Following the pandemic, there was a significant surge in mobile app development, increasing the use of cross-platform app development tools like Flutter.
Despite its popularity, Flutter has several drawbacks. So, developers are on the lookout for better alternatives.
Before we discuss some of the finest Flutter alternatives out there, let’s find out more about Flutter.
What is Flutter?
Flutter, introduced in May 2017, is Google’s UI toolkit for creating attractive, natively built apps for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase.
In a nutshell, it enables you to construct a native mobile application with a single codebase. Meaning you can design two distinct apps using a single programming language and codebase (for iOS and Android).
Dart, a programming language, is used to create Flutter apps. The basic concept of Flutter, on the other hand, revolves around widgets. Using widgets, users may create the complete user interface.
Widgets are classified into structural elements, aesthetic elements, UI layout elements, and so on.
Flutter is a whole software development kit that includes rendering engines, CLI (command-line interface tools), developer tools, completely changeable widgets, testing, extensive debugging with plugin support, widget tree inspector, API interfaces, and much more.
Flutter Key Features
- Rapid Development: Flutter has a lot of features that help developers create and deploy apps quickly, including offline documentation. Many of the important layout and elements of an app are pre-built as widgets in a flutter, and the most important feature, stateful hot reload, which saves a lot of time by allowing the app to rebuild in less than a second.
- Native Performance: One of the finest aspects about flutter is that it is open-source, allowing anybody with adequate intellect to contribute to its growth. As a result, flutter has achieved breakthrough performance that is often as excellent as native apps.
- Expressive and Flexible User Interface (UI): A good user interface (UI) must be a vital aspect of any app development technology on the market. However, with the assistance of its rapid ship features like material design, which helps the app appear excellent with no work, flutter has pushed it to another level.
- Cross-platform Operations: Flutter’s finest feature is that when you create a mobile app, you also get a web and desktop app.
Flutter Pain Points
Flutter has some great features. However, many factors are preventing developers from using it. These include:
- Developers must spend some time learning a new programming language because the platform is built on Dart.
- If you wish to create applications with device-specific capabilities, Flutter isn’t for you.
- Furthermore, some developers say that Flutter is ineffective for creating commercially complicated apps.
For all of these reasons, seeking the finest alternative to Flutter might be a wise decision.
1. React Native
You don’t make a mobile web app, an HTML5 app, or a hybrid app with React Native; you make a true mobile app that’s indistinguishable from one made with Objective-C or Java.
With this framework, you may create the greatest apps for many platforms using a single codebase. React Native Framework, an open-source, cross-platform mobile framework, was published in 2015.
Because of its incredible capabilities and benefits, it has quickly become one of the greatest platforms for cross-platform mobile apps. However, an increasing number of developers are turning to React Native to create powerful cross-platform applications.
- The platform that is open-source.
- Reusability of Live React Code.
- Architecture that is modular and user-friendly.
- Faster to build – The reduced development time is React Native’s main selling feature. The framework includes numerous ready-to-use components that can help speed up the process.
- One framework, multiple platforms – React Native enables you to reuse your codebase (or a part of it) between iOS and Android. Depending on the number of native modules used in your program, true cross-platform development is doable to some extent.
- Simplified UI – React Native is firmly oriented toward the creation of a mobile user interface. You will need to build a sequence of actions in the program during native development. Because RN uses declarative programming, such a sequence of implementing tasks is no longer necessary. As a result, faults in the pathways a user can travel are much easier to identify.
- Compatibility and debugging issues – Developers may encounter a variety of problems with package compatibility or debugging tools. If your developers aren’t well-versed with React Native, this might have a detrimental influence on your development as they spend time troubleshooting.
- Need for Native developers – Some native features and modules require in-depth expertise of a specific platform. The absence of out-of-the-box support for many native app capabilities (e.g., push notifications) was formerly a major concern with React Native development.
It is a front-end SDK framework that allows you to construct mobile apps for iOS, Windows, and Android devices using the same codebase.
It proves to be a cross-platform programming tool for mobile devices. It enables programmers to create once and run anywhere.
Ionic is indeed a mobile app development framework for HTML5 that focuses on hybrid applications. The Ionic is primarily concerned with front-end user experience, or UI interaction, which is responsible for your app’s overall appearance and feel.
The initial version of this framework, based on Angular JS and Apache Cordova, was released in 2013, and it’s a terrific solution that’s similar to Flutter in some ways.
It’s simple to understand and can operate with other libraries or frameworks like Angular, Cordova, and others. It may also be used without a front-end framework by using a simple script inclusion. It has a command-line interface that allows you to construct the program while reducing coding time.
- CSS components- These components, with their native appearance and feel, provide nearly all of the pieces that a mobile application needs. The components’ default style may be readily modified to fit your own designs.
- Ionic CLI – This is NodeJS utility that contains commands for launching, developing, running, and simulating Ionic apps.
- AngularJS – AngularJS Ionic builds sophisticated single-page apps tailored for mobile devices using the AngularJS MVC architecture.
- When compared to native iOS/Android applications, it enables faster development.
- Except for some plugin support, it enables you to construct apps for multiple operating systems using the same codebase.
- It enables simple testing of modules and components.
- It has many plugins and reusable components.
- It includes a variety of UI components and allows for rapid prototyping.
- It provides a plethora of plugins for creating more dynamic mobile applications.
- You will receive a lot of UI components that will make it simple to use and manage.
