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Flutter vs Dart. What is a Good Solution for Your Business?

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February 21st, 2024

Flutter and Dart are both open-source SDKs created by Google. Flutter is a UI toolkit that provides developers with cross-platform mobile app development solutions for iOS and Android. Dart is a client-optimized programming language designed for building fast apps on any platform.

While Flutter uses the Dart language, they are distinct technologies. Flutter is a framework for building mobile app user interfaces. Dart is a full-featured programming language that can be used to build web, server, desktop, and mobile apps. Apps built with Flutter have the full capabilities of the Dart language at their disposal.

Both Dart vs. Flutter offer solutions for building high-performance, natively compiled apps. They share technical origins at Google and have been optimized to work well together. However, they can be adopted separately based on the specific needs of a project.

When choosing between Dart vs. Flutter for a mobile app, developers should weigh the benefits and limitations of each. This article provides a detailed comparison of Dart vs. Flutter to help determine the best fit for your next mobile project.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit created by Google. It is used to develop cross-platform applications for Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows, Google Fuchsia, and the web from a single codebase.

Some key things to know about Flutter:

  • Created and maintained by Google. First released in May 2017.
  • A framework for building beautiful, natively compiled, high-performance mobile, web, and desktop apps from a single Dart codebase.
  • Focuses specifically on enabling high-quality, high-performance, beautiful user experiences.
  • Hot reload functionality lets you view code changes instantly without restarting your app. Saves significant development time.
  • Uses Dart programming language, also developed by Google. Dart compiles to ARM code rather than JavaScript.
  • Includes a full SDK with widgets, tools, and frameworks for building apps. Has excellent documentation and support.
  • Allows you to customize designs for each platform or maintain the same UI code for all platforms.
  • Open source with permissive licensing, active development community.

Flutter is a powerful cross-platform UI toolkit developed by Google for building high-quality mobile, web, and desktop apps from a single Dart codebase. Its focus is on enabling beautiful, high-performance user experiences.

 What is Dart?

Dart is an open-source, scalable programming language developed by Google. It has the following key features:

  • Dart is an object-oriented language with C-style syntax, which makes it easy for programmers to learn.
  • Unlike other programming languages, Dart was designed from the ground up to support user interface development. This makes Dart a great language for cross-platform app development.
  • Dart can be compiled into JavaScript, allowing code to run in modern web browsers. Dart code can also be compiled into native code for mobile, desktop, and server apps.
  • Dart is used as the primary language for Flutter app development. Flutter apps are written in Dart language and then compiled into native code.
  • Dart has modern language features like async/await, strong typing, generics, and classes. This makes it familiar for programmers experienced in other languages like Java or JavaScript.
  • Dart has an active and growing community behind it. Google develops and maintains Dart, ensuring its ongoing improvement and support.

Dart is an object-oriented programming language optimized for app development. Its robust language features, portability, and strong community make Dart capable of mobile, web, desktop, and backend development. Dart serves as the foundation for Google’s popular Flutter app SDK.

Key Differences Between Dart vs. Flutter:

Dart vs. Flutter are both open-source projects managed by Google. However, they serve different purposes:

  • Flutter is a cross-platform UI framework for building mobile, web, and desktop apps using a single codebase. It uses the Dart programming language.
  • Dart is a general-purpose programming language optimized for client-side apps like mobile and web. It can be used to build server-side apps as well.
  • Flutter provides reactive widget views, high-quality graphics, and native performance on iOS and Android. Developers can use Flutter without learning Dart by using language bindings.
  • Dart provides optional typing, AOT compilation, garbage collection, and other features for fast app development. It can be used as a standalone language or with Flutter for building UIs.
  • Flutter depends on Dart to work, but Dart can also be used independently to build other types of apps. The key is that Flutter is focused on UI, while Dart is a general-purpose language.

Why Choose Flutter?

Flutter has several key advantages, making it a top choice as a mob app Development Tool.

1. Hot Reload

One of Flutter’s standout features is its hot reload functionality. This allows developers to view code changes almost instantly without recompiling the app. As soon as you save changes to your code, you can see the results right away, either on an emulator, simulator, or physical device. This enables rapid iterations and experimentation.

