Kotlin vs. Flutter Multiplatform: Which is Best for Your App?

Discover the best platform for your next cross-platform mobile app development project in this comprehensive blog comparing Kotlin and Flutter Multiplatform to decide which platform to use for your project.

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By Anupam Singh

17 Oct, 2022

In today's market, mobile applications are booming and are projected to grow in the future. It leaves a wide-open field for competition among companies trying to develop the best tools and frameworks for creating cross-platform mobile applications. This article will explore two popular frameworks and programming languages (Kotlin and Flutter) used for cross-platform with the help of best mobile application development company. By comparing and contrasting the pros and cons of each, you will better choose the suitable framework for your next project.

Cross-Platform Application Development Overview & Benefits

Cross-platform application development develops software for multiple platforms, such as computers, mobile devices, and web browsers. This type of development can benefit organizations that need to reach a broad audience, as it allows them to create a single application that people with different types of devices can use. It makes applications for various operating systems, such as Windows, Mac, and Linux.

  • It allows developers to reach a larger audience by supporting multiple platforms.
  • Cross-platform development can save time and resources by allowing code to be reused on all platforms.
  • It ensures the compatibility of applications with each other, regardless of the platforms they are running on.

Challenges in Cross-Platform Development?

There are some challenges to cross-platform application development as well;

  • First, the different platforms can have additional capabilities, so not all features can be supported on all platforms.
  • Second, different platforms can have other user interfaces, so the same application may need to be designed differently.
  • Testing & debugging can be more difficult when dealing with multiple platforms.

Despite these challenges, cross-platform development is often the best option for many businesses or organizations, providing a more extensive audience and saving time and resources.

What is Kotlin Multiplatform?

Kotlin Multi-Platform is a new programming language from JetBrains that allows developers to target multiple platforms with a single codebase. It is already a popular language for Android development, and with Kotlin Multi-Platform, developers can now target iOS, web, desktop, and even embedded systems with a single codebase.

Kotlin Multi-Platform is designed to be easy to use, with a familiar syntax that makes it easy for Java developers to get started. Also, it is 100% interoperable with Java, so developers can mix and match Kotlin and Java code as needed.

Kotlin Multi-Platform is still in early development, but JetBrains is already working on tooling and libraries to make it easy to develop cross-platform applications. In the future, Kotlin Multi-Platform could become the go-to language for cross-platform application development, making it easy to target different platforms with a single codebase.

Read More- How to Build Cross-Platform Apps with Kotlin Multiplatform

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a mobile app SDK- Software development Kit for building high- quality native interfaces on iOS and Android. It is Google’s mobile UI framework for crafting beautiful, natively compiled mobile, web, and desktop applications from a single codebase.

Flutter works with existing code, is used by developers worldwide, and is free and open-source. It offers a rich set of Material Design and Cupertino (iOS- flavor) widgets built with our high-performance rending engine. It is fast, efficient, and easy to use.

However, there are various advantages & disadvantages of each of them. Thus, it becomes essential to know their merits & demerits to make the selection better.

Read More About - Future of Flutter in 2022 & Beyond

Advantages & Disadvantages:- Kotlin vs. Flutter

Have a look at the below tables to understand the pros & cons of both.

Advantages & Disadvantages:- Kotlin vs. Flutter

Till now, you will get a brief idea of Kotlin Multiplatform and Flutter. Now, to make yourself more straightforward for your cross-platform application development projects, here are some of the factors on which you can find the comparison between these two. In this write-up, you can find the comparison based on Performance, UI Experience, Cost, Popularity, Community, Learning Curve, and Time-to-Market .

Comparison B/W Flutter vs. Kotlin Multiplatform

Regarding Kotlin vs. Flutter: Best to choose. The first thing that strikes the user’s attention is their crucial comparison. Therefore, the general public and professionals are keenly searching for the best comparison-based content that ultimately helps them choose one.

Let’s explore Flutter and Kotlin Multiplatform on a few parameters:-

Performance-

  • Flutter

The dart programming language is used to create apps with Flutter. These apps are compiled directly to machine code, making them extremely fast. Additionally, Flutter does not rely on web views or OEM widgets- It has its rendering engine renders every view component. This provides a rich widget set that includes all the critical platform differences, such as icons, font, navigation, scrolling, and other UI elements. As a result, native-like performance can be achieved on Android and iOS platforms.

Flutter aims to be fast- really fast. 60fps fast. This kind of speed is essential for two main reasons. The first reason is that it makes the user experience better. A smooth UI is always going to look better than a janky one.

The second reason is that it makes the development process when you hire flutter app developers from a reliable firm who makes you work easier and faster. When you are building something new, you want to be able to iterate quickly. If each change you make takes a long time to show up, it will hold you back.

  • Kotlin

Kotlin is a versatile programming language that can be used for developing Android apps, cross-platform apps, and more. It is often compared to Java due to its object-oriented programming capabilities. However, Kotlin offers many features that Java does not, making it a powerful choice for developers who want more than Java has to offer.

