Ionic vs. Flutter – What’s the Best For Startups

According to statistics, 20% of startups fail in their first year. Disappointing data, right? If you don’t want to fall into the number of failed projects, analyze potential failure reasons before launching a new business.

Analysts state that the main mistakes of start-up entrepreneurs include: lack of finance (38%), misjudgment of market needs (35%), and too much competition (20%). A low quality of a digital product is mentioned in the list as well: 8% of startups are closed because of this.

Ionic vs. Flutter – What’s the Best For Startups

Main reasons for business failure among start-ups

Source: Statista

To create a premium quality software product, it is essential to choose the right technology stack for its development. By the way, it will help to avoid other potential problems, balance project budget, beat competitors, and satisfy the needs of your target audience.

In this article, we will talk about the choice of framework for creating mobile applications. Let's compare the two leading players in this market: Flutter vs. Ionic.

What Is Flutter?

Flutter is an app development framework used by developers to create mobile products for Android and iOS devices, web apps, and desktop solutions for Windows, macOS, and Linux. And all this from a single codebase. It is open source, which is critical for startups that tend to have limited funding.

In 2022, Flutter was recognized the most popular development framework for cross-platform mobile apps – it was used by 46% of developers.

What Is Flutter?

Cross-platform mobile frameworks used by software developers worldwide from 2019 to 2022

Source: Statista

This framework helps to create cross-platform mobile apps, following the principle of hybrid development that many programmers love: “Code once, run anywhere”. This approach to developing digital solutions allows you to run the program in any operating system on different devices, thereby significantly increasing your target audience.

Flutter is a relatively new software development kit based on the Dart programming language. However, it has already proved itself well due to the ability to create high-performance digital solutions with animated interfaces. Its main features include its own set of UI widgets and the Skia graphics library.

What Is Ionic?

Ionic is another leading platform for cross-platform development, which recently has lost its popularity compared to 2019.

Ionic apps can be built with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. As in some other SDKs, including Flutter and React Native, this framework uses the approach of creating hybrid mobile apps from a single code base, but with one difference. Ionic components automatically adapt to the platform on which the program is run. It helps to speed up the development process and reduce costs, which is important for any startup. Also, this framework, like Flutter, is open source – another advantage for any ambitious development project. 

Ionic is based on leading web technologies and open web standards, so this framework is the best choice for developing progressive web applications.

Specific features of developing startup applications

To create a quality application, it is not enough for the project’s founders to choose the right tech stack. The team of developers must clearly follow the main stages of work on the startup application:

  • Planning and concept creation. It is the preparatory stage, at which the team needs to determine the purpose of developing the app, research its target audience, and confirm the uniqueness of the idea. It is important to track the needs of potential customers, analyze the activities of competitors and, based on the data obtained, create a holistic concept of a digital solution that will include its functionality.

  • Layout and design development. The application layout is necessary to clearly visualize the idea. The team develops a user-friendly interface that must provide a positive user experience in the future. At this stage, specialists decide which branding elements to use and select the optimal color scheme. Remember: to conquer the target audience and stand out from the competition, your application must have an exclusive design.

  • Technology stack selection. We have mentioned the importance of this step for a startup. It remains to admit that you can choose between platforms that offer development of native apps or the creating hybrid software products. More and more programmers are opting for the second option, but you should still rely not on the opinion of the majority, but on the needs and goals of a particular project.

  • Digital product development. When working on a startup application, it is essential to use an agile development methodology, i.e., to create an application iteratively. It allows you to constantly improve the quality of software, test and debug it. Modern Agile developers prefer to break development process into small tasks and control their implementation to avoid unnecessary errors and decrease the project cost.

  • Testing your digital solution. It is a key step in creating a quality startup application. Remember, if you are starting a business, you do not have the right to make a mistake. In addition to the standard tests conducted by the QA-team, user acceptance testing should not be neglected. A stable, bug-free app will be appreciated by users immediately after its release to the market. Involving real users in the testing process helps to check the final version of the product for compliance with your business requirements.

  • Deployment and distribution. Typically, software development companies provide comprehensive software development services that include deployment and distribution. They select the platforms for publishing the digital solution in advance, prepare screenshots and product descriptions to ensure its maximum visibility. After your app is published in app stores, don’t forget to monitor user feedback to fix bugs timely.

