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Flutter vs NativeScript: What are the differences?

Developers describe Flutter as "Cross-platform mobile framework from Google". Flutter is a mobile app SDK to help developers and designers build modern mobile apps for iOS and Android. On the other hand, NativeScript is detailed as "Build truly native apps with JavaScript". NativeScript enables developers to build native apps for iOS, Android and Windows Universal while sharing the application code across the platforms. When building the application UI, developers use our libraries, which abstract the differences between the native platforms.

Flutter and NativeScript belong to "Cross-Platform Mobile Development" category of the tech stack.

Some of the features offered by Flutter are:

  • Fast development - Flutter's "hot reload" helps you quickly and easily experiment, build UIs, add features, and fix bug faster. Experience sub-second reload times, without losing state, on emulators, simulators, and hardware for iOS and Android.
  • Expressive UIs - Delight your users with Flutter's built-in beautiful Material Design and Cupertino (iOS-flavor) widgets, rich motion APIs, smooth natural scrolling, and platform awareness.
  • Access native features and SDKs - Make your app come to life with platform APIs, 3rd party SDKs, and native code. Flutter lets you reuse your existing Java, Swift, and ObjC code, and access native features and SDKs on iOS and Android.

On the other hand, NativeScript provides the following key features:

  • 100% Access to Native Platform API
  • NativeScript is free of charge as an open source project
  • Code with JavaScript. Style with CSS

"Hot Reload" is the primary reason why developers consider Flutter over the competitors, whereas "Access to the entire native api" was stated as the key factor in picking NativeScript.

Flutter and NativeScript are both open source tools. Flutter with 67.7K GitHub stars and 7.75K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than NativeScript with 17.1K GitHub stars and 1.26K GitHub forks.

Policygenius, pludoni GmbH, and Hybrid Heroes are some of the popular companies that use Flutter, whereas NativeScript is used by Work Box, Zege Technologies, and GeekyAnts. Flutter has a broader approval, being mentioned in 39 company stacks & 137 developers stacks; compared to NativeScript, which is listed in 10 company stacks and 23 developer stacks.

Advice on Flutter and NativeScript
espresso_coder
software engineer at AWS · | 6 upvotes · 40.4K views

I am building an app that would need at least two external APIs: a map and a payment service. I am currently building in Flutter, but I am having trouble integrating one of the external APIs with the app. I wonder (because I am still at the beginning) if I should switch to React Native or build native iOS and Android apps separately. Any advice would be appreciated!

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Replies (3)
Recommends
FlutterFlutter

Choosing between ios/android and Flutter is not simple. Neither is a one-size-fit-all solution. It would be impossible to suggest one or the other without first analysing particular project’s requirements.

Choosing cross-platform development (Flutter) offers a number of advantages – lower cost, faster time to market, etc…, and if applied to the right type of project, will result in high-quality, marketable mobile product. In my opinion, stick with flutter and try to resolve those problems. Here are some useful links,

Map: *https://pub.dev/packages/mapbox_gl *https://www.raywenderlich.com/4466319-google-maps-for-flutter-tutorial-getting-started

Payment Service: *https://developer.squareup.com/docs *https://github.com/square/in-app-payments-flutter-plugin *https://pub.dev/packages/stripe_sdk

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Recommends
FlutterFlutter

It's a bit late but I suggest staying on Flutter anyway. Though you might face troubles with APIs integration, overall development experience is better on Flutter, so you save some time & power on the project in general. Dunno if it's of any use to you, but as a prove I attach one of many Flutter vs RN comparison articles (you can find any other similar yourself on the web though), hope it helps you make a decision

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Recommends
FlutterFlutter

can you discuss in more detail why cant you integrate that API?

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Melanie Verstraete
Needs advice
on
Ionic ReactIonic React
and
FlutterFlutter

Hi community, I am looking into how I should build my tech stack for a business/analytics platform. I am not very familiar with frontend development; when looking into cross-platform frameworks, I found a lot of options. What is the best cross-platform frontend framework to go with? I found Flutter interesting, but Ionic also looks promising? Thank you for the advice!

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Replies (1)
Alex Shkvoretz
Founder at Shkvoretz Software House · | 5 upvotes · 21.8K views

TL;DR Flutter if you target mobile first. Ionic if you target web first and mobile is an afterthought.

