Flutter Development And Native Development: Main Features, Advantages And Disadvantages

Mobile app development today is very diverse. All this is done in order to reach all target audiences that may need application.

In this article, we will talk about two popular development methods: native development versus building an application using Flutter. These are two completely different approaches in terms of performance, efficiency, and set of technologies, and we believe that it is important to highlight the difference between them in detail.

What Is Flutter And What Are Its Features?

In short, Flutter is Google’s custom UI software development environment. Using it, you can quickly hold iOS development and Android development. It is one of the most popular frameworks for cross-platform applications.

Flutter’s work focuses on two main vectors:

  1. SDK: they include everything you need to compile the code into the native code of the future application.
  2. Framework: This is the main set of functional elements for the UI.

Flutter development runs on a language developed by Google — Dart. Originally it was thought that it could replace JavaScript. The main task of this language is the development of web page layouts, but it also proved to be good for application development.

Advantages of Flutter:

  • Easy to use. There is everything for the basic application and the Hot Reload feature, which displays all the changes from developers and designers. This speeds up iteration and testing time, increasing productivity.
  • The versatility of Dart. This programming language allows everything to be brought under uniform standards and offers a simple syntax.
  • Accelerated start. This benefit comes from the use of programming patterns in the framework.
  • Simple UI. Fast in rendering, the framework makes it create the most appropriate design. You can choose from several configuration options.

Disadvantages of Flutter:

  • Large file size. Apps developed with Flutter are large and cannot be avoided. This is not the best solution for use on a smartphone.
  • No third-party libraries. Flutter is limited in its capabilities and you cannot use third-party packages and libraries.
  • Poor iOS compatibility. Since the authorship of Flutter belongs to Google, the implementation for iOS has a number of flaws, which is a rather significant drawback for a framework that is declared to be cross-platform.
  • The limitations of the Dart itself. This language is inferior to most popular languages ​​in terms of capabilities, so creating a complex application will not work.
  • Animation rendering issues. Flutter uses the Skia 2D graphics engine to render the UI, which means there can be problems with 3D.
  • Low performance. Flutter is great for simple applications with a small number of features, working with complex applications on this framework is not possible.
  • Doubtful future. Google is not promising that Flutter will simply not be phased out as a project for the foreseeable future. It’s a good experiment, but since Google has no experience supporting this technology, it may disappear.
  • Update delays. After the release of updates for Android or iOS, Flutter releases updates with delays. This reduces user loyalty.

Read also: 8 Steps to Understanding The Mobile App Development Lifecycle

What Is Native App Development?

The development of native apps means the creation of a living exclusively for one platform. It takes into account all the features and requirements of the platform and uses a characteristic set of tools. So, for Android development, Java or Kotlin is used, and for iOS, Swift or Objective-C is used.

Benefits Of Native Development:

  • Improved user experience. All visual effects of such applications are fully adapted to the requirements of the platform.
  • High performance. Such applications can be of any complexity, depending on your needs.
  • Wide functionality. You will be able to use any APIs and tools, various libraries are available to you and you are not limited in the choice of options for your application.
  • ‍Improved support from stores. Native apps are automatically promoted in the rankings and get more reach among users. All of this due to high speed and productivity.
  • ‍ Easy scalability. Flexibility in resource management and a large set of tools allows you to scale the application.
  • Full compliance with the platform. Due to the use of the platform SDK, there are no discrepancies between the OS and the design of the application, regardless of versions and / or device models.
  • Integrations. You can integrate all the systems you need, for example, payment systems, and be sure that they will work correctly.
  • Instant access to new features. Native apps can use native iOS or Android APIs, which means there are no delays in downloading updates.

Disadvantages Of Native Development:

  • Price. Usually, the price of native development is higher than that of Flutter development. This is due to the higher qualification of specialists who are involved in the work and the more complex functionality of the application itself.
  • Development time. Native development is more difficult to implement and therefore requires more time.

Read also: Best Map API for Location-Based Services: Mapbox vs Google Maps vs OpenStreetMap

Choice Between Flutter And Native Apps

When comparing native development and Flutter development, it’s important to be clear about what you expect from your application. On the one hand, Flutter saves time and money, on the other hand, you face a number of limitations. Scalability, adding new features, geofencing, camera/microphone access, automatic updates, and so on are all available by default only in native apps. Another important plus of a native application is the ability to personalize the offer to the user, thanks to deep analytics.

And here is what TopDevs Android developer Dmytro thinks about the confrontation between the two methods.

I didn’t work on the Flutter project itself, but on a native module that was responsible for only part of the functionality. And I can note that building the app, even with the slightest change, took a lot of time. When checking the application on the phone (I used my own testing device), there were a lot of errors in the work. It was literally impossible to use them.

The lack of a large number of third-party libraries has a very negative effect on working with Flutter. Actually, the presence of a native Android / iOS module of the functionality that I was working on is a consequence of the fact that there are still things in Flutter that can only be implemented using the native.

I got the impression that Flutter is suited only for demo versions of applications, in principle, I have met this opinion in many places. But there is a moment that you will still make a full-fledged application in the native development format. And therefore, in order to save money, it is better to write MVP on the native one. Since then it will simply be finalized into a full-fledged working product.

Final Words

When choosing between Flutter and native development, you must understand what exactly you want to get from your application. If you want your business to be represented by a custom application with functionality suitable for scalability, or if you want to track the behavior of your users, then only native development will suit you.

Flutter development may be suitable, for example, as a trial version of the application or if you do not expect your audience to grow. With a template application, you will not be able to emphasize your identity, which means that your competitiveness will be much lower.

Based on our experience, we recommend giving preference to native development even at the MVP stage. In addition to the above benefits, you will also emphasize your status and that you can be trusted.

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TopDevs Inc.

Web & mobile app development company that creates digital solutions for startups & businesses (native iOS, Android apps, outstaffing, outsourcing) @ topdevs.org