Swift vs Flutter - Which is Better for Your Next iOS Application?

August 22, 2022 16 min read
swift vs flutter

Behind every successful application lies a robust development approach, strong coding methods, and the ideal technology stack. The programming language used to code the business application is one of the biggest rocks supporting your business's mobile app development requirements.

In iOS app development, you should give equal importance to the application's performance, quality, and app store requirements. Having a programming language in your tech stack that makes up for the intuitive frontend and flawless backend requirements is essential.

Swift is the iOS programming language, while Flutter is a UI toolkit developed to devise smooth frontends. However, these languages/toolkits have been battling fiercely for the developer's attention and a place within the tech stack.

This blog will look at the key features of swift and Flutter. We will also take you through a comparative analysis of Swift vs Flutter to help you understand which one works and in which situation.

What is Swift?

Swift is a high-level programming language developed by the open source community in collaboration with Apple. It is a multi-paradigm and general-purpose language that works with both Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks.

The programming language extends support to multiple functions, including late binding, dynamic dispatch, and extensible programming. The newest version of the programming language is Swift 5.0, which has released numerous capabilities that can inspire experiential applications.

The language was more of a replacement for Objective-C to help improve the developer’s productivity and streamline development.

Key Features of Swift

Check out the key features of this programming language that will help you understand its abilities better.

key features of swift

  • Easy-to-use Syntax: The syntax is known for its simplicity and ease of access. You can code any algorithm or logic using a more expressive and rational code with the programming language. It makes it easier for you to read through the code.
     
  • Better Memory Management: The earlier versions of Swift and other programming languages for iOS were known for using excess memory. However, that is not the case with Swift. It automatically sets the memory space within the application, which makes it easier for the application to save some bandwidth and space.
     
  • Impressive Generics: This is one of the best features of the programming language. It allows you to reuse the functions and makes handling applications flexible.
     
  • Fast Performing: This is a fast-performing programming language. With this language, you won't need to invest time in testing the code or correcting the errors, as it automates the process. As a result, you will save time working on the application.
     
  • Deliver for Multiple Platforms: This programming language is compatible with numerous operating systems, including Linux, macOS, and WatchOS, apart from iOS.
     
  • Improves Code Security: With Swift, you can make the application safe and secure. The programming language checks the code before it goes into production. The base language will automatically remove the unsafe parts for runtime and release only the safety aspects.

Pros and Cons of Swift

Pros Cons
As Swift uses the LLVM compiler technology, it can access the standard library that makes writing code efficient and fast While it may have been in the market for a while, it isn’t at mature as C# or C++, which means it lacks certain robust programming needs
As it is a modern code and inferred type of language, it is easy to maintain and comes with fewer errors While it offers cross-platform support, it isn’t as strong as the other framework. It is capable of Apple devices
As we mentioned earlier, it comes with automated memory management and auto code checks, which ensures high security As the programming language is being frequently updated, finding the right tools to develop apps can be difficult
The libraries that the particular code accesses are integrated into the device as soon as the app version is released You may not be able to use the XCode framework to develop Swift-based iOS apps
The programming language is open source, which literally translates to huge community support. They keep reviving the programming language and offer capable features -

What is Flutter?

Flutter is an open-source UI framework developed by Google to help build native applications using a single codebase. You can deliver multi-platform apps using the single Flutter codebase.

It comprises an SDK with all the tools needed to develop an application for iOS and Android. The framework includes reusable and extensive UI elements that help build interfaces quickly. This framework is built using Dart programming language (another Google-backed language), which has undergone several changes and improvements since its inception.

With Flutter, you can not only build applications but also test and deploy them with ease.

Key Features of Flutter

key features of flutter

  • Hot Reload: This is one of the finest features of this framework. It allows developers to make changes in the live environment without letting them impact the production-stage application. As a result, it speeds up error-finding and deploying the changes.
     
  • The Widget Library: The UI elements in Flutter are designated as widgets. You can use these widgets, customize them, and incorporate them into your design. They can make complex structures appear simple
     
  • Native-like Performance: Though it is a cross-platform framework, it offers native-like appeal and performance. The framework comprises platform-specific widgets that can be used to implement specific features and functionality. It can also use native-specific coding languages through third-party integrations to incorporate native features.
     
  • Open-Source: You are fully aware of the source code and can make changes to the same to deploy the specific framework changes.
     
  • Multi-platform Development: You can develop the application for multiple web and mobile platforms.

A quick look a the pros and cons of Flutter to know when you should hire Flutter developer for your business app.

