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Flutter vs Kotlin – For Android Development

Isha Sharma
Published: August 21, 2022

Believe it or not but the future is going to be in the hands of compact devices such as mobile phones, tablets, etc. In the last few years, the pandemic has changed the whole business metrics. That’s the fact, companies are now trying to find a way to reduce their production cost and speed up their sales figures. and they’re focusing more on developing sustainable mobile applications to maintain their true existence. There’s no surprise that it is one of the most important trends in the world of the software development industry.

Flutter-vs-Kotlin-Which-one-is-Best

Now, here’s the catch, for developing a sustainable application, it is necessary to choose the best technology for building mobile applications. So far, there are 2 major tools that are being used by android developers these days i.e. Kotlin and Flutter. 

A recent survey suggested that over 1 million developers are actively using Kotlin for mobile development whereas flutter bags 5,00,000 android developers globally. 

We’re here to discuss two of the leading android development tools i.e. Flutter vs Kotlin. Before we begin, let’s get a quick summary of both of them.

What is Kotlin and Why do We Use it?

Initially designed for JVM (Java Virtual Machine), it’s a general purpose, open source, and statically typed programming language. The major focus of Kotlin is on interoperability, clarity, and safety. It was introduced by JetBrains and went live for general usage in 2016. The best part about Kotlin is that it uses multiple languages syntax and concepts such as Java, C#, etc. Here’s A Complete Guide to Learn Kotlin For Android App Development

There are 3 major reasons for using Kotlin:

  1. It helps developers in converting a file (Java) into a Kotlin file by using a script.
  2. Since it is considered an advanced version of Java, it becomes easy while working on Kotlin and is fully compatible with Java.
  3. Kotlin makes asynchronous programming simple and effective with the help of coroutines. 

What is Flutter and Why Do We Use it?

Supported by millions of android developers, it’s a perfect solution for building native applications. Even Google uses Flutter in its modules (such as voice assistant) and has well-known compatibility with e-bay, Alibaba, etc. Although, the SDK of Flutter is based on Dart programming language which means a developer can easily apply object-oriented programming to any of its elements. Released in May 2017, Flutter is also known for its widget-based technology and is an open-source platform. 

Some of the major reasons for using Flutter for Android app development are as follows:

  1. It uses the Skia graphics library which is a much open-source and fast library for graphics and offers a smooth user experience.
  2. While working with Flutter, it is not mandated to reload the app every time while making changes in the code and that’s what enables a quick development process.
  3. One of the most notable features that Flutter offers is its capability of reusability of codes across different platforms i.e. mobile devices (ios/android), web, desktop, etc.

Comparison  Between “Flutter and Kotlin”

Now, let’s see the straight comparison between the two to see the broader picture:

1. Syntax

As discussed above, they both are object-oriented programming languages. The comments and syntaxes are almost similar. For developers (who use Dart) while working on flutter use semicolons, and semicolons aren’t required in Kotlin.

For best reference, check out the example below:

Kotlin

Kotlin

import androidx.appcompat.app.AppCompatActivity

import android.os.Bundle

  

class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() {

    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {

        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState)

        setContentView(R.layout.activity_main)

    }

}

XML

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout

    android:layout_width="match_parent"

    android:layout_height="match_parent"

    tools:context=".MainActivity">

  

    <TextView

        android:layout_width="wrap_content"

        android:layout_height="wrap_content"

        android:text="Hello GFG!"

        app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"

        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"

        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"

        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent" />

</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

Flutter

Dart

import 'package:flutter/material.dart';

  

void main() {

  runApp(const MyApp());

}

  

class MyApp extends StatelessWidget {

  const MyApp({Key? key}) : super(key: key);

  

  @override

  Widget build(BuildContext context) {

    return MaterialApp(

      title: 'Hello GFG!',

      theme: ThemeData(

        primarySwatch: Colors.green,

      ),

      home: const MyHomePage(title: 'Hello GFG App'),

    );

