Flutter vs Ionic: Clash of the Titans

9 min read
May 11, 2021
Flutter vs Ionic: Clash of the Titans
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Building cross-platform mobile, and don’t know how to choose between Ionic framework vs. flutter? This guide from ProCoders can help.

In a world that’s increasingly working on mobile devices, companies can’t afford to have anything less than world-class mobile applications. That means having cross-platform apps that can work seamlessly, no matter what operating system your end user is working on.

To accomplish this, most experienced developers will look to the most popular choices: Ionic, or Flutter. Sussing out which one of these is best for your project is a trickier business. It all comes down to how well you understand the debate between Flutter vs. ionic framework.

flutter vs ionic framework

Choosing between Flutter vs. Ionic should be quick and easy, right? Simply pick one or the other.

Not so fast. As it turns out, just like in the case with Flutter vs. React Native or Xamarin vs Flutter, in a comparison between Ionic vs. Flutter performance, there are major differences. And those differences can have a significant impact on not just your development project, but on the way it runs when it’s done.

If you want your development to run smoothly, it’s important that you understand the performance diffferences between of Ionic vs. Flutter, Ionic 4, and how that will play out for your project. Let’s dig deeper.

Flutter

A short overview

Developed by Google in 2018, Flutter is considered a gold-standard that’s scalable and fast, with a UX platform that plugs directly into your backend code. Flutter uses Dart as its code. It works well with JavaScript for backend functions, and similarly, with Objective C and Swift in iOS. It’s a major differentiator between the Ionic framework vs. Flutter.

Google’s sponsorship of Flutter made it an immediate, runaway success. The framework’s thriving user community comes fully stocked with open-source libraries, resources, and answers to your programming dilemmas.

man is interested in flutter or ionic debate

Matching up Flutter vs. Ionic performance, Flutter can definitely come out on top, depending on the mobile app performance you’re needing. Apps without web counterparts that are light and easy to load may do best with this technology. For a more detailed drill down of Flutter vs. the Ionic 4 platform, let’s look at the key traits of the frameworks.

Advantages

In a comparison of Flutter vs. Ionic, Flutter has many worthy selling points, including:

  • Hot-reloading — Changes appear as you code. It’s one of the reasons why developers come down in favor of Flutter in a matchup between Flutter vs. Ionic performance.
  • RichWidgets — Combined with RichWidgets, Flutter can offer you a world of choices for rich, layered functionality in your apps that are compatible on any operating system.
  • Flawless back-end integration — Whether your backend is in Java or Objective C, Flutter will integrate smoothly enough to make your frontend look as native as your backend. And it makes your cross-platform code sharing go better, too.
  • Quick iteration — Flutter’s fast cycling trims hours off your coding and quality control.
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Disadvantages

In any discussion of Flutter vs. Ionic framework, it’s important to remember there are very specific performance downsides. They may or may not be important, depending on the needs of your project. But here are some common disadvantages you may experience:

  • Immaturity of platform — Because Flutter was launched less than three years ago, there hasn’t been as many community-generated tools and libraries built yet. Still, there’s many options, and more are coming every day.
  • Rendering issues — If you’re using vectored or moving images, you may have issues in rendering your plug-ins on time.
  • Platform compatibility — While Flutter does, in general, offer cross-platform interoperability, there are still apps it won’t play nicely with, including tvOS, Android Auto, CarPlay and watchOS.
  • Updating roadblocks — While some platforms will allow you to instantly post system changes, Flutter makes you work through its processes, every time. When it comes to Flutter vs. Ionic performance, that’s a point you can’t overlook.

What’s Flutter used for?

To truly understand Ionic framework vs. Flutter, it helps to see them in a real use case environment. You’re most likely to see Flutter used for:

  • Minimally Viable Product (MVPs), which can utilize Flutter’s light construction to make speedy first edition or proof of concept apps
  • Apps using material design language
  • Simple Logic OS Plugins
  • Skia used for high-speed, high performance rendering
  • User interfaces that use code-dense widgets
  • UX with heavy data integration and user interaction

If after considering all the Flutter’s pros and cons you think, that it is exactly what you have been looking for – you might want to check flutter app developer salary to calculate flutter app development cost for your project.

Ionic

With all the advantages it has, shouldn’t Flutter win in a matchup between Ionic vs. Flutter? Not so fast. Whether either framework is good or bad depends very much on what you need your cross-platform app to do. Let’s take a longer look.

A Short Overview

Ionic is an open-source framework for creating user interfaces that work on any operating system. Released in 2013, Ionic works with well-known languages like HTML, CSS, React Native, Angular, Vue.JS and JavaScript for integration with your backend.

It’s a simple, well integrated framework that makes it possible to design beautiful, responsive UI. In the battle between Flutter vs. Ionic 4, Ionic often comes out the winner due to the performance of the framework, and the ease of programming it.

Advantages

In the matchup between Flutter vs. Ionic 4, Ionic is often chosen because of its integration with JavaScript, making it a developer darling, as the majority of programmers are very comfortable with this language. In addition, developers also like:

  • Simplified developer interface — the platform operates with a capacitor, which creates an easy-to-use interface for working with SDK and Native API on all platforms
  • One version does it all — Ionic operates on a singular codebase that’s anchored in the whole array of JS libraries. This eliminates duplications of code to sync with other platforms.
  • Works to scale — There’s no hard limit to the amount of users. Keep scaling up. Ionic can handle it.