- Debugging can be difficult using ionic, and it takes longer to address the issue. It makes determining the cause of the mistake difficult, and the error message might be ambiguous at times.
- It includes certain native plugins that may not be reliable and may clash with one another.
- If you are developing hybrid apps, you may encounter security difficulties and your code may be vulnerable to hackers.
- When developing complicated and resource-intensive mobile applications, there may be certain performance concerns.
- If you start with an ionic framework, you must rely on plugins to access native functionality.
Cordova uses a native WebView to render your web application. A WebView is an application component (similar to a button or a tab bar) that displays web content within a native program.
Consider a WebView to be a web browser without any of the typical user interface features like a URL field or a status bar.
Nitobi has also created Cordova, which is a handy application development framework.
This form of mobile application is sometimes called a hybrid application. Cordova apps are packaged as mobile device applications that have access to the APIs of native devices. This framework also allows for the combination of native and hybrid code snippets.
- Cordova Fundamental Components: Cordova includes a variety of core components that are required by any mobile application. These components provide the foundation of an app, allowing us to concentrate on developing our own logic.
- Command Line Interface (CLI): This utility is in charge of creating processes and installing plugins for various platforms. It is used to kick off initiatives and make the development process go more smoothly.
- It is simple to learn and may be used to create cross-platform applications.
- It is a free and open platform.
- Cordova application development is quick since it turns into an app that is compatible with different platforms.
- It allows you to create apps for numerous platforms without having to learn new programming languages.
- It is a collection of pre-built plugins that allow access to the device’s camera, GPS, and file system.
- Its speed suffers because of running its code in the browser view.
- It is not suitable for huge apps since hybrid apps are slower than native apps.
- It is not ideal for gaming application development since it requires several higher-end plugins that are presently unavailable.
Xamarin is an open-source platform for developing contemporary and performact.net apps for iOS, Android, and Windows.
Xamarin apps may be authored on a PC or a Mac and then compiled into native application packages like an.apk file for Android or an.ipa file for iOS.
It is designed for developers that want to share code, test, and business logic across platforms and create cross-platform apps in C# using Visual Studio.
You can create a mobile app with a completely native appearance and feel. In Xamarin, you can build a single C# codebase that has access to all of the native SDK functionality.
This pattern enables developers to write all of their business logic in a single language (or reuse existing application code) while yet achieving native performance, appearance, and feel across platforms.
- Complete SDK binding- Xamarin has bindings for virtually all of the underlying platform SDKs in both iOS and Android. Furthermore, these findings are highly typed, which means they’re simple to navigate and use, and they enable comprehensive type checking at build time and during development. Bindings that are strongly typed result in fewer runtime errors and higher-quality programs.
- Modern language constructs- Xamarin apps are written in C#, a modern language with considerable advantages over Objective-C and Java, such as dynamic language capabilities, functional constructs like lambdas, LINQ, parallel programming, generics, and more.
- Cross-platform support for mobile devices- Xamarin provides comprehensive cross-platform compatibility for the three major platforms of iOS, Android, and Windows. With Xamarin, applications may be developed to share up to 90% of their code. Essentials provides a uniform API for gaining access to shared resources across all three platforms. For mobile developers, shared code may dramatically cut development costs as well as time to market.
- Robust Base Class Library (BCL) — Xamarin apps take advantage of the.NET BCL, a huge set of classes with extensive and streamlined capabilities including robust XML, Database, Serialization, IO, String, and Networking support, among others. Existing C# code may be compiled for use in an app, allowing access to hundreds of libraries that extend the BCL’s capability.
- Shorter development cycles- One significant advantage of Xamarin app development is that 90% of the code can be reused or recycled for creating applications for many mobile platforms. Bing is built with C# and native code. Net libraries and Xamarin app development help to save a significant amount of time and work. It shortens development timelines while generating apps for several platforms.
- Full device support (i.e. camera, GPS)- As Xamarin provides native-level app functionality, it avoids hardware compatibility concerns, plugins, and APIs. It also allows you to link with native libraries. Developers may create applications with common device functions, and such apps will perform seamlessly across all major platforms. Better customization and a native-like experience for Xamarin app development services may be obtained with lower overhead expenses.
- Open source technology with strong support- Following Microsoft’s acquisition of Xamarin, there were significant policy changes. The Xamarin SDK has gone open-source, and it is now available to everyone under the MIT license. The platform grew in popularity as the principal barrier — the purchase of a license – was removed. Xamarin has evolved into a dependable and strong technology stack for cross-platform app development solutions.
- UI development takes time – While most Xamarin software may be reused across platforms, the basic UI construction is not yet portable. Developers may be required to conduct some coding or work across different platforms, which is a time-consuming procedure.
- File size may need to be adjusted – Developers may need to make changes to the app’s file size. The fundamental reason for this is that using core libraries and functionality places significant pressure on the app store. Before submitting your Xamarin app to the relevant app store, you should make sure that it has a reasonable app file size. Sizes typically vary from 3MB to 15MB.
So, these are some of the top Flutter alternatives to consider while designing easy and excellent cross-platform applications.
However, before deciding, it is critical to analyze your app’s characteristics because this will tell you which framework is most suited for it.
Finally, your solution selection should be based on whatever philosophy you subscribe to, where and how you want to deploy your app, and what talents you now have or would like to acquire in the future.
Of course, the best approach to determine which one is ideal for you is to begin developing with all of them and then compare your results.