While making your first application, it can be difficult and daunting to decide from all the different options available. Choosing a mobile development framework is a tough nut to crack.
On top of that, there are many considerations that also influence the app such as,
- How much time do you have to market?
- What does the current development and maintenance cost?
- Do you have a team of engineers or need to hire?
- What features do you need?
- What would be the risks with third-party solutions?
- How do you need your app performance?
Flutter and Ionic are the two leading mobile frameworks used to develop iOS, Android, and Hybrid apps. Both the frameworks enable developers to prototype rapidly and deliver compiled apps for mobile, web, and desktop with a single codebase. But before picking up the right one, you need to compare cross-platform app frameworks for better understanding.
This post is all about the comparison between Flutter and Ionic frameworks based on various parameters. So, let’s get going.
Flutter and Ionic: Introduction
Flutter is Google’s brainchild created in May 2017. It is currently managed by Google with an ECMA(European Computer Manufacturers Association) standard. It is a UI toolkit that uses Dart programming language to build faster, appealing, and natively compiled hybrid applications.
Flutter was introduced as an SDK intended to build modern apps for Android and iOS. When it comes to Android Studio, integration is done with inbuilt Java. On the other side when it comes to iOS, integration is done with Swift and Objective-C languages.
According to Statista, 39% of people use Flutter to develop hybrid apps globally.
Ionic is incorporated with other frameworks and libraries such as Cordova, Angular, etc. Moreover, it can be leveraged individually without any support of a front-end framework.
86% of developers choose Ionic for the top-notch mobile app development.
Flutter Vs. Ionic
Let’s understand the key differences with some important aspects.
#1. Popularity and Learning Phase
When it comes to Flutter, developers need to learn the Dart language that is completely new for them.
#2. The Look and Feel
Ionic and Flutter don’t utilize native UI components, but they update UI components’ designs automatically according to the platform on which the app is running. For Android, it is Material Design, and for iOS, it is Cupertino.
Both will enable access to native APIs and platform-specific services through pre-built plugins libraries. You can also access a set of tools to develop custom plugins as per your preferences.
The Flutter native mobile implementation is quite intolerant. So, if you are involved with custom native tasks using Flutter, you need to understand how Flutter is working with iOS and Android.
#3. Code Portability
If we consider app deployment on different desktop and mobile platforms, Ionic and Flutter have strong competition.
Flutter has appealing features when it comes to mobile app development. But it has some restrictions as well regarding web browsers. Whereas, Ionic is based on web standards. It aids you with excellent web, desktop, and mobile app development.
If you need high flexibility with your device, you can opt for Ionic. Flutter is on its way to enhance web compatibility.
When it comes to the performance of both platforms, efficiency and productivity play a significant role.
- You can go for Flutter if you are searching for an exclusive animation.
- You can go for Ionic when you are dealing with a consumer-centric mobile app.
The performance of Ionic and Flutter is always regarding how you write a code for both. So we can say that the quality of the code is significant if you want to decide on a framework’s performance.
You also need to consider the bundle size of your app. Ionic bundle size is 2,991 bytes as it uses standard browser runtime and the smallest processing unit. On the other hand, Flutter requires heavy code even when you want to develop basic apps.
#5. Skills and Expertise
Flutter developers need to learn Dart Programming Language. This language has a stand-alone and custom ecosystem with some limitations. That is the reason for confusion on the skills-set of Dart developers.
#6. Use of Libraries
Flutter developers can use system technologies and Flutter libraries at no cost.
In Ionic, you can use various libraries free of cost, but if you want to accelerate the development cycle, you have to pay for a Pro Development Environment.
#7. Support of Community
Flutter, as a newcomer, lacks strong community support. Whereas, Ionic has the overall support of a large community that helps Ionic app developers solve every doubt.
Despite that, with Google’s persistent efforts, Flutter may also develop a broad community in the upcoming years.
#8. Future Flexibility
Flutter app development can be quite risky because it is a closed ecosystem. If at some point Google might think to elude the Flutter framework, the Flutter development agencies can be left with a code base and skillset only. However, there are very few chances of it but, you need to consider that scenario.
What is Common in Flutter & Ionic?
Both frameworks are a way different but also have some similarities.
- Both help to develop hybrid apps for desktops, web, and mobile.
- Both leverage a single codebase to build highly interactive applications.
- Both provide offline access. So app development can be possible even within the area of limited internet access.
- Both deliver an intuitive look and feel for native apps as they mainly focus on developing UI frameworks for native platforms.
- Developers can leverage well-structured documentation with both frameworks.
- Apps built with Flutter and Ionic perform flawlessly compared to other hybrid apps.
- Both consist of native plugin libraries to offer native programming services and user interfaces.
Uses of Flutter & Ionic
|Uses of Ionic||Uses of Flutter|
|Cross-platform app development||MVP Development|
|MVC mobile app development||Apps with a material design language|
|Apps with heavy backend integration||Simple logic OS plugins|
|Any fast and lightweight app with UI/UX load||UI that use code-dense widgets|
|Hardware functionality enabled applications||UX with intuitive UI and data integration|
|Native wrapper||Apps featuring Skia rendering engine|
Well-known apps developed using Flutter & Ionic
Here is a list of some popular apps built with the Flutter and Ionic frameworks.
- Google Ads
- Xianyu by Alibaba
- Postmuse – Instagram photo editing app
- StockPlan Connect
- McLaren Automotive
- TD Trading
|Introduced By||Max Lynch, Ben Sperry, and Adam Bradley|
|Released on||May 2017||March 2014|
|Community Support||There are 923 contributors in the Flutter Community. They are active with 19k projects.||Huge community support with 5 million contributors from 200 countries.|
|Runtime||Run by Custom Graphics Engine||Run in a web browser|
|Documentation||Well organized and informative||Well organized and informative|
|Testing||– Flutter Test to test widgets
– Appium and XCUITest to simulate UI testing
– Flutter Driver for widgets’ instrumental testing.
|No extra testing devices are required. Testing can be done in different browsers through web view.|
|UI||Excellent||Not good because everything is rendered in HTML and CSS.|
|UI elements||Widgets||Web Components|
|Price||Free of cost||Free but provide a paid Pro Development Environment to enhance the development process.|
|Native API Access||Native plugin library through Flutter native packages||Native plugin library through Cordova and Capacitor|
|Deployment||Deploy on mobile, desktop, and Web.||Deploy on mobile, desktop, Web, and PWA.|
It is always complicated to make a choice on a specific framework. Ionic and Flutter both are different in their way. This post will simplify the decision-making process if you are clear about your key objectives and market demands.
Always try to engage with the experts in whatever framework you choose.