Flutter vs React Native vs Ionic: Detailed Comparison (2020)
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By: Sagar Sharma

Flutter vs React Native vs Ionic: Decoding the Best Mobile App Development Kit

During the second half of the last decade, smartphones have successfully replaced PCs and became the primary digital device for the majority of human beings. As a result, you can notice a significant number of transformations are on the way for better user experience, and mobile application is one such example.

Over the years, mobile applications have emerged as a preferred tool for digital interaction. But, while developing an application for your business, you are expected to know the basics about software development kits, and which one to choose between flutter vs react native vs ionic.

So if you are planning to develop your own application, this article will offer you an in-depth insight into the world of software development kits. To make your decision making simple and less complicated, here is a comparative analysis among the three leading smartphone application development kits; flutter, react native, and ionic.

But, before rushing to the theme of this article, let’s discuss the advantages of developing a mobile application for your business.

How a Mobile Application is Capable of Transforming Your Business Completely

These days, every major business has its own application, and there is no rocket science behind that. There are a number of exclusive advantages of opting for a mobile app over traditional browsing. Let’s take a look at some of the major advantages of the mobile application over its counterparts.

  • Applications are significantly faster than web browsing.
  • You can offer personalized services according to the customer’s priority.
  • By using a mobile application, you can increase engagement with your customers considerably.
  • You can remind your customer about the ongoing deal through notification.

The Best Platform to Develop Your Application

Though there are a number of mobile application making kits available in the industry, only a few are reliable enough to trust. In the current market scenario, flutter, react native, and ionic are the three software development kits that stand out of the crowd in terms of customer satisfaction, overall performance, and optimization of the application.

However, industry experts often compare ionic vs react native, flutter vs ionic, or even phonegap vs flutter. Each of them has its own set of advantages and disadvantages; therefore, the customers should have at least the basic knowledge about these app developing kits in order to choose the most appropriate option for their business.

So, let’s discuss all of them one by one, and decode which app developing kit suits your business the most.

React Native

React Native is backed by the popular social media giant Facebook. The company started the React native project in 2015, and over the years, it has gathered immense popularity all across the world. To develop mobile applications, React Native goes with JavaScript, which is often considered as one of the best solutions for mobile platforms.

Cross Platforms Used by Developers

Image Credit: Statista

According to a recent survey of Statista, more than 42% of the mobile applications are based on React Native, which makes it the most popular smartphone application making platform. React Native is also known as a multi-platform development solution, as one can develop applications for both Android and iOS platforms using this platform.

 

Pros and Cons of React Native
ProsCons
Lesser Development TimeImmature
Third Party Libraries SupportDifficult to Code
Excellent UI/UXSecurity Aspect
PerformanceLonger Opening Time
Reusable Code for Different OS
Large Community
Stability
Updates

Advantages of React Native

Some of the remarkable benefits of going with React Native app development platforms are:

Lesser Development Time: If you have limited time to develop an application, it is advisable to go with the React native. The platform requires significantly lesser development time.

Third Party Libraries Support: React Native is known for its support to third party libraries. The platform is heavily dependent on third parties.

Excellent UI/UX: If your business demands a responsive UI/UX, React Native is the correct platform to develop your application. Besides, thanks to its open-source JavaScript library, React Native often provides a simple and easy to understand interface.

Performance: This app making platform ensures great performance in your application.

Reusable Code for Different OS: More than 90% of the code can be reused while developing the same application on a different OS. It will reduce the cost of application making, the time required to develop an application, and, most importantly, the effort of the developers.

Large Community: Here, you can get a huge volume of developers; therefore, you can take the help of the community if you stuck anywhere while developing the application.

Stability: You can enjoy enhanced app stability with React Native.

Updates: React Native applications can easily bypass the App Store, and you can download it from any third party source.

