Flutter and Ionic are two famous hybrid frameworks that are much in demand these days. To help you understand these two, this article covers every detail and information needed for better comprehension. So, in this post, you will find common features of ionic and flutter, their use cases, pros and cons, their communities, and much more.
In the IT industry, the latest mantra has become - Code Once, Use Everywhere. Nowadays, businesses prefer going with hybrid mobile applications way more than the native competitors. One of the reasons behind this is that hybrid apps cut down the development costs and time to a great extent.
Having said that, the two most popular hybrid frameworks available out there are Flutter and Ionic. Both of them are equipped with a huge team of developers, consistently working to bring uniqueness.
While Flutter provides integrated tools, customizations, and an extensive set of inbuilt widgets; Ionic offers a wide range of plugins to speed the development process. So, in this post, let’s dive deeper into Flutter vs Ionic and find more.
Additionally, Ionic features multiple components that offer native functionality. This framework is known for providing effective performance with minimum DOM manipulation.
This one is an open-source framework that works with Dart - a language developed by Google. Flutter is commonly known as an improved UI toolkit that is used to develop cross-platform applications through a single codebase.
It offers accessibility to develop flexible and expressive UI with native performance. In addition to this, Flutter is contributed and supported by a team of Google developers alongside the flutter community.
Despite the differences, there are some common features and goals that both Ionic and Flutter share, such as:
Here are some of the significant and most popular use cases of Flutter and Ionic:
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Jotted down below are some pros and cons of flutter and ionic that you should know:
Both of these frameworks have been around for quite a while now. Owing to this, they have a huge community that looks after every technological update for them.
Since its inception back in 2017, the Flutter community has acquired a bit more traction in comparison to Ionic. The number of professional contributors for Flutter is merely 662+.
However, the number of live projects handled by the community is approximately 13,700. Here, anybody can contribute to help. Some of the popular platforms that are used to connect with Flutter’s global community include:
Ionic was launched in 2013, and the developer community for this framework comprises more than 5 million developers. To date, almost more than 5 million apps have been developed on the Ionic framework in more than 200 countries.
The number of live projects that the Ionic community handles on GitHub is approximately 13,300. Some of the popular platforms used to connect with the community of Ionic globally include:
Comparably, Flutter offers better performance than the arch-rivals. It doesn’t need a bridge to communicate between native modules because of the native components’ default availability. If the performance test is to be believed, it has been indicated that the “hello world” app performed at 60 FPS always and the time is taken for rendering each frame didn’t go beyond 16 milliseconds.
The number of dropped frames was fewer as well. Flutter makes use of the Skia graphics library, allowing the user interface to be redrawn every time with every change done in the application view. This is how Flutter performs effectively at 60 FPS.
Ionic is one of the best cross-platform frameworks. It was only recently, in 2019, when it rose to its popularity. The apps developed on the Ionic framework have experienced a rise of 53.3% since January 2019.
As far as the performance is concerned, the Ionic apps provide 60 FPS on both desktop and mobile. They use pre-existing plugins and provide a hybrid methodology to speed the development process. The interactive time of the framework is fewer than 1.8 seconds. Although its framework is non-native, Ionic still excels in offering hardware accelerated transitions, pre-rendering and touch-optimized gestures.
Selecting the right architectural framework can simplify the entire process of development and will help your application by offering support during future updates.
The architecture of Flutter is layered. The hierarchy of a basic application developed on this framework begins with the top-level root function, which is also known as platform-specific widgets. It the then followed by simple widgets that are meant to interact with the rendering and platform layers.
Beyond the rendering layer, you will find animation gestures that are meant to transfer API calls to the application’s foundation. It is also called Scaffold that is operated by a C or C++ engine along with a platform-specific embedder.
If you wish to separate the business logic and the presentation layer, you can implement Flutter BLoC. This architecture turns out to be seamless for both junior as well as experienced Flutter developers when it comes to developing complicated apps with simple and small components.
Ionic makes use of AngularJS MVC architecture, which is a software design pattern that consists of a Model View Controller to develop sophisticated cross-platform, single-page apps optimized for mobiles. This architecture allows multiple developers to work simultaneously, which decreases the turnaround time and increases productivity.
Furthermore, since the architecture enables the development of multiple Views, the application is immune to recurring iterations.
When it comes to code maintainability, Flutter is much easier to maintain in comparison to Ionic. Let’s find out more here:
Maintaining a Flutter application is extremely easy. The code’s simplicity assists developers in spotting issues, sourcing external tools, and supporting third-party libraries. Moreover, the Hot Reloading feature instantly resolves the problems at hand.
The time consumes to release qualitative updates and make instant changes in the apps is much better than Ionic.
