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Flutter – Best Alternatives for App Development

  • Last Updated : 15 Feb, 2021

If you are a beginner and want to make some mobile apps, but you are confused about the technologies and frameworks for mobile app development offers, or if you are just curious to know what advantages flutter offers from its competitors then this article is for you. There are tons of options that a developer gets about the best trends and technologies in the app development market if he/she wants to get started with mobile app development. Just listing all the major app development technologies it would be React Native, Xamarine Forms, Ionic, Cordova, ASP.NET, and Angular. With so many options available to choose from it could be overwhelming tasks to choose one, and if done without proper knowledge it can lead to a waste of time and even loss in business. Here we are going to compare flutter will all the major mobile app development frameworks and technologies. And by the end of the article, you will get a clear understanding as to what advantages flutter offers you as a developer compared to other technologies and what are the future promises that it had to offer.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is Google’s UI toolkit for building beautiful, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. 

This is how Google likes to define Flutter. 

Flutter is a user interface software development kit for developing android, ios, web and desktop applications from a single codebase.

This is how I define flutter. It is not just another wacky framework that promises cross-platform application development, but google engineers and the community is working hard towards achieving the goal of making flutter cross-platform from a single code base with little or no modification. It is not just a framework but a complete software development kit that incorporates rendering engines, CLI (command-line interface tools), developers tools, fully modifiable widgets, testing, advanced debugging with plugin support, widget tree inspector, API integrations, and much more.   



Currently, flutter has announced its 1.22 version. It included the support for iOS 14 and android 11. Flutter’s support for the web has moved to the beta state, however, it has been predicted that its stable version will be ready by the mid of 2021. Its support for windows is in the alpha state as of now.

Flutter’s selling points:

  1. Fast Development: Flutter has a lot of ways to assist developers for the fast production and deployment of the application such as offline documentation which comes built-in with flutter, many of the important layout and elements of an app are pre-built is flutter as widgets, and the most crucial thing is stateful hot reload, which saves a lot of time by enabling the app to rebuild in less than a second.
  2. Expressive and Flexible UI:  Good UI has to be a key feature of any app development technology out there. But flutter had taken it to another level, with the help of its quick ship features such as material design, which makes the app look good with minimum efforts.
  3. Native Performance: One of the best things about flutter is that it is open-source, which lets anyone with enough intelligence to works on flutter for its improvement. This has led flutter to achieve groundbreaking performance which many times are as good enough as native applications.
  4. Cross-platform Operations: The best thing about flutter is while building a mobile app you also get an application that is also suitable to work on the web and desktop.

Comparison Tables:

The below comparison tables give you an overview of the best available alternatives for Flutter. The first table consists of a comparison between Flutter, React Native, Xamarin, and ionic:

Basis Of ComparisonFlutterReact NativeXamarinIonic
Initial release2017201520112013
Owner / MaintainerGoogleFacebookMicrosoftDrifty.co
Open-sourceYesYesYesYes
User InterfacePropriety WidgetsNative ComponentsNative ComponentsHybrid Components
Programming LanguageDartJavaScriptObjective C & XAMLJavaScript
DocumentationClear, well structured, and extensiveExtensiveExtensiveWell Structured but not extensive
VersionFlutter – v1.7.8React Native- v0.60Forms – v4.3Ionic – v5.3.4
App Performance

Higher. Flutter 60 fps or 120 fps 

animation. Flutter itself paints and 

controls every single pixel on the screen.

High. It requires the javascript bridge to interact with the

 native components.

Slower than React Native and flutter.

It is not as performant as flutter, 



even though it is powered by javascript.

Industry Adoption

Xianyu, GoogleAdds, Hamilton, Reflectly,

 BMW, Alibaba, Ebay, Capital one, Square

Facebook, Instagram, Walmart, 

Skype, Linkedin, Airbnb

Fox Sports, Olo, Pinterest

The World Bank, Microsoft

McDonald’s Turkiye, NationWide,

McLaren Automotive, HoneyFi

Community

Github start: > 111000

Forks: > 15000

Closed issues: > 40,000

Github start: > 93000

Forks: > 20000

Closed issues: > 19700

Github start: > 5100

Forks: > 1900

Closed issues: > 5400

Github start: > 42000

Forks: > 13000



Closed issues: > 17000

Number of Developers> 2 million> 3 million> 700 thousand> 1.3 million
Hot reloadYesYesYesNo
Installation and configuration

More straightforward, has automated 

checkup of the system problems.

Lacks in streamlining setup and 

configuration.

Easy to install but doesn’t have the automatic

system updated and problem checkups.

