Ionic vs. Flutter: Know The Best Features, Pros-Cons To Develop Apps Across Platforms

Mobile App Development

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Progressive Tense: The transitions and patterned advance in the mobile app development (across platforms) suggests that it is going to generate more than 935 billion U.S. dollars in revenues via paid downloads and in-app advertising – according to Statista reports early this year (2020).

Checking All the Loose Ends with the Cross-Platform App Development

Who won’t like their efforts to pay off in multiple ways? The case with the cross-platform app development is identical. Developers write their code once which can be re-used to generate similar results/a website or an app to run across different operating systems like Android/iPhone/Blackberry/HTML5/Microsoft (with of course some tweaks and minor permission converts)

Developing mobile apps that work across platforms includes making codebase for modules that will be used on multiple operating systems. The technologies that have been using cross-platform app development extensively include Beacon, Internet of Things (IoT), Wearables, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, Cognitive and Artificial Intelligence, 5G Technology, APM and EMM, Chatbots, Mobile E-commerce, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page), Cross-Platform Development, Cloud Storage Development, Single Page Applications, Blockchain As A Service (BaaS).

Why we prefer Ionic Framework for developing apps across platforms?

Ionic FAQ’s

  • What is an Ionic framework based on?
  • Is Ionic based on Angular?
  • What are Ionic components?
  • Which language is used in the Ionic framework?

The ionic framework was launched in 2012, pretty close to the origin of web-based technologies like JavaScript started building extensively to deploy native apps for iOS, Android and other popular mobile operating systems. It is an open-source SDK, specially formulated for developing hybrid applications/cross-platform app development and progressive web app development based on modern web development technologies such as HTML, CSS, other tools and services provided by SaaS Ionic. As an exemplification to its popularity, statistics showcase that developers from across 200 countries have developed > 5 million Ionic Apps by 2020.

10 most popular Ionic Applications in 2020

Sworkit, JustWatch, McDonald’s Türkiye, McLaren Automotive, Honeyfi, MarketWatch, ChefSteps, Diesel, Pacifica, StockPlan Connect

For More Information

The Ionic Framework helps to build mobile apps with just one single codebase for all the mobile operating systems. Hybrid App Developers may also consider using Ionic Templates that may be useful to create a cross-platform app faster. Ionic’s official marketplace can be looked out to find more designs, scripts and plugins.

Top Features Ionic Framework

  • Completely Free: Ionic framework eases building a web app/mobile app as it is a free and open-source framework.
  • SDK: It often uses AngularJS along-with HTML5 and CSS to create amazing SDK helpful in creating highly interactive hybrid apps.
  • Interactive UI: It results in rich applications with the availability of many interactive UI components.
  • Powerful CLI: Ionic comes with CLI that helps developers to create, modify and test applications as and when required.
  • Similar Functionality: Ionic apps provide similar feel as that of native apps.

Disadvantages of Ionic

  • It can be pretty difficult to build in-app navigation in Ionic
  • The performance of Ionic apps is not as good as that of flutter apps
  • The Webview native-like experience creates the issue
  • Additionally, interactive transitions are much difficult to handle.

On its way up, ionic still has a long way to go; but we still have Flutter which is relatively new, much more efficient; so let's find out the major features that fare well for cross-platform app development.

Why we prefer Flutter Framework for developing apps across platforms?

Flutter FAQ’s

  • Is Flutter for web stable?
  • Why is Flutter used?
  • How does Flutter work?
  • Can I use Python in Flutter?
  • Why did Google create Flutter?
  • Does Google use Flutter?
  • Is Flutter the next big thing?
  • What is Flutter development?

Flutter was developed by Google in response to the performance issues faced during cross-platform app development. (1)It consists of a portable UI toolkit that can be deployed for creating high performance, structured natively compiled applications for mobile, web and desktop from a single codebase. (2)Similar to its counterpart Ionic, it is as well free and open-source. It further speeds up the development of apps and reduces the cost and complexity of the app across platforms. (3) Many hybrid app developers perceive Flutter as a productive prototyping tool that helps deliver the original design vision. (4) It is to be used by businesses who simply wish to invest one-time. (5) It also fares well for the businesses who want to go with single time investment and reap the rewards later.

(It’s like the major features integrate with the upcoming advantages of the technology to provide a more palatable solution to the problem in hand)

(6)Flutter can be optimized to create amazing 2D mobile apps that apply to both Android and iOS devices. (7) Flutter as well as renders building fully-featured apps including camera, geolocation, network, storage, 3rd-party SDK and more.