2. Compiled Code

Flutter compiles source code into native machine code for the target platform. This avoids the interpretive overhead typical of many cross-platform development frameworks, allowing Flutter apps to achieve native performance. The compiled code is also highly optimized, helping ensure smooth UI animations and fast response times.

3. Easy to Learn

Flutter uses Dart, designed to be easy for any developer to learn and use. The declarative UI framework and rich widget set also help accelerate development. Extensive documentation and tutorials make it simple for new developers to pick up Flutter quickly. The hot reload feature provides instant feedback for building UIs and visualizing results.

 Why Choose Dart?

Dart is an object-oriented, garbage-collected programming language developed by Google. Here are some of the key reasons why Dart vs. Flutter may be the best choice for your business:

1. Object-Oriented Design:

Dart uses a class-based object-oriented design that makes it easy to reuse and organize code. This helps developers write more modular and scalable code.

2. Garbage Collection:

Dart manages memory allocation and deallocation automatically through a garbage collector. This frees developers from manually allocating and freeing memory, making development faster and less error-prone.

3. Fast Execution:

The Dart VM features a just-in-time (JIT) compiler that optimizes execution speed. This allows Dart code to execute quickly, improving performance.

4. Standard Library:

Dart includes a robust standard library with utilities like collections, asynchronous programming APIs, and more. This makes many common programming tasks quick and easy.

5. Cross-Platform:

Dart compiles to ARM, x86, and JavaScript, allowing you to run Dart code on mobile, desktop, backend, and web. This means you can use one language across all platforms.

Use Cases of Dart vs. Flutter: When Each Framework Makes Sense

Dart vs. Flutter can be great MOB app development tools, but the ideal choice depends on your project and needs.

Speed

Flutter uses Dart’s JIT compilation to achieve high rendering speeds. The Flutter engine compiles each widget into native code before presenting it on screen. This ensures Flutter apps start quickly and have high frame rates of 120fps.

Dart also focuses on speed optimization. The Dart VM uses JIT compilation to transform Dart code into machine code. This provides fast app startup times and efficient execution. However, Dart web apps may have slower initial load times than JavaScript apps.

Rendering

A key advantage of Flutter is its use of Skia, Google’s 2D rendering engine. Skia provides Flutter with excellent support for graphic APIs and GPU-accelerated rendering. As a result, Flutter apps can achieve buttery smooth animations and scrolling on iOS and Android.

In contrast, Dart relies on the native platform for rendering. While Dart has good render performance overall, it cannot match Flutter’s consistently high frame rates across platforms.

Comparisons

In benchmark tests of Dart vs. Flutter, Flutter demonstrates faster rendering speeds than React Native. However, Dart is still competitive – benchmarks show Dart’s render performance is on par with JavaScript in many cases.

Regarding start-up time, Flutter is slower than Dart and native Android/iOS. But ahead-of-time compilation in Flutter 1.5 helps reduce this difference. Once running, Flutter apps are significantly faster and smoother than React Native and Cordova.

According to our experts at The App Founders, Flutter’s purpose-built rendering engine gives it superior performance across metrics like frame rate, scrolling, and animation smoothness. But Dart also delivers great performance thanks to its compiled nature and JIT optimizations.

Conclusion

Flutter and Dart have their strengths and are powerful technologies for mobile app development. However, there are some key differences between Dart vs. Flutter to consider:

Flutter is best suited for building high-quality, native-feeling mobile apps for iOS and Android from a single codebase. Dart is a general-purpose programming language for building various server-side and web apps.

For most mobile-first apps where UI and native performance are critical, Flutter is likely the best choice. However, Dart provides benefits as a full-stack language and for non-UI application logic. Evaluate your specific needs – if mobile UI/UX is central to your app, choose Flutter. If you require a robust general-purpose language, consider Dart.

The two can complement each other nicely, with Flutter handling UI code and Dart powering non-visual logic. This combination leverages Flutter’s strengths for beautiful mobile UI while benefiting from Dart’s benefits, like AOT compilation, tree shaking, and a familiar syntax.

So consider your priorities – Flutter will usually be the top choice for mobile apps. But recognize Dart’s strengths as a flexible and optimized language beyond Flutter. Evaluate your needs and use each technology where it shines. With some planning, Flutter and Dart can work together to build fast, efficient, and native-quality apps.

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