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fastlane vs Xcode: What are the differences?

What is fastlane? Connect all iOS deployment tools into one streamlined workflow. fastlane lets you define and run your deployment pipelines for different environments. It helps you unify your app鈥檚 release process and automate the whole process. fastlane connects all fastlane tools and third party tools, like CocoaPods.

What is Xcode? The complete toolset for building great apps. The Xcode IDE is at the center of the Apple development experience. Tightly integrated with the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, Xcode is an incredibly productive environment for building amazing apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

fastlane and Xcode are primarily classified as "Mobile Continuous Integration" and "Integrated Development Environment" tools respectively.

Some of the features offered by fastlane are:

  • Connect all build tools together
  • Define multiple lanes for different needs
  • Jenkins Integration

On the other hand, Xcode provides the following key features:

  • Source Editor
  • Assistant Editor
  • Asset Catalog

"Easy to use" is the top reason why over 17 developers like fastlane, while over 127 developers mention "IOS Development" as the leading cause for choosing Xcode.

fastlane is an open source tool with 25.7K GitHub stars and 3.93K GitHub forks. Here's a link to fastlane's open source repository on GitHub.

Pinterest, 9GAG, and Asana are some of the popular companies that use Xcode, whereas fastlane is used by Intuit, Deltecs Infotech, and fastlane. Xcode has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1039 company stacks & 585 developers stacks; compared to fastlane, which is listed in 91 company stacks and 22 developer stacks.

- No public GitHub repository available -

What is fastlane?

fastlane lets you define and run your deployment pipelines for different environments. It helps you unify your app鈥檚 release process and automate the whole process. fastlane connects all fastlane tools and third party tools, like CocoaPods.

What is Xcode?

The Xcode IDE is at the center of the Apple development experience. Tightly integrated with the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, Xcode is an incredibly productive environment for building amazing apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
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    What are some alternatives to fastlane and Xcode?
    HockeyApp
    HockeyApp is the best way to collect live crash reports, get feedback from your users, distribute your betas, and analyze your test coverage.
    Bitrise
    It is a Continous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD) Platform as a Service (PaaS) with a main focus on mobile app development (iOS, Android). You can automate the testing and deployment of your apps with just a few clicks. When you trigger a build a Virtual Machine is assigned to host your build and your defined Workflow (series of Steps scripts) will be executed, step by step.
    Buddybuild
    Buddybuild ties together continuous integration, continuous delivery and an iterative feedback solution into a single, seamless platform.
    Greenhouse
    Greenhouse automatically builds your project for every commit you make and runs all your unit or UI tests on the emulator/simulator or on real hardware. Automatic build distribution is also supported so that your team and clients are always up to date with the latest state of your apps.
    Distiller
    Distiller's hosted continuous integration platform takes the pain out of mobile development through automated build, test, and deployment of your iOS apps.
    See all alternatives
    Decisions about fastlane and Xcode
    Sezgi Ulu莽am
    Sezgi Ulu莽am
    Sr. Software Engineer at StackShare | 6 upvotes 71K views
    Android SDK
    Android SDK
    Android Studio
    Android Studio
    React Native
    React Native
    Xcode
    Xcode
    Expo
    Expo

    I've recently switched to using Expo for initializing and developing my React Native apps. Compared to React Native CLI, it's so much easier to get set up and going. Setting up and maintaining Android Studio, Android SDK, and virtual devices used to be such a headache. Thanks to Expo, I can now test my apps directly on my Android phone, just by installing the Expo app. I still use Xcode Simulator for iOS testing, since I don't have an iPhone, but that's easy anyway. The big win for me with Expo is ease of Android testing.

    The Expo SDK also provides convenient features like Facebook login, MapView, push notifications, and many others. https://docs.expo.io/versions/v31.0.0/sdk/

    See more
    Julien DeFrance
    Julien DeFrance
    Principal Software Engineer at Tophatter | 8 upvotes 56K views
    atSmartZipSmartZip
    React Native
    React Native
    Android Studio
    Android Studio
    Objective-C
    Objective-C
    Xcode
    Xcode
    #MobileDev

    As a Engineering Manager & Director at SmartZip, I had a mix of front-end, back-end, #mobile engineers reporting to me.

    Sprints after sprints, I noticed some inefficiencies on the MobileDev side. People working multiple sprints in a row on their Xcode / Objective-C codebase while some others were working on Android Studio. After which, QA & Product ensured both applications were in sync, on a UI/UX standpoint, creating addional work, which also happened to be extremely costly.

    Our resources being so limited, my role was to stop this bleeding and keep my team productive and their time, valuable.

    After some analysis, discussions, proof of concepts... etc. We decided to move to a single codebase using React Native so our velocity would increase.

    After some initial investment, our initial assumptions were confirmed and we indeed started to ship features a lot faster than ever before. Also, our engineers found a way to perform this upgrade incrementally, so the initial platform-specific codebase wouldn't have to entirely be rewritten at once but only gradually and at will.

    Feedback around React Native was very positive. And I doubt - for the kind of application we had - no one would want to go back to two or more code bases. Our application was still as Native as it gets. And no feature or device capability was compromised.

    See more
    Interest over time
    Reviews of fastlane and Xcode
    No reviews found
    How developers use fastlane and Xcode
    Avatar of Flutter Health Inc.
    Flutter Health Inc. uses fastlanefastlane

    Fastlane is a perfect tool for the build distributions. Its pretty simple settings allow composing the app builds just with one command. For Flutter it is set up for distributing Crashlytics and Test Flight builds.

    Avatar of Ryan VanBelkum
    Ryan VanBelkum uses XcodeXcode

    Even though React Native takes care of most of the heavy lifting, there are still some cases where we need xcode. These cases include app icon integration, mobile deployments, loading screens, ect...

    Avatar of Refractal
    Refractal uses XcodeXcode

    Xcode is our primary development platform for iOS applications, with a very fully featured set of dev tools for the platform. For everything else, there's Sublime Text 3.

    Avatar of Nick De Cooman
    Nick De Cooman uses XcodeXcode

    Experience with Xcode in the context of iOS development. This includes Storyboards, Debugging tools and the Simulator.

    Avatar of Ujjwal Bhujel
    Ujjwal Bhujel uses XcodeXcode

    QA and Testing have been so much easier with the help of its simulators on Apple Devices like; iPhones and iPads.

    Avatar of Promethean TV
    Promethean TV uses XcodeXcode

    PrometheanTV provides SDKs for IOS devices and utilizes the XCode IDE for development and testing purposes.

    Avatar of BrainFinance
    BrainFinance uses fastlanefastlane

    iOS and Android Continuous Integration integrated with Jenkins.

    Avatar of SHOUTca.st
    SHOUTca.st uses fastlanefastlane

    Mass deploy of iOS apps

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