Flutter and Native are not new terms to come around. If you are a mobile app developer, these are the terms that you listen to and work on a daily basis. But if you are a business owner and want to develop a mobile app, they must be confusing for you.
Choosing the right technology stack for mobile app development could be a tough job even more than the whole creation process.
So, should you make a native app or a Flutter app? In terms of development pattern, performance, maintenance, pricing, and other various factors, these approaches are totally different.
Many organizations are still interested in cross-platform apps because native apps for iOS and Android are more expensive to develop and maintain. Furthermore, cross-platform programming is less difficult than native development which is an important factor for any business. Since 2018, Flutter’s cross-platform architecture has been getting popular in various industries, including retail, financial, and e-commerce.
When comparing Flutter vs. Native programming, both offer excellent scalability and a good user experience. However, developing your app with Flutter is faster and easier because you’ll require fewer developers and their time will be limited.
There are pros and cons of both technologies.
As you go through this blog, you will learn everything about Flutter and Native technologies which would help you choose the best one.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is an open-source framework that uses Dart by Google as its programming language. It’s also known as an enhanced UI toolkit that’s used to create cross-platform apps from a single codebase. The framework makes it possible to create a user interface that is simple to read and versatile while maintaining native speed. A team of Google developers, as well as the entire flutter community, maintain and support it.
Here are the use cases of Flutter:
- MVP mobile apps
- Material design apps
- OS-level based apps
At the same time, the major drawbacks of most cross-platform frameworks are the user experience that is not as good as native. But Flutter is an exception.
With Flutter, you can build robust and scalable apps with high-quality UI/UX that look like native iOS and Android apps.
Use cases of Flutter:
- MVP mobile applications
- Apps with material design
- Apps that function with OS-level features
- Advanced OS plugins with simple logic
- High-performance apps with Skia rendering engine
- Flexible UI with high-level widgets
- Reactivate apps with vast data integration
What are Native Technologies?
Native technologies are used to create an app for iOS, Android, or Windows specifically. Native languages such as Java and C++ are used to develop Native apps. As expected, Android native apps look and feel different from iOS ones, even though they share the same functionalities. Even though they have the same functionality, Android native apps have a different look and feel than iOS apps. Native apps are downloaded via Google Play for Android and Apple’s App Store for iOS.
The following are some of the most widely used Android and iOS frameworks and programming languages:
- Android languages: Kotlin, Java. Development environment: Android Studio
- iOS languages: Swift, Objective-C. Development environment: Xcode
Native app development and support, on the other hand, require significant investments. This is due to the fact that two separate development teams are required for two different platforms. They must also adapt business logic, duplicate interface logic, and layout to each platform’s characteristics.
Use cases of Native technologies:
- AR/VR applications
- Apps with rich-animations
- Gaming apps
- Standalone native applications
- Apps with complex/advanced UI
- GPS-centric apps
- Travel based applications
Flutter vs Native: Comparison
1. Speed and Cost of Development
Flutter uses the write-once, run-anywhere design. This means that developers can build a single piece of code that works the best on both iOS and Android. Platform development expenses and time are cut in half with this method.
Flutter makes it simple for developers to create code. Furthermore, the codes are simpler to comprehend. Because of the low cost of training, even novice developers can quickly learn.
The time it takes to develop a native app is determined on your budget, deadline, and scalability. The main reason for choosing native technology to create small-scale and enterprise-level apps is to meet the expectations of Android and iOS users. The development team may be larger in this situation, or two independent teams for Android and iOS may be formed.
This method increases the investment budget by requiring the teams to build two sets of code for different platforms.
2. Code Maintenance
Because you only have to maintain one codebase for both iOS and Android apps, a Flutter app is easier to manage. This ease of use aids developers in identifying issues, locating and utilizing external tools, and integrating third-party sources.
When compared to native structures, the time it takes to deploy updates and change app features and specifications is less. This provides flexibility, which aids in corporate stability.
Code example: Flutter MainScreen, UI component in “HomePage”
In this case, you’ll have to program your app for many platforms, maintaining a native app takes more time and money. Maintaining two independent codebases, for example, requires the developer to identify faults and issues for each platform and create regular updates. Additionally, as the number of supported operating system devices grows, so does the expense of maintenance.
Code example: Kotlin UI design in XML File-
3. App Performance
Flutter does not require a bridge to communicate between native modules. This is made possible by the fact that native components are available by default. Even a very basic app developed on Flutter performs at 60FPS, according to the performance metric used by an average device. As a result, the time it takes to render each structure is not more than 16 milliseconds.
Flutter uses the Skia graphics package, which allows the UI to be revised whenever the app view changes.
Without relying on any external library package, Android and iOS apps operate admirably. Native performance functionality is the only reason for this performance. At 60 and 120 frames per second, native apps perform exceptionally. Furthermore, performance in apps using core animation remains unaffected. Native technology can load to RAM up to 30 percent to 45 percent of overall GPU performance.
4. Native Features and Integration Capacities
Integration of unique features of third-party libraries or plugins is not difficult with Flutter, although it may appear quite difficult to developers not familiar with Dart’s capabilities. Add-on plugins such as Android Archive (AAR), CocoaPods, and others are needed to integrate specific functionalities for iOS and Android. The Flutter engine, on the other hand, has several limitations when using Xcode to import native modules into Android Studio.
It comes with step-by-step instructions for overcoming these obstacles and successfully integrating it with iOS and Android devices.
Based on the software design pattern and application performance, the integration possibilities of iOS and Android via their respective frameworks and programming languages differ. To summarize, most native frameworks, including Swift, which are used to develop iOS apps, offer increased security and expressive developments in capabilities, as well as quick integration options.
Consider the Android programming languages Kotlin and Java. By simply using their default runtime classes or Intellij environment, both frameworks provide seamless integration.
5. App Size
The size of an app is primarily determined by the Dart Virtual Machine and the C/C++ engine. The “hello world” program written in Flutter, for example, uses about .5 MB of memory. Flutter, on the other hand, can be designed to hold all codes and assets in order to keep away from size constraints. Flutter’s usage of unique tags, such as –split-debug-info, also helps to minimize code size.
To demonstrate the minimum size that native technologies provide to Android and iOS platforms, a basic app can be employed. In this scenario, the size of the Android app written in Java is 539 KB, while Kotlin is not more than 550 KB.
The basic app on iOS, on the other hand, is between 1MB and 3MB in size. For Android, an app’s maximum size is between 15MB and 35MB. However, if you use an external third-party program, you can drastically minimize this size.
Experts at OnGraph believe that crisis conditions will inevitably force more companies to choose Flutter app development as an excellent opportunity to move quickly online and extend their impact in the digital world.