There was a time when we talk about cross-platform then only two platforms used to come in mind i.e. React Native and Flutter. Most of the mobile application developers, entrepreneurs, and mobile app development companies used to rely on only these two frameworks for developing apps on both Android and iOS platforms.
However, now we have a new platform that is taking a major portion of this cake. Kotlin is another potential framework that can also be the ruler of the cross-platform market. We have already gone through the comparison between Flutter and React Native, so in this article, our attention would be to the comparison between Kotlin and Flutter. After reading this, you would be able to figure out which framework would be right for you.
Kotlin multiplatform is an extra feature of the Kotlin language which increases its horizons beyond the mobile application development. It means the developers would be able to share codes, data, and business logic on different platforms such as iOS, Linux, Web, macOS, Android, and JVM. Not everyone is familiar with the Kotlin yet but it is still embraced by some popular names such as:
Benefits of the Kotlin Multiplatform:
It is not a framework but an SDK
One of the major benefits of Kotlin is that you don’t have to turnaround the complete app. You can initiate with a single feature or module, check its working, and then migrate to other parts.
Easy to learn
The syntax of the Kotlin language is similar to the other top programming languages such as Java, Swift, etc. then the developer will not require to invest a lot of time in learning this language.
“Using Kotlin Multi Platform lets us focus on innovating in learning, instead of spending time on rewriting the same code for each platform. MPP works much better for us than our previous attempts at sharing codes because it treats each platform as a first-class target.”
– Ankush Gupta (Senior Software Engineer, Quizlet)
Business Logic Reuse
Well, Kotlin multi platform is not a new discovery that can separate the business logic and UI, there are many other platforms that are already offering this service. But Kotlin uses a shared logic and libraries below the UI layer. So the mobile app developers can interact with the native environment i.e. Swift and Xcode for iOS, JS for web, and Kotlin & Android Studio for Android.
Native UI Experience
As we mentioned above, Kotlin can provide a native UI experience to the developers. The developers don’t have to follow any instructions for UI creation. The appearance, behavior, and performance of the app are just like the native application development.
Another advantage of Kotlin language is that the multiplatform compiles code to the explicit same format as the targeted platform. This results in a very good performance as like its native counterparts.
More flexibility and scalability
The mobile app developers can also scale up their projects without the involvement of any VM. Hence, it becomes a perfect choice for developers who are looking for flexibility and scalability.
Overview of Kotlin Multi Platform Advantages:
- Highly compatible with Java
- Simple Syntax Make Easy Development
- Less Code Makes Easy Learning
- Mature Language and Environment
- Seamless Integration with Android Studio
- Excellent Tooling Support
Disadvantages of Kotlin Platform
Not get stable yet
We have Kotlin 1.2 version, but its SDK has not yet reached a stable version. Since it is in an experimental state, the developer finds hesitation while opting it for a big project.
There are very limited data serialization libraries and HTTP client libraries available for development. Other libraries such as DateTime library can enter the market with Kotlin 1.4., the upcoming version of Kotlin 1.3.6. Currently, only skilled developers can develop mobile apps on Kotlin.
Need knowledge with other tech stacks
Kotlin is not originally created for developing every other mobile application programming interface (API). Hence, the mobile application developers should have the basic knowledge of other platforms and API as well. This is again a disadvantage of Kotlin in front of Flutter.
Higher Development Cost
Last but not least, there are semi-native functionalities in the Kotlin. Due to this the cost of developing mobile apps in Kotlin increases. Hence it is not an optimal choice for creating MVPs or App Prototypes.
Flutter, an open-source development kit based on Dart language was introduced by Google in 2017 for mobile applications development. It is a powerful framework for developing apps in Android, iOS, Window, Mac, Linux, and other platforms. Giant platforms like Alibaba E-commerce, Google Ads, Dream 11, Groupon, Topline, Hamilton, and many others. It is a fast-growing hybrid platform for mobile apps development and continuously gets updates. The USP of this platform is that you can use a single code base for developing apps for multiple platforms. You also get easy control of Bluetooth, Wifi, and other background services which can be accessed by native apps. There are two sets of widgets in Flutter, Material design widgets which can imitate Google’s Design, and Cupertino widgets which can implement Apple’s iOS design. Some of the famous brands which are leveraging flutter framework are:
- The New York Times
- Alibaba Group
Benefits of Using Flutter
Open Source and Free to Use
The underlying language of the Flutter framework i.e. Dart is open-source and free to use. The developers can view the entire documentation, share their queries in the open development forum, and also, learn & implement the code.
