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Flutter vs. Ionic: Choosing the Best Hybrid App Framework

Flutter vs. Ionic: Choosing the Best Hybrid App Framework

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In the world of hybrid app frameworks, Flutter and Ionic are two dominant player. They offer developers the ability to create cross-platform mobile apps with a single code base. But how do you choose between them? Let's find out!

In this article, we'll compare the features of Flutter and Ionic side by side and see which framework is best for your project or company.

Ionic vs Flutter | Image by author

Flutter: An Overview

Flutter is a new project from Google that lets you build mobile apps for both Android and iOS. You can use any of the languages you want to code inincluding Dark, Kawa, Clojure, or Kotlin.

With Flutter, you don't have to master Java and Swift separately. And unlike other cross-platform solutions, such as React Native or Xamarin, Flutter's main goal is performance. It's fast because it uses a different architecture than other solutions.

Flutter architecture | Image by author

Advantages of Flutter

Let's have a look at a few advantages and key features of Flutter.

  • Flutter has a 2D rendering engine as well as a framework similar to React.
  • The Flutter framework includes a large library of powerful and rich widgets that follows the Android material design guidelines.
  • Flutter is known for reloading on the go—hot reload is one of its standout features. In other words, it reflects changes in real time without changing the application's state.
  • Flutter connects seamlessly with the back end, whether it's written in Java for Android or C or Swift for iOS, therefore allowing the front end to appear as natural as the back end.
  • Its short iteration cycles save time in development and provide quality assurance.

Disadvantages of Flutter

Any tool or framework will have certain drawbacks. Let's look at a few of Flutter's.

  • When compared with Ionic, Flutter's properties are not as rich.
  • There aren't many community-created tools and libraries.
  • It's incompatible with other Android Auto, watchOs, Carplay, or tvOs development apps.
  • Updates cannot be pushed into apps without first going through the regular release procedure.

Ionic: An Overview

Ionic is a versatile, open-source, front-end SDK that allows engineers and developers to build powerful, beautiful mobile apps using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. It combines the best of both worlds: conventional web development and native mobile app development.

Ionic is simple to use and powered by the web. The framework does not override any core browser features or functions found in the browser that slow for new capabilities offered by the latest versions of browsers. It's built on top of Angular fall stack code, meaning developers can choose how they want to structure their site's architecture between MVC or MVVM patterns.

Ionic architecture | Image by author

Advantages of Ionic

Because of its top features and countless benefits, the Ionic platform is popular among small businesses and student developers. Let's take a look at some of Ionic's benefits.

  • Ionic is a platform-agnostic framework that cuts down on the time, money, and effort required to create a cross-platform project while maintaining a native appearance and feel.
  • Ionic, just like Angular, is compatible with most frameworks, including React, Vue, and others.
  • It's a programmer solution that allows you to use familiar JavaScript frameworks and libraries to create a unified codebase, thus reducing code rewrites.

Disadvantages of Ionic

We saw a few advantages of Ionic, so now let's take a look at some of the drawbacks.

  • Despite the fact that Ionic provides a variety of plugins, app developers must construct highly customized features.
  • There is a noticeable variation in optimization between Android and iOS.
  • It's also not suitable for game development.

We now have a better understanding of what Flutter and Ionic are, so let's move on.

Similarities Between Flutter and Ionic

Flutter and Ionic, despite their differences, share some similar goals. Here are a few examples:

  • Flutter and Ionic are both largely focused on developing UI frameworks for native platforms.
  • Both frameworks can be used to construct high-performance and interactive apps.
  • A cross-platform development concept lies at the heart of both.

Now, let's have a look at the differences between Ionic and Flutter so you can decide which one to use in your next project.

Comparison Between Flutter and Ionic

It's difficult to choose between the two. You should be aware of the technical functionalities and differences before deciding on one of them. So, let's have a look at various functionalities and evaluate how each framework works.

Code Portability

When it comes to app distribution across various settings, Ionic and Flutter are up against stiff competition. Flutter offers a lot of great features, but it has certain limitations when it comes to web browsers. Ionic, on the other hand, is based on web standards and can assist you in developing exceptional web, desktop, and mobile applications.