Ionic uses a web stack - HTML, CSS, JS, so any web dev should be able to pick it up quickly. Also, if there is an existing React, Vue or Angular app, it can be ported to Ionic with minimal effort, while porting to Flutter would require a complete rewrite.

Flutter uses Dart lang, so you'll need people who have working experience with it.

Ionic is a nightmare when it comes to native functionality e.g. working camera, accelerometer, gps, address book etc etc. Both Ionic and Flutter use plugins to access native functionality. Ionic's plugin quality is spotty while Flutter has its own package manager - pub.dev, where packages are curated.

Flutter is built from ground up and Ionic is like a Frankenstein monster made up of different technologies.

There is Flutter Hummingbird which basically allows you to deploy app to web, but it's in beta and although some companies already use it in production it's not quite production ready. (I believe Rive is using or did use it for their app)

I have worked with both, Ionic and Flutter. Development with Flutter is much more pleasant experience while with Ionic we always felt like we had to jump though hoops quite a bit.

It is difficult to provide a quality advice without knowing your constraints and resources available.

Verdict: I would go with Ionic when : 1. you are on a limited budget 2. there is an already existing web app that just needs to be published to App Store 3. you do not have Dart programmers or cannot retrain existing resource 4. web is a primary target

Otherwise, I would go with Flutter.

P.S. I suggest considering React Native. That maybe a happy medium between these two.

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Nikhilesh Goyal
Senior Embedded Engineer at GreyOrange · | 5 upvotes · 235.9K views
Needs advice
on
UnityUnityReact NativeReact Native
and
FlutterFlutter

Hi Friends, I am new to #MobileAppDevelopment and I need to make a #CrossPlatformMobileApp. I want guidance regarding which tools should I use to build a mobile app. Main requirements: integrate Unity game engine and provide a platform for social chats.

Past experience - C++ and Python

I have tagged Flutter and React Native but if anything better than both please suggest them.

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Replies (3)
Sahil Singh
Product Manager at AutoVRse · | 10 upvotes · 218.5K views
Recommends
UnityUnity

Hey, If you are using Unity you are going to have to do the end to end development on Unity, you can directly build for android and iOS on Unity. I dont see how Flutter or React Native fit into this equation. Unity is a standalone engine. As for Social Chats, you could use Firebase or your own API and integrate that in Unity in C#

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Recommends
UnityUnity

I agree with Sahil. If Unity is a requirement, best way is to use just that to create your app.

If you really want, it should be possible to use Flutter and Unity together. Using Flutter Unity Widget. Although I wouldn't recommend it just yet. It's too early days.

If you do end up using it, I would be very interested in reading about your experiences.

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Mathieu Grenier
Recommends
UnityUnity

You can start by small steps with Flutter and after Unity. Flutter = best choice to build a small cross-platform mobile app. With or no flutter, use directly Unity. Y'll have complete control but it's harder for new mobile developers. Keep in mind, the requirement is Unity!

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Needs advice
on
React NativeReact Native
and
FlutterFlutter

Hi, I'm a web dev and am using Electron for a desktop app. Now I have to develop a mobile app with the following features:

  • Posting/uploading files by users, private messaging between users, download files, moderation of the uploads, push notification of new posts.
  • Mods can ban users and delete files.
  • Share buttons from the library folder of the user phone.
  • When a user uploads a photo, a pencil tool for deleting staff on the pic.

Which tool is better for such a project?

Thanks in advance

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Replies (2)
Lee Dydo
Software Engineer at BrightSIgn · | 5 upvotes · 180K views
Recommends
React NativeReact Native

Given your experience in electron I think the shortest hop is going to be React Native. Especially since half of the requirements are server-side. Google is doing a pretty great job bringing up Flutter and the tooling is pretty great. For me however, dart seemed like quicksand and not everything is in its final home. React Native is mature, and considering my cursory analysis of your experience and the low complexity of this project, you've got quite a lot of room to grow into Javascript Land. Ultimately, my recommendation is always "play with both, see what you like, and get to know the documentation and the community." Keep your head on a swivel and set aside time to peek greener pastures, but spend most of your time delving deeply into what you're already doing.

