Flutter vs Native Technology: Which is Best?
Native Technologies for Android and iOS have remained the first choice of developers worldwide for mobile app development. With the introduction of cross-platform frameworks, many business owners have started using them for building mobile apps. Out of various cross-platform frameworks, Flutter is widely popular.
Flutter and Native Technologies offer the same kind of performance in terms of scalability and user experience.
If you are an entrepreneur and struggling to choose the best technology between Flutter and Native Technologies for your mobile app development project, you have reached the right place.
We have been building mobile apps using Native Technologies for a decade. Moreover, we also have successfully launched many Flutter apps. Hence, we are familiar with both Flutter and Native Technologies.
Here, we have compared Flutter vs Native Technologies on essential factors like performance, development cost & time, maintenance, app size, etc. Moreover, we have given scenarios when to choose a specific technology.
So, let’s get started:
Flutter vs Native Technologies: An Essential Comparison
We have compared Flutter vs Native Technologies based on the essential factors, let’s take a look at them below:
What is Flutter?
Flutter is an open-source framework built by Google and launched in 2017. The framework is based on the Dart programming language and is suitable for creating high-quality UI components. It is best-suited for developing attractive, natively compiled apps for multiple platforms with the help of a single codebase.
The framework is supported by a massive community of developers and Google. Moreover, Google is continuously updating the framework and releasing new versions. There are many popular apps which are made using Flutter.
What are Native Technologies?
In native technologies, the application is developed for a particular platform, such as Android or iOS. The developers utilize some of the most popular programming languages and tools as listed below:
Android: Java, Kotlin, and Android Studio
iOS: Swift, Objective-C, and Xcode
The primary benefit of a native application is that the developers can leverage all the built-in capabilities of a device, such as a camera, GPS, accelerometer, compass, and more. The users need to visit a particular store like Google Play Store or Apple App Store to download and use the application.
Developers spend a massive amount of time designing the UI of any application. Google provides a vast number of UI components for building native applications.
Android app development mainly uses the Android Studio Layout Editor to create attractive UI for Android apps.
iPhone app development utilizes the interface builder editor within Xcode to create a simple yet effective UI without any code.
Flutter app development utilizes three different types of widgets to build a UI. These include stateful, stateless, and inherited widgets. Besides this, Flutter allows developers to apply specific widgets for a platform. Developers can use the Cupertino widget for iOS and Material components for Android.
In the case of UI Components, both Flutter & Native Technologies provide the necessary UI components to build native-like applications. Hence, there is a tie.
Development Speed & Cost
The time required to develop a native application depends heavily on cost, timeline, and scalability. It is suitable to build simple to enterprise-level mobile applications. However, to create a mobile app for multiple platforms, you require an individual developer for Android and iOS both while other team members may remain the same.
In short, native technologies work on the principle of ‘Write Twice, Run Twice.’ Hence, it consumes a lot of your time and increases the cost.
Flutter is a cross-platform framework that works on the principle of ‘Write Once, Run Anywhere.’ Hence, a developer can create an application for two different platforms utilizing the same codebase. It remarkably decreases the development cost and time.
Between Flutter and Native technologies, Flutter is a clear winner as you have to maintain a single codebase. Know more about Flutter App Development cost.
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Android and iOS apps built with native technologies work efficiently without external libraries. These apps function properly at 60FPS and 120FPS even if they consist of heavy animations and features. Moreover, native apps consume a maximum of 50% of the total GPU performance.
With passing time, the native apps would start consuming more memory. The best way to handle this is to utilize external SDK alternatives.
On the other hand, Flutter utilizes built-in native components to develop mobile applications. A hello world program written in Flutter functions well at 60FPS on many devices. Also, it loads in just 16 ms.
Apart from this, Flutter also utilizes the Skia library to load graphics on various devices efficiently.
However, Flutter consumes twice the memory as compared to the native applications.
Comparing Flutter vs native Android or iOS app performance, it is clear that native apps offer far better performance than Flutter apps.
Features & Integrations
Integration abilities in native technologies through their frameworks and programming languages rely heavily on the software design pattern and the application performance.
Programming languages such as Kotlin and Java for Android make end-to-end integration possible using the default runtime classes or IntelliJ Environment.
All the frameworks compatible with the Swift programming language and are best for developing iOS apps provide enhanced safety and quick integration capabilities.