  }

}

  

class MyHomePage extends StatefulWidget {

  const MyHomePage({Key? key, required this.title}) : super(key: key);

  final String title;

  

  @override

  State<MyHomePage> createState() => _MyHomePageState();

}

  

class _MyHomePageState extends State<MyHomePage> {

  @override

  Widget build(BuildContext context) {

    return Scaffold(

      appBar: AppBar(

        title: Text(widget.title),

      ),

      body: Center(

        child: Column(

          mainAxisAlignment: MainAxisAlignment.center,

          children: const <Widget>[

            Text(

              'Hello GFG!',

            ),

          ],

        ),

      ),

    );

  }

}

2. Community Support

Flutter and Kotlin both offer strong community support and hold millions of developers across the world. While comparing in terms of existence, Flutter has an advantage over Kotlin and has more active members as we’re growing with advancement.

As per stats where Kotlin stands with 42.3k stars, Flutter has over 143k star ratings and that shows the level of popularity among both of them.

3. Performance

Flutter offers a hot-reloading feature that enables ease during app development for making changes at the backend and viewing the changes of the front-end at the same time. 

Whereas, Kotlin offers a compilation of codes in a similar format as requested and allows an enhanced performance as its native counterparts such as Bluetooth, camera, etc. 

4. Minimal Code

While comparing both of them, Flutter uses Dart with JIT and AOT which enable it to compile just in time and improve its efficiency, functionality, and performance. JIT refreshes the user interface without putting any extra effort. So, in this, Kotlin aces Flutter for execution.

5. Documentation

As discussed above, Flutter is an open-source platform and that’s why it offers comprehensive documentation. Besides this, it provides users with an excellent performance in terms of testing functions that are capable of UT the widgets during the integration. 

Whereas, the user creates widget tests to examine the user interface and operates them at the speed of UT. While compared to Flutter, Kotlin is new and that’s why the documentation of Kotlin is far behind Flutter.

If that’s the case: Kotlin is still in development phase, the libraries can be changed at any point of time.

6. UI Experience

Talking about the cross-platform application, creating a clear user interface is very important for this process. The major task of having a cross-platform is to offer a native experience and that’s what Flutter does. It offers a unified experience across the platforms. While using Flutter, developers can take care of every aspect that can cater to native performance on Android and iOS without putting any extra effort to write additional codes.

On the other hand, Kotlin offers a free environment for creating a user interface which means it does not impose any restrictions on how a developer is establishing the interface. Kotlin also allows developers to use native features when required or codes for any specific platform.

7. Faster Development

The enriched experience allows developers to focus on producing every piece of code and reusing them several times. This also saves time and lets developers deliver the project within the deadline. Cross-platform development implies the application of reusability in spite of writing codes again and again. 

Besides this, since we’re talking about speed, Flutter performs pretty well but it lags while comparing it to Kotlin (that’s typically faster), because of its capability to compile to the format of the target platform. So, when it comes to speed, Kotlin is the one for you.

Android App Development Course for Beginners – Self-Paced is designed especially for you to help you in clearing all your doubts related to Android Development.

Future of Android Development Using Flutter vs Kotlin

If your plan is to develop an e-commerce store, fintech, or any business application then Flutter is the solution for you. It is the best solution for building apps for any small-medium-large scale businesses. It is a perfect solution where the motive is to save time and money and is perfect for creating minimum viable products, working prototypes, and applications. 

Point to Remeber: Nothing is Perfect and no such technology can fix all issues at once.

On the other hand, Kotlin is fully interchangeable with Java and is also considered to be its advanced version. Kotlin can be added to any big-scale or cross-platform project. Even experts say, if you’re looking to provide strength to your back-end development skills, then Kotlin is the solution for you. Rest, it depends on your project requirements to choose the perfect platform for you. 

Source: www.geeksforgeeks.org