Cross-platform development is on the rise, and you may wonder why. As might be assumed by the name, it allows running apps on multiple platforms – whether it is iOS or Android – and helps businesses to reach more customers, therefore, earning more money. It is no wonder that the focus is gradually but steadily shifting to cross-platform development, and new technologies emerge more and more frequently.
After being around for a while, this type of development has established two winners: React Native and Flutter. So why do we want to tell you about Flutter vs Kotlin instead of Flutter vs React Native? What is Kotlin, and can it actually pose a threat to Flutter’s popularity? What is Kotlin Multiplatform, and what are the benefits of both technologies? Let’s find out.
The number of smartphone users has been growing over the past years, covering half the population of the world in 2021 – 3.8 billion people. Where there’s demand, there will always be a need for supply to meet it, hence the mobile app revenues have skyrocketed in the recent years. It has gone from $97.7 billion in 2014 to an impressive $365 billion in 2018. Statista predicts continuous stable growth with $935.2 billion in 2023.
The numbers show the significance of mobile development. But why should you consider creating cross-platform apps? According to StatCounter Global Stats, as of January 2021, Android is dominating the market with a 71.93% share whereas iOS comes second with 27.47%. By building cross-platform apps, businesses cover two markets at the same time, thus, expand their target audience and end up reaching roughly 99.4% of smartphone users. Companies also save money from doing only half the work for the development process and the post-release maintenance.
No wonder specialists predict a further rise of cross-platform development and point out their multiple benefits. Developers and IT business owners name a few technologies that will become essential for the future development market, including Flutter vs Kotlin vs React Native.
But when should you consider building across platforms?
But when should you think twice before choosing to build a cross-platform app?
Why is cross-platform development becoming more relevant? What are the main benefits of this approach?
Earlier, people believed that iOS users are more willing to spend money on extra features than Android owners, and based their marketing decisions on this. Maybe this belief had a little of the truth, but now the situation looks different. It is clear that platform choice is mostly taste-induced and has less to do with social status. Deciding which market to choose is even more difficult, therefore, building cross-platform and targeting 99.4% of mobile users is the way to go.
Although you will still require some insights from developers about specifics of iOS and Android, especially UI, guidelines, and store publications, the united codebase significantly accelerates the development process.
Even though it is recommended to hire platform-specific developers who know the intricacies of iOS and Android regulations and standards, the majority of your team can consist of cross-platform coders. Reducing the number of workers will save a substantial sum of money and enable smoother and easier communication.
Not only will you reduce the duration of development by focusing on producing one piece of code, but you’ll also benefit from its reusability. Cross-platform development implies applying reusable chunks of code instead of writing new code from scratch. This accelerates the development process itself and also shortens the testing phase.
By requiring a single source code, cross-platform applications integrate easier with the cloud. Cloud-based technology is definitely the future of software development as it increases accessibility thus improves the user experience significantly.
Check out our article “Flutter vs React Native in 2021: Which One is Better for Your Project?”
Due to the abundance of frameworks for cross-platform development, it would take you too long to read about all of them, so let’s focus on the market leaders: React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter. Also, this article will cover such topics as Kotlin and also a Flutter vs Kotlin comparison. But before that, let’s delve into the descriptions of these frameworks. Here’s the comparison table.
|Popularity *||42% (stable)||14% (12%↓)||39% (9% ↑)|
|Unique feature||Native UI components||Native-like performance||Pre-built widgets|
|* Among cross-platform developers, according to Statista data from 2020 compared to 2019.|
On the other hand, if you write an Android app with React Native, you will need to hire a native app developer, at least as a part-time contractor. Although the React community has been growing and offering more open-source libraries to add native features, the integration of complex functions still requires input from native app programmers.
Originally based on the Mono project and acquired by Microsoft in 2016, Xamarin Forms has become one of the most well-known open-source frameworks for app development. It allows you to create reusable code and apply it across different platforms ensuring great performance and user experience. Xamarin Forms has the following advantages:
The main downside of this framework is its inability to offer complicated graphics and lightweight applications. On top of that, Xamarin Forms is losing its support and community, which makes it a poor choice for the future of app development.
