Cross-platform app frameworks are the tools employed by developers to build apps for different frameworks. Unlike native platforms, cross-platform frameworks allow developers to create a single app that can run on multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows, with minor modifications to the development process.
What are the benefits of using cross-platform apps? One of the significant advantages of cross-platform apps is the ability to reach a wider audience. Since these apps can be developed on various platforms and seamlessly integrated, businesses can target their consumers on multiple platforms rather than just one. To create a reliable mobile application, selecting the most appropriate technology is important.
Kotlin and Flutter are two of the most widely used tools for Android app development. In this discussion, we’ll compare Flutter and Kotlin, two of the top Android development tools. But before we dive into the details, let’s take a quick look at both.
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What is Kotlin?
Kotlin is a general-purpose programming language designed to enhance Java’s interoperability. Google has officially supported the language for Android apps, increasing its popularity in recent years. JetBrains developed Kotlin in 2011 to replace Java, which they found too verbose. The new language is 40% more concise than its predecessor and helped speed up JetBrains’ main product, the IntelliJ IDEA development environment. Despite this, Kotlin remains fully compatible with Java, as it runs on its virtual machine (JVM) and is an object-oriented language with static typing.
Kotlin has several areas of application, including backend, web, desktop, and other tasks. However, like any other programming language, Kotlin has its own niche, where it’s used by most programmers and has the most impact. Kotlin’s two main niches are server and mobile development, although it’s also increasingly used in science and data science. Nonetheless, Kotlin remains a favorite in mobile app development.
Advantages Of Kotlin
Null safety: One of the most innovative features of Kotlin is null safety. It eliminates the risk of null pointer exceptions by distinguishing between nullable and non-nullable references. Additionally, Kotlin doesn’t compile code that attempts to return null.
Single codebase: Kotlin multiplatform has a single codebase that makes it a stable language for development. Errors can be detected quickly before running the code.
Concise and easy to maintain: Unlike Java, you don’t have to write the entire code in Kotlin. You can write the same code with fewer lines. This feature makes Kotlin concise and easy to maintain.
Robust performance: Kotlin compiles code in the same format as the platform on which it’s built. This feature provides native app development with the required performance, making Kotlin a robust platform. Easy to learn: Kotlin is inspired by other languages such as Java and C#. Its syntax is quite similar to Java but less strict. Developers who already know Java will find Kotlin language familiar and easy to understand. Furthermore, because it is interoperable with Java, both languages can co-exist, making things easier for developers.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is a user interface toolkit created by Google in 2017, which is an open-source framework that provides a complete package of widgets, tools, and more for development purposes. It can be used for developing various applications, including mobile, web, desktop, and embedded devices.
Flutter is not a language but a development kit that includes all the necessary libraries, tools, and documentation required for software development. Dart is the programming language used in Flutter, developed by Google in 2011, and is well-suited for mobile and web applications.
Flutter utilizes the Skia graphics library, an open-source and speedy library for graphics, enabling a seamless user experience. Also, the Flutter development process is relatively speedy due to its ability to make code changes without reloading the app every time.
One of Flutter’s most notable features is its ability to reuse code across various platforms, including mobile devices such as iOS and Android, web, and desktop. This reusability of code helps streamline the development process and allows developers to create apps faster and more efficiently.
Advantages OF Flutter
MVP and prototype development: MVP or minimum viable product is a simplified version of an app or software that solves the problem statement. It clearly explains the idea’s potential and generates user interest in the product you intend to launch. Flutter is a cross-platform development tool requiring minimal time and resources, allowing you to assess the idea’s feasibility efficiently.
Hot reload: Flutter offers a hot reload feature that lets developers view any changes instantly. Whether fixing bugs, designing the user interface, etc., you can write code faster and more efficiently.
Widgets: Flutter SDK comes with various widgets that provide various capabilities and enhance the app’s visual appeal. They are used for displaying, designing, and handling interactions, among other things.
Cost-effective development: Because Flutter supports native app development, you can reuse most parts of the code, resulting in cost-effective development. This helps cut down on development time and resources, resulting in a budget reduction.
Let’s dig deeper into these technologies by comparing them.
Flutter vs. Kotlin Comparison
Although Kotlin is a popular language, it has not gained as much attention as Flutter on Github, with only 40k stars. Kotlin is ranked 13th in PYPL score while StackOverflow has only 1.17% of its questions related to Kotlin.
Flutter has gained significant popularity on GitHub since its 1.0 release, with 151k stars, indicating its growing usage and StackOverflow has approximately 2.50% of its questions related to Flutter.
Kotlin applications tend to run faster than Flutter applications because Kotlin apps can interact directly with the device. Additionally, the format in which Kotlin code compiles is the same as the platform’s, making it more suitable for cross-platform mobile app development and a more resilient platform.
Flutter is known for its quick development process thanks to the hot reload and hot restart features, which make debugging faster. The feature allows developers to instantly update the code and see the changes take effect quickly, resulting in a much faster development process.
Kotlin language can interact with the native platform ecosystem directly without the need for specific libraries or tools to establish a connection.
Flutter, being a user interface development toolkit, necessitates using third-party libraries and tools to establish a connection with the native environment.
User Interface and Experience
Kotlin provides an accessible environment for developing user interfaces, allowing developers to create them according to their preferences. It enables developers to use native functionality when needed and write platform-specific code.
Flutter is a framework that focuses on widgets and is compatible with multiple platforms. It offers various customization options, allowing developers to create different, versatile, and adaptable apps.
For any development team, the duration taken for a project’s development is crucial, as it directly impacts the project’s timeline and budget. Kotlin offers functionalities that can aid in hastening the development process. Nonetheless, it is essential to remember that the project’s characteristics and the team’s expertise and experimentation also influence the development duration.
The hot-reloading feature in Flutter is renowned for facilitating swift development as it enables developers to make modifications to the app and see the results almost immediately without disrupting the application’s functioning.
Kotlin has been used to develop apps for companies like VMware, Coursera, Zomato, Netflix, Pinterest, and Uber.
Flutter has been used to create apps such as Postmuse, Hamilton, Apptree, and Google ads.
Documentation & Community Support
Kotlin has good documentation and is working on improving it constantly. It has 475 Contributors on GitHub.
Flutter is a new platform that is gaining popularity. It has extensive documentation compared to other popular frameworks, making it an excellent option for developers. In terms of community, Flutter already has 811 contributors on GitHub.
With Kotlin/Native, developers get support for other platforms, such as embedded systems, macOS, and iOS.
Flutter is suitable for use in businesses of all sizes, from small to large. Based on reviews, it has shown the best results in developing online stores, fintech, business applications, and other Android app development services.
In addition, Flutter enables building mobile apps through Serverless technology, which offers several benefits. One of the main advantages is that it allows developers to focus on the app’s functionality without worrying about computing resources. Serverless technology is highly elastic, meaning the service provider provides computing resources only when needed. This also affects the maintenance cost, as you don’t have to pay for unused resources. Furthermore, this technology increases the speed of the application as more resources are provided when the load on the application increases.
It’s important to note that there is no perfect framework or language, and both Dart and Kotlin have advantages and disadvantages. Both languages provide decent performance and are not too expensive in terms of time and money. While Kotlin is considered more suitable for Android development, Flutter has gained more popularity in 2023. Both platforms allow almost native applications to be created with a single codebase, making them ideal for your project. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Our client’s success stories and the positive differences in their businesses before and after working with us are the best indications of our expertise and professionalism.