But yeah, go with React Native first, get bored of it, learn what the shortcomings are through experience and then see if something else is really more attractive or just a new shiny.

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Varun Sharma
CTO at Nugen Computer & I.T. Services · | 5 upvotes · 180.1K views
Recommends
React NativeReact Native

Well, I will personally recommend to go for React Native as I have worked in both of them. React native has big community and it is easy to opt as compared to Flutter. There no doubt about the fact that Flutter is a great framework for developing both Android/IOS apps. However, you should have some experience to go for the same. Both will require prior knowledge as for React Native you have to go through Javascript first with which you are already familiar and for Flutter you need to go through Dart. So being familiar with Javascript you should go for React Native. You can go expo which has lot of inbuilt functionalities for the React Native developers.

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Needs advice
on
React NativeReact NativeIonicIonic
and
FlutterFlutter

Hi, we are an early startup (with an iPOC prototype) but need to get started on our MVP, and our tech developers in India recommended a hybrid, and they use Ionic, then we spoke with a software company in the US and he recommended Flutter or React Native. Any advice or input for us on the differences between these? Our app will need Bluetooth GPS for "near me" and social media sharing reviews capability, and also link on the backend with businesses. Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

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Replies (6)
Dario Alves
Arquiteto de Software at Senior sistemas · | 2 upvotes · 223.1K views
Recommends
React NativeReact Native

Maturity, Community, Facility, Libs React Native is the principal platform of mobile cross-platform development today, Flutter is it's a promise.

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Ahmad Khan
Recommends
FlutterFlutter

I would never recommend you to go with Ionic, Because of the User experience it provides is subpar. Flutter is most promising, Can be easily used to develop great user experience in no time. React native is also good, but it's phasing out in my opinion, while Ionic has already phased out. Flutter also provides great developer experience, resulting in fast and productive developers. I would have to press hard to think of a CON about flutter when recommending it for your needs.

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Kevin Lücke
Recommends
FlutterFlutter

It depends also on your team skills. Flutter is fast to learn, fast to develop with and the performance is much better in comparison to React. If your team is already highly skilled in React Native it could be the better option - if not Flutter is my 100% recommendation. We rapidly prototype and deliver MVPs with Flutter since two years.

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Recommends
IonicIonic
at

I don‘t have practical experience with flutter but between ionic and react native I‘d say both a perfectly viable options and we have used both for a number of production apps. We normally go with ionic on capacitor because we build a lot of pwa/web apps so we can use the same code for all. We don‘t use much of ionic elements, we do most styles on our own.

The comments that the user experience is bad I cannot agree with. A well designed and developed ionic apo can hardly be distinguished from a native app. But obviously that depends also on the usecase and type of app.

I hope this helps

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Nicolas Kovacs
Recommends
FlutterFlutter

Even if React Native is older (I didn't say mature) you should go for Flutter, It's works really well and the developer experience is great (auto-completion, plugin etc). I spent years with React Native and now I am using Flutter and I don't regret It. Even if you have to learn a new language, It's pretty simple even more If you know some OOP, Java and Javascript ES6 syntax in some case. One other advantage is the facility to design app in Flutter, you have widgets for everything and you can adapt any design made by your designer. For example you can't make a simple custom box shadow with React-Native ...

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Recommends
FlutterFlutter

Flutter is built on DART which is written in GO. GO compiles to binary. Hence is faster than any java based framework. It provides superior performance and has a simplified UI process for designing apps.

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Alexis Poveda
Needs advice
on
ElectronElectronFlutterFlutter
and
IonicIonic

Hi! I have to develop a software solution for a youth church group, for my graduation project. In the first meeting that I have with the coordinators, they did not have a clear idea of what they want. The biggest problem they have is the attendance control, they do it manually and that causes errors.

I was thinking of developing an Android app in Android Studio because that is the tool I master, but a friend told me that I consider using a tool that builds for iOS, Android and web. I have like 6 months. I own a MacBookAir but I do not know Swift (for iOS). I am familiar with MySQL, PHP, Apache, JSP,HTML,CSS.

Summary: What tool can I use that is easy to learn and easy to scale?

