Flutter Vs PWA- Which One To Choose In 2020?

Flutter vs PWA

In the past couple of years, mobile application development has transformed into a blasting industry. Nearly 3.5 billion people in the world are using smartphones and applications to carry out everyday tasks. Today,  for online business mobile app development is necessary. If you want to increase your sales with technology then app development is genuinely suggested for everyone.

A decade ago, you could build a native application. The main drawback of this was- you had to spend twice the development cost to make applications for iOS and Android platforms. But now, with the availability of broad cross-platform development options, developing two applications using a single codebase become more popular. There are some competing mobile app cross-platform tools available. Other than PWA and Hybrid, Google’s Flutter and Facebook’s React Native are among the most notable ones. The two main advantages of cross-platform application development is a rapid development process and reduced cost. As there are a lot of frameworks available to build cross platform apps, most of the entrepreneurs get confused about choosing the best between Flutter and PWA. Before making the comparison, let us understand the basics of both frameworks.

What Is Flutter?

Flutter is an open-source mobile app development framework to develop high-performance, high fidelity mobile apps for both android and ios platforms. Flutter apps are written in Dart language which can be compiled to JavaScript. The major components of Flutter are Dart platform, Flutter engine, Foundation library, and Design-specific widgets. Using Flutter framework, you can easily build user interfaces that smoothly react in your application as it reduces the code required to synchronize and update you application’s view. Within a short time, Flutter has become very popular on GitHub and has gathered plenty of stars.

Features Of Flutter-

  • It includes modern react-style framework, instant gadgets, and development tools.
  • It has huge support for developing customized interfaces with unique themes and priorities as per your needs.
  • Flutter has a new feature called “Hot Reload”. With this tool, you can access  a wide range of widgets along with working on a dynamic interface with ease.
  • It has a high effective portable GPU delivering UI power that allows it to work on the most recent interfaces.

Pros of Flutter-

  • Easily learnable
  • It gives access to native features.
  • It is hot reload which means that the developers can see all the changes they’ve made to the code.
  • Perfect for an MVP.
  • It improves overall performance as well as app startup time.

Cons of Flutter-

  • Few issues in integrating with native external libraries.
  • It isn’t supported by web browsers as it only mobile applications.
  • Lack of third-party libraries. Using Flutter, the developer has to build these libraries themselves which is very time-consuming.

What Is PWA?

PWA(Progressive Web Apps) belongs to a completely different app category, but they can open on mobile devices too. These are the web apps that can be run within a browser. So, they are cross-platform because you can open them on almost any device including desktops and mobiles. Generally, PWAs are developed using web technologies like HTML+CSS+JavaScript(and JS frameworks like Angular or Vue). Twitter Lite and Uber are among great PWA examples. 

Three Key Points of PWAs

  • Reliability- Instantly loads and doesn’t require an Internet connection.
  • Speed- Smooth and responsive user experience that doesn’t lag.
  • Engagement- Features like native apps

Features Of PWA-

  • PWA provide complete responsiveness and browser compatibility because these apps are built according to progressive enhancement principles and work with all browsers that are compatible with any device.
  • Connectivity independence- it can work both offline and on-low quality networks. 
  • It includes an app-like interface.
  • PWAs always update themselves automatically means you get an updated app
  • These apps are served via HTTPS so that unauthorized user will not be able to access the content & prevent snooping

Pros Of PWA-

  • Cheaper to build and maintain.
  • Easy to find & share.
  • It makes any web app experience faster and reliable because of progressive enhancement.
  • Reduced installation friction.
  • PWAs can work on multiple platforms which in turn reduces the cost of development.

Cons Of PWA-

  • PWAs can’t support native app typical features like fingerprint scanning, NFC, inter-app communication, and camera controls.
  • Limited hardware & software support.
  • No download app store presence.

Flutter Vs PWA-

1. Language-

Flutter uses Dart programming language. Dart is a fully object-oriented programming language and as it has a C-based syntax style, it is easy to learn. Also, Dart can be compiled to ARM and x86 code, and with the newer version of Flutter, you can even expect to be able to transpile it to JavaScript so that your Dart code can successfully run on the web. 

Progressive web applications are like the new standard of web and there is not a strict rule as to what programming language it must be coded in. However, as it’s still fundamentally a technology from the web, web-based languages like JavaScript are still basic to the PWA development.

2. Complexity-

Flutter is a new language and can seem somewhat more complicated at first time, as everything, from the UI  to logic code can appear more or less mingled together in Flutter. Also, since everything is basically a widget in Flutter, you can be in circumstances where you end up with an unusually enormous, deep, and complex ‘widget tree’.

As you know, PWA is based on JavaScript, an old and mature language, you can expect the learning curve to be more forgiving because there are numerous JavaScript frameworks and libraries available for you to choose from.

3. Features-

As Flutter is specifically made for cross-platform development of mobile apps, it has more features than that of PWA. Flutter apps have more deep integration with the system and hence can use more native features of the device. User experience of Flutter is better as it adopts a pixel-perfect philosophy with which users from android and ios platforms can experience the same experience.

Flutter applications are more consistent across devices but a typical flutter app size is larger than a typical PWA. A simple “Hello World!”  flutter app can be 7MB in size while a PWA with the same content never breaks the 1MB mark.

4. Performance-

For performance, Flutter and PWA are toe-to-toe with each other and not a one-sided match as one would expect. When compared with a Flutter application, a PWA should have a tad of performance hit when attempting to ‘talk’ legitimately to native code- as the PWA mostly need to use a JavaScript bridge to access the hidden features of the device, e.g., GPS, camera, and so on.

It is clear that JavaScript frameworks like NodeJS can perform on-par, if not better than Dart on some occasions. This is owed to the fact that JavaScript can better use the multicore nature of modern CPUs and distribute workloads more efficiently. A new module worker_threads is introduced by NodeJS and it allows the use of threads for parallel execution of JavaScript processes, JavaScript can better handle CPU-intensive workloads and can beat Dart.

Flutter Vs PWA- A Comparison

HistoryDeveloped by Google and the initial version was released in May 2017Released in 2017 and take advantage of new features supported by browser
InstallationCan be installed on devices as native appsCan be installed on home screen as shortcut
DevelopmentSingle codebase, hot reloading feature and ready made widgets make development faster.Using different codebase for web & mobile increases the overall development speed.
PerformanceUses rendering engine and performs betterLower performance as it uses web DOM & requires a browser to implement
Code ComplexityKnowledge of Flutter and Dart is necessary to develop appComplexity depends on the type of framework used
Message and call integrationCan read and messages but needs manual action to invoke callsUnable to read and send messages
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When To Choose Flutter?

If your user base is mostly available on iOS, that prefers a fast performing app, you must choose Flutter. It will allow you to launch app with native look & feel and gives you an opportunity to generate revenue by using in-app purchases and other monetization options. 

When To Choose PWA?

If you have a low budget and doesn’t have a dedicated user base on iOS devices, then you can choose PWA to improve user experience within budget.

Wrap up-

Here you’ve seen some basic differences between Flutter vs PWA. There can be few others too. If you’re still confused to choose the best between Flutter vs PWA, consult with solace experts. We are here to help you through consultation and development. You can also hire flutter developers and PWA developers of solace team to develop an effective app. We will be happy to help you.

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