Flutter vs Swift Choose the Right Framework for Your iOS App Development
Binal Patel CTO
Last Updated on June 7, 2023 | Written By: Ritwik Verma
Flutter vs Swift is the new hot debate among product owners in 2023. As the Apple ecosystem evolves, the demand for iOS application development is also increasing by the day but the ever-dangling dilemma of choosing one between Swift vs Flutter remains the same. To adhere to this issue, this blog post, covers the detailed comparison between the two renowned tech stacks on various parameters along with a few Use Cases and similar other aspects to help you gain conviction and decide which one you should choose for your next iOS application development.
Table of Contents
The Need for Comparison
According to Statista, the App market worldwide is projected to reach US$641.10bn by 2027, which surely projects a significant growth graph in the days to come. So, with this data, we can be assured that the mobile application development market is not going down anytime soon. As the market grows, so does thrive iOS application development, thus arising the hustle of choosing the right framework between Flutter vs Swift which suits your needs and requirements. Though both frameworks are equally efficient and cater to most of the requirements of business owners, certain metrics make them different from one another, which can benefit your web application development. Moving forward, let’s jump onto our topic.
Flutter vs Swift Comparison Table
As we know, Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit created by Google that allows cross-platform application development with a single codebase. However, Swift is a high-level, general-purpose, multi-paradigm, compiled programming language introduced as a replacement for Apple’s traditional programming language that is Objective-C.
Similarly, there are several other differences between the two frameworks that, though small, make a huge impact on your end product. So, before we cater to the in-depth differences between the two let us first cover the circumferential differences between Flutter vs Swift in a tabular representation as given below:
Cross Platform Compatibility
Type of Programming Language
Object-Oriented as well as has Functional Elements
Flutter UI Toolkit
Visual Code, Android Studio, IntelliJ
UI Paradigm Used
Async/Await + Combine/td>
Futures + Streams
Supports accessibility for external tools
In-built accessibility support for iOS apps
Easy because of the Dart Language
Easier Learning Curve due to the detailed documentation
Realtime changes are possible
Has Hot Realoading feature that allows making Realtime Changes
In-built Testing Support
Native Testing Tools like XCTest help in Testing
Flutter vs Swift In-Depth Comparison
Both Flutter and Swift have been within the tech marketplace for a significant timeframe. While Flutter helps reduce the development time. Swift requires more time investment. Now that we have a general understanding of the two, let us delve into the detailed Flutter vs Swift comparison on various parameters to understand the metrics better.
Integration and Development
For Integration and Development as well, both Swift and Flutter are convincing. Flutter on the one side has many plugins and packages that you can integrate into applications. And, it allows the integration of third-party services like Firebase and Google Maps. Swift also has many system APIs and frameworks that help develop efficient iOS applications. Also, Swift along with Xcode IDE offers many advanced tools and features for iOS application development.
Development Speed or Time to Market
‘Swift’ the name itself signifies swiftness -swiftness in terms of development speed and agility. Being more user-friendly and having a lesser learning curve, it significantly increases the speed of iOS application development. The XCode command line allows us to calculate the Swift Native iOS app development time, which is displayed after the development process is completed, and the build command is executed from the product menu. Swift also offers a diverse range of system APIs and frameworks that expedites the development speed or time to market.
However, Flutter enables using a single codebase for creating cross-platform applications. which significantly contributes to the development cost and time. Moreover, the hot reload in Flutter enables real-time changes in the codebase and viewing them simultaneously, reducing the time to market. Flutter also, allows for knowing how long your development process took. Talking about the clean builds, Flutter is comparatively slower than Swift, but after the initial clean builds, it becomes a bit faster but is still behind Swift.
Flutter has a compact runtime that helps building small and fast mobile applications with limited expenses. It has a wide range of tools and optimizations such as tree sharing and code spitting which helps to further reduce the application size.
Swift being a native iOS framework helps build small and efficient iOS applications. Its compiler helps to optimize performance and reduce size of the application. It also offers a wide range of optimization options such as whole-module and link-time optimization. These contribute to further reduce the application size of Swift applications.
