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We’ve grown accustomed to accessing everything from our hands as our lives have become increasingly entwined with technology. Whether for our finances, employment, education, information, gaming, or shopping, we first go for our phones. Throughout this article, we explained the differences between Flutter vs native app development from different angles.

It’s no surprise that mobile apps are in high demand, and mobile development teams are under pressure to provide excellent products as soon as possible. The problem with developing for iOS and Android is that it is time-consuming. Flutter offers a solution for this.

A Flutter is a UI software development kit primarily used for producing applications for Android and iOS. It is the technology of choice for the quickest time to market. Despite the fact that Flutter is still relatively new, it already has over 150,000 applications. Its usage has nearly doubled, according to Statista surveys, rising from 23% in 2019 to 42% in 2022.

Developing a mobile app with native technology implies using technology and techniques specific to a single platform. Flutter is based on “write once, run anywhere.” That means you simply have to write one set of code and deliver it on every platform you desire (Android, iOS, Linux, etc.).

Flutter’s most significant advantage is its ease of development. At the same time, it performs similarly to native apps, and the apps look the same across platforms.

Flutter vs Native development

What exactly are Native technologies?

Native application development creates an app specific to iOS, Android, or Windows, allowing it to fully utilize device features like the camera, accelerometer, compass, GPS, etc. App stores such as Google Play for Android and the App Store for iOS install native apps. Frameworks and programming languages that are widely used include:

Android: Java, Android Studio and Kotlin

iOS: Objective-C, Xcode, and Swift

Use cases

  • GPS-based applications

  • Rich-animation applications

  • Applications for AR/VR

  • Large data volume AI-triggered apps

  • Native stand-alone applications

What exactly is Flutter?

Flutter is a Google Dart-based open-source framework. As a UI toolkit, it allows developers to create cross-platform apps from a single codebase. On native hardware, it provides for creating expressive and flexible user interfaces. A team of Google developers, as well as the broader flutter community, support and contribute to the project.

Use cases

  • The skia rendering engine for high-performance apps

  • Material design applications

  • Plugins for advanced operating systems with basic logic

  • High-level widgets with a flexible user interface

  • Mobile MVP applications

Want to learn more about Flutter app development? Read this: The Only Flutter App Development Guide You’ll Ever Need

Flutter vs Native app development: Code maintenance

Native technologies

  • Because you will be creating your app for specific platforms, maintaining a native application is time-consuming and costly.

  • The explanation is simple: maintaining two codebases necessitates significant effort, and developers must discover issues and problems for each platform regularly to release distinct upgrades.

  • In addition, the cost of maintenance rises in lockstep with the number of supported OS devices.

Flutter

  • Flutter applications are simple to maintain because they share a single codebase.

  • The code’s simplicity aids developers in identifying problems, locating external tools, and supporting third-party libraries.

  • In addition, Flutter’s stateful Hot Reloading technology quickly addresses issues.

  • Compared to other native frameworks, the time it takes to release high-quality updates and make instantaneous changes to the program is less. This degree of adaptability contributes to the company’s overall stability.

Flutter vs Native app development: Native features and integration capacities

Native technologies

  • The software design pattern and application performance influence the integration possibilities of iOS and Android via their respective frameworks and programming languages.

  • To summarize, most native frameworks, including Swift, which are utilized to develop the iOS app, offer increased security and expressive developments in capabilities, as well as quick integration possibilities.

  • Consider the Android programming language Kotlin and Java. Both frameworks provide seamless integration using their default runtime classes or Intellij environment.

Flutter

  • Integration of unique features from third-party libraries or plugins is simple with Flutter, but it may be deemed complex by developers unfamiliar with Dart’s capabilities.

  • Several add-on plugins like CocoaPods, Android Archive (AAR), and others are required to integrate specific iOS and Android functions.

  • On the other hand, the Flutter engine has certain constraints when integrating native modules with Android Studio’s Xcode.

  • Its documentation contains step-by-step directions for overcoming these challenges and successfully integrating them with iOS and Android.

  • It may lengthen the time to market, although this is generally neglected in favor of the cost savings associated with Flutter.

  • It is now possible to run Flutter on all recent versions of iOS, including iOS 14, though it has limits, and the functionality may change with each update.

Flutter vs Native app development: Application performance

Native technologies

  • Even without extra library packages, iOS and Android apps execute admirably because of native performance capabilities.

  • In spite of “Core Animations,” native apps built with native technologies can run at 60 FPS and 120 FPS.

  • Typically, native GPU technologies load between 30% and 45% of total GPU performance over RAM.

