When developing an app for your business, there’s always this huge dilemma about what platform to choose to drive the best customer engagement.

There are almost 3 million apps on the Google Play Store and slightly less than 2 million on App Store, clearly, this is the day and age of unprecedented cut-throat competition in the world of mobile solutions. According to us, it is the small fundamental choices that you make in the development of your app that make or break your customer’s decision to stay on it for a little longer!

While React Native, the product of Facebook has ruled the market for over 5 years, Google’s recent brainchild Flutter is already starting to get similar traction from expert app developers across the world.

Why is Flutter getting so much clout at such an early stage of introduction to the market? And what is it about react native app development that experts want to cling to, even though there’s an advanced option of Flutter?

In this article, we’re going to answer these questions and some others to collectively determine which platform is best for your startup or business in 2020. Let’s get started with some basics.

What is Flutter and What is React Native

Both Flutter and React Native mobile app development are cross-platform development tools, which means that they create one single code base for apps that can be run on both iOS and Android devices.

As a result, both of them have some common benefits that set them apart from platform-specific app development tools like Angular and ReactJS, for instance –

• Lesser cost of development when you need the presence of both Android and iOS
• Lesser development and testing time
• Easy plugins
• Lesser ”go-to-market” time

React Native was created by Facebook for their internal operations, but they open-sourced it in 2015, whereas Flutter was launched by Google in 2017, and has been heavily advertised for ever since.

Let’s compare these platforms on the basis of various parameters

Programming Language

React Native runs on JavaScript, which is currently, the most popular language of web development and is almost considered as a mandate for anyone who codes. So even if you hire a relatively less experienced app developer, he would mostly be well-acquainted with the tricks and techniques used in JavaScript. It’s dynamic and has a huge community backup, so one can easily go on international coding forums online and look for solutions to any problem while developing.

Flutter uses Google’s own programming language, Dart. It’s an object-oriented language which has syntax similar to HTML 5 and CSS 3 which are modern frontend UI specific web development methods. It is unpopular but its style is very similar to the C programming language which makes it extremely easy to learn. If you’re looking for Flutter developers, there’s an added challenge to ensure that a potential candidate has good hands-on experience with this particular language.

Read Also: ANGULAR V/S FLUTTER – KEY FEATURES AND DIFFERENCES

Technical Architecture

React Native uses Facebook’s architecture Flux. To communicate with the native modules, React Native uses the JavaScript Bridge, which is a JS runtime environment architecture. So the JavaScript code is compiled and converted into native code during runtime. This results in slightly poorer performance and more go-to-market time for the app.

Flutter uses Dart’s frameworkSkia C++. Here, no bridge is required for communication with native modules because most of the components are in-built. Dart comes packed with multiple functional frameworks like Material Design and Cupertino which have all the required technologies. Skia C++ engine has all the required protocols and channels.

Installation

React Native is installed using NPM (Node Package Manager) which any JavaScript coder is familiar with. NPM can install packages locally or globally, just that the developer is required to understand the exact location of the binary. When React Native is being installed on macOS, another step is involved and that is to have the HomeBrew package manager as well.

Flutter is installed by going to Github and downloading the binary for a specific platform from the source code. If you have a macOS, you would need to add the flutter.zip file as the PATH variable. Flutter installation is a lot lengthier and more exhausting since the step of downloading binary is involved. This might otherwise be useful for non-JavaScript developers but is anyways considered a flaw.

UI and APIs

For a cross-platform app to feel like a native app, it’s important for it to have support for the native component i.e. it should always have an API to access the native modules effortlessly.

React Native Mobile App Development is mostly dependent on third party libraries to access native modules. The core framework of React Native only offers UI rendering and device access API.

On the other hand, Flutter is advanced and very rich in APIs. It comes power-packed with a plethora of UI rendering components. Apart from device access and other basic APIs, it has other advanced libraries like that of navigation, testing, stateful management. Material Design and Cupertino widgets also make the spectrum wider. There is no (or negligible) dependence on third-party libraries.

CI/CD Support and DevOps

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (/Deployment) practices essentially bridge the gap between developmental and operational activities by deploying automation in app building.

If you make your app on React Native, you won’t be able to find any official documentation on how to set up CI/CD, however, there are a lot of third-party tools and some expert forums which can help you with that. Sometimes, based on their experience, you can rely on your developer about having understood this process in their previous projects.

Flutter has official step by step documentation on continuous integration and testing on their website. It also has some links to external sources and forums which will help the developer get the most out of the technology. It’s very simple to set up CI/CD on Flutter.

Read Also: FLUTTER VS KOTLIN: WHICH TO CHOOSE AND WHY?

Real-World App Interfaces

App components of React Native apps look similar on iOS and Android devices. This means that if there’s a button on the app interface, it will look the same irrespective of the fact that the app is functioning on Apple OS or Android OS.