With Ionic, often developers have to rewrite the codes to maintain stability in the application; thereby making code maintenance a challenging issue. On top of that, the backward compatibility breaks a lot of time, making it, even more, worse and a frustrating experience.
In the present era, both of these frameworks have several official guidelines, documents, third-party libraries, plugins, and open-sourced projects to support developers throughout the process. However, upon comparing Ionic and Flutter for feasibility, the latter is preferable to develop complicated apps
Often, developers get attracted toward frameworks that take less effort to integrate during the lifecycle of development. Flutter is available with a plug-in system that assists apps in communicating with the operating system for such functions that are non-UI.
While iOS experts use Cupertino Widgets to develop interfaces, Android developers use Material Components to add value to their apps. With Flutter, all you would need is to create such a team that has experience in Dart or is willing to learn it.
The recent version of Ionic - v5 - is not ideal for developing complicated applications. Whenever you would try to add complex functionalities to the app, you may face challenges with certain features, such as animated UI, image processing, location-based services, etc.
However, Ionic is definitely an optimal solution for developing simple, small-sized applications.
Flutter provides a rich user experience with simple elements, tools, and customized widgets. Once you have understood everything about AnimationBuilder, StreamBuilder, and FutureBuilder, there will be no restrictions on how you can customize the user interface.
The feature of generational garbage collection is a part of Dart as well that assists you in developing UI frames for object codes that could be temporary. This Dart feature allocates objects in a single pointer bump that neglects UI junk, clutter as well as animation shutter lag during the process of development.
Ionic provides a seamless, rich in-app experience for both Android and iOS applications to create a transient UI navigation and native-like persistence. The hybrid methodology eradicates the need to submit a newer version to the app stores.
This lets you rapidly develop features within the native mobile app container that send live updates to the devices of users. On top of that, users don’t need to download the app apk frequently to get new updates.
Maintaining the smooth and intuitive functionality of a code with minimal effort and time is one of the primary objectives of development. Let’s have a glance at varying methods and tools that both the frameworks provide to make sure testing quality is retained:
Considering that Flutter operates with Dart, it offers extensive support for automated testing. If, as a developer, you have used Spec, Spek or Mocha, unit testing in Flutter will be a child’s play with a ready-to-use unit test framework.
A library, such as Flutter Test, offers the required tools for widget testing. Furthermore, several tools, such as XCUITest and Appium can be used to simulate UI testing. And then Dart packages, such as Flutter driver, provide an instrumental testing suite for integrated testing and widgets.
Testing an Ionic app is comparatively simple and is developed with web-based technologies. You will not require additional emulators or testing devices as the app is already tried and tested in varying browsers through WebView.
Browsers offer inbuilt debugging and testing tools to make the entire process of testing convenient. Moreover, Ionic CLI has all of the functionalities for testing the web component.
Evaluating APK files as well as codes will make sure that the components and libraries used don’t impact the application’s size. To explain it thoroughly, let’s consider the “Hello World” app.
The hello world app’s size in Flutter was 7.5MB. With this framework, the app’s size got influenced by the C/C++ engine and the Virtual Machine of Dart. But, Flutter is capable of self-containing all of the assets and codes to neglect the concerns related to the size.
Moreover, using a special tag, such as split-debug-info, can help decrease the code size to a great extent.
With the introduction of Ionic v5, the size of the hello world app that was developed in Ionic is decreased to 3.2MB from 5 and 6MBs that were there in the previous versions. Also, the use of special tags during the process of development - prod - release has further decreased the ap size.
Flutter is not difficult to learn. Writing down a code with Dart could be quite unusual, however, that is what makes it easier to develop with Flutter. If you wish to learn this framework, you will have to be familiar with the basic know-how of native iOS or Android development. Moreover, considering that documentation in Flutter is much smoother, you will easily get to learn everything about it.
Regardless of the benefits and drawbacks of Flutter and Ionic, it is essential to be familiar with the cost you would have to pay to hire experience developers before you begin the development.
If you wish to hire a flutter developer, the average cost comes anywhere between $20 to $100 an hour. The big players out there, such as Alibaba, Watermania, BMW, and more had to hire a minimum of 5 developers to build the applications on Flutter.
If you are looking forward to hiring an Ionic developer, you will have to pay anywhere between $10 to $150 an hour, based on their years of experience and skill set. However, if your app has a complicated structure, it is recommended that you go with a dedicated team rather than hiring individual developers.
Both of these frameworks are adequate for developing hybrid applications. However, the preference depends and varies from one individual to another. If you are still confused, make sure you go through the case studies of both Flutter and Ionic and zero down upon your requirements. And then, you can choose one accordingly.
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Madhuri is a Senior Content Creator at MindMajix. She has written about a range of different topics on various technologies, which include, Splunk, Tensorflow, Selenium, and CEH. She spends most of her time researching on technology, and startups. Connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter .
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