Flutter is a Google app framework that provides an open-source UI software development kit to build applications across various platforms. Flutter’s popularity has been increasingly growing in the last years and will probably continue to expand in the upcoming years. It offers an extensive toolkit along with Flutter API, framework, and widgets to craft attractive and fast applications. Do you want to know more about Flutter? Read on!
This next section of the article will cover what makes Flutter so beloved among the cross-platform development community and which popular apps were built using the Flutter framework. So what is Flutter? What language is Flutter using to build the application, and what is Dart programming language? Let’s find out.
Flutter is a Google-built UI toolkit powered by the Dart platform that allows you to create a native-like mobile app with a single codebase. It enables app developers to build two different apps for IOS and Android using one programming language. Also, Flutter can be used to build macOS and is currently being beta tested for web apps. To build with Flutter, you use Google’s programming language, Dart.
Dart is the official Flutter programming language that provides asynchronous programming using the Flutter Future class, and ensures improved application performance and responsiveness. And the extensive toolkit makes it the great pick between Flutter vs Android Studio. Let’s dive into more details about the framework in our short Flutter review.
Flutter offers a list of advantages that make it stand out from the competition. From easy-to-learn Flutter language called Dart to Hot Reload, you will definitely enjoy working with this framework. Let’s discuss the main benefits in more detail.
Nothing is perfect, and Flutter also comes with its limitations. We have highlighted the two most important disadvantages that you might face while working with this framework.
Large companies like Google, Alibaba, and SpaceX have recognized the Flutter framework’s benefits and have used it for mobile app development. Here is a shortlist of the top 5 applications that were built using this Google UI framework.
Google Ads is a Flutter-built application for ad campaign management that allows you to launch marketing campaigns on the go. The app provides an in-depth analysis of your ads, such as impressions, conversions, clicks, lead generation, and more. You can enjoy an excellent design along with real-time alerts, as well as the good technical support of the Google team.
Xianyu is an eCommerce application made by Alibaba that offers a quick and easy shopping platform. It has already reached more than 50 million users and encompasses an enormous number of various categories of goods, making the process of both selling and buying easier and more transparent.
Pairing is an online dating application that allows for a search in geographical proximity, within social networks. It also acts as a messaging application and offers an attractive and interactive design.
PostMuse is an application designed with this Google UI framework that offers a wide range of various templates for Instagram stories. Acting as an editing tool and a photo-sharing app, it allows customization and creates Instagram-worthy images and videos. Flutter ensured a high grade of usability without sacrificing performance.
This Dart mobile app was also built using the Flutter framework and gives its users constant updates on Tesla’s space division. You will discover all the available information about the company’s past, present, and future plans, as well as updates about launches, vehicles, and ships. Thanks to the Flutter framework, the application comes with a clear and interactive design and simple navigation.
Get inspired by our article “Software Development Plan: How to Build One in 2021“.
What is Kotlin for Android development? What is the difference between the Kotlin programming language and Kotlin Multiplatform? Do Kotlin Android applications show better performance? You will find out in the next section of the article.
Kotlin is an open-source, statically typed programming language designed to interoperate with Java. As a standalone language, it provides excellent features over Java, but it also works well in conjunction with the older language. Kotlin’s multiplatform capabilities allow developers to share code, logic, and data across several platforms: IOS, Android, Web, and more.
In React Native vs Kotlin, the latter has much higher compatibility with the native Android platform and ensures better performance. In the Kotlin vs Dart match, Kotlin would be a better choice for Android developers since they don’t have to acquire new knowledge. However, if your team consists of iOS developers, the Dart vs Kotlin battle loses its advantage, as they will have to learn a new language either way. Let’s discuss this mobile coding language, Kotlin performance, and other benefits in our Kotlin review.
