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Cross-Platform compatibility is the need of the hour for mobile apps. Frameworks such as Flutter, NativeScript, etc. are used for developing mobile apps with cross-platform capabilities with extensive features and simple architecture. However, making a choice between Flutter and NativeScript sometimes is hard and requires a fundamental understanding.
Flutter and NativeScript — both are similar in some aspects but are different in terms of architecture, size, system components, cost of development, etc. However, both the frameworks are renowned for their capabilities to utilize the full potential of the native device’s features to offer a native-like experience on multi-devices.
But often business owners feel confused when it comes to choosing the best and right development tech stack for their next app project. So, we thought why not come up with an ultimate comparison guide to help businesses make the right choice and cornerstone their success. But before we get into that, let’s have quick introductions of both frameworks.
Created by Google, Flutter is an open-source enhanced UI toolkit to build cross-platform, natively compiled apps for mobile, web, etc. The framework is based on a language called Dart, which enables fast development, native performance, and renders expressive and flexible designs.
Flutter offers a hot reload option that improves the overall app development experience. It makes adding features, designing UIs, and fixing bugs faster. Further, the expressive UI will delight the end-users with Google’s Material Design.
The framework also incorporates widgets such as navigation, icons, fonts, scrolling, etc for a native-like experience and performance on iOS and Android devices. Many renowned apps such as My BMW, Nubank, Tencent, Google Assistant, Square, etc. are built using Flutter.
Mobile apps built using NativeScript are considered fully native apps as if they are built on XCode or Android Studio. Further, there’s no need for wrappers to utilize 3rd-party libraries such as CocoaPods, Maven, npm.js, etc.
The framework is backed by a strong community of developers as it has a wide range of plugins and templates for faster development. Popular apps built using the NativeScript framework include Sennheiser, PUMA, Airbnb Design, SAP, etc.
Now that we have discussed the basics about Flutter and NativeScript and how well-equipped they are to develop native-like cross-platform applications, it’s time to delve deep into the ultimate comparison guide. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
An ideal framework should offer flexibility and avoid architecture enforcement. Flutter has layered architecture while NativeScript follows the MVC or MVVM architectural pattern.
The hierarchy in apps built using Flutter start with top-level root functions or platform-specific widgets, which are followed by basic widgets. Flutter’s layered architecture is very much suitable to create small to large scale & even complex applications using simple components.
NativeScript, on the other hand, is structured on multiple modules and functions that exist on those modules along with CLI and plugins. This structure enables a specific set of features in enterprise-grade applications. The framework’s MVC friendliness helps it to efficiently manage modules for better architecture.
Performance is one of the most sought-after factors while selecting the framework for any project type. It’s crucial and extremely important when developing large to complex projects.
Created by Google itself, Flutter is better optimized for performance than NativeScript. As the framework has built-in native components, it does not need a bridge to communicate among different native modules, which increases its performance significantly. Flutter uses the Skia UI library to redraw graphics each time and helps the framework to perform efficiently at 60 FPS too.
Apps built on NativeScript have on par performance and also perform well at 60 FPS without facing any issues. Moreover, the framework offloads certain kinds of processes for stellar performance and balanced frontend speed. Merging manual tool instrumentation helps for further performance improvement and optimization.
Another measure of a great framework to develop cross-platform apps is the complexity level of a project it can handle. Both the frameworks offer official documentation, guidelines, third-party libraries, plugins, etc.
Flutter is a good solution for startups who need faster time to market when launching a Minimum Viable Product. However, when it comes to full-fledged complex projects, Flutter won’t be the first platform in our mind. They are excellent for developing prototypes/MVPs to try out your app development idea at a lower budget.
NativeScript is better suited when developing complex and advanced level apps that require smooth workflows and higher performance. However, building such complex apps need additional XML and UI package support.
User experience is imperative while selecting the right technology stack for your app development project. It positively impacts end-users and helps your brand stay upbeat.
As Flutter offers simplified tools, elements, and other customized widgets, apps built on the framework generate exceptional user experience. Further, the language behind the framework simplifies many tasks for overabundant user satisfaction.
NativeScript offers professional-level interface and user experience design tools to build enterprise-grade business applications. Also, since NativeScript can utilize the native components and features of the device, apps built using it give higher functionality and enhanced user experience. Additionally, you can take UX to a notch higher using getframeByld, navigationContext, and other classes.
A series of tests ensure your apps constantly perform better under certain circumstances. Also, app testing makes sure your app is compliant, compatible, and usable.
Dart in Flutter incorporates automated testing and offers a myriad of features to test your apps. It also offers detailed documentation relevant to its testing features for unit, widget, and integration level testing.
NativeScript version 2.5 has its own QA workflow that enhances its default testing capabilities. It uses Karma to run unit tests and also has support for various other testing tools such as Jasmine, Mocha, and QUnit.
In a nutshell, both frameworks have their own strengths and weaknesses and are better suited to do a specific task. If you are a startup and low on budget, Flutter is the right choice. The framework will help startups to experiment with their ideas by developing and launching prototypes/MVPs first. It has a powerful Google’s very own material design for smooth workflow and futuristic UI components for seamless development of cross-platform applications.
NativeScript leverages the full potential of native components to offer native-like experience and performance in cross-platform apps. The framework can utilize the JS-based framework or language that transpile to JS such as Angular, VueJS, TypeScript, etc. The framework offers flexibility for enterprise-grade and complex level mobile apps with faster development rates and on par industry performance.