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 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 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.
Here in this post, we will look into the main differences between mobile app developments between Flutter and Swift
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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Using instruments, you can profile an app in Xcode. You will find the option of profiling an application with 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.
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.
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 where as Xcode has a dedicated app,
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 is accessible to everyone.
Let’s see how easy it is to add the accessibility feature in Flutter and Swift apps.
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 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.
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 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 the 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 building the iOS app.