Pros and Cons of Flutter

Pros Cons
Speeds up development as you don’t need too many teams working on multiple platforms Flutter is still in its nascent stage and getting version updates. This may be the sole reason you may not be able to introduce a lot of features immediately
Can make feature or functionality changes in a live environment with hot reload The Android and iOS version updates may be delayed on Flutter
Owing to the layered architecture, you get complete control over the pixels, thus enabling customization and rendering It may not get the exact look and feel of a native app
Complete documentation is available with Flutter. It helps understand the next move and enables developers to smooth development There are no set guidelines (for design) when it comes to Flutter development
Widgets ensure you don’t need to develop UI from scratch, saving time and enhancing productivity -
Reusing the single codebase to develop apps for multiple platforms saves time and money -
Easy adaptability to the different screens -

Comparison between Swift and Flutter for iOS

Check out all the points that help compare Swift vs Flutter to help identify the framework for your requirements

1. App Launch

Swift Flutter
You need to develop every element of the UI and UX from scratch. Additionally, if the company requires a multi-platform application, you need to spend time and resources on developing the Android application. With a single codebase and inherent widgets, you can deliver applications for iOS and Android simultaneously. It combines with the IDEs (Android Studio and IntelliJ IDEA), which allows smooth development and deployment of applications.

Winner: Flutter

Explanation: As it can develop applications for iOS and Android simultaneously with minimal effort and maximum outcome, you can get the basic version out within a few weeks. You can then keep adding features, which help get an edge over the competition. It is best to hire Flutter developer if you want to accelerate the app launch.

2. Plugins and Code Reusability

Swift Flutter
Swift allows reusing the functions within the same logic for coding. It doesn’t allow the reusability of the code or plugin to develop applications for another platform. Flutter is known for code and plugin reusability. You can create a single codebase and run it across Windows, Android, Linux, and other platforms

Winner: Flutter

Explanation: With a single codebase, you can create winning web and mobile applications for multiple platforms, while keeping the performance, quality, and native-like appeal intact. Hire Flutter developer for better reusability and simple app development. 

3. Speed

Swift Flutter
As it is a native language, it is guaranteed to be faster. The major reason is the clean build that comes with native languages The build time, as well as the overall startup, is low with Flutter. It is equally competitive in speed with native languages

Winner: Flutter

Explanation: Apart from clean builds, the underlying Dart engine proves to be a boon for Flutter. It offers the exceptional speed that the iOS or Android app needs when starting up. Hire Flutter developer if you want to increase the speed of development. 

4. Performance

Swift Flutter
You can build clean, fast, and reliable applications with Swift that don’t compromise on quality or performance Flutter offers a native-like performance throughout as it is more like a natively-coded language. The pre-set effects and animation packages make it easier to build a native-like interface

Winner: Swift

Explanation: It is a native programming language that follows the syntax and design guidelines directed for iOS. As a result, it will deliver more quality and performance.

5. Market Popularity

Swift Flutter
Only 4% of developers use Swift for programming their software solutions (Statista). Moreover, Swift has 55k stars on Github, a popular developer community At this moment, Flutter is the most popular framework. It is regarded among the top three by Stackoverflow and has 118k stars on Github

Winner: Flutter

Explanation: With more developer support, better UI abilities, and thorough documentation, it is definitely more popular for app development as compared to Swift. It allows developers to create applications for multiple platforms simultaneously. Hire Flutter developers as they are more accessible and easy to hire.

6. Native App Development

Swift Flutter
Swift is a native programming language, specifically devised for iOS. The components and elements are guided by the Apple community Flutter is a native-like multi-platform development platform. It comprises widgets and elements that can combine with native elements to deliver native performance and appeal

Winner: Swift

Explanation: As it is a native language, it comes with all the pre-designed elements that make the syntax smooth and efficient. Flutter, on the other hand, would need to integrate third-party programs and components to make the code appear native-like.

7. The User Interface

Swift Flutter
With this programming language, you can create an iOS-specific interface. The UX elements will be native. As a result, it is easier to develop the interface elements with Swift. However, you will need to develop all UI/UX elements from scratch Flutter uses the widget system, where there is a widget for every interface and experience element. You won’t need the support of native programming languages to enable these interface elements. As a result, they appear native-like.

Winner: Flutter

Explanation: You don’t need to develop the native-like UI/UX elements from scratch, which saves a lot of your time. Additionally, the elements appear to be similar to how they would if developed using native programming languages. So, clearly, the winner is Flutter in Swift vs Flutter.

8. Build Time

Swift Flutter
Swift allows developers to code fast. It may take slightly more time when reflect the errors and fix bugs, which eventually reduces the build time Flutter allows you to develop apps real quick with UI widgets and tools. Moreover, with hot reload, you can add new features easily. The Flutter syntax allows users to write code using fewer lines as compared to native languages

Winner: Flutter

Explanation: Most of the heavy lifting is done by Swift in the case of iOS while, it is done by the framework and its UI in the case of Flutter. In Swift vs Flutter, you will be able to develop apps faster with Flutter.

9. Community and Support

Swift Flutter
Swift is specific to iOS and Apple forums. It does have a presence on Stackoverflow and Github. However, the community is restricted and the support extended is limited to certain spaces Flutter was developed by Google. As a result, you will find its developer community across the forums and spaces

Winner: Flutter

Explanation: As it is an open-source framework developed by Google, it enjoys more community support and establishments than Swift. 

10. Cost

Swift Flutter
Swift allows you to develop apps for iOS alone; if you want to develop applications for Android, you will need to use a separate programming language and team Flutter allows you to develop applications for both Android and iOS simultaneously. As a result, you can use a single codebase and team to release apps on multiple platforms

Winner: Flutter

Explanation: You don’t need to invest in separate resources, teams or tools to develop applications for Android and iOS.

