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flutter vs native

Is Flutter Overtaking Native App Development in the Future?

Technology has been growing and expanding exponentially each day. With new trends setting in and modern age tech usage increasing, app and web development aren’t the same as they used to be even before just a few years ago.

Simplifying the complicated processes of development, native app development is continuously being replaced by techniques that seem to be better and more useful.

Flutter app development has been one of the techniques among the growing trends. It is an open-source, free, and a new framework that is being used to design applications for many platforms with just a single code.

The growing user demands as per the diversification of the platforms are creating a big demand for support in the development process which the flutter app development seems to suffice successfully.

With the advent of new versions and platforms, the companies have been struggling to come up with a faster and relatively easier development process which therefore has been a major opportunity for flutter app development to rise and grow.

Flutter vs. Native Application Development

Let’s discuss few key aspects of Flutter that has affected the native app development.

flutter vs native app development

Productivity

Working with the traditional tools and tech support, developers have been striving to build an app from scratch every time there’s a requirement for a similar app, but for a different platform.

This further complicates the work for the developer and tends to affect the efficiency and effectiveness. The development also has several tech requirements to suffice the need for every new development for a new platform.

Flutter app development has been a great choice for the same. The process requires fewer amounts of codes to be written and fewer tools that are specific for a particular platform.

The developers don’t need to start the development process from scratch every time they go ahead with a development process for an app for a new platform. This helps the developers to be effective and time-efficient making it a great choice to work with.

UI Elements

The development process is backed up by the Flutter itself. It assists by offering a great variety of host services of powerful UI elements to build a custom user interface with even more ease and has been equipped with its widgets to empower the high-end UI support.

Flutter app developers dedicated to the same are experts to build highly responsive UI interface designs.

Technical Architect

Backed up by Google, both the frameworks, Android and Flutter have their different support architecture. The Native Android app development uses Kotlin or Java language, while Flutter uses Dart as a programming language.

Testing Support

Android being a prominent platform in the industry provides several tools to test the native apps developed by the developers.

However, Flutter provides its robust testing platform that lets the developers test the app at various steps of the development process.

It also has a combined feature of testing the widgets which allows the testing the execution of the UI interface developed through widgets. The tests are run in a separate process that can be run in real-time or on real devices as well.

CI/CD Support

The process of development and launching native apps is bit complicated outside the IDE. Yes, Android Studio does provide all the support needed for build automaton and testing capabilities.

However, third-party CI/CD servers such as Jenkins and TeamCity are warranted because Android doesn’t have dedicated CI/CD system from Google.

To that end, Flutter leads the way as it has the support of Codemagic. The latter enables CI/CD systems without glitches.

It also automates the identification, testing, building and packaging of Flutter apps without the need for configuration. Codemagic further simplifies development, testing and launching of apps to Play Store.

Is Flutter All Set to Replace Existing Native App Development?

Flutter is quite new in the market and has not been yet been accustomed to the developers. However, it is gaining the limelight quickly and is being seen as one of the important aspects of the future of application development.

Although it’s a new programming language, Flutter is easy to learn. It has now come up with a full-fledged working model after a successful beta version test. Flutter app development is widely being preferred by some of the leading brands in the world and is gaining popularity quickly.

Long story short, Flutter is easy to work with.

App development using this language is efficient and less time-consuming. With its support, it is relatively easier to develop similar or even better interfaces. This probably gives Flutter app development several benefits and an edge over the native app development process.

However, going ahead with Flutter app development straightaway is not a very wise choice. Going ahead with a development process and choosing one among many is totally dependent upon the requirements, budget, and goal of the development process.

Although a number of leading brands and companies are widely choosing Flutter, there still are some points to consider before going ahead blindly.

  • Flutter app development is pretty cheap and cost-effective and incurs less amount of money than native app development process making it more suitable for SMEs and other small organizations.
  • At the same time, it requires no separate development process for different platforms and equips an organization with a single app for multiple platforms to use with similar ease and features.
  • Organizations wanting to present a feature-rich platform for separate platforms and have no budget and time constraints would like to probably go ahead with the development of a native app. The native app still provides best features and specifications but the organizations not needing the extreme benefits of the same may not need it and may go ahead with the Flutter app development process and work with similar efficiency.
  • Flutter is full of features and options that make it a reliable option but not perfect yet. Flutter lacks in features and support like OpenGL, Maps, Video Support, and Accessibility Support. It still has gaps that are required to be filled to make it a complete package.
  • The native development community is comparatively larger than the Flutter development community and hence, has differences in the services available.

All in all, Flutter would make up a preferably great option for the application development for businesses trying to come up and make up an app very similar to a native application.

Several cross-platform frameworks keep coming and going from the market but native apps have been the prominent choice of the industry for long.

For the organizations to get an app ready for themselves but are equipped with fewer resources, Flutter is a good choice to go ahead with.

flutter app development banner

Future Prospects

Both the platforms, Android and Flutter are backed by Google as the parent organization. It is no secret that Google has been working over a number of cross-platform platforms among which Flutter is the one. So, when it comes to choosing between the two, it is more of a choice between two great things.

There have been a number of discussions over the rise of cross platform applications in the future and if there is any chance of Android or even Chrome being replaced. Flutter tends to add up to the blaze of the discussion and tends to support the rise of the same.

Several articles and discussions have fueled the fire even further that talk about the porting of native apps to the Flutter framework and many companies are being seen to come up who have been porting their native apps to Flutter.

However, what everyone is waiting about is Google’s take on both of its platforms, the one being a native app development framework, while the other one is the cross-platform app development framework.

Cross-platform development is expected to gain the peak of its journey in the near future and a framework like Flutter is being seen as the drivers of the cross-platform development industry. 

According to an experiment conducted to test the performance and speed of the native as well as the Flutter apps, the first thing the results deliver is that a native Android app seems to perform better than Flutter apps by a complete non-trivial margin when it comes to performance.

CPU usage on the native app is highly low and is less than half that of the Flutter app. Memory usage is similarly low on the native app and inflated on Flutter applications. The two stood very close in competition and delivered pretty much similar results but with no clear win over each other.

Read also: Flutter for Cross Platform Development: Pros & Cons That App Developers Need to Know

To Conclude…

The competition between native and cross-platform applications will go on for the next many years to come. The future needs something with capabilities like cross-platform development, but with the strength and support like native app development. So, it’s a tough battle between the two.

The industry will keep growing and keep looking for gaps to work upon and build the bridge to make a perfect combination of both the platforms that would be capable to suffice the need and integrate the advantages of both the platforms with efficiency and effectiveness.

Flutter apps in 2019 had a market share in top apps category of about 0.80% with 0.05% install rate. Flutter is however hot in the market and will go a long way to support smaller requirements till the time it grows big.

With continuous efforts and significant changes, cross-platform capabilities in the development will make up a great framework for the developments to happen in future.

Dhruv Mevada

Dhruv Mevada

Dhruv is Sr. Android Engineer at Mindinventory. He is passionate about Android and has got his hands dirty and feets wet with all things Android. He loves to explore the bleeding edge tech stuff. He is an early adopter and would like to stay up to date regarding latest trends in Industry.

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