Those times are really gone when for cross-platform app development all that developers could think of as their immediate technology stack was React Native. Over the recent years, some technically well-equipped programming languages and frameworks have appeared to unsettle the throne of React Native.
Kotlin appeared as the most succulent alternative to Java and Flutter framework was launched by Google as the most robust and feature-heavy framework addressing several shortcomings of the React Native.
Here throughout this blog post we are going to define these two technologies, describe their features and advantages, and at last going to provide a comprehensive comparison. This will also give an idea about which framework to choose for cross-platform app development.
What is Kotlin?
Created by JetBrains and supported by Google, Kotlin is actually a general-purpose, open-source programming language loaded with a lot of object-oriented or functional features. Though officially Kotlin was hailed by Google as the Java alternative, Kotlin can also be used for building apps on iOS, Android, web, desktop, and server-side backend.
Some of the key Kotlin advantages include the following.
- It offers a comprehensive SDK instead of just a framework.
- Kotlin offers a very simple and easy-to-understand syntax.
- By allowing to isolate UI and business logic, it also allows reusing the app logic.
- Kotlin is highly flexible and allows scaling up an app without using a virtual machine (VM).
What is Flutter?
Launched by Google in 2015, Flutter comes as an open-source cross-platform development framework with a great UI kit to help to build native-looking apps while maintaining optimum code reusability.
Some of the key advantages of Flutter include the following.
- Flutter is a very easy-to-use framework that helps developers with a developer conversation board before reusing the code in other projects.
- Enforcing the changes in real-time following the code changes make Flutter a better app.
- Awesome customization option is another great aspect of Flutter.
- Faster development speed and lower development time is a key advantage of Flutter.
- The robust Google Firebase support for the backend is a key benefit of Flutter.
- Thanks to faster development and ease of making changes Flutter is a great solution for MVP app development.
Comparing Kotlin and Flutter: Which is better for developers?
UI & UX
When you use Kotlin, UI can be created as per the expected appearance, look and feel. While using Kotlin developers can enjoy the flexibility of using a multitude of native libraries.
Flutter, on the other hand, is just an SDK enriched with a great UI repository to build apps for different devices. Developers can make use of the UI library for building apps across the platforms.
A key benefit of using the Flutter platform is the availability of the hot reloads feature that can be used by the developers to reflect changes made in the backend through the frontend instantly. This helps developers to make faster and more precise UI decisions. The component-based architecture of Flutter further helps speeding up development and improving app performance.
Kotlin offers a multiplatform code that allows coming with an identical configuration. The multiplatform approach helps Kotlin to boost productivity to a great extent while building apps.
When you compare the learning curve of the two technologies, Kotlin gets a thumbs up. Just because Kotlin is interoperable with Java, Google announced it as the official Android development language and provided several different learning courses on Kotlin.
Though both are equally progressing to become popular development choices in the market, Flutter is getting more traction as a robust cross-platform framework. In spite of their differences, both are skyrocketing in terms of popularity.
Kotlin boasts of around 31.k stars and 3.8k clients on the GitHub platform and Flutter gathered 90.4k stars and boasts of 12.1k clients within a specific time range.
As far as integration is concerned Flutter is capable to coordinate quickly and efficiently with both Android and iOS platforms. Flutter can also be used for prototyping and MVP app projects leading to a large project in the subsequent time. Thanks to this the process gets smooth and ensures a bigger success with the app development.
On the other hand, Kotlin has its own advantage as a multiplatform language that can be used by the developers to work on the project within their native structure. This gives complete freedom from the task of integrating different native tools and libraries for cross-platform app projects while using Kotlin.
Flutter has inbuilt testing tools and offers great ease in testing gadgets, app coordination, and carrying out unit testing. Flutter also offers very detailed documentation to help with the accessibility concerns. On the other hand, by using Firebase, a Backend-as-a-Service platform Flutter further helps with testing.
Kotlin is also great for QA testing purposes. Android app developers can easily use Kotlin for the unit testing of their apps.
By using Flutter, developers can build cross-platform mobile apps on both Android and iOS, desktop apps, and web apps. On the other hand, Flutter doesn’t allow building apps on TV (tvOS), Android Auto, CarOS, or smartwatch OS platforms.
In complete contrast, while using Kotlin, the developers do not need to give any attention to any platform-specific feature. Developers can use Kotlin for all kinds of apps across all platforms including mobile devices, TV, smartwatch, and all others.
This comparison between Kotlin and Flutter gave us several interesting points while giving us an understanding of their core competency. Both the technologies are competent enough for developing cross-platform as well as native apps. This is why it is the app project that should decide on choosing the right technology based on the features and specific attributes. As of now, most of the cross-platform app projects prefer Flutter while Android app projects are extremely favouring Kotlin.
Nathan McKinley a Business Development Manager at Cerdonis Technologies LLC – mobile app development company in the USA. With 4+ years of experience, he is sharing key insights of mobile tech integrations, augmented reality, virtual reality & cloud-driven mobile app on a frequent basis at various publications.