11. Developers' Availability

Swift Flutter
Swift is a popular programming language among developers. A good number of app builders use this language. Dart, the underlying programming language for the framework, is not much popular among developers. You will find fewer developers who would be available to work with Dart

Winner: Swift

Explanation: As it is a slightly mature language when compared to Dart, and preferred among iOS developers, it is easier to find Swift developers for your requirements. 

12. App Size

Swift Flutter
The native app is derived from XCode or CI server. It is in the .app format. The application size is relatively large compared to the Android The artifact for Flutter is derived from the build directory, which makes it appear slightly heavier

Winner: swift

Explanation: The swift apps are relatively lighter and the bandwidth occupied is less compared to Flutter. You should go with the iOS app development service if you want to reduce the size.

13. Testing

Swift Flutter
Swift uses Apple’s testing framework XCTest for unit, performance, and other app testing requirements. You can perform a range of tests, including beta testing of the application. Flutter ensures that the coding is simple, clean, and readable right from the start. There is an in-built testing framework that enables quick and easy testing. Whether you want to perform unit or load testing, the framework has all the capabilities.

Winner: Both

Explanation: Both Swift and Flutter offer excellent testing capabilities that allow you to ensure quality and high-performing app solutions.

14. Security

Swift Flutter
Apple is known for its security and layering the syntaxes to keep data safe Flutter is secure and minded by Google. However, being open-source and with fewer guidelines, the community is free to will their way into the source code

Winner: Swift

Explanation: The syntax is better with Swift, and encrypted. It is driven by Apple guidelines, which is why changes cannot be made with ease to its features. You should hire Swift developer to induce better security in your application.

15. Upgradation

Swift Flutter
As soon as iOS is upgraded, Swift will follow the version update and streamline the coding accordingly As Flutter is a framework, the updates may not reflect immediately on this platform

Winner: Swift

Explanation: Being a native language, it gets the version updates and upgrades immediately when compared to Flutter. If you want instant updates and better upgrades, hire Swift developer for your next application. 

16. Use Cases

Swift Flutter
Swift can be used to develop varied types of apps across industries. You can create advanced and complex logic using this language. It can be used for advanced gaming apps too Flutter can be used to deliver complex applications across industries. However, owing to the size and other limitations expressed by Dart, it cannot be used for advanced gaming solutions

Winner: Swift

Explanation: Swift can be used for advanced gaming and regular mobile applications. Owing to its security, it can even be used for complex enterprise mobility solutions.

17. Top Apps

Swift Flutter
SlideShare
LinkedIn
Eventbrite
Google Ads
Square
Alibaba
eBay

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to choose a programming language for your app development needs?

When choosing a programming language for your requirements, consider the following factors

  • The development and execution speed of the syntax
  • Availability and accessibility of the developers
  • Futuristic coding possibilities
  • Robustness and reliability

2. What is the process to hire Swift developer for the next business app?

The step-wise process to hire Swift developers for your next business app

Step Explanation
Referral or Research Check for reliable developers in your network; if you are unable to find them, look for them on the Internet
Validate them Check for their experience, expertise, and relevant portfolio to know if they are capable. Shortlist based on results
Background Verification Check for their license, qualification, and other aspects to make sure they are perfect for your needs
Consultation Before hiring them, make sure you go with a one-on-one consultation to check their abilities and the services they are willing to offer.


3. Which is better React Native, Flutter or Swift?

Flutter vs React Native can be used for cross-platform app development while Swift offers iOS-only development. Between Flutter and React Native, RN offers more native-like interfaces while Flutter provides more robust and reliable solutions.

There are plenty of differences between the three. Swift is better if you want to deliver solutions for iPhone, iPad or other Apple devices. React Native is better if you want to create MVPs or basic app solutions. However, if you want to deliver high-performing apps, go with Flutter.

4. Is Dart easier than Swift?

Swift is a mature language that offers accessibility and better integration with native components. The learning curve for both languages is almost similar. They offer different opportunities to the developer and help deliver capable app solutions. Dart is easy to execute through the Flutter framework and helps provide Android and iOS apps simultaneously. Depending on the requirement, you can hire Swift developer or a Flutter development team.

Conclusion

When you sit to compare Swift vs Flutter, you are comparing it with Dart (the programming language for Flutter). While it is still in the nascent stage, it has developed to offer the developers more ease of programming and extensive capabilities. This article took you through the key features of Swift, such as ease of syntax and automated memory management. We also saw how hot reload and the widget library help with Flutter programming.

We detailed the pros and cons of Swift and Flutter. Swift is more reliable in terms of performance and security; however, Flutter aces when it comes to building speed and the ability to accelerate time-to-market.

We can deliver your mobile app dream at Expert App Devs using the best technology stack combined with apt design and logic. As a leading iOS app development company, we have expertise in both Flutter and swift and add them to the stack depending on the need of the mobile app. If you want to develop a capable app solution, hire Swift developer or a Flutter team by filling out the contact us form. We will get back to you with the right solutions for your requirements.

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