Everyday multiple applications are being launched in the app stores due to increasing dependency of people on mobile apps to carry out their day to day tasks efficiently. So, what will make your iOS and Android app stand out? The answer is quite simple. An attractive design, easy to use interface and seamless performance are the ingredients to make your application successful.
Whenever you are planning a mobile app development project, there is always an option to choose between choosing native platforms or cross platform framework for development. Both options have their own pros and cons but cross platform mobile development is becoming increasingly popular due to its multiple benefits.
Until some time back, React native was considered to be one of the most popular cross platform frameworks. However, the release of Google’s Flutter changed the game!
Here we will discuss a brief history of iOS, comparison between Flutter apps & native apps & all the reasons to choose Flutter for iOS application development!
A Brief History of iOS
Apple first launched iOS on June 29, 2007. Since then they have brought about a multitude of changes in the Apple devices. Presented here is a brief outline of the changes Apple devices have brought, one iOS version at a time!
Back then, when it was first released, the phone was hardly compatible with 3G, didn’t have the copy-paste feature and couldn’t run third party apps. Yet, it was considered a big step in the right direction. Although it might seem to be such a big achievement right now, during that time it was popular as the world had not seen anything like that before.
The second version of iOS introduced the concept of App store. It allowed people to download third party applications and games. Along with these features, customization options were introduced to make each phone unique as per its owner.
Every new release marked the overall development of iPhones. Simple operations like copy-paste became common. TV shows and audio books were now available from iTunes and in-app purchases were enabled from the 5th version of iOS. iOS 5 also introduced the concept of voice control.
Everything that you love about iOS now was achieved in a short time span of few years. Right from Facetime to Siri, iOS did everything efficiently. Each release updated the features and made them better.
Currently, iOS is the second most popular operating system after Android.
Flutter Vs Native iOS Development
Native iOS development has become interesting with the rise of Swift programming language. When you build an app with native technology it turns out to be slick and fast.
On the other hand, cross platform app solutions always made us feel like there was always something missing. However, use of Flutter to developing an iOS app made it impossible to tell the difference. The app performance is as good as native apps.
So, what is the secret of Flutter app development which makes the applications feel more or less native?
We will compare both of them on a few parameters to prove that Flutter for iOS developers is a blessing in disguise.
The technology stack used for both is entirely different. Flutter team used Dart programming language while native iOS development makes use of Objective - C or Swift programming language.
Apart from the languages, IDEs are different too. Native development is usually done using the Xcode server and Flutter development is carried out using IntelliJ Idea, Android Studio or any other text editors.
By now we all know that apps developed using native platforms are slick and fast as all the components are developed natively. Flutter makes use of Dart language which does not need a bridge to communicate with the native components.
Therefore, we can say that Flutter has all the required components for native like app development in the Flutter engine itself.
When iOS developers are building the app natively, they need to use Xcode and other native frameworks provided by Apple. Everytime a change is made to the app, the developer needs to rebuild the app to see changes in devices.
Flutter makes this process easier with its hot reload feature. When a developer makes changes they are instantly reflected in the device. The catch here is that as the application will grow in size, the developers will have to find new and effective ways to use this feature.
If we compare in terms of programming language, Dart is a comparatively new language and is not supported by many text editors. The developers will have to put in more effort to learn the language. On the other hand, Swift is getting mature and growing on the server side too.
iOS developers spend most of their time in developing the user interface. Apple has the UIKit which contains event driven user interfaces with a great variety of gesture support.
Flutter works differently in terms of UI development. Flutter has its own set of widgets that can be used to develop complex UIs. These widgets support both Material Components for Android and Cupertino for iOS.
Last but not the least, Flutter layout and widgets are pixel perfect too!
Apple provides XCTest native testing framework for unit, integration, UI and performance testing of the applications. The apple team is constantly improving their testing tools every year. However, their XCTest framework framework does not have data driven testing, grouping of tests and snapshot tests.
On the other hand, Flutter renders a solid testing framework that enables developers to write tests at unit, functional and UI level. Widget testing is another cool feature by Flutter which helps the developers run UI tests as fast as unit tests.
Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery practices allow the developers to complete the development cycle quickly. Apple provides Xcode Server for CI/CD of the native apps but it is not scalable for a larger team.
On the other hand, Flutter team partnered with Nevercode and announced the Codemagic CI/CD solution at the Flutter Live event in London. It is a hassle free CI/CD solution developed at Nevercode which automatically detects, builds, packs and tests the Flutter apps with zero configuration.
Flutter for iOS - Let’s Wrap Up!
We have given you all the points of comparison between Flutter and native iOS app development to help you choose better.
Although Flutter has managed to create a hype around it, there are still some features missing as compared to native iOS development. Some of the missing features include OpenGL, Maps, Video support and Accessibility support. We can rightly say that even though Flutter will deliver native like apps in lesser time, it still has a long way to go.
Despite this a number of enterprises have started hiring Flutter developers for their mobile app development projects. Flutter has managed to achieved near perfection in a very short time!