Kotlin is known for its speed and delivery performance on all platforms. In fact, Google has 60 apps written in Kotlin. Another advantage of Kotlin is that the code is compiled in the same format as the platform it is written for. This makes kotlin an ideal choice for developing cross-platform apps.

Flutter and Kotlin are great for app development but depend on the specific functions and features you need for your app. If you are looking for amazing performance, either option will work well.

UI Experience

  • Flutter

Cross-platform apps need a great UI to succeed. This is where Flutter comes in. It helps developers create amazing experiences that feel native to the user's platform. All of this is done by using a single codebase. This makes life much easier for developers and helps keep the app’s quality consistent across all platforms.

  • Kotlin

Kotlin, on the other hand, offers a lot of freedom when developing user interfaces for apps. This means that there are no restrictions on how you can develop your app’s UI. You can use native features, whichever is necessary, or write platform-specific code.

Cost

  • Kotlin

Kotlin is open-source and completely free. Kotlin developers are growing in demand, and it is one of the essential skills to have as Kotin is said to be the future of Android development.

  • Flutter

Flutter is the same as Kotlin, open source and accessible. Flutter requires learning Dart, which may be why many developers do not consider it a major skill. Nevertheless, it is still in growing mode, and we will see many organizations adopting it soon.

Popularity

  • Kotlin

Kotlin is a language that continues to grow in popularity amongst developers. In the 2020 StackOverflow Developer survey, Kotln was voted among the top 5 most loved languages. It is versatile and easy to use, which makes it a popular choice for many world-recognized brands, such as Google Home, Atlassian, Zomato, Adobe, ING Bank, Uber, VMware, Pinterest, Trello Slack, and Udemy.

Kotlin and Dart are two of the most popular programming languages, according to the 2020 Stack Overflow Developer survey . Developers love these languages because they are easy to use and provide a lot of flexibility.

  • Flutter

Flutter has been gaining in popularity lately due in part to its expansive user base, which includes tech giants such as Google and Square. Another reason for its recent success is the recent release of Flutter 3 (in May 2022) and Flutter 2.0 (in March 2021) developers have been raving about the update, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. With 143K stars on GitHub, it's clear that the Flutter community is one of the most active in the world.

Learning Curve

  • Kotlin

Kotlin's syntax is concise and similar to that of other JVM languages, such as Scala, Java, Groovy, and Swift. If Kotlin developers come from a Java background, they will find it very easy to switch to Kotlin. Being a fully Java-compatible language, Kotlin, can be used in new and existing applications without problems.

  • Flutter

Flutter uses Dart. Dart is a powerful programming language for developing various web, mobile, server, and desktop applications. Google develops it, and easy to learn if you already know programming languages like C++, C, Java Script, Python, and so on.

Time-to-Market

  • Flutter

Flutter's hot reload helps speed up UI development by allowing for quick experiments and changes. This, along with its rich set of widgets and layered architecture, results in a native-like user experience faster than what Kotlin offers.

  • Kotlin

However, Kotlin has more concise syntax and ensures maximum code reuse, which results in faster app development. However, the speed at which coding can be done depends on the complexity of the applications. Both Flutter and Kotlin save time in development by allowing for a single code base to be used for multiple platforms.

Now that we've seen the advantages and disadvantages, we have also compared Flutter and Kotlin with various essential parameters. However, look at the below head-to-head comparison of Flutter vs. Kotlin Multiplatform.

Head-to-Head Comparison- Flutter vs. Kotlin Multiplatform

Parameters Kotlin Flutter
Language Kotlin Dart
Launch Year & Developer 2016, JetBrains Google
Performance Customization of codes makes is impressive in terms of
performance Quite promising due to Reload feature
User’s & Rating 33.3K stars on GitHub 143K stars on GitHub
Learning Curve Kotlin has limited resources to learn Flutter has a
comprehensive documentation
UI Design Great UI experience and the customization options Extensive
customization feature
Scope of Backend Development Kotlin Multi-Platform permits developers to
write the backend code seamlessly Flutter is backed by Google, Though
firebase is a Backend-as-a-service platform to write code at the backend
Popular Apps Autodesk, Careem, Yandex, VMware, Chalk, Icerock, Quizlet
The New York Times, eBay, Tencent, Alibaba, Square
Testing Support Kotlin doesn’t offer any technical support options or
features It has a bucket full of features. The most attentive feature is
the Widget testing feature which is currently trending.

Final Takeaway- Kotlin vs. Flutter

No framework or programming language can be called perfect; each has its ups and downs. Flutter and Kotlin offer outstanding performance and can save you time and money in development. Flutter is more popular than Kotlin in some ways, even though it is newer to the market. Kotlin is preferred for developing Android apps. If we consider cross-platform development, they both offer native-like performances from a single code base.

Clear the confusion; read: Which Is Best, Native or Cross Platform Development?

Technology selection can be a tricky business. Depending on the project requirements, you might want one tool over another. This guide provides an in-depth look at two different technologies, helping you make a more informed decision when choosing the right tool for your project.

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