iOS App DevelopmentMobile App Development

Flutter Vs Swift: Which One Is Best for iOS App Development?

Flutter Vs Swift

Every day around thousands of applications has deployed on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The advanced mobile app development tools have brought app development to the whole new level. Mobile app development companies and mobile app developers all around the world now have various options to develop apps within a short time and limited budget.

If you want to develop a mobile application for Android and iOS then you require two different tech stack, resulting in two different teams (Android and iOS) and higher cost. This is the reason why mobile application development companies started looking for cross-platform solutions to develop new mobile applications in a short time and budget. The popularity of the React-Native framework is one of the examples of this fact.

Flutter and Swift are such a useful mobile app development tools which provide an enjoyable experience to the developers.

Shift iOS app development

In this article, we will compare the difference between Swift and Flutter frameworks that will help you in choosing the right framework for native iOS app development.

But before diving into the topic, let us have a brief idea about both Flutter and Swift frameworks.

What is Flutter?

Flutter was introduced by Google in 2015 since then it has been in trend among mobile app developers. It is a free and open-source mobile app SDK which is used for building high-quality, and high-performance mobile apps for iOS and Android from a single codebase. Using this platform, developers can build high-performance apps that feel natural on different platforms. Flutter apps for iOS and Android are built using a simple object-oriented programming language named as Dart.

What is Swift?

Native iOS app development has become most popular and interesting with the launch of the Swift programing language. Swift is the most loved programming language which is used for building Native iOS apps and it also has great documentation to get started with native iOS development. Using this modern, fast and interactive programming language, iOS developers can build apps/software for Apple MacBook, Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPhone. This platform is still evolving and new features are under development. Developer tools and frameworks can be used in order to develop iOS apps with native tools.

Flutter Vs Swift: Which One Is Best for iOS App Development?

1. Process of Onboarding

Developing Native apps is easy with Swift and Flutter but for that, you need a different setup to get started.

  • Swift

To build the code for iOS app, you need native tools and Xcode as the IDE to get started with Swift on macOS. After that, you can easily create a new project in Xcode by following options – File> New> Project> iOS Single View App, and then you can name an app and select Swift as the programming language. After filling all the details, Xcode will build the iOS template code and following them you can start building an iOS app.

  • Flutter

To develop an iOS app in Flutter, you need to use XCode plus Flutter binary installed. Apart from that, you can also use any other editors such as Android Studio or IntelliJ IDEA for Flutter apps development. After completing the setup for iOS app development, you can use all the commands for building a new Flutter app let’s say the native-compare.

$ flutter create native_compare
$ cd app_name

Using this command, you can get a structure of the Flutter project. Here for the look, you can use button using the Flutter Raised Button Widget in the lib/main.dart file. Further, you can run the complete code using the $ flutter run command.

2. Development Time

Here now you are done and can compare the development time of app that you have built. Let’s discuss each app and calculate the development time for both Flutter and Native app. Here we will compare both the clean build excluding all the incremental builds and derived data.

  • Swift

Using the Xcodebuild command-line tool and Xcode, you can easily measure the overall build time with the help of the following command-
$ defaults write com.apple.dt.Xcode ShowBuildOperationDuration -bool YES

To make it easier, you can delete the build folder or derived data to calculate the build time for clean builds. In Xcode, you can delete the derived data, here is the steps for a better understanding- Select Project > Clean Build Folder. By running the Build command in Xcode from the Product menu you will get the build time.

In Xcode, you will notice that the clean build tool takes almost 13.334 seconds, while the subsequent build takes less than a second. You can do the same experiment from the command line with the xcodebuild command.

$ xcodebuild -project Flutter-Compare-iOS.xcodeproj/ \
-scheme Flutter-Compare-iOS -destination ‘platform=iOS \
Simulator,OS=12.1,name=iPhone XR’ clean build CODE_SIGN_IDENTITY=”” \
CODE_SIGNING_REQUIRED=NO –showBuildTimingSummary

  • Flutter

You can build Flutter apps for both iOS and Android. But here we will discuss iOS part of the Flutter app against native iOS app development. By using the following command, in debug mode, you can easily build Flutter apps for iOS.

