platforms. Some code is reusable, which reduces the development time. The usage of native components enables better performance and native UI, which increases customer satisfaction.

Xamarin is a tool for cross-platform app development, enabling close to native performance and user experience. Cordova represents the hybrid app development with short time-to-market a lower cost. 

And now that you know the basics, we can dive into details of Xamarin vs. Cordova comparison

What is Xamarin? It’s a cross-platform framework owned by one of the most influential tech companies Microsoft. It enables creating native-like apps for various platforms using the same toolset.

The environment contains three critical components:

You will also need a plugin for Visual Studio.

Since it was purchased by Microsoft several years ago, Xamarin has become an open source engineering platform. But keep in mind, the framework is free to use only for non-commercial projects. To use Xamarin without limitations, software engineers need to obtain a special community license, and companies are required to purchase enterprise licenses.

Let’s take a look at the strengths of the framework.

Advantages of Xamarin

  • Code reusability
    A software development professional can reuse more than 80% of code written using Xamarin. This minimizes required manual work. A specialist builds a codebase and then uses its elements to create native Android or iOS solutions.

  • Convenient testing functionality
    Code testing is easy with Xamarin. The Test Cloud feature allows developers to automate, optimize, simplify and modify testing procedures.

  • Considerable performance
    If your key goal is to deliver (and measure) sky-high performance, the cross-platform framework Xamarin is a great choice. Powerful features provided by Visual Studio enable development teams to improve, test, and measure their app’s performance. The Visual Studio App Center also reveals performance issues the moment they appear.

Though Xamarin’s key purpose is cross-platform development, solutions built with this tool demonstrate impressive UI/UX features. App design can come very close to native.

Do you consider Xamarin as your primary choice for mobile app development?
Our expert consults you about the benefits and pitfalls of this technology

Still, Xamarin is not as perfect as it may first appear. Here are a few weaknesses to consider.

Disadvantages of Xamarin

  • Technical background requirements
    If you already know how to code in C#, using Xamarin will be simple. If you don’t, many challenges will arise. C#/.NET development is a field full of pitfalls. To become an expert in this sphere, a software professional must devote much time and intense attention. Probably, starting with a Javascript framework for cross-platform development will be more reasonable?

  • Mobile platforms awareness
    And if you think C# is all you’ll need to master to code in Xamarin, we have some bad news. This is far not the case. Deep knowledge of Android and iOS platforms is also required to build a viable application.

  • HR challenge
    The IT market is chocked full of vacancies and offers. To deliver on a Xamarin project, developers must possess specific skillset in both web and mobile development. That often makes hiring a perfect candidate a huge headache.

  • Lack of functionality
    Xamarin contributors claim the tool allows developers to build great apps. However, the framework itself lacks a few significant functionalities. Together with delayed support for critical updates, problems with third-party tool access, and overall ecosystem weaknesses, challenges in the development process may arise.

Advantages and disadvantages of Xamarin

When to use Xamarin?

Despite these disadvantages, Xamarin can still be a valuable framework for constructing both Android and iOS apps. The framework can meet the needs of both large enterprises and young startups.

Use Xamarin if:

  • You are familiar with C#/.NET development

For purposes of this comparison, this is the #1 reason to opt for Xamarin. If you and your team already possess the expertise to use these development tools, try extending your borders with Xamarin.

  • You are looking for a great debugging tool

In many cases, debugging can be more complicated than building the app itself. The framework has advanced debugging functionality and is a good choice for developers who value simplified debugging.

Examples of inspiring apps created with Xamarin:

I bet you wouldn’t even suspect these are not native, would you?

What is Cordova?

In this comparison of popular mobile app development tools, Cordova is a simple but powerful option for rapid development. For successful app development, you only need a strong knowledge of web technologies, mostly JavaScript. The framework employs numerous APIs that allow developers to construct robust apps for smart devices.

What do you need to use this tool? The list is quite short:


  • JavaScript.

In addition, some cursory knowledge of a particular mobile platform is also required. To use Cordova with native features like Push-notifications or dive deeper into a device’s filesystem or hardware, you must be aware of basic platform functionality.

There are many reasons to consider using Cordova as the main tool for your business app.

Advantages of Cordova

  • Tech stack
    Recent statistics show that in 2018, JavaScript occupied the leading position among programming languages. Globally, almost 70% of IT engineers use the language daily to deliver high-quality software products. This means that any front-end developer can quickly acquaint themselves with Cordova, explore its features, recognize the opportunities provided by the tool and launch a new mobile solution with its help.