If budgets are not your constraint and you are ready to have separate applications developed for each platform then, Swift is your solution, being a native framework it offers greater efficiency and helps deliver fast, smooth, and reliable applications. Swift produces highly optimized code and offers a rich set of system APIs, which can boost application performance.
Additionally, Swift includes advanced memory management features like automatic reference counting, which ensures effective memory utilization. Swift is also your most viable option in terms of performance when it comes to applications involving tasks with massive computation power requirements.
However, if you wish for a framework with cross-platform functionality that offers better cost efficiency, then Flutter is equally efficient to build iOS applications. Flutter uses a layered architecture that minimizes the overhead of platform-specific APIs, resulting in better performance. This architecture enables Flutter to offer smooth animations and transitions, as well as fast start-up times.
It uses a Dart garbage collector, which is compiled Ahead of Time (AoT) that allows quick communication with the device. Also, the Flutter animation package allows building sleek, intuitive UIs, and many Flutter animation widget features pre-set effects, however, they can be tailored to your specific needs. So, if you don’t need the most from your iOS application then Flutter performs equally well as Swift.
It refers to improving the UI/UX of your application for users with disabilities. When developing an iOS application, you must consider this factor as it contributes to making the app accessible for everyone. Swift by default has the accessibility feature in the UIKit framework. However, the developers using the UIAccessibility protocol must enter the correct accessibility info for each UI element.
Flutter, on the other hand, doesn’t have the inbuilt accessibility feature. However, the documentation suggests you can audit the iOS apps using Xcode’s Accessibility inspector tool. It also has an open issue to add accessibility identifiers for testing but is in progress since 2018. Thus, we can infer that Swift has an advantage over Flutter when it comes to accessibility.
Flutter and Swift, both though being young within the marketplace, are stable and secure. Flutter has a dedicated team of developers at Google working on improving performance. Thus, Flutter has exceptional stability and reliability. It has automated testing tools to detect and resolve bugs before they affect users. While Swift intends crucially for safety and reliability. Apple developers working on Swift strive to prevent any bug or crash. This allows for an exceptional user experience.
Flutter was first launched in May 2017 whereas Swift came into the picture in June 2014. So, we can infer that Flutter is a relatively new platform compared to Swift, but it is growing at a tremendous pace both in popularity and maturity. Flutter also has a vast ecosystem of third-party packages and plugins that enables developers to add additional functionalities to their web applications.
However, Swift being a bit more mature framework compared to Flutter has a well-established ecosystem. It provides a wide range of features such as type inference, high-performance optimization, and more making it easy to build performant apps. It also has a large ecosystem of libraries, frameworks, and tools, which can help developers to extend the functionality of their apps.
Flutter provides developers with an extensive library of widgets and components that can be easily reused across different sections of an application, resulting in faster development and easier maintenance.
While Swift excels in building macOS and watchOS applications, allowing for code reusability across different Apple platforms. Additionally, Swift grants access to a wide range of system APIs and frameworks that facilitate the creation of reusable components for iOS applications, enabling more efficient and effective app development.
While Flutter’s cross-platform capabilities provide it with a significant advantage over Swift in terms of reusability, Swift remains a valuable tool for developers primarily focused on iOS development who aim to build highly reusable components.
User Interfaces or UIs
Talking about the UI or User Interface in Flutter, it offers a rich set of widgets and tools that allow building high-class customizable and responsive UIs. It also possesses many pre-built UI elements and widgets that are customizable as per the application design requirements and the application branding. Also, Flutter has a flexible layout system that enables developers to build complex UIs easily and quickly.
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However, Swift is the iOS native language so there are no implementation issues when it comes to any native iOS interface features. Swift allows for a completely iOS native user experience when it comes to iOS application development however, its rich set of system APIs and frameworks allows for making highly customizable and responsive UI kit framework presents an assortment of UI components like buttons, labels, and text fields that can be customized to the application’s design requirements.
Considering a basic code example between Flutter vs Swift, Flutter uses the MaterialApp widget for setting up the app title and home screen. To create the basic layout we will use the Scaffold widget with an AppBar and a centered Text widget which will display the ‘Hello, World!” message.