Installation is easy but it requires Cordova.
Supported IDEs

Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, 

Visual Studio Code

Most of the IDEs Visual Studio, XCode, Xamarine.StudioVS Code, Atom, Web Storm, ALM

Now let’s take other of Flutters alternatives and compare them such as Cordova, ASP.NET, Angular and Native Script:

Basis Of ComparisonCordovaASP.NET COREAngularNative Script
Initial release2009201620162014
Owner / MaintainerAdobeMicrosoftGoogleProgress Software
Open-sourceYesYesYesYes
User InterfaceNative screen that holds web viewNative componentsHybrid componentsNative components
Programming LanguageJavaScriptC++, C#JavaScript / TypeScriptJavaScript / TypeScript
DocumentationWell Structured but not extensiveNot structuredNot structuredWell Structured but not extensive
Versionv9.0.0v5.0.0 v11.00v7.0.13
App Performance

As it uses web-view embedded in the native 

screen it is no were near the to the flutter’s performance.

 Not as robust as flutter.

Similar to other frameworks that 

are powered by javascript, it also not as 

performant as flutter.

High-performance equivalent to flutter.
Industry AdoptionFacebook, Salesforce, IBM, MicrosoftAlibaba Travels, ViaVarejo, Queue-it.Gmail, PayPal, Deutsche Bank, ForbesFinTech Consortium, Beachy, GeekyAnts
Community

Github start: > 3100

Forks: > 1500

Closed issues: > 400

Github start: > 20000

Forks: > 6000



Closed issues: > 17000

Github start: > 111000

Forks: > 15000

Closed issues: > 40,000

Github start: > 19000

Forks: > 1500

Closed issues: > 5000

Number of Developers> 1.3 million>  100 thousand> 400 thousand> 700 thousand
Hot reloadNoYesYesNo
Installation and configuration

Simple but doesn’t have the automatic 

system updated and problem checkups.

Simple but doesn’t have the automatic

system updated and problem checkups.

Easy installation and configuration.Easy installation and configuration.
Supported IDEsVisual Studio Code, Netbeans, Intex XDK, JetBrains WebStormVisual Studio Code, Rider

Angular IDE, Webstorm, VS Code, 

Sublime Text, Brackets, Atom

WebStorm, Vim, IntellijIdea

Summing up

There are many alternatives for mobile app development out there as we saw the comparison of a flutter from the top mobile development frameworks and SDKs.

  • Even though flutter is the latest technology among its competitors, it is well-equipped to give very hardcore competition to the industry leaders such as React Native. There areas in which React Native outperforms flutter such as it is powered by javascript which is the most used programming language out there, hence reducing the learning curve and the other one would be its community support as market adoption. As React Native had been in the market for a long time many big companies prefer it against flutter due to its stability. But overall flutter is also not behind, it is taking over the market by a storm and it had great community maintenance, the reason could because its google’s product. And within a couple of years, all the major issues in flutter will be fixed and it will be the market leader.
  • Comparing flutter to Xamarin, there are rarely any features that Xamarin holds which will attract a new developer toward it. As it has been in the market since 2011, many big corporations have already settled with Xamarin. Even though flutter is a luring technology, but moving the entire application which is used by millions is not an easy task.
  • Ionic is also a good competition to flutter but not as strong as React Native. Ionic is also written in JavaScript making it easier for web developers to direct switch to it. Ionic has been used in the tech stack of many big companies like Nationwide and McDonald’s. The areas where it cannot surpass flutter is documentation and community support.
  • Cordova has been in the market since 2009, but it is nowhere near being a market player in app development technology. Although it is easy to approach compared to other frameworks as it uses HTML, CSS & JS, the major drawback is its performance and the community support.
  • ASP.NET has been in use for almost two decades therefore ASP.NET Core would have sounded a very nice idea for mobile app development or cross-platform app development, but it didn’t prove to be. It is written in C++ and C#, but the world has moved on to take javascript as the favorite language. The areas in which flutter can easily take down ASP.NET Core would be documentation and performance.
  • Angular is also a Google product. It is also powered by javascript making it a convenient option for most developers. But neither Google nor the community of developers gave it enough time and effort to make it the best option for app development. It has not been documented thoroughly neither its hybrid UI components are as performant as flutter.
  • NativeScript is also a part of the pack that uses JavaScript and typescript. It has been marked from 2014 but to the presence of React Native and Ionic, it suffered from the competition which resulted in not getting enough exposure from the developers. Even though it uses native components like React Native, still it does not give a comparable performance.

By all the comparisons that we have done above, we can say that the flutter is the emerging star not only in the field of app development for ios and android but also in the field of cross-platform app.

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