  • Native technologies can also require up to 118 MiB of device RAM if your application is very large due to native performance.

  • In the long run, unless you choose specific external-SDK alternatives to boost speed with low memory utilization, it may overload the users’ devices.

Flutter

  • Flutter does not need a bridge between native modules because native components are available by default.

  • The “hello world” app usually runs at 60 frames per second, requiring less than 16 milliseconds to render each frame on a specific device.

  • Flutter also uses the Skia graphics package, which allows the user interface to be redrawn every time the application view changes.

  • Flutter now runs smoothly at 60 frames per second. It can currently work at 120 frames per second.

Flutter vs Native app development: Speed and cost of development

Native technologies

  • The time it takes to develop native mobile applications varies depending on your budget, timeframe, and scaling ability.

  • Native technology allows for the creation of small-scale and enterprise-level apps that match iOS and Android users’ needs. So either the development team will be enormous, or two separate teams for iOS and Android would be required.

  • Due to the requirement for two scripts for two separate platforms that have independent functionalities, the investment budget for your project will increase.

  • In other words, native technologies follow the “write twice, run twice” principle.

Flutter

  • Flutter embraces the “write once, run anywhere” philosophy, allowing developers to write code once and execute it on two separate platforms. Due to lower development costs, the development time will be shortened substantially.

  • Big players like Alibaba, BMW, Watermaniac, and PostMuse, among others, have built their apps using Flutter in as few as five developers.

  • With the low cost of training, even a new developer can quickly learn to create mobile apps, eliminating the need to hire numerous experienced developers.

Native app development

Consider these points before choosing Flutter or the Native app

  • Flutter app creation is inexpensive. It costs less than native application development, making it more affordable for SMEs and other small businesses.

  • Simultaneously, it eliminates the need for separate platform development and provides an organization with a single application that can be easily used across several platforms.

  • Flutter framework has many features and possibilities, so it’s a good option, but it’s not perfect yet. OpenGL, Maps, Video Functionality, and Accessibility Support are among the features and support that Flutter lacks. Despite this, there are still gaps that need to be filled.

  • Flutter’s memory use is almost identical to native, although it is still heavier on the CPU.

  • Flutter uses CPU, whereas iOS Native uses GPU.

All things considered, the Flutter framework would be an excellent alternative for app development for firms looking to create a native-like app. Although cross-platform frameworks frequently appear on the market, native applications remain the industry’s favorite. Flutter is an excellent choice for enterprises that want to build a mobile application.

Is Flutter going to supplant native app development?

In a lifetime, many frameworks will come and go. Flutter has already made a name for itself in mobile app development. In cross-platform app development, its growth rate has eclipsed its nearest competition, the React-Native framework. Does this imply that Flutter technology will mostly replace native app development? Sounds plausible. Native development in Java/Kotlin/Swift will undoubtedly continue, but you should anticipate app migration and possibly significant market adjustments.

Furthermore, Flutter has already established itself as the best user interface design framework currently accessible. It has various unique design tools and widgets that aren’t available in native Android app development. And thanks to Google’s extensive documentation and simple command-line interface, Flutter makes the setup process much more manageable.

These features tell analysts that Flutter has a vast potential to displace Java in the mobile app development space. In 2022 and beyond, don’t miss the chance to develop cross-platform apps with Flutter.

Conclusion

There will be a struggle between native and cross-platform software for many years to come. In the future, we will need a cross-platform solution with native app development capabilities. As a result, the two are in a heated fight.

The industry will continue to grow and look for holes to fill to create a perfect blend of both platforms that can meet the demand while integrating the advantages of both platforms with efficiency and effectiveness.

Cross-platform skills in development will build a solid basis for future advances with ongoing efforts and substantial modifications.

FAQs

1. Is Flutter better than native?

“Write once, run anywhere” is the foundation of Flutter. That implies that all you need to do is build a single set of code and provide it across all platforms (Android, iOS, Linux, etc.). The simplicity of development is Flutter’s main benefit.

2. Are native apps dying?

The leading players are all owned by Big Tech, as can be shown by looking at the most popular mobile apps in the Apple and Android app stores. How can a startup or even an organization expect to succeed in light of this? Is the creation of mobile apps going extinct in 2022?  No, in a nutshell.

3. Is Flutter faster than React Native?

Flutter outperforms React Native in terms of performance since it is quicker. React Native uses Javascript as a bridge to connect to native components. By reducing the requirement for a bridge to communicate with native components, Flutter simplifies this procedure.

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