Flutter vs Native Technology | A Detailed Comparison
The most well-known mobile app platforms that make use of native technologies to develop apps are iOS and Android. For instance, iOS utilizes Swift with Xcode or Java, while Android uses Kotlin with Android studio. Most recently, cross-platform frameworks, such as Flutter, have been on the rise. This platform offers native performance for Android and iOS in a single codebase.
What would you think about developing one app for both iOS and Android platforms instead of developing two apps with distinct codebases? Well, you do not have to go through the entire process alone. This article compares different criteria to help you make an informed choice. As you read through this article, you will have learned everything about Flutter and Native technologies to determine the best one.
Flutter vs. Native Technology
Flutter can be defined as an open-source structure that uses Dart by Google as its programming language. The framework is considered as an improved UI toolkit used in developing cross-platform applications with a single code line. The framework offers accessibility to create an easy-to-read and flexible UI with native performance. Flutter has been used in the following cases:
- MVP mobile apps
- Material design apps
- OS-level based apps, etc
A team of Google developers and the Flutter community supports Flutter.
Developing mobile applications using native involves developing an app specificloper to iOS, Android, or Windows. This is primarily done to allow the app to benefit from the device’s features, such as GPS, camera, etc. Native applications are installed through applications platforms like App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android. Native has been used n the following cases:
- AR/VR apps
- Apps with enhanced animations
- Apps designed for gaming
- Standalone native apps
- Apps with advanced UI, etc
Some most used frameworks and programming languages include Swift, Objective-C, and Xcode for iOS and Kotlin, Java, and Android Studio for Android mobile app development.
Flutter applies the write once, run anywhere design. This allows the developer to write a single code for both iOS and Android platforms. This process reduces the costs and time it takes to develop platforms.
Flutter allows the developer to write codes with ease. Additionally, the codes are easier to understand. Even new developers can learn easily due to the economic costs of training.
Time taken to develop an app using native technologies depend on your budget, timeline, and scalability. Developing small-scale and enterprise-level apps using native technologies is primarily to satisfy the expectation of Android and iOS users. In this case, the development team may be larger, or there will be two separate teams for Android and iOS.
This approach adds more to the investment budget as you will require the teams to write two codes for different platforms.
A Flutter app is more manageable because it requires you to maintain one codebase for both iOS and Android apps. This simplicity help developers to identify problems, find and use external tools, and integrate third-party sources.
Time taken to release updates and change app features and specifications is lower compared to native structures. This allows flexibility that facilitates business stability.
Maintaining a native app is time-consuming and more expensive because you will be required to program your app for different platforms. For instance, maintaining two different codebases requires the developer to identify bugs and issues for every platform and create further updates regularly. Additionally, the cost of maintenance increases with an increase in the lie of supported operating system devices.
With Flutter, the integration of complex features from external sources and plugins is much easier. However, developers who understand the Dart language and functionalities think of such integration as more advanced. The incorporation of specific features for Android and iOS needs add-on plugins, such as Android Archive and CocoaPods. However, the Flutter system comes with a set maximum capacity for incorporating native modules through default Xcode of Android Studio.
Flutter documentation offers manual guidelines to overcome every hurdle. This helps in integrating the app for Android and iOS. Accordingly, it may hasten the time taken to get the app on market. However, this is mostly ignored since Flutter helps reduce costs.
It is also worth noting that Flutter works well with the latest releases from iOS devices. However, it has its drawbacks, which may cause functionality fluctuations with every update.
iOS And Android integration through different frameworks and programming languages differ depending on the used software design pattern and app performance. Most native frameworks used to develop iOS apps offer improved safety and expressive features with the possibility for faster integration.
Flutter can communicate between native modules without a bridge. This is made possible because it has the default availability of native components. According to the performance metric used by an average device, the “hello world app” performs at 60FPS. Accordingly, the time needed to render each structure does not exceed 16 milliseconds.
Flutter applies the Skia graphics library that allows redrawing of the UI every time there is a change in the app view. With this, Flutter shows an efficient performance at 60 FPS, which could go as high as 120 FPS. Additionally, the number of dropped frames is fewer.
Android and iOS apps show excellent performance without relying on any external library kit. This performance is owed to native performance functionality. Native apps perform excellently at 60 FPS and 120 FPS. Additionally, the performance does not diminish in apps with core animation. Native technologies can load to the RAM up to a maximum of 30% to 45% GPU usage of the overall GPU performance.
Accordingly, native technologies can also use up to 118 MiB of device memory if you have a heavy app due. Native technologies may overload your device forever unless you go for a specific external SDK alternative to enhance performance with low memory usage.
The Virtual Machine of Dart and C/C++ engine mainly determines the size of an app. For instance, the “hello world” app developed in Flutter takes memory space equivalent to .5 MB. Nevertheless, Flutter can also be designed to house all codes and assets to prevent size concerns. Additionally, the use of unique tags in Flutter, such as -split-debug-info, helps reduce code sizes.
A simple “hello world” app can be used to show the minimum size that native technologies provide to Android and iOS platforms. In this case, you will see that the size of this Android app with java is 539 KB and not more than 550KB for Kotlin.
On the other hand, the size of the “hello world” app on iOS ranges between 1MB and 3MB. For Android, the maximum size for an app can go between 15 MB and 35 MB. However, you can reduce this size significantly if you are using an external third-party tool.
Which Technology Is Better For App Development?
After comparing the two technologies, here is a breakdown of which one would be better for app development. In a nutshell, every technology is suitable for a different situation. The final decision may lie on preference or a specific condition.
Flutter would be the best technology in the following situations:
- If you want to create one code that has front-end and back-end functionalities
- If you want to develop a robust material with a smooth design experience
- If you want to develop a native app that comes with real-time databases and modern cloud services
- If you want to design MVP with reactive widgets and popular mobile features
- If you want to reduce the time taken to get the app on market and reach your target audiences faster
- If you want a seamless development process
Native technologies are suitable in the following situations:
- If you want to create high-performance apps with a robust operating system embedded connection between apps and the devices
- If you want to benefit from the mobile device hardware’s 100% capability to access native modules
- If you want to develop a unique MVP app
- If you want to develop an advanced native app within a budget and timeframe
- If you want constant updates and upgrades
- If you want to offer simple or complex features with tight security
- If you want to develop high-performance and faster apps with ease of navigation
This article is designed to give you an overview into the right technology for app development. You should be able to harness what you have learnt and start working with your developer in a suitable technology for your needs.
Originally published at https://acodez.in on May 3, 2021.