Kotlin vs Flutter: Which One to Choose for Cross-Platform App Development in 2024?

New entrepreneurs with great startup ideas and various business enthusiasts nowadays explore the latest technologies to make cross-platform application. For Android app development services, frameworks like Flutter, React Native, Xamarin, or Ionic are found reliable. However, a newly emerging cross-platform language named Koltin is gaining much attention in the market. For any mobile app development company, endeavoring advanced technologies is critical enough to sustain itself in this competitive tech space.
Kotlin has considerably evolved, making everyone ponder who will be the best technology for the cross-platform application market. The article talks in detail about the comparisons between the best cross-platform app development framework called Flutter and the newest and quickly becoming popular framework called Kotlin. We shall descriptively understand the differences between Kotlin and Flutter, helping you choose the right option to create MVP or a cross-platform application.

What is Kotlin?

Kotlin is an open-source cross-platform programming language. By sharing single code, data, and business logic, developers can create a mobile application across Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, and the Web. Kotin was developed in 2016 by JetBrains and is also known as Kotlin Multiplatform. A lot of popular brands like Chalk, Touchlab, VmWare, etc use Kotlin to build cross-platform applications. After Java, today Kotlin is the second most famous cross-platform programming language. You can hire Kotlin developers to create sophisticated and well-structured mobile applications for multiple platforms.

Features

  • Lazy loading that only loads required resources
  • Can easily filter the API using a collection featuring feature
  • Makes the code structure more concise, removing extra lines of code.
  • It is null safety language, helping programmers code with efficiency
  • Can interact with Java to execute any functionality with rewriting codes
  • Smart cast feature to typecast values
  • Multiple tools are available to develop mobile applications

Pros

  • With a shared codebase, mobile developers can write the same business logic for Android and iOS platforms.
  • Can perform similar actions for existing projects also.
  • Simple syntax similar to Java
  • Has its UI elements to provide native-like experiences.

Cons

  • Needs more time and semi-native components to develop, hence unsuitable for creating MVP.
  • SDK is still in the development stage and hasn't yet got the stable release
  • Has numerous native components, adding the requirements of more specialized developers.

How does Kotlin Multiplatform Facilitate in Cross-platform App Development?

Kotlin Multiplatform is an SDK introduced by the Google team. It harnesses the efficiency of Kotlin for various platforms. It helps developers rapidly develop apps by adding various features like networking, business logic, plugins, and model objects. Moreover, it also improves code quality through early bug detection, functional consistency, and by providing effective solutions. Lastly, its code modularity feature helps new developers understand the codebase easily and removes major confusion.

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What is Flutter?

Flutter is also an open-source UI framework developed by Google to create web and mobile apps for Android, iOS, and desktop. It helps developers create native-like mobile applications through a single codebase. With one codebase, you can create two different apps for iOS and Android. It provides simpler, faster, and quicker results. Flutter has two parts namely:
  • SDK (Software Development Kit)- It is a collection of tools to build applications and compile code into native machine code.
  • Framework- It is a collection of various text inputs, buttons, sliders, etc to make personalized projects as per the client's needs.
Dart programming language is used to create an app in Flutter. Dart provides front-end mobile app development and is used to build mobile and web applications. You can hire Flutter developers from companies providing Android app development services. 

Features

  • Saves time in development by using shared codebase and business logic
  • Has several Cupertino widgets and materials to enable a faster and simpler development process
  • Provide declarative API, boosting the overall app performance
  • Eliminates performance bugs through a machine code.
  • Hot reload facility that helps customize anything on screen without hampering the app functionality regardless of its level of complexity.

Pros

  • A similar codebase that helps reduce the time to debug the program for platforms like Android and iOS
  • Can use the same interface for both old and new devices and even for different operating systems.
  • Has commendable community support and popularity with around 133000+ stars and 19.6 forks on GitHub.
  • Develops seamless applications with smooth and comfortable UI.
  • Gives authority to developers to redraw UI if previously not satisfactory.
  • All the changes can be done and observed in real time.
  • Can create MVP without any interpreters or converters. Can run at 60 frames per second

Cons

  • It has limited libraries for graphics, security, and fetching.
  • Creates heavy apps sometimes that are not preferable to audiences
  • Makes larger-sized apps
  • Developers have limited knowledge of Dart language despite it being one of the most promising languages for Flutter.

Kotlin vs Flutter: A Comprehensive Comparison

Aspects Flutter Kotlin
Made by
Google
JetBrains
GitHub Statistics
152K Stars, 25.2K Forks
44.5K stars, 5.5K Forks
Built on Platforms
iOS, Android, Web, Linux, macOS, Windows, Google
Android, Windows, Linux, JavaScript, WebAssembly, iOS
Performance
Hot reload enables fast performance
Secured performance although slow compilation
Fame
Too much
Fair
UI Experience
Exceptional features for customization
Gives native-like app experiences
Testing
Built-in widgets to test
Unit testing method
Component Library
Grows faster than others and is bigger
Grows rapidly but is small
Integration
Requires third-party integrations
Doesn't need TPIs
Documentation
Highly structured and organized
Highly structured and organized
Job Placement opportunities
The demand is rising
Always high in demand
Language
Dart
Kotlin
Learning Curve
Very easy to learn
Easy to learn
Community Support
A growing community that gives enough support
Active communities gradually evolving
Pricing
Open-source
Open-source
Hot Reload
Supported
Not supported
Security
Secured data storage plugin provided named as NSUserDefault for iOS and SharedPreferences for Android
NullPointerException used for data security
API Access
Gives partial access to APIs provided its SDK
Gives direct access to the latest APIs

A Detailed Comparison Between Kotlin and Flutter

Performance

Flutter provides hot reload functionality, so developers can edit code at the back end and observe the front-end changes. This saves compilation time and the development process becomes faster. Code gets compiled with dart virtual machines.
With Kotlin, developers can set up small and basic projects in very little time. Kotlin enhances tremendously, putting the code compilation in the same format. Kotlin compiler is stable and does not need to be converted into another format. Hence the development time is lesser and faster.
Overall both Kotlin and Flutter stand at equal position. Koltin has concise code practices, extensions, improvements, and better support. Whereas Flutter has a live tracking feature that enhances the performance.