Flutter, through Material Design and Cupertino, achieves something extra. It contains two different sets of widgets that are able to conform to two different OS designs. Essentially what happens is that your app will behave similarly on both platforms but will always have some imitation of the specific platform. This makes the app look a lot more natural on any device since it resembles its native components.

Also, note that Flutter apps look just as good on older operating systems as they do on up-to-date ones. In React Native, there’s a risk at the app’s UI when the app components are upgraded after an OS UI update.

Read Also: SWIFT VS FLUTTER: WHICH IS BETTER FOR IOS APP DEVELOPMENT?

Release Support

Launching apps on the Play Store and App Store is already a tricky process and it gets a lot more painful when you create a cross-platform app.
With React Native, you have to go through a manual process to launch the app on the App Store. However, there are some trustworthy third-party tools that can be deployed for the same, for example, Fastlane.

On one hand, React Native relies on third parties for automated release support, and on the other hand, Flutter is one of the platforms which are known for their strong command-line interface. Anyone can use those command-line instructions and put the apps on the Play Store and App Store easily. Flutter has also officially documented their release process on fastlane which makes it accessible for anyone’s perusal.

Top apps made with the platforms

Since React Native is Facebook’s own internal programming platform, all of their apps are made through it – Facebook, Facebook Ads, Instagram, etc. Other major industry examples that have used React Native to build their apps include Skype, Airbnb, Walmart, SoundCloud Pulse, and Tesla.

Google made Google Ads app on Flutter, which is by far the most prominent example. Other amazing works developed on Flutter include Xinayu by Alibaba, SpaceX Go!, Hamilton Musical app, Watermaniac, Reflectly, PostMuse

To Sum it up

Both Flutter and React Native App Development have their own pros and cons in terms of maturity, community support, etc. It is entirely your and your developer’s decision as to which platform you want to go with. This article has given you enough content for you to have a conversation with your developer right now and decide things based on these factors!

Keep in mind the kind of app you are making, the kind of service you are offering, and the kind of audience demographic you are targeting. All of those things factor-in in your decision and when accurately researched with a dedicated developer, you are sure to find the right mix!

Remember, there are more than 3 billion smartphones and tablets being used in the world at this moment, and you want maximum reach, maximum conversions, and maximum sales. The world is an endless pool of opportunities when you have the right team at your backing!

It would not be wrong to say that Flutter is the rising star in the world of iOS app development. With the massively growing popularity of Flutter, the Flutter vs Swift battle is growing intense with every passing day. That’s why, in this article, we have the comparison of features of two much-talked-about programming languages for iOS app development.

The Flutter vs Swift battle is also getting fuelled by the increasing demand for hybrid mobile application development. As more and more businesses will turn to a digital platform, this demand is sure to grow.

We will present you with an elaborate comparison between these two popular hybrid mobile app development platforms. Before that, let’s consider each platform individually first for a better understanding.

Swift

Swift is one of the topmost programming languages, that is famous in the iOS world. Swift is the widely preferred programming language among iOS developers.

It is a modern, type-safe, fast and great language that keeps adding new features regularly to enhance the developer’s experience. The tech giant Apple offers several additions to the language such as exceptional tools, frameworks and documentation to work with natives easily.

Flutter

Flutter is an open-source software development kit, which is used majorly for cross-platform.  Launched and maintained by Google, Flutter is widely used to build highly efficient hybrid applications. Flutter uses a Dart language and a single codebase. The platform also provides you with detailed documentation for every development project. Flutter is very much similar to the popular iOS development platform, React Native.

Flutter enables iOS and Android app development from a single source code which makes it exceptionally useful. A community of Flutter users is growing exponentially. This will make hybrid app development more dynamic.

Flutter vs Swift

Here in this post, we will look into the main differences between mobile app developments between Flutter and Swift

1. Speed

The process of building a mobile application is highly time-consuming. Hence, it is important to select the best language that reduces development time as well as the costs of developing mobile applications.

Swift:

Swift is currently the fastest programming language, and some app developers even state that it is as fast as C. Project time can be easily calculated in Swift by using the Xcode command or Xcode build.

Flutter:

Flutter for iOS is slower than Swift, however, it is quicker when you go beyond initial builds. To test the build speed of development, you can use the same code as Swift.

Analysis

Clearly, Swift wins the game, when it comes to the programming language which is the fastest.

2. Reloading Features:

The method of reloading involved the modification of code and testing in the simulator. While developing a mobile application, reload has to be done again, which represents in real-time the impact of changing the code in the performance of the app. Reloading is one of the key elements of mobile application development, which allows quick and accurate coding assessment.

Swift:

For instance, you need to make changes in the button name, you would require changing the interface element from the storyboard which requires changes in data and accessibility.

After renaming the element, you would require to rebuild the application for checking whether the changes are appearing on the simulator or the device. In Xcode, the procedure takes approximately 7 to 12 seconds.