In this part, we will talk about the benefits of using Kotlin and compare Flutter vs Kotlin.
What about Kotlin’s disadvantages? Do they override the benefits? Let’s take a look at the most common limitations when it comes to developing with Kotlin.
But what is Kotlin Multiplatform? It is a software development kit prepared by the team of Google cross-platform mobile development. Kotlin Multiplatform is a new experimental feature that allows for building an iOS application as well as writing an Android app.
Android Kotlin based applications have been around for a while, as we will show you the best advantages in the next part, but now you have a chance of also deploying to the iOS platform without hiring extra workers who can work with Swift, Flutter, or React Native.
Does Kotlin Multiplatform open new doors for cross-platform development? What advantages does it have and will it make the process of code writing easier?
Kotlin has been utilized by many big players like Tinder or Trello. But why did these companies choose Kotlin, and how did it affect the result?
Pinterest is an image-sharing service that used Kotlin to build its application. This mobile coding language has helped to write a clear and accurate code that translates into great performance.
Trello is a project management tool that is used as a collaboration platform for various occasions, from business to personal. Kotlin helped to make this application more interactive and faster.
Tinder is an online dating platform with a unique approach to matching people. The company used Kotlin in its development because of its concise and clear code architecture.
Netflix barely needs an introduction since it’s the most popular streaming service in the world with over 180 million subscribers. When they decided to rebuild the UI player, they chose the Android Kotlin language.
Airbnb is an online rental marketplace that used Kotlin to develop an Android application that ensured a great user experience.
There’s no best choice when it comes to Flutter vs Kotlin — you’ll need to decide based on your unique case, team, and potentially existing codebase. Both Kotlin and Flutter are supported by Google, so you can’t go wrong.
If you’re a startup with a smaller team, Flutter is a great low-cost choice because it allows you to create multiple apps with one codebase—requiring less time and fewer developers. Kotlin, however, is a great choice if you’re working with any pre-existing Java code, but keep in mind it’ll be harder to find experienced developers.
|Performance||Great due to Hot Reload feature||Great due to customizability of code|
|Popularity||114K stars on GitHub||35.3K stars on GitHub|
|Learning Curve||Comprehensive documentation||Limited resources to learn|
|UI design||Extensive customization features||Great UI experience and customization|
Since both Kotlin and Flutter are reliable and help to shorten time-to-market, either of them will make an excellent choice for a cross-platform development project. The competition is so close that it becomes more of a preference thing than an actual Flutter vs Kotlin battle.
Who is the winner in the race Flutter vs Kotlin 2021? In fact, Flutter vs Kotlin will be compared for the foreseeable future more and more frequently. They both present great benefits but also have some significant shortcomings.
Nowadays, in Flutter vs Kotlin, Flutter usually takes the lead only because it’s better known and comes with a bigger support group. However, it is only a matter of time till Kotlin becomes the next big thing. If you still have remaining questions and are unsure about what choice to make, contact a team of experts that will help you make the right pick.
DOIT Software is a software development company that builds apps for clients from various industries and markets. Our skilled and qualified developers have solid experience with both technologies and know a lot on the Flutter vs Kotlin topic. Share with us your exciting idea, and we will help you to turn it into reality fast and easily! Contact us – get a quote!
In short, cross-platform development opens up a larger market of potential users, shortens time-to-market, ensures a smoother workload, and accelerates the development process.
Kotlin is the official language chosen by Google to build Android applications. First of all, it works well with Java, enables writing clear and concise code, and ensures safety and consistency.
It depends on your needs. Although Flutter does come with some very valuable benefits like live-tracking, third-party plugins, and modular architecture, it is not the best choice for an Android application. Kotlin is the number one choice for Google apps.
In the Flutter vs Kotlin scenario, choose your priorities:If you need to launch an app quickly and enhanced UI levels are not your number one goal, Flutter is your choice. If you are after an optimized and custom user interface, then Kotlin would be your best pick.