In Flutter, integrating new features of third-party libraries and plugins is not that difficult. However, it might be challenging for developers who are not familiar with Dart’s functionality. Developers need to utilize different add-on plugins, such as CocoaPods, Android Archive (AAR), and more to reach users on multiple Android and iOS devices.
The Flutter engine has some constraints when adding native modules through Xcode or Android Studio. However, the Flutter documentation offers some manual steps to deal with the hurdles and integrate modules in Android or iOS.
There might be some constraints for integration of unique features in Flutter while Native Technologies gives 100% scalability options. So, Native Technologies win here.
To compare the Flutter vs Native app size, we will take an example of the “hello world” program.
The size of an Android app is around 825KB.
Talking about iOS, the size of the hello world app is between 1MB to 3MB.
The size of the hello world application written in Flutter is about 4 MB in Android and 10 MB in iOS. It indicates that the size of Flutter apps is way more as compared to the native apps.
It’s obvious that, Native Technologies win in case of application size.
Availability of Developers
As per evansdata, there were about 5.9 million Android developers & 2.8 million iPhone developers across the globe in 2020. Therefore, if you want to develop a native application on Android, you can easily find Android app developers.
Besides this, there are a lot of skilled iPhone developers available in the market. Hence, if you want to develop an iPhone app, you can hire iPhone app developers.
Flutter is relatively new in the market. Hence, the majority of developers aren’t familiar with it. Due to this, you might face some issues in finding Flutter experts.
As of March 2020, there were about 2 million Flutter developers worldwide. Moreover, the Flutter community is growing at a rapid rate.Hence, you will not face any difficulty in hiring Flutter developers.
From the above statistics, Native Technologies are the clear winner. It is easy to find Android & iPhone developers compared to Flutter.
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In general, maintaining native applications is time-consuming and costly. Primarily, developers need to spend a massive amount of time maintaining two codebases for particular platforms.
Secondly, developers need to detect bugs regularly and update applications for two platforms. Lastly, the cost of maintenance increases with the number of operating systems. Besides this, many factors affect the mobile app maintenance cost.
The maintenance of a Flutter app is fast compared to native apps. The reason is developers will be maintaining a single codebase for two separate platforms.
Due to this, developers can quickly identify errors and integrate various third-party libraries to solve them. Moreover, the hot reloading feature in Flutter helps to resolve bugs immediately.
From the above comparison, it is clear that Flutter is the clear winner as you need to maintain only one code for multiple platforms.
Now, we will look at different scenarios to choose and avoid Flutter.
When to Choose Flutter?
- Develop an MVP using the on-demand app features and the reactive widgets.
- Build a code using the front-end and back-end functionalities.
- Provide an eye-catching and flawless experience to the users.
- Develop mobile apps using real-time databases and the latest cloud services.
- Decrease time-to-market of your app and reach a broader audience through cross-platform apps quickly.
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When to Avoid Flutter?
- Build an app without UI or any functional restrictions.
- Emphasize heavily on native-app-like performance and unique designs.
- Build an app utilizing the MVP, MVC, and MVVM architectures.
- Create an app for a particular brand or integrate only features useful for a standalone business.
- Avoid dealing with complex procedures of bug-testing.
When to Choose Native Technologies?
- Build a robust mobile app having a solid embedded connection between the app and the device.
- Utilize all the abilities of the particular mobile hardware.
- Develop highly advanced mobile apps with a fixed timeline and budget.
- Update your app regularly according to the release of new OS versions.
- Build an app with a great UI that offers excellent performance and quick navigation to attract a broader audience.
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When to Avoid Native Technologies?
- Avoid investing a sufficient amount of money and time in building the application.
- Build an app from a small team or a less-skilled development team.
- Don’t want to spend the proper amount on maintenance and updates.
- Deliver an app with only a few payment possibilities.
- Don’t want to provide worldwide device compatibility and problems occurring with it.
We hope you have understood the comparison of essential factors for Flutter and Native Technologies. Flutter and Native Technologies have their own pros and cons. Now, you should be able to decide on a suitable technology for your project based on your criteria.
If you still have any confusion choosing a suitable technology, you can contact us. Our experts will guide you from beginning to launch and they will also provide post-launch support.
GuruTechnoLabs is an award-winning mobile app development company. We have developed native and cross-platform apps for clients worldwide. To know in detail about the projects we have delivered, check out our work portfolio. Feel free to reach out to us with your project needs, and we will provide you with a free consultation.