Hot Reload Functionality
Hot Reload Functionality is one of the main features of why many companies preferred to use the Flutter framework. It is really easier for the developers to make changes in the backend of the app and check the differences in the front-end simultaneously. They can easily find out whether the changes are perfect or not.
The flutter mobile application development framework gives the opportunity to developers to use different widgets in the development environment. It is easier for creating mobility solutions that have a faster-customized look & feel.
Less development time & cost
Another benefit of the Flutter development is it allows the mobile app developers to create apps for both iOS and Android by employing a single codebase. This results in a lesser cost of development.
Google Firebase Support
Firebase integration gives you the facility to add in the backend into the development environment.
Best for MVP and App Prototypes
Unlike the Kotlin Multiplatform, where it was costlier to develop MVPs and App Prototypes, flutter is highly suitable for developing these in both iOS & Android platforms with quite less time, cost, and effort. It is a perfect choice for MVP development and creating Prototypes.
Although there are so many advantages, there are some disadvantages too.
Disadvantages of Flutter SDK
Larger size of the app
The most important disadvantage of choosing the Flutter for your app development is that it results in a larger size of the app. In comparison to React Native, and Xamarin, even a small file of “Hello World” will result in 6.7 MB.
Which Framework to consider for your mobile app development?
There are several factors that will decide what framework would be best for your mobile application development.
Popularity of the market
Flutter, and Kotlin, both are open-source frameworks that are free to use. So, the developers have a balanced interest in using these frameworks based on this.
If we go through the Google trends, then we will observe that Flutter is gradually rising in its popularity in comparison to Kotlin. If you also compare them on the basis of GitHub presence, then Flutter is having 69.5K stars & 8.11 forks, while Kotlin is having 28.3K stars and 3.29K forks.
When we compare the learning curve of Flutter and Kotlin native battle, then Kotlin is winning this race. This is because Kotlin is interoperable with Java and Google offered various Kotlin learning courses just a few months ago.
However, when we compare Kotlin Multiplatform and Flutter, there are different scenarios. Kotlin Multiplatform is a new ecosystem having limited resources, henceforth Flutter wins here.
In Flutter, the developers can use the same language for both layouts, backend, animation, etc. However, it is lagging behind Kotlin. Kotlin multiplatform can compile the code exactly in the format as that of the targeted platform.
3rd Party Integration
Kotlin multiplatform doesn’t build an ecosystem but works on the native ecosystems. So the mobile app developers can use the same tools or libraries which they were using during the native development. They don’t have to look for any 3rd party services for bridging a connection with the native environment. However, it is required in the case of the Flutter cross-platform SDK, provided it is basically a UI development tool.
In the backend services, the Kotlin multi platform is better than the Flutter. Flutter comes with Firebase with an effective BaaS (Backend as a Service), for effective backend opportunities, Kotlin lets the developers write backend code.
Multiple Platforms Focus
Flutter is limited to developing mobile apps for Android, iOS, and web platforms. You can’t use it for developing apps for tvOS, Android Auto, CarOS, and WatchOS. But there is no such constraint in the Kotlin Multiplatform. It is designed to develop app projects for devices and platforms beyond mobile as well.
Job & Salary
Last but not least, another important factor is the job & salary scope of Kotlin multiplatform and Flutter. Kotlin programming language is mentioned among the tech stacks by 268 companies and 210 developers, whereas Flutter is listed as a technology stack by 42 companies and 146 developers.
Both these platforms are highly reliable, but it will depend upon the requirements of your app to decide the best choice. At Amplework, the best mobile application development company in India, we have expertise in both these frameworks, and many other mobile app development frameworks. We will turn your requirements into a mobile reality.