Disadvantages

When it comes to Flutter vs. Ionic 4, Ionic may come out on top for its speed and elegance. But it has its downsides, too, such as:

  • Too reliant on plug-ins — Ionic converts all plug-ins to JavaScript. This is fine if you’ve got JavaScript plugins ready off the shelf. If you’d like to use another plugin that uses other languages/libraries, you may find yourself trying to version them back over to JavaScript on your own.
  • Absence of Hot Reloading — In a contest between Flutter vs. Ionic 4, this is one area where Ionic’s framework performance really falls down. Because it doesn’t accommodate hot reloading, the program refreshes every time a change is made. This can really slow down your development speed.
  • Code Uglification? — While this isn’t the case on the newer updates of Ionic, older versions don’t provide code uglification, eliminating an important security tool from your toolbox.
  • Complex apps are left in the cold — Memory intensive apps don’t do so well here, as it requires the notoriously slow WebView for rendering.

What is Ionic Used for?

When it comes to a contest between Ionic framework vs. Flutter, Ionic is the only framework out there that allows developers to create with a single, simple to use JavaScript codebase. You’ll find it used most often in hybrid app development, MVC mobile applications, apps with heavy backend integration, and any kind of app that is lightweight, and fast, with a high performance UI/UX load.

Popular applications built with Flutter and Ionic

Perhaps the best way to judge Flutter vs. ionic framework is to see the differences between the real world use cases for them. Here is a list of some of the world’s most popular, high-traffic apps that were developed using the frameworks—a perfect example of the differences between Flutter vs. ionic.

Flutter AppsIonic Apps
Google AdsTD Ameritrade Mobile
TencentMarketWatch
AlibabaDiesel
eBayMicrosoft Flow
DMWSworkit
Reflecty

Flutter vs Ionic Major Attributes Comparing

Have you been wondering about Flutter vs. Ionic performance? Any discussion about the Flutter vs. Ionic framework has to delve into the specifics of all the major performance points, which we’ve done here:

AttributeFlutter AttributeIonic Attribute
PerformanceA lightweight app that integrates well with many plug-ins. Android integrates with Material Components, iOS developers use Cupertino Widgets.Not suitable for large scale apps as it doesn’t work well with location based services, AI and other high-level libraries
Code PortabilityUses a single code baseWorks better for high-end app flexibility
Ease of Use/LearningMust learn Dart language and basics of Android IOS native developmentCoders should know Angular and JavaScript, and have an understanding of Cordova plugins, CLI, HTML, and CSS.
Popularity/CommunityThere are 662 contributors to the Flutter community but they are active, with 13.7K projects being discussed.Developer community numbering 5 million from 200 countries.
Application SizeDart and C++ may inflate the application size, but Flutter can consolidate codes, libraries and plugins to minimize size problems.With the advent of Ionic 5, Ionic can compress run sizes to half the size of Ionic 4. Moreover, the usage of special tags during production build –prod –release further reduces the app size
TestingCoders can use Flutter test for widget testing, Appium and XCUITest for simulating UI testing, and. Flutter driver for instrumental testing for widgets.No additional testing devices are needed. App is tested in multiple browsers via WebView.

Our Use Cases – Flutter vs Ionic

At ProCoders, we’ve been working with Ionic and Flutter from the very beginning, and have had great success with both frameworks. The key is picking the right project for the job. Take, for instance, these two projects.

Done in Ionic: Dryft

Dryft came to ProCoders to develop a mobile app that would support its key product offering — the ability to take fitness classes at gym locations that “drift” from day to day. The application was developed in the Ionic framework. We developed allows users to book equipment, make mobile payments, and pay only for what they use.

The project needs were complex and needed to account for constantly shifting information inputs. After thoroughly analyzing the project parameters during the research phase, ProCoders went with Angular 8 and the Ionic framework.

when you have to choose ionic or flutter

This tech stack reduced development costs by 40 percent. The fact that Angular 8 and Ionic both use the same code base allowed us to reduce development time by 35 percent, reducing development time from five months to three months. And because of this alignment, changes that need to be made in the future can be done faster, and more inexpensively, too.

Done in Flutter: SDCN

As a UK transport trading exchange platform for couriers, haulers, shippers and freight forwarders, SDCN was used to using technology to keep their teams running. But their framework was old, not integrating properly with their backend network. And was in serious need of an update.

By using an updated version of Laravel and adding the Flutter network, ProCoders was able to develop a mobile system that allowed SDCN the ability to track and bill on the fly. Now, nothing gets dropped, and they can move their company ahead in real time.

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ProCoders was able to migrate the old Laravel backend to the new one, add new subscription types in their system, fix bugs in their membership onboarding system, and rebuild the billing system so members could pay via credit card with the Stripe system. Now more loads are getting booked, faster payments are being made, and fewer subscriptions are being dropped because the check didn’t arrive in time.

The streamlined processes are making for satisfied customers, and that’s been great for the expansion of the business. Because SDCN simplified its administrative processes, they’re more productive, allowing the company to absorb the new business with less administrative hassles.

Conclusion:

Companies trying to suss out the differences between Ionic vs. Flutter should really look to the end product they want to achieve to make a framework decision. Do you have an app that’s lightweight, with lots of moving pictures and elaborate user interfaces? Choose Ionic. Heavier apps where seamless backend access is key will most likely benefit from using Flutter.

But no matter where you come down in the Flutter vs. Ionic debate, having the help of outstaffed experts to lend their expertise can help expedite matters.

At ProCoders, we’d love to help you get your next Flutter or Ionic projects executed on time and under budget. Just fill out the form below, and we can set up a free consultation—fast!

Let’s schedule a call to discuss all your needs!

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