  • Single codebase
    Cordova’s central benefit is its use of a single codebase on all mobile platforms. Only slight adjustments between platforms are needed.

  • Reduced recruiting efforts
    Because so many developers are familiar with this stack, there is no need to waste time: looking for a candidate with a rare skillset, recruiting and hiring, onboarding procedures, etc.

  • Simplified development process
    It is much easier to employ Cordova than Xamarin. As we’ve outlined above, Xamarin has many hidden pitfalls and complex elements that only experienced C# developers can address. In contrast, with Cordova, one start coding immediately and quickly progress toward a viable mobile solution.

  • Integrations and libraries
    To access desired functionality, you can try a variety of Cordova integrations. These include: Dojo mobile; jQuery mobile; Sencha Touch etc.

Numerous libraries can also help meet an app’s requirements with just a little extra effort.

  • Design opportunities
    Interested in vector graphics? Here Cordova provides great opportunities for that as well. The ecosystem simplifies the process and allows developers to create lovely interface elements. However, Cordova apps run in WebView, and that means app capabilities depend on the user’s browser version.

  • Community support
    In a side by side comparison of Apache Cordova vs Xamarin, it is hard to beat Cordova’s community. The Cordova tribe has contributed to continuous tool development for years. That means that if you have questions, you can simply ask. Most of the time, you’ll quickly get an answer tailored to your scenario.

However, Cordova isn’t perfect.

Disadvantages of Cordova

  • Performance is not impressive

The original app code is launched through a mobile browser, and that lowers performance. However, you can use Cordova plugins that employ multithreading and improve performance.

If a native interface is your primary goal, you should either hire native iOS and Android developers or opt for another cross-platform solution like Xamarin or React Native. With Cordova, developing a native app look is difficult.

Cordova pros and cons

When to use Cordova?

Cordova is a perfect match if you:

  • Appreciate your time

Cordova is all you need to launch a good-looking app in record time. That’s why, hybrid approach is often chosen for startup mobile app development.

  • You have web development expertise and want to explore mobile

If you or your employees have JS development experience, it will be a piece of cake to use Cordova as your primary mobile application tool.

  • You need something simple, but sleek

With Cordova, simple functionality can be implemented with reasonable budget.

Check out these inspiring Cordova examples:

Main differences between Cordova and Xamarin

To choose between Cordova an Xamarin, you first need to clarify your requirements. Open a Google Sheet and tap out your expectations. Analyze your potential users’ needs and envision your products from their point of view. Will they actually need or want the advanced native performance that may cost you a fortune? Or, will they be satisfied with a simple, good-looking, yet effective tool? Next, set a budget. Then, take a look at this table:





Level of complexity

A simple, easy-to-learn framework

A complex tool with simple debugging



Free for non-commercial purposes only


Huge and experienced

Growing but weaker than Cordova

Tools required

HTML/CSS, JavaScript, mobile development essentials

C#, XAML, .NET platform basics and mobile development essentials


Hard-to-get native UI

Close to native


One for all platforms

Highly reusable

Develop your next legendary app with Cordova

We at Clockwise Software have worked with Cordova for many years and have launched numerous solutions for our partners worldwide. We know how to answer the question: what is Cordova? It’s the most convenient tool for achieving a fast, simple and hassle-free application launch.

But is it better than Xamarin? Honestly, that’s not a fair comparison, because these tools are built for different purposes. Xamarin provides your app with a native interface and great performance, while Cordova targets developers who want to optimize their budget and time-to-market.

Xamarin vs. Cordova comparison

If you’re still on the fence, take a look at 5 more reasons to try Cordova:

  • Up-to-date security guidelines provide you with full confidence in your potential users’ privacy;

  • Choosing the right API storage helps to accelerate an app and lets users access information quickly;

  • Cordova apps are highly flexible: thanks to the tool’s functionality and plugins, you can get exactly what you need;

  • Updates are fast and painless;

  • Cordova saves your money.

Still no ready to decide between Cordova and Xamarin? Most likely, you need advice from an expert.
We analyze your business requirements and help you choose the right technology stack

If you are looking for a reliable development partner, we are glad to welcome you to our services page. Here, you can find the team that will bring your idea to life.

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