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Replies (5)
Recommends
IonicIonic

I think you should chose between Flutter and Ionic. With those two options, the main question is about graphs and performance. Are they really important for your application? If the answer is yes, your tool is Flutter but, if the answer is that you need an easy tool to create an app with some basic components I would choose Ionic. You have a library with lots of components that you can use and they have native UI by default (for Android and iOS).

You will find more support if you use Ionic with Angular as frontend framework (you have the option to use Vue or React but this is a new feature for Ionic and I think there are more difficult to learn than Angular).

You can develop and debug the majority of features on PC (I don't know if that is possible with Flutter). And when you will finish the app, create iOS and Android versions is simple.

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Recommends
IonicIonic

It's probably not relevant anymore, but I think Ionic with Angular as the frontend is the right choice. For IDE I would choose Visual Studio Code. You can just create a basic web application with responsive design, which is already included if you are going to use Ionic components with Material Design to create your app. You don't need to know Swift, you don't even have to create mobile apps, just create a responsive (Ionic already is) web app, or PWA. Upon browsing your website from a mobile device for example using google chrome, you will be prompted to create a shortcut of the website in your mobile phone. After you do this, there will be an icon in your phone that looks like an icon to launch an app, it will launch your website in full screen mode - for the user's perspective it will look like he is using a native app. Access https://ionicframework.com/docs/angular/pwa from your android chrome browser, go to tab options (3 vertical dots), click on Add to Home screen. When you launch the website from the shortcut, you'll see that it behaves and looks like a native app.

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Recommends
FlutterFlutter

Flutter is easy to use and easy to understand. Once you have completed the android platform, you can easily build it to ios, Web or desktop on a single code base.

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Carlos Esteban Lopez Jaramillo
Recommends
IonicIonic
  1. Electron is for desktop apps, so not useful for you.
  2. Flutter has better performance, but Ionic is decent as well, I would use Ionic unless you're making a game or graphic-intensive app.
  3. Ionic is more flexible since you have the whole NPM ecosystem available, while flutter is more recent, thus libraries for it are less in quantity and battle-tested than the ones in NPM.
  4. Ionic 4 introduced CSS variables, which improved immensely the theming process for the app, which was the hardest issue Ionic development had.
  5. Ionic has extended to many frameworks so it's compatible with Angular and React frameworks, meaning more flexibility, personally I would recommend Ionic with Angular over React since it's more suited to enterprise-level apps.
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Alejandro Ulate Fallas
Mobile Developer at Build SRL · | 2 upvotes · 139.5K views
Recommends
IonicIonic

Hi there. So Electron embeds everything in a webview, which means that what you would have to develop would be a Node project most probably. Ionic does the same (kindof but won't bore you with specifics) but it does it much more efficiently. Usually you do Ionic apps with JS frameworks like Angular or React (this one recently added). Flutter on the other hand does native apps, it does it really good but it's support for Web is in beta and it's relatively simple to setup if you already know the SDK and the environment.

My recommendation would be that you do your app using Angular/Ionic if you reaaally need the multi-platform environment and there's different reasons in this case:

  • Since it's a graduation project you need it to be as simple as it can be and adding a new technology adds to the learning curve.
  • Flutter is great if you have different complex UI or if you have specific performance needs that require native support and in your case it does not seem like you need that.
  • Flutter is also an incredibly powerful tool but it's learning curve might be tricky if you have not developed native apps before so I wouldn't recommend you start off like this if you have time sensitive projects like a graduation project. It does have great docs and an awesome community but I'd suggest you stick as close to what you know as you can.
  • Ionic/Angular uses Typescript (a type javascript wrapper) and Angular (JS framework) so you will have to learn a little bit but if you already know HTML, CSS and Javascript you won't have that much of a hard time. Also there's quite a lot in terms of documentation and tooling already tested around this combination.
  • Ionic/Angular has a really good CLI that helps you stick to the architecture they recommend so you wouldn't have to worry about it that much.
  • Ionic/Angular helps you test either locally in the web browser as well as your devices which is in the end what you want if you are looking for a multi-platform system. Flutter also does this but is not quite in a stable state (yet!).

Anyway, in the end, if you go for the multi-platform suggestion I think, because of time you would be better off with Ionic. If you decide that you don't need that as of right now (which is fine as well) you can start with just the Android app and plan on the different things you might eventually need like a website or other different stuff. Cheers!