Now, considering, the Swift code example it uses the UIKit framework to create a basic label with the “Hello, World!” message and add it to the app’s view controller. Then, we labeled the position in the center of the screen using the center property.
Flutter has extensive documentation with explanations, and examples making it easy to learn. Its well-written documentation allows developers to try new widgets and see changes in real time. Swift also has extensive documentation that covers syntax, types, classes, functions, and more. Its interactive documentation called Swift Playground allows one to write and test code in real-time. Thus, we can infer that both Flutter and Swift have well-established documentation.
Talking about the Swift vs Flutter Community, then we can infer that both frameworks have thriving communities and extensive codebases that provide developers with a wealth of resources, support, and assistance for mobile app development.
Flutter’s community is growing and benefits from support from Google, which offers an abundance of resources through its official package repository, pub.dev. Developers can access tutorials, sample code, forums, and packages to expedite their development process. Additionally, the Flutter ecosystem is rapidly expanding, with new packages being added frequently.
Whereas, Swift has a vast and active community supported by Apple, that offers a diverse range of resources, such as documentation, tutorials, third-party packages, and more. Also, the Swift Package Manager enables managing dependencies within Swift projects, making it easier for developers to build and maintain applications easily.
Talking about the Onboarding Process, Flutter offers easy onboarding with clear documentation. It has a simple and detailed step-by-step guide to set up the development environment on Windows, Mac, or Linux. Flutter also has a wide range of resources that help developers master working on the framework. The resources Flutter offer include sample applications, videos, and tutorials. Also, Flutter has a large and active community available for help at every step of the application development process.
Whereas, Swift has a bit of complex onboarding as it requires the Xcode IDE, and learning the syntax is also a complex task. However, Xcode has a wide range of tools and resources to learn and develop apps, including a code editor, simulator, and debugging tools. Swift also has a large and active community, available to assist during your development process.
Both Flutter and Swift are open-source frameworks. But, Flutter is more economical than Swift due to its cross-platform functionality. And, Flutter offers an iOS and an Android app with a single codebase, while Swift only presents an iOS application. This leads to an increase in the cost of Development when using Swift.
Flutter possesses a very simple and easy Learning Curve, especially if you are already familiar with object-oriented programming languages like Kotlin or Java, learning Flutter would be a cakewalk. Also, the in-depth and detailed documentation makes it even easier to learn Flutter, though becoming a pro in this framework still requires effort.
While compared to Flutter, Swift has a complex learning environment. For developers who are not familiar with iOS application development or functional programming, Swift can be a hard nut to crack. It possesses a complex development environment that requires more effort to master compared to Flutter. Also, it has a large and complex standard library, which again is a hustle to master.
Giants That Chose Flutter vs Swift
Though both Swift vs Flutter have their individual benefits when it comes to web application development. However, there are a number of market giants who have chosen Flutter vs Swift for their iOS application development.
Companies That Use Flutter
Companies That Use Swift
In conclusion, both Flutter and Swift are excellent choices for mobile app development, and the decision on which to use depends on your specific needs and preferences. Flutter offers cross-platform development, hot reload, rich widgets, and faster development, while Swift offers native performance, a strong type system, and powerful development tools like Xcode. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your priorities and the requirements of your app. You can get in touch with the best flutter app development company to help you gain conviction and move ahead with your Flutter development as per your needs and requirements.
Several factors affect if Flutter or Swift is better for your web application development based on your needs and requirements. However, Flutter is an ideal option when a considerable factor is a cost constraint and cross-platform development. When performance and the native iOS features and functionalities are a priority then Swift takes the upper hand.
Yes, you can use Flutter for iOS application development, with exceptional user experience and native-like look and feel along with the cross-platform functionality and the feature that allows for less time for development.
Yes, you can easily use Flutter with Swift Combination to get access to native iOS features and functionalities that are complex to find with Flutter. Also, you get the exceptional features of Flutter accompanied by the features of Swift.
Yes, based on your needs and requirements you can migrate your existing Swift-based application to Flutter, but the efforts required to migrate depend entirely on your application’s features and functionalities.
Flutter or Swift
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