Fame and Popularity

GitHub stats reveal Flutter was used by 42% of developers in 2021. Huge tech giants like Google have invested more in Flutter to grow its business. It has a community of 133k stars and 19.5k forks.
The stats for Kotlin reveal its usage by only 2% in 2021. The GitHub has 3.5k stars and 415 forks so far. Hence, Kotlin is in its growing phase. However, popular brands like Netflix, Philips, and VMware can harness its benefits.

UI Experience

Flutter is a cross-platform app development tool, that provides numerous widgets to animate, scroll, and navigate. You can hire Flutter developers who have in-depth knowledge to harness the abilities of these widgets.
Kotlin Multiplatform provides a free environment to create the app interface. App developers can craft interfaces with zero constraints and instructions. Even UI/UX designers can use these features to build a cross-platform application.
Here Flutter is the ideal solution for cross-platform development as it can provide more widgets for an efficient development process.

Community Support

Backed by Google, Flutter thrives with an open-source community of tech enthusiasts. The community actively supports and assists newbies with application development. Flutter’s user base is growing rapidly.
Kotlin has a consistent increase in the developer community, keeping itself quite stable and mature. It is evolving constantly with a rich community. Both platforms are very reliable and have an active community.

Testing Support

Flutter has better testing features that are in-built such as widgets, unit testing, and app integration. It has well-organized documentation to convey its instructions regarding testing of functionality and features. Moreover, Flutter operates on Firebase.
Kotlin does not require any integration of widgets and tools. It allows developers to use native tools for testing various functionalities for cross-platform testing.

Integration

Flutter provides easy third-party integrations of UI development tools. It can integrate platform-specific APIs for iOS and Android. Platform-specific languages like Swift, Objective-C, and Java are not dependent on code generation because of Flutter.
Kotlin Multiplatform works within its native ecosystems. Without developing any code from scratch, Kotlin provides the same tools and libraries like Jetpack Compose and SwiftUI to developers. Like other programming languages, they do not require third-party tools to connect with the native environment.
Kotlin wins the battle as developers can code the project for native apps without any support from third-party libraries.

Documentation

Both provide well-structured and organized documentation for developers to understand the core principles. Flutter is free to use and provides extensive and detailed documentation. It also offers a set of testing functions. So developers can easily create widget testing and try different UI.
Kotlin lags in such type of documentation, however, it is said to improve over time in terms of of its stability and readability.

Time to Market

The hot reload feature in Flutter helps faster testing and can make quicker changes as per the requirements. Moreover, flutter can use widgets, layered architecture, and customized features to deliver native-like user experiences. So Flutter is faster than Kotlin.
Kotlin on the other hand has more features like code reusability and concise syntax, but cannot provide a rapid app development process like Flutter does.

Learning Curve

Kotlin has a simple and easy-to-learn curve as compared to Flutter. Kotlin is also very easy for developers to learn and execute if they know Java. Flutter uses Dart programming language which also makes it very easy to learn. Comparatively, Flutter has a bit low learning curve.

User Friendliness

Both languages can provide native-like experiences. Flutter gives a seamless user experience on all types of platforms. It has several options to tailor the app and can scale the product to the next level. However, Kotlin provides a smoother app development journey through its general-purpose programming language. Kotlin developers have the power to build customized UI that befits the business objectives and improves the scope of development.

Apps Used By Both Technologies

Flutter App Examples:
  • Cred
  • SpaceX Go
  • eBay
  • BMW
  • Alibaba
  • Google Ads
Kotlin App Examples:
  • Pinterest
  • Netflix
  • Slack
  • Trello
  • Evernote
  • Airbnb

When to Use Flutter?

  • To create MVP product or prototype
  • To build time-efficient, high-performing, and cost-effective product
  • To create simple to complex applications
  • To create faster apps within a short timeline
  • To create visually appealing and interactive UI
  • To develop apps with native-like experiences with features like Camera, Geolocation, etc.

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When to Use Kotlin?

  • To modify or revamp the existing applications
  • To write heavy and more organized codes
  • To build an alternative cross-platform application
  • To integrate cross-platform application
  • To detect bugs and fix them quickly
  • To write server-side code with great efficiency and smoothness

Conclusion

Choosing the best framework is based on the scale of your project and the kind of features and complexities involved. If you just want to start with app development, you can hire Flutter developers or an experienced mobile app development company to create your cross-platform application. Whitelotus Corporation provides the best Android app development services and can develop feature-rich apps for multiple platforms. We have delivered hundreds of apps and provided numerous web solutions worldwide for different types of industries. Get in touch with us or contact us on our website. We have got you covered.

FAQs

Both are great in their own parameters. It depends on the kind of project requirements or application needs. Flutter is the best choice for developing an MVP product or prototype. Kotlin is preferred to develop Android applications.
The average cost of developing cross-platform applications is between $15000 to $25000. However, it depends on the business needs, budget, complexity, and features of the app.

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