Disadvantages of React Native

Enough of good things, let’s look at some of the weakness of React Native:

Immature: The platform is still very new in comparison to its competitors. Therefore, its competitors offer a better deal in several aspects. However, with the passage of time, the platform is expected to improve its existing quality.

Difficult to Code: Learning curve of React Native is considered as difficult for an average programmer.

Security Aspect: The open-source framework of React Native put a question mark on the security feature of the application.

Longer Opening Time: It takes relatively more time to initiate the operation. As a result, the apps might feel slow to some users. But, post the opening, you can expect an efficient performance from the application.

Popular React Native Applications

A number of popular companies are using React Native applications, such as Walmart, Instagram, Airbnb, UberEats, Facebook, and the list will go on. Experts in the industry are predicting that the popularity of React Native is going to increase further in the near future.

Ionic

Ionic was created in 2013, and experts consider it one of the most efficient platforms to develop mobile applications. The platform uses technologies, such as CSS, JavaScript, HTML, and Angular.

A recent survey estimates that currently, more than five million applications are made using the Ionic app making platform. Ionic is compatible with building mobile applications for two of the most popular smartphone operating system, such as Android and iOS.

The biggest advantage of going with Ionic is its compatibility with different plugins.

Pros and Cons of Ionic
ProsCons
Quick Development PeriodProblem with iOS
Native-Like ExperienceHeavily Dependent on Plugins
Single CodeAbsence Hot Reloading
MaintenanceSecurity
Large CommunitySize of the Application
Ease of Learning
Compatibility with Plugin

Advantages of Ionic

Some of the definite advantages of going with Ionic are:

Quick Development Period: Unlike the native applications, apps created through Ionic take significantly lesser time to develop. Here, you can develop your application at once for both Android and iOS. However, there are several restrictions when it comes to supporting plugins and styling.

Native-Like Experience: Everybody knows that the performance of native apps is hard to match; however, it has its own sets of disadvantages, such as time-consuming, expensive, etc.

Here, by opting for the Ionic mobile app making kit, you can get native-like experience on your application without spending much on the development.

Single Code: Similar to React Native, on the Ionic platform, a single code will work on multiple platforms. It will help you in reducing the cost, time, and effort while developing the application.

Maintenance: Apps developed on the Ionic platform need low maintenance in comparison to their counterparts. On the other hand, you will have the option to develop a desktop-based application in the future as well.

Large Community: Strong community support is a definite plus for any application. It is a well-known secret that JavaScript is the most popular language in the programmers’ circle. Therefore, you can easily get support at the time of your need.

Ease of Learning: Unlike the React Native, Ionic is considered as easy to learn.

Compatibility with Plugin: Applications made Ionic can be integrated with different tools quite easily. Therefore, you can access the best in class security, payment system, and other testing tools on your application.

Disadvantages of Ionic

Similar to all other smartphone app developing kits, Ionic also comes with its own sets of disadvantages. Some of them are:

Problem with iOS: Though Ionic supports both Android and iOS operating systems, it has been seen that the platform is not that polished when it comes to iOS. You can feel the difference while scrolling on the iOS platform.

However, the experience on Android is buttery smooth.

Heavily Dependent on Plugins: Though you would find plugins for almost all functionality, there are several instances, especially when you want to add a highly specific feature, it is difficult to get plugin or modules. In such cases, you have to develop the plugin of your own, which is indeed a tough task.

Absence Hot Reloading: Hot reloading has emerged as a basic feature in mobile software making; however, this particular feature is absent on Ionic. Therefore, developers are required to restart the entire application in order to make some changes, which is time-consuming.

Security: Similar to most of the hybrid application making kits, you can’t completely rely on Ionic when it comes to security.

Size of the Application: Over the years, it has seen that the size of the applications that are made on Ionic are larger than their counterparts. In order to reduce the size, you need to delete unused fonts, images, and styles.

Popular Ionic Applications

There are a number of popular applications created on Ionic, and some of them are McDonald’s Türkiye, McLaren Automotive, MarketWatch, Honeyfi, JustWatch, and so on.

