Flutter vs Ionic: what is the better choice?
App development has come a long way from being written to be ‘working only in native applications’ to being able to work on multiple platforms. With the surge of cross-platform mobile applications, the possibility of developing ‘one application for many platforms’ has taken off, thereby saving time, money, and resources. Now developers only need to write a single codebase and run it successfully on multiple platforms. This new approach has enabled mobile app developers to conquer new horizons in the field of app development and broaden the scope of digital products that they can release to users.
Multiple benefits of cross-platform development
Before delving into what kind of cross-platform framework you need to use for your project, let’s touch lightly on the benefits of cross-platform development.
The developers can write the code, and deploy it on multiple platforms. It thereby saves time because they don’t need to write separate code bases for each platform they want the app to be deployed on. Businesses enjoy and welcome this feature wholeheartedly because they can reach out to a wider customer base without compromising on user experience. With cross-platform app development, developers and businesses can tap into a wider audience base and improve their visibility in app stores. They can reach out to more users and higher adoption rates in that manner.
With new techniques and innovations, it is possible to optimize the applications to function optimally in each of the platforms. The advancements in rendering engines have made it possible to release applications that function remarkably well and quickly on all these platforms. Not only can this lower costs for businesses, but it would also enable them to reduce costs considerably because developers can now work on a shared codebase.
With cross-platform development, there is no doubt that you can speed up the development process and time to market and thus gain a competitive edge in this fast-paced world of app development.
- Code only; deploy multiple
- Tap into a wider audience base
- Balance user-experience and speed
- Quick time to market
The two titans: Flutter and Ionic
There are so many cross-platform frameworks around, and Flutter and Ionic are two of the most commonly used ones. Many businesses prefer to go for hybrid frameworks because of the coding principle of ‘code once and deploy multiple’. Flutter is known for its brilliantly integrated tools, inbuilt widgets, and customizations, while Ionic has a huge set of plugins that will boost the development process.
Flutter, deployed in 2018 is a free and open source framework that lets you build very powerful cross-platform applications. The framework has an amazing set of features that makes it extremely popular among developers. This open-source UI software development toolkit is just what you need to build natively compiled applications for web, mobile, and desktop applications. With its widget-based architecture, it lets you build interactive and visually appealing applications. Flutter boasts of a custom Skia graphics engine that lets developers create every frame with incredible detailing, leading to unparalleled performance.
Features of Flutter that you cannot ignore
Here are some of the commanding features of Flutter
Hot reload feature – This is an outstanding feature of Flutter that developers just love. Using Dart, Flutter gives a native-like performance with an amazing UI. This is accentuated by the Hot Reload feature making it possible for them to see the changes they make to the codes in real-time.
The widget library is an amazing feature of Flutter. This is also what probably sets it apart and distinguishes it from Ionic. Flutter lets you build complex widgets that you can customize according to the requirements of the application you are building. These widgets let users have an amazing user experience.
Developers make use of platform-specific widgets for Android, iOS, Google, etc. and these widgets can be integrated into the application to incorporate functionalities that are independent of the platform they are used with. They can use Java, Objective-C, and Swift codes to utilize native features on devices like geolocation, cameras, etc. Flutter can integrate third-party APIs and integrations and deliver a native performance as well.
Of course, you are aware of other Flutter features like cross-platform functionality and its open-source features, so that doesn’t have to be explained again.
Benefits of the Ionic framework
Excellent UX/UI design
UX and UI being the core components of every mobile application, you can rely on Ionic to deliver smooth animations with very attractive designs and themes. Developers enjoy creating interactive and user-friendly applications with Ionic.
Mobile app testing is easier
Mobile app testing is simple because the developers can do it on the work area program with the help of Cordova commands. There are many testing services they can use with Ionic.
Power of AngularJS
Developers can leverage the robust structure of AngularJS to make the code more manageable. It lets the developers create excellently performing, browser-based applications.
While Flutter uses Dart, Ionic leverages HTML and CSS, making it quite easy for web developers to unleash the potential of these web technologies. However, there is a drawback. Native UI elements have certain limitations and inconsistencies which could be troublesome for complex projects.
So which one to choose?
The verdict: Many developers say that Flutter has an edge over the competition when it comes to building high-performance, custom apps.
The architecture of both Flutter and Ionic are different. While Flutter supports a layered architecture, Ionic architecture is based on the Angular JS MVC framework. This reduces overall turnaround development time and heightens the productivity of the development team. This framework is perfect for building single-page and multi-page cross-platform apps. On the other hand, with Flutter, each layer has a specific role within the application, and modules or components possessing similar functionalities are grouped into horizontal layers. This also promotes faster development, improved scalability, excellent security, and greater maintainability of apps.
There are many similarities between Flutter and Ionic.
- They both use web technologies to develop applications, enabling them to deploy apps across multiple platforms using a single codebase.
- Even with a limited internet connection, you can build apps using both
- They both deliver the best design, features, client interface, etc.
- They both have native plugin libraries to develop native interfaces and programming services.
- Both support modularity, thereby ensuring teams can build multiple modules, and add or make changes to the codebase.
The decision to choose the right framework is hard, but consider your business objectives and seek the opinion of the software development company you are hiring to do your project to set the ball rolling.
The author: Sascha Thattil works at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.