$ flutter build iOS –debug –no-codesign –simulator

In this, to get the complete clean build time, you can delete the derived data from the build directory and run the above command. The average time for the clean build of the Flutter iOS app is 33 to 45 seconds.

3. App Reloading

During the development, developers make changes in the code and run code in the simulator or on devices. This process you may also call app reloading, and it is one of the key features for mobile app development. To compare the app reloading in both apps, you can make changes in the apps.

  • Swift

Suppose, if you make any changes in button name, then you probably need to rename the user interface element from the storyboard which also needs to change Accessibility information too. Once if you have done this then you can execute the build to check if the changes made are reflected in the simulator or device. In Xcode, this procedure takes 7 to 12 seconds.

  • Flutter

Flutter comes with Hot reload feature which can help you in making the changes in the code and reload the app. You will find the changes in the device or simulator within a few seconds. For example, if you update the text in the ‘raisedButton’ widget “Hello, World” to “Hi, World” and reload the app

means that when we make the changes in the code and reload the app, the changes are reflected in a second. In our case, we just need to update the text in the `raisedButton` widget from “Press Me” to “Click Me” and reload the app, then you will notice that Flutter reloaded the entire app in 3 seconds.

4. Profiling

Profiling is also the best part of the native mobile app development framework in which the one can perform the dynamic analysis to measure CPU, memory, resources and other factors of the app. Both native tools and Flutter provide dynamic support for profiling the apps.

  • Swift

In Xcode, you can profile a native app with the help of Instruments. You can profile an app using Product > Profile. This way you will get an instrument app where you can measure several parameters of the app. You can choose any template for profiling from various available options.

Further, you can select Time Profiler to examine the CPU threads when you click the button multiple times. Once you launch the Time Profiler you can start recording and select the button many times.

  • Flutter

In Flutter, you can easily profile iOS applications with the help of IDE or from the command line. Flutter documentation also provides a great guide on Flutter app profiling. For profile Flutter apps using the command line, you need to run the following command-

$ flutter build ios –profile –no-codesign

This command helps you measure the time required for the Flutter app profiling. The Flutter build time for profiling is around 149 seconds.

5. Accessibility

This is a great feature that improves the overall user experience of the people of all ages. As an iOS application developer, you can make their lives easier by developing iOS applications that are accessible to everybody. Let’s have a look at how simple it is to add accessibility features in native and Flutter apps.

  • Swift

Apple’s native tools have accessibility that you can look in the UIKit framework means there is no need to import any other frameworks to enable accessibility support in the native apps. However, Apple provides Accessibility API but here developers need to provide accurate accessibility information for each UI components in the iOS app using the UIAccessibility protocol.

In your app, you can also add the accessibility identifiers, traits, and labels using the code. Moreover, you can also implement interface builder and StoryBoard for offering the accessibility information to the user.

pressmeButton.accessibilityIdentifier = “Press Me”
pressmeButton.accessibilityLabel = “Press Me”

  • Flutter

Flutter iOS apps don’t provide any support to add accessibility. Flutter documentation helps you to audit iOS apps using the Accessibility inspector tool of Xcode. In Flutter app development, you can face problems in adding accessibility identifiers for testing.

Final Words

Factors that we have discussed above clearly showing that Swift is best for iOS app development. If you have a choice, then Swift is best to meet your project requirements. If you want to know more about Swift iOS development contact us today as we at Endive Software have a pool of experienced iOS developers who could provide you quality solutions at affordable prices.

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About author

Ravikant Chouhan, soft by nature and creative by mind. Being an Engineer specialized in Computer Science, he carries similar curiosity for both; technical world and automobile industry. He keeps himself indulged in discovering new things and with this passion and the vast knowledge attained by him has helped the company to grow at a faster pace.
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