Flutter:

Flutter comes with an excellent Hot Reload feature which helps in making changes in the application according to your own choice and reloads it. You can find these changes on the simulator in just a few seconds.

In the aforementioned comparison, you will be required to update the text in the Raised Button widget from Press Me and load the application again. When you work using the Flutter app building platform, this procedure can be performed in just 3 seconds.

Analysis

It clearly implies that the Flutter app reloading is faster than Swift app development.

3. Process of Onboarding:

We know that Swift is an excellent platform to develop native iOS applications, and Flutter utilizes Dart programming language. Hence, both platforms need a different setup.

Swift

To proceed with the on-boarding process, iOS app development requires native tools in which you will Xcode as the IDE, which is a fundamental development kit incorporate in Xcode. For this, you would need a require MacOS device, in which Xcode will be installed.

The next step will be making a new project in Xcode by choosing the following options- File>New>Project>iOS Single View App, then you can name an application and select Swift as the programming language.

Once you have completed filling up all the necessary details, Xcode builds the iOS template code, after which you can start building an iOS app.

When you have completed writing codes in the stimulator, you will find a button named “Press Me” on the screen, you are required to press it.

Flutter

For Flutter iOS development, you will need to install Flutter binary also, alongside Xcode. You can go for other options like IntelliJ IDEA and Android Studio, whichever is preferable.

Once you have gone with the setup procedure, you can use some of the commands for building a new Flutter application.

The following command will be needed to get a description of Flutter project:

$ flutter creative native_compare

$ cd app_name

You can also apply the button with the Flutter Raised Button widget, which you will find in lib/main.dart file.

After applying the button, you will be required to run the application with the command $ Flutter run. It is important to note here that you require a simulator for opening the application.

Analysis

When comparing Swift app development and Flutter app development for the on-boarding process, the integration process for Swift iOS appears to be less stressful and less configurable.

4. Profiling:

Profiling is a dynamic analysis procedure that involves resources, CPU, memory, and other functionality factors of the application. Both Flutter and Swift tools offer excellent support for app profiling.

Swift

Using instruments, you can profile an app in Xcode. You will find the option of profiling an application with the code “Product>Profile” from Xcode. This will introduce an instrument application where you can measure the application through several criteria.

For profiling, you can choose any of the templates. You can select the Time Profiler for analyzing the threads when you select the button many times.

Once you launch the Time Profiler, you can commence recording and select the button several times.

Flutter

In Flutter, you can profile iOS applications from the command line or with the IDE. In fact, Flutter documentation has an excellent guide on Flutter app profiling.

For profiling apps from the command line, here is the command:

$ flutter build iOS-profile-no-codesign

This command measures the time taken for the Flutter app profiling. The Flutter build time for profiling is near about 149 seconds.

Analysis

Profiling is huge, it relies on each app and device. There are many flavors available for benchmarking the Swift and Flutter iOS application.

It seems that both Xcode and Flutter have great support for debugging and profiling iOS apps.

Flutter has a lightweight way of profiling apps through the browser whereas Xcode has a dedicated app,

5. Accessibility

In an application, the accessibility feature enhances the user experience of people with disabilities. For an iOS app developer, it is crucial to contribute to them with some efforts by building iOS applications that are accessible to everyone.

Let’s see how easy it is to add the accessibility feature in Flutter and Swift apps.

Swift

Swift iOS tools have UIkit framework accessibility. So, there is no requirement of importing any other framework for accessibility support in Swift apps.

Apple provides the Accessibility API, however, developers are required to offer accurate accessibility for each of the UI components in the iOS app using the UIAccessibility protocol.

In your iOS app, you can add the identifiers, labels, accessibility traits and labels utilizing those codes. You can also use StoryBoarder and interface builder in order to offer the accessibility information to the user.

Flutter

Flutter iOS applications don’t provide the support for adding accessibility. Instead of this, Flutter documentation recommends estimating iOS apps, using the Accessibility inspector tool that is provided by Xcode.

Analysis

In the case of accessibility features, Flutter still needs enhancement for building a better application that could be used by people by a disability. There should be something on the Flutter roadmap for improving the accessibility of Flutter applications.

FAQ’s about Flutter vs Swift.

What is Swift?

Swift is a fast, safe, modern, and interactive programming language developed by Apple for native iOS app development. It has an excellent toolset, frameworks, and documentation.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a multi-paradigm, open-source, mobile SDK, created by Google which can be used to develop Android and iOS apps with the single source code.

Is Flutter good for iOS?

Yes, Flutter is good for iOS app development. Flutter looks quite similar to actual native apps and it supports Android with the same source code.

Which is the best between Flutter or Swift for iOS app development?

Clearly, Swift is the winner when it comes to the best app for iOS development. Undoubtedly, Flutter offers good cross-platform support, but Swift is still better at building the iOS app.

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