(8) The presence and use of Webview distinguish Flutter from other techniques used for hybrid app development. This particularly averts the need to have OEM widgets as the supporting rendering engine can draw widgets on its own, pretty much precise and right on point. (9)The layered structure of the C/C++ code can implement most of its system – composting, gestures, animation, framework and widgets – make users gear the system and be in control. (10) Flutter does come with inbuilt support for Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, and VS Code. (11) Developers can make use of command in a terminal and one of the many editors that support editing DART. (12) The widgets are of high-quality material design and Cupertino (iOS-style widgets) (13) DART scores high on developer productivity, object orientation, predictable-high-performance and fast allocation

So what else comes with Flutter SDK?

  • The mobile-first 2-dimensional rendering engine with adequate optimization enabling support for text
  • It works in the same way as React Native
  • With its rich set of widgets that implement material design in an iOS-style kind of way
  • It comes with Plugin API and Interop to connect 3rd party SDK’s to the system
  • There are headless test runners for running tests on Windows, Mac and Linux
  • 3rd party API’s are available for integration and unit tests
  • Command-line tools and Dart dev tools are available for testing, debugging and profiling the app

We prefer working with Flutter due to high performance; hot reload developer cycle and stateful culture. Although it is still in its beta version, the desktop support is in alpha with macOS being the furthest along. We can access platform services and API like sensors and local storage. The ready-made packages for several platform services and API's are available on pub.dev. We do encourage the developers to make use of Flutter's asynchronous message passing system to create their integrations with the platform and third-party APIs. They may bundle up widgets and can expose as much or as little of the platform API’s as desired.

Top Features Flutter Framework

  • Little but significant: Developers can choose to implement different app layouts for iOS and Android.
  • DART: Dart code can be run in the background of a Flutter app
  • JSON with XML: JSON/XML/proto-buffers, etc. can be used with Flutter
  • 3D: 3D (OpenGL) apps cannot be built with Flutter
  • Use of Chromebook: Flutter apps can run on Chromebooks
  • Isolates: Flutter supports isolates that help in writing parallel and/or concurrent apps for Flutter
  • Reflections System: Flutter does not come along with any reflection/mirrors system at this time
  • Programming Paradigm: Flutter makes use of multi-paradigm programming environment – using composition, functional programming, event-driven programming, cloud-based object-oriented programming, prototype-based object-oriented programming, imperative programming, reactive programming, declarative programming, generic programming, concurrent programming, constraint programming;
  • Issue tracker: Flutter is evolving so cross-platform app development teams encourage people to file issues and make feature requests in their issue tracker.
  • License: Flutter framework is entirely self-contained and requires only one license.
  • Easy to Code: It is not very difficult to build an app to run on target platforms without sacrificing quality, control or performance with Flutter.
  • HTML/Webviews: The presence of HTML5 and Webviews make for consistently high frame rates and delivers high-fidelity experiences due to automatic behaviour (scrolling and layout) and legacy support.
  • Flutter Principles: We trust on three basic principles – The programming language should provide for performance, fidelity, and control.
  • Effective portable GPU rendering UI power
  • Hot Reload
  • It’s perfect for an MVP.

Disadvantages of Flutter

  • Flutter is not supported by web browsers as it is capable to develop mobile apps only.
  • There are no third-party libraries.
  • There are issues in integrating with native external libraries.

Comparison Chart: Flutter vs. Ionic Framework

Points of Difference

Ionic

Flutter

Initial Release

2013

2017

Language

HTML, CSS, Angular,Javascript, & Typescript

DART

Speed

It is relatively slower than Ionic

It makes use of web technologies; faster than Ionic

Performance

Moderate

Better than Ionic

GUI

HTML, CSS

Use Proprietary widgets

Pricing

Open source and Paid versions

Open-source version only

UI elements

Standards-based Web Components

Proprietary Widgets

Offline access

Yes

Yes

Mobile performance

Very Good

Excellent

Web performance

Excellent

Not so good

Deployment options

Mobile, Desktop, Web, PWA

Mobile, Desktop, Web

Conclusion: Getting the Best of All Worlds (Cross-Platform App Development with Native-Like experience)

Both Ionic and Flutter share a common vision to develop apps across platforms. But, the USP of the Flutter Framework is allowing app development companies to create for the web, mobile and desktop platforms. While Ionic app development companies make use of HTML/CSS/JS to the standards-based UI components, Flutter makes use of DART programming language, thus enabling its standards that are very different from today's browser capabilities, web languages and JavaScript libraries. Flutter supports Android Jelly Bean, v16, 4.1.x+ versions, and iOS 8+; while Ionic supports Android 4.4+ versions, iOS 8+, and Windows 10. Both Flutter and ionic are free and open source. However, Ionic does offer a pro version which is paid version and tends to improve the development process. For all these reasons, Ionic is suitable for developing enterprise applications while Flutter suits well for start-up app development.

Author
App Development Agency

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