Flutter

Flutter is an open-source, cross-platform mobile app making tool developed by none other than Google. The platform uses the Dart programming language, which is regarded as one of the fastest in the industry.

It offers its own widgets and is highly customizable in nature. Since its inception in 2018, Flutter improved its market share dramatically. The development of APIs and UIs components on the platform is definitely the biggest plus.

Pros and Cons of Flutter
ProsCons
Faster CodingProblem on iOS
Single CodingSize of the application
TestingAbsence of Third Party Libraries
Support for Old Devices
Performance

Advantages of Flutter

Here are some of the major advantages that you can expect from the applications based on Flutter.

Faster Coding: Unlike Ionic, Flutter supports hot reload, which ensures a significantly faster coding experience. Developers don’t need to restart the entire application in order to fix bugs or carry out any experiment.

Single Coding: In Flutter, a single code is compatible with both the operating systems; Android and iOS. However, if you want to change some aspects in one of the platforms, you will have the option to do that.

Testing: As a single code is applicable for both the platforms, the testing would be lesser, and you will have greater assurance when it comes to the quality of the application.

Support for Old Devices: The UI of the application looks similar to the older version of iOS or Android. Most importantly, you don’t require to pay any additional amount for the support on the older devices.

Performance: Flutter provides rich performance. It excels in aspects like the CPU usage, average response time, frame number per second, etc.

Disadvantage of Flutter

There are some disadvantages that you can expect from the applications made on Flutter, and some of them are;

Problem on iOS: As Google creates the platform, you can get an assured implementation on Android, but the same is not the case with iOS. The updates are relatively late on iOS, and you might experience problems related to bugs on the particular platform.

Size of the application: Similar to Ionic, The size of the applications developed by Flutter lies on the higher side. To limit the size of the application, developers opt to avoid animations, compressing images, and other similar tactics.

Absence of Third Party Libraries: You won’t find any third party libraries for the application developed on Flutter. It restricts automatic software development for developers.

Popular Flutter Applications

There are numerous popular applications developed by the Flutter app developing tool. Some of them are Google Ads, Alibaba, Hamilton Musical, Birch Finance, Coach Yourself, SG BusTracker, Hookle Social App, and the list will go on.

Flutter vs React Native vs Ionic: A Comparative Analysis

By now, you have gone through each one’s advantages and disadvantages, now it’s time to summarise everything in a tabular form.

This table will help you to compare the three leading smartphone application making platforms; Flutter vs React Native vs Ionic.

Flutter vs React Native vs Ionic Table

Conclusion

Before developing a mobile application, the majority of the customers compare flutter vs react native vs ionic.

However, one needs to understand that all of these three offer best in class support for mobile applications. By looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each of the platforms, you can take your call.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Flutter vs React Native vs Ionic

Compare the three smartphone application making platforms in terms of code reusability?

The codes for all three platforms can be reused. But, if you compare Flutter vs React Native vs Ionic; Ionic leads the pack with more than 98% of the codes can be reused. In the case of React Native, more than 90% of the codes are reusable and followed by the Flutter, where around 50-90% of the codes can be reused.

How much will it cost to develop a cross-platform application?

The cost of developing an application depends on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the application, the platforms on which you want to develop, security features, payment gateways, and so many aspects.

Which kind of application that I should develop; Native VS Cross-platform?

Both native and cross-platform applications have their unique advantages. In terms of quality, native applications are better than their counterparts; however, you have to spend significantly more money and time developing the application for different platforms.

On the other hand, cross-platform applications are slightly below par in terms of quality, but here, you can save a good amount of capital, time, and effort.

What is the future of smartphone app making?

With the advancement in technology, there are a number of features integrating into smartphone-based applications, such as AR, VR, AI, 3D gaming, and so on. There is an infinite number of possibilities in future app making.



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