The world of mobile app development is continuously growing like never before. Developers & businesses are introduced to various frameworks & technologies every year to create mobile applications. Out of all the technologies, Flutter and Native are gaining a lot of attention.
Mobile apps built using both technologies deliver top-notch user experience and high scalability. However, there is a massive difference between Flutter and Native technologies when discussing performance, development time & cost, code maintenance, and more.
So, should you build an app using Flutter or Native technologies?
To clear up your confusion, we have compared Flutter vs. Native technologies based on some of the essential factors.
But, before we look into that, we would understand some basics.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is an open-source, cross-platform framework developed by Google. The technology is based on the Dart programming language. It is suitable for building high-performing, flexible, and attractive mobile apps for multiple platforms like Android, iOS, and more using a single codebase. The framework is trusted and used by several leading brands worldwide, such as Groupon, Toyota, Grab, and eBay.
Use Cases of Flutter
- Provide a seamless user experience
- Highly secure apps
- Standalone native applications
- On-demand applications
- Offline applications
- Highly complex apps
- IoT-based apps
- Animation Apps
- AR/VR apps
What are Native Technologies?
Native technologies use software development frameworks and tools mainly built to support a platform like iOS or Android. Simply put, the developer needs to use a particular platform’s language, libraries, and development environment to create an app.
For example, a developer relies on programming languages like Kotlin & Java and tools like Android Studio to build an Android app. If we consider iOS, the developer leverages iOS languages such as Swift & Objective-C and a development environment like Xcode.
Moreover, mobile apps built using native technologies can utilize all the device-specific features like a camera, microphone, accelerometer, sensors, etc.
Some leading companies that have used native technologies to create apps for a specific platform include Waze, Pokemon Go, Soundcloud, WhatsApp, and more.
Use Cases of Native Technologies
- Beautiful and Custom UI designs
- Cost-effective development
- MVP based applications
- Reactive apps, such as financial or trading apps
- Robust applications using the Skia rendering engine
- Apps using the material design
After looking at the basics of Flutter and Native technologies, we will compare Flutter vs Native technology in detail. So, let’s start.
Flutter vs Native Technology: A Side-by-Side Comparison
Here, we will compare Flutter vs Native technology based on some essential factors.
In native technology, the code is written for a particular platform whenever an app is made. Due to this, the app performs at the optimum level as it leverages all the features, functionalities, and characteristics of the specific platform. And the best thing is that these apps perform efficiently even without using any extra library packages.
Generally, mobile apps developed with the help of native technology perform at 60FPS or 120FPS. Also, these mobile apps consume around 30 to 45% of GPU performance over RAM.
Apart from that, native technologies also require 118MiB of device memory if the size of the mobile application is immense. In the near future, it will affect the user’s device for a lifetime. To cope with this, we recommend integrating several SDKs to enhance app performance and lower RAM usage.
Talking about Flutter, the cross-platform framework doesn’t need a bridge between native modules as the present built-in. However, it uses an extra abstraction layer to achieve cross-platform compatibility, which might affect the performance.
The performance test on the particular device denotes that the “hello world” application performs at 60 FPS, and the time taken to render each frame is about 16 milliseconds.
The number of frames was reduced. Along with that, Flutter leverages the Skia graphics library, which enables UI to be redrawn every time there is a change in the app view.
Flutter runs efficiently at 60 frames per second and goes at 120 frames per second.
Development Time & Cost
The total time required to build a mobile application is more or less dependent on the budget, scalability, and complexity. In the case of native app development, it is possible to create small to enterprise-level applications for Android and iOS platforms. As mentioned earlier, you must create a separate app for every platform.
To build a mobile application for two platforms, you have two options. It would be best if you had a big development team with various professionals like 2-3 Android & iOS developers, designers, 2-3, and quality analysts. The second option is to have a separate development team for each platform.
The cost of the mobile app using native technology varies widely depending on the app’s complexity and the development team’s level of expertise. Generally, it would be higher as you will have a separate code for multiple platforms with distinct functionalities. In simple words, native technologies work on the motto of the “write twice, run twice” approach.
Being a cross-platform framework, Flutter works on the principle of “write once, run twice.” It simply means that the developer can build an application for one platform that works well for multiple platforms. Due to this, the development time and cost get reduced significantly.