So, if you want flexibility in terms of both mobile and web apps, you should go with Ionic, as Flutter is still not compatible with the web.

Winner: Ionic

Performance

When comparing Flutter's and Ionic's performance, the efficiency level of each is critical in determining which is best for your project.

Flutter is a good option if you want to add great animation in your app. But if you want to make a more normal customer-centric app, Ionic may provide good results.

Bundle size also has a huge influence on how your app is delivered over the internet. The app size is generally small because Ionic uses the regular browser runtime and primitives.

Mobile performance winner: Flutter

Web performance winner: Ionic

Sustainability

Here, the term "sustainability" refers to the project's durability and flexibility. Projects driven by Ionic are more suitable than those powered by Flutter. So, even if developers desire to broaden their horizons, their knowledge of JavaScript, CSS, and HTML will always be useful.

Flutter, on the other hand, is still in its development phase. So, non-Flutter apps may not have access to Flutter app capabilities. As a result, Ionic comes out on top when it comes to sustainability and flexibility.

Winner: Ionic

Knowledge and Skill Set

When it comes to the knowledge and skills required to build apps in both frameworks, Flutter is a dart-based framework, whereas Ionic is a JavaScript framework. You'll need to learn Dart if you wish to work as a Flutter developer.

Dart is a self-contained, highly customized ecosystem with its own set of limitations. That's why it casts doubt on a Dart developer's market ability.

Winner: Ionic

Code Maintainability

Maintaining code is an important topic. While Ionic has a strong community, it still has issues with code maintenance, whereas Flutter is simple to maintain. The clarity of the code of Flutter makes it easy for developers to see issues, locate additional tools, and integrate third-party libraries. Furthermore, the stateful hot reloading functionality fixes the problem right away.

Ionic developers are regularly forced to modify code in order to keep their applications reliable, which makes code maintenance a major issue. In terms of code maintainability, Flutter is the clear winner.

Winner: Flutter

User Experience

Flutter delivers a great user experience with its simplified tools, components, and even customized widgets. You may customize your user interface in any way you choose.

Ionic creates a native-like persistent and transient UI navigation for both iOS and Android apps by providing a rich, seamless in-app experience. Furthermore, users do not need to download the app APK for new updates on a regular basis.

Winner: Flutter

Use Cases

Let's evaluate when to use Flutter and Ionic.

Use Flutter if you

  • have to build a complex app,
  • value both performance and a pleasing user interface, or
  • your team want to explore or learn a new language.

Use Ionic if

  • your main goal is to work on a simple app/project,
  • you want to make a hybrid mobile app out of a web app, or
  • your focus is on a good user interface and not on performance.

Let's take a look at some of the top apps that use Flutter and Ionic. Here's a list of some of the biggest IT companies that are turning to the two frameworks to satisfy their market demands.

Flutter apps

  • Google Ads
  • Tencent
  • eBay
  • BMW

Ionic apps

  • Nationwide
  • Pacifica
  • Marketwatch
  • Microsoft Flow

Now, let's compare Flutter and Ionic side by side to get a better understanding.

Flutter or Ionic: Who Won the Battle?

We examined Flutter and Ionic frameworks from several perspectives in this post. Frameworks evolve quickly; therefore, a framework may provide a new feature at any moment to make a given development approach more productive.

Both Flutter and Ionic are popular mobile frameworks. However, Flutter outperforms Ionic in terms of performance, while Ionic is often regarded as the most productive tool for web developers building hybrid mobile apps.

Choose a framework after carefully considering your needs. There is no straightforward way to gofrom Ionic to Flutter or Flutter to Ionicwithout rebuilding the entire program.

Making the decision to choose a certain framework is never easy. Having a comprehensive understanding of your company objectives and user needs will make the decision-making process much easier.

If the app's structure is complicated, however, it's advisable to engage specialist Ionic developers.

Similarly, if you project has a complex user demand, you should always engage a Flutter app development specialist team.

I hope you found the information in this post useful.

This post was written by Harshil Patel. Harshil is a Software Developer and Machine Learning enthusiast with experience in designing, developing, maintaining Software applications and writing about various technologies.

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