Flutter vs Swift, this is the most heated debate on the Internet for a long time. World’s largest e-commerce company Alibaba uses Flutter and the world’s most popular app Facebook uses Swift.
But you may not be a big brand that perfectly knows which platform is suitable for your mobile app development that can generate good ROI.
Especially for Apple, businesses need to pay high attention to iOS app development because Apple users are very demanding and want everything best-in-class and premium user experience.
Therefore, it is essential to understand which platform between Flutter and Swift is best for iOS app development if you want to build a great mobile app for Apple users.
This blog will give you a detailed comparison of Flutter vs Swift so you can easily choose which platform you should go with.
Things you will learn in this blog:
- What is Flutter?
- What is Swift?
- Difference between Flutter and Swift
- Comparison between Flutter and Swift
- Time for Decision
So, let’s find out
1. What is Flutter?
Flutter is Google's UI toolkit for developing applications for mobile, web, and desktop PCs from a single codebase. It is an open-source mobile SDK that can be used to create iOS and Android apps using the same source code.
Flutter uses the Dart programming language to develop both iOS and Android apps, and offers good documentation. Flutter is similar to React Native but meant for the full support of native features.
2. What is Swift?
Swift is a general-purpose programming language that is used for Native iOS app development. It is a fast, expressive, and type-safe programming language to develop iOS apps with native tools.
Swift is an intuitive and powerful programming language to develop apps for macOS, iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and beyond. Swift includes the latest features that developers find easy to write code.
3. Difference Between Flutter and Swift
Flutter is a mobile SDK for developing apps using a single codebase for both Android and iOS devices. It uses dart as a programming language.
Whereas, Swift is a programming language that is used for only native iOS applications for various Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad, and more.
4. Comparison Between Flutter and Swift
Apple has premium users who pay well for the devices, and expect companies to offer great applications to their customers. Therefore, businesspeople must read factors about iOS mobile app development so they can analyze what ultimately affects the app mostly and how it should be taken care of.
And comparison is the best method to understand the hidden elements. Flutter is a cross-platform app development and Swift is a native app programming language. Comparing the important features can help you to decide which one is best for iOS app development.
So, let’s do it.
We will differentiate on mainly these key aspects:
- Onboarding process
- Development time
- Application size
- App Testing
Both platforms use different programming language. Google uses Dart and Apple uses Swift for setting up and onboarding process. Let's take a look at which platform makes onboarding process easy.
Flutter uses Xcode and its own binary for the onboarding process. Besides this, you can also use Intellij IDEA and Android Studio for Flutter app development.
Swift uses Xcode as the IDE to develop iOS apps with native tools. You just need macOS machine with Xcode installed and you can start a new iOS project by selecting Swift as the language.
Outcome: If we compare the onboarding process of both platforms, Swift iOS seems easier than Flutter and involves fewer configurations. Flutter needs Xcode+ additional tools to get started with iOS app development. As Flutter is new in the market, development resources are comparatively less available than Swift.
So in this context, Swift iOS wins.
Flutter has a set of commands that are used to monitor app development time. However, it requires additional tools and settings to create iOS apps.
It is believed to be faster native iOS app development language. In Swift, developers can easily keep a tab on the time spent during development process using Xcode.
Outcome: Swift iOS is faster than Flutter
Reloading means simulating the changes made in the app on real-time. This is counted among the most important features for iOS app development because it allows the developers to check their changes at the same time.
Flutter has the hot reload feature which means when developers make the changes in the code and reloads the app, the changes are stimulated in just a few seconds.
Swift has a simulator to stimulate the changes made such as button name, data and accessibility. But you need to make sure that the device reflects all the modifications made.
Outcome: Flutter quickly reloads in almost 3 seconds, while Swift takes approx. 10 seconds for the same process.
It is a process of dynamic analysis that contains CPU, resources, measures, and other performance factors of the app. Well, both platforms have good support for profiling apps. But let's find out which one performs best.
Flutter profiles iOS apps using command line or IDE. It has great documentation which guides on profiling the apps.
Xcode allows profiling using the feature-instruments. It launches an instrument app where we can analyze the app by several criteria.
Outcome: Swift support faster and easier app profiling because it has a dedicated app (instrument) for this purpose.
Accessibility features improve the user experience. A professional iOS app developer tries to create a more user-friendly app that gives seamless accessibility.
Flutter iOS apps don't have any dedicated support to add accessibility. However, Flutter documentation suggests auditing the app using Xcode's accessibility inspector tool, but it doesn't support it well.
Apple provides great development resources and tools for developers to build excellent applications for its users. One of them is the Accessibility API offered by Apple.
But to use this resource, developers have to provide the correct accessibility information for each UI element in the iOS app using its UIAccessibility protocol.
Outcome: In terms of accessibility aspect, Swift goes far beyond Flutter.
They are important factors to accelerate the development process for iOS apps. Sometimes, one framework isn't sufficient to make all coding at a faster rate. Therefore, the use of external or third-party tools in mobile app development becomes helpful.
Google allows third-party and external integration such as Codemagic CI/CD can be applied by Flutter with Nevercode.
iOS is a native app. It has its own Xcode server to consistently include and deliver mobile apps. Apple usually doesn’t support external links or tools to integrate into the app development process.
However, Apple comes with BuddyBuild that didn't make a big difference in the market.
Outcome: Flutter supports the integration of external tools for enhancing the development process, whereas Apple doesn’t.
Application size matters a lot in determining whether a user will download the app, or how long it can sustain on a mobile device.
Flutter apps are usually in larger size because it operated by the Dart engine. Therefore, in Flutter, it is difficult to develop lightweight iOS applications.
Swift is specially meant for developing iOS apps. It doesn't require big code writing or profiling. As a result, it creates lightweight apps.
Outcome: Flutter apps are larger in size.
Testing allows the developers to check the app's features and functionality before its finalization. It is essential to ensure whether the app's functions are working flawlessly.
Flutter allows checking writing from the UI to the functional level. It helps the developer in writing unit-level tests. There is a Flutter driver that performs all tests successfully.
Apple provides XCTest for ranging development activities including UI testing, performance testing, and feature testing. However, in the critical testing process such as data-driven test, snapshot tests, and grouping of the tests are not offered by Apple.
Outcome: Flutter is a robust testing system for app testing at multiple levels. Therefore, in terms of application testing, it wins the game.
Comparison table for Flutter vs Swift
|Type of Platform||Development framework||Programming language|
|Development time||Not fast||Fast|
|Reloading||Over 10 seconds||3 Seconds|
|Application Size||Large||Not Large|
||Multiple tests||Limited Tests|
5. Time for Decision
It's clear. Swift iOS app development gives greater advantages over Flutter and gets high score in this comparison race. It means Swift is better than Flutter when it comes to iOS application development. Flutter is good for cross-platform app development.
But it doesn't mean Flutter remains too behind in the race. Companies or businesses who don't have the budget to build native apps can easily go with Google' Flutter.
And eSearch Logix master both technologies. Whether you want to build native iOS applications for iPhones, iPad, macOS, and so on, or want a simple iOS app with unique features using Flutter. We build innovative iOS apps that can bring new success to your business right away.