Features & Integrations
As said before, native technologies are suitable for developing applications with the help of platform-specific languages and tools, like Java or Kotlin for Android and Swift or Objective-C for iOS. They can access the platform’s built-in capabilities like Camera, GPS, and other sensors.
The integration capabilities generally rely on the specific platform’s design patterns and performance optimization. For instance, Swift programming language offers enhanced safety and expressive advancements in the features along with rapid integration abilities.
Conversely, Kotlin & Java, generally used for building Android, provides top-notch integration with their standard runtime classes or IntelliJ environment.
Apart from this, native technologies have great integrations with other platforms. For example, Android integrates well with Google Play Services, while iOS integrates with Apple Pay and iCloud.
The cross-platform framework leverages the Dart programming language, which has a rich set of pre-built widgets for building UIs. It offers one fantastic feature known as hot-reload, where developers can view the code changes in real time. It also has an extensive set of APIs for animations, networking, and state management.
Integrations in Flutter are easy for developers familiar with the Dart programming language. Developers can leverage multiple add-ons like CocoaPods, Android Archive (AAR), etc., for Android & iOS devices.
There are some restrictions on integrating native modules using Xcode or Android Studio. However, the framework offers extensive documentation, so developers can efficiently resolve any issues and move forward.
In general, the size of the application depends heavily on the features & the libraries used in it.
The size of the Android or iOS application built using native technologies is usually higher because platform-specific code and resources are included.
The size of a Flutter application is usually small compared to a mobile application developed with native technologies. The main reason is that they consist of only several essential components. Plus, the dart code is compiled into binary code, thus decreasing the size of the applications.
Apart from this, the Flutter application leverages the “Ahead of Time” complication technique to decrease the size of the applications.
In native mobile apps, there would be two separate codebases for every platform, which leads to high complexity and less maintainable code. Both platforms consist of specific tools, libraries, and programming languages. Therefore, the developers have to identify the bugs in both platforms regularly and then update the application accordingly.
Apps built using Flutter are simple to maintain because they have a single codebase for Android and iOS. Developers can make changes in a codebase, which gets reflected in both applications. Moreover, the framework consists of a widget-based architecture, which enables developers to reuse and compose the UI elements, thus leading to a more modular and maintainable codebase.
Both technologies consist of highly active and supportive communities. However, there is a difference in the overall support and availability of resources.
It has a very well-established community of developers. These communities offer a range of resources like detailed documentation, tutorials, forums, and libraries. In addition, it provides third-party libraries and tools best for Android & iOS app development.
Flutter got introduced in 2017. Hence, it doesn’t have a massive community like native technology. Also, there are not enough resources available for mobile app development.
Despite this, the present Flutter community is highly supportive across the globe. Hence, developers of any level of expertise can get the required guidance & support anytime.
When to Choose Native Technology?
- If you want to build an application that offers robust speed & performance, go with native technology.
- Utilize 100% capabilities of the particular device.
- If you’re going to make an app with high security and reliability, choose native technology.
- Develop an MVP with unique features for a specific niche, like a milk delivery app.
- Develop an app utilizing the MVP, MVC, and MVVM architectures.
When to Choose Flutter?
- Build an app for a specific brand or include any features involved in a standalone business.
- Refrain from dealing with complex processes involved in bug testing.
- Develop native-like apps with real-time databases and the latest cloud services.
- Reach a broader audience in less amount of time.
- Create an MVP application.
- Develop an app with reactive widgets and on-demand mobile features.
We hope you have understood the comparison of Flutter vs Native technology. Both technologies have their own pros and cons.
If you have a low budget and want to reach a broader audience in less time, Flutter is a good option. If you don’t have an issue with a budget and want to provide top-notch speed, performance, and security to the users, native technology is a good option.
Webdesk solution is a progressive mobile app development company. We have years of experience building mobile applications using native technologies for businesses & startups worldwide. Moreover, we have also developed several mobile apps using the Flutter framework for businesses after its inception. Therefore, feel free to share your problem with our experts. We will look deeply into it, suggest a suitable technology and deliver the best mobile app per your needs.