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Decisions about Flutter and NativeScript
Julie Quintero
Machine learning/ software engineer · | 4 upvotes · 44.9K views

We will use Flutter for our athlete-facing mobile app. Flutter is a cross-platform app development framework, which boasts native performance and allows for creating beautiful, fluid user interfaces.

React Native may sound like a more appropriate option given our choice of frontend technologies, but we foresee little to no feature overlap in the web dashboard and mobile app. Ease of use, performance, good user experiences are key to encouraging athletes to use our app, something which React Native makes difficult, and is where Flutter excels.

We will use the test and flutter_test packages to test our Flutter app

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Christopher Chow
Software Developer at University of Toronto · | 4 upvotes · 45K views

We chose Flutter since we are developing a mobile application that needs to be performant (to handle displaying large amounts of data and video uploading) and would cover both Android and iOS systems. Since we want the app to be cross-platform, two frameworks comes in to mind: Flutter and React Native. As shown below, Flutter's performance and out-of-the-box support impressed us to pick it as our framework for our mobile app.

React Native has been a dominant force in cross-platform app development since its launch by Facebook. The ability to write React-like code and have it compile to both iOS and Android makes developing mobile apps much easier. However, the overhead done to bridge Javascript code into native code means React Native apps might not be as performant. Moreover, React Native, much like React, is an unopinionated framework that covers minimal functionality out-of-the-box. This means that most functionalities would have to be relied on third-party libraries or developers would have to write their own native code.

Flutter, on the other hand, is a much newer framework developed by Google. While Flutter uses Dart, a relatively new language compared to JS, syntax-wise it is similar enough to that a JS developer should be able to pick it up in no time. The Flutter engine also compiles directly into native code, making it more performant when compared with React Native. Flutter is also an opinionated framework, with a much large stack of Widgets to choose from out-of-the-box. The Widgets are also designed according to Material design principles, making styling easier.

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Pierre Canthelou
Lead Developper Frontend/Mobile at WinMinute · | 5 upvotes · 41.1K views

I've made 6 professional/business applications with React Native before choosing Flutter/Dart for the new version of WinMinuteConso (historical in Ionic...). Multi Platform is far more stable, Dart is far more powerful, the whole process is really better... It is just hard to find the proper software architecture...

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Thuan Nguyen
FE Lead at SOLID ENGINEER · | 5 upvotes · 343.3K views
  • Javascripts is the most populated language in the world.
  • Easy to learn & deployed production
  • Fast development
  • Strong community
  • Completed Documents
  • Native performance with lower RAM used.
  • Easy to handle native issues by using native code like Java / Objective C
  • Powered by Facebook.
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awesomebanana2018
Chose
FlutterFlutter
over
IonicIonic

While with Ionic it is possible to make mobile applications with only web technologies, Flutter is more performant and is easy to use if you are willing to learn Dart, which is a fun language. Plus, it has awesome documentation and, while its ecosystem isn't near as big as JavaScript's is, it has a good package manager called Pub and its packages are generally high quality.

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Nick Skriabin

We built the first version of our app with RN and it turned out a mess in a while. A lot of bugs along with poor performance out of the box for a fairly large app. Many things, that native platform has, cannot be done with existing solutions for RN. For instance, large titles on iOS are not fully implemented in any of existing navigations libraries. Also there's painfully slow JSON bridge and many other small, yet annoying things. On the other hand Flutter became a really powerful and easy-to-use tool. A bit of a learning curve, of course, because of Dart, but it worth learning. Flutter offers TONS of built-in features, no JSON-bridge, AOT compilation for iOS.

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Pros of Flutter
Pros of NativeScript
  • 111
    Hot Reload
  • 90
    Performance
  • 90
    Cross platform
  • 73
    Backed by Google
  • 61
    Compiled into Native Code
  • 46
    Open Source
  • 45
    Fast Development
  • 42
    Fast Prototyping
  • 41
    Expressive and Flexible UI
  • 34
    Single Codebase
  • 32
    Reactive Programming
  • 26
    Material Design
  • 21
    Widget-based
  • 21
    Target to Fuchsia
  • 20
    Dart
  • 15
    IOS + Android
  • 12
    Easy to learn
  • 12
    Great CLI Support
  • 12
    Tooling
  • 11
    You can use it as mobile, web, Server development
  • 10
    Have built-in Material theme
  • 9
    Debugging quickly
  • 9
    Support by multiple IDE: Android Studio, VS Code, XCode
  • 8
    Community
  • 8
    Target to Android
  • 8
    Easy Testing Support
  • 7
    Good docs & sample code
  • 7
    Have built-in Cupertino theme
  • 7
    Written by Dart, which is easy to read code
  • 7
    Target to iOS
  • 6
    Easy to Widget Test
  • 6
    Flutter is awesome
  • 6
    Real platform free framework of the future
  • 6
    Easy to Unit Test
  • 75
    Access to the entire native api
  • 47
    Support for native ios and android libraries
  • 46
    Support for javascript libraries
  • 46
    Angular 2.0 support
  • 44
    Native ux and performance
  • 37
    Typescript support
  • 35
    Backed up by google and telerik
  • 29
    Css support
  • 27
    Cross-platform declarative ui and code
  • 25
    Fully open source under apache 2.0 license
  • 11
    Vuejs support
  • 9
    60fps performance
  • 6
    Powerful data visualization with native UI
  • 5
    Angular, typescript and javascript support
  • 5
    VS Code integration
  • 5
    No need for Mac to build iOS apps in Telerik Platform
  • 4
    Extended CLI support
  • 4
    Cloud builds as part of Telerik PLatform
  • 4
    Truly Object-Oriented with Typescript
  • 4
    On-device debugging
  • 4
    Extensibility
  • 3
    Easy to learn
  • 3
    0 day support for new OS updates
  • 3
    Easiest of all other frameworks
  • 3
    Live reload
  • 3
    Backed by google
  • 3
    Access to entire native api
  • 3
    Publishing modules to NPM
  • 2
    Vue.js support out of the box
  • 2
    VueJS support
  • 2
    Svelte support
  • 2
    Powerfull mobile services as part of Telerik Platform
  • 2
    Native ui with angular
  • 2
    Vue support
  • 1
    Playground
  • 1
    Hot Reload
  • 1
    HMR via webpack
  • 1
    Very small app size
  • 1
    Write once, use anywhere
  • 1
    Easy to use, support for almost all npm packages
  • 1
    Rich ecosystem
  • 1
    Compile to Apple/Google Stores via CloudCompiler
  • 1
    Has CSS ;-)
  • 1
    It works with Angular
  • 1
    Code reuse with your website
  • 0
    Dart

Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

Cons of Flutter
Cons of NativeScript
  • 28
    Need to learn Dart
  • 10
    No 3D Graphics Engine Support
  • 9
    Lack of community support
  • 6
    Graphics programming
  • 6
    Lack of friendly documentation
  • 2
    Lack of promotion
  • 1
    Https://iphtechnologies.com/difference-between-flutter
  • 5
    Lack of promotion
  • 1
    Slower Performance compared to competitors

Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a mobile app SDK to help developers and designers build modern mobile apps for iOS and Android.

What is NativeScript?

NativeScript enables developers to build native apps for iOS, Android and Windows Universal while sharing the application code across the platforms. When building the application UI, developers use our libraries, which abstract the differences between the native platforms.

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What are some alternatives to Flutter and NativeScript?
React Native
React Native enables you to build world-class application experiences on native platforms using a consistent developer experience based on JavaScript and React. The focus of React Native is on developer efficiency across all the platforms you care about - learn once, write anywhere. Facebook uses React Native in multiple production apps and will continue investing in React Native.
Xamarin
Xamarin’s Mono-based products enable .NET developers to use their existing code, libraries and tools (including Visual Studio*), as well as skills in .NET and the C# programming language, to create mobile applications for the industry’s most widely-used mobile devices, including Android-based smartphones and tablets, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Android SDK
Android provides a rich application framework that allows you to build innovative apps and games for mobile devices in a Java language environment.
Java
Java is a programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. There are lots of applications and websites that will not work unless you have Java installed, and more are created every day. Java is fast, secure, and reliable. From laptops to datacenters, game consoles to scientific supercomputers, cell phones to the Internet, Java is everywhere!
Kotlin
Kotlin is a statically typed programming language for the JVM, Android and the browser, 100% interoperable with Java
See all alternatives