  • Post-release support and updates. After the release of your app to the market, work is not over yet. You have to constantly monitor its performance, security, and compliance with the changing market dynamics. Also, as your startup grows, you will need to think about scaling the software. It is better to use the services of a development team to do this.

The implementation of a startup project is a responsible process that should be entrusted to professionals. The Lampa team is ready to provide comprehensive services for the creation of progressive software, from project planning to full support after the release.

Flutter vs. Ionic Comparison Chart

Let's return to the main topic of our article and systematize all the key characteristics of mentioned frameworks for cross-platform app development.

Comparison metrics

Flutter

Ionic

Supported programming languages

Dart

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

UI Components

Own set of UI widgets

Standard Based Web Components

Deployment Options

Mobile, Desktop, Web (with some restrictions)

Mobile, Desktop, Web + PWA

Work speed

Performance up to 60 fps

less than 1.8 seconds to launch

Providing offline access

Yes

Yes

Ionic vs. Flutter: A Comprehensive Overview

Both frameworks support development of cross-platform apps, allow you to create software products with impressive visual effects, and are popular with developers worldwide. Despite their similarity, many of their parameters and capabilities differ significantly. Let’s consider in detail all the characteristics of Ionic framework vs. Flutter.

Code Portability

When it comes to creating software for iOS and Android devices, as well as desktop apps, Flutter and Ionic are equally effective. But in web application deployment, Ionic is way ahead of the competition.

Flutter requires a lot of code for the simplest digital solutions, which negatively affects their performance and download speed. Ionic is built with web technologies and is based on web standards, so it is the best choice for regular and progressive web applications.

Standards & Ecosystems

Flutter and Ionic are fundamentally different in programming approach. The first has an autonomous ecosystem based on one programming language, Dart. The second is based on open web standards and technologies, including CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.

Sustainability

Another parameter to consider when choosing a framework for a hybrid mobile app is sustainability. This refers to the flexibility of the created digital solution. All developers agree that Ionic wins this competition: applications built with this platform can be used with any JavaScript framework. Whereas Flutter is a closed ecosystem.

Performance

Talking about Ionic vs. Flutter performance, this is where Flutter wins. Unlike Ionic, it is not based on web technologies. Native modules are available to framework users as native components, eliminating the need for any communication bridge on the Flutter platform. We can definitely say that Flutter is the best choice for creating complex digital solutions.

If you're looking for a simple product, choose Ionic, as it uses a standard web browser runtime and doesn't require you to write heavy code like its competitor.

Native Look and Feel

A common feature of both frameworks is that they are not used when creating applications with native UI elements. To provide native UI, they provide access to their own APIs, as well as the Material Design and Cupertino widget sets for Android and iOS app development, respectively. Also, both frameworks tend to regularly update design components.

Modularity

Flutter offers a public packaging system so that the codebase can be easily separated into modules. Also, this framework uses plugins to make changes to the code.

Ionic also supports modularity, but Angular decorator function, @NgModule, must be used for this. It allows you to create various components using modules and build the app’s structure with them.

Knowledge and Skill Set

For creating programs in Flutter, a specialist has to learn a new programming language. According to statistics, Dart is used by slightly more than 6.5% of developers, while JavaScript is used by 10 times more programmers – 65%.

Knowledge and Skill Set

Most used programming languages among developers

Source: Statista

Moreover, when choosing Flutter, you should consider the limited ecosystem of this framework. For example, if a programmer creates UI for a web app, it’s necessary to study the low-level rendering mechanism of this framework, and not the web solution as a whole. Thus, the knowledge gained may be quite specific and useless in the future, after Flutter app development ends.

On the other side, mobile app development on Ionic is an experience that can certainly be applied to other projects. Working with this framework allows a specialist to master building web programs based on open web standards and technologies: for example, write code in the popular JS language and describe the appearance of an HTML document using CSS.

Support

Users note that Ionic support is a level above Flutter support. If your team has an active subscription to Ionic Enterprise, your developers can use the ticket system, which allows them to get quick and qualified help. Teams that use the open source Ionic software can get help from the community through any available channel: Ionic Forum, Twitter, Slack, or GitHub.

As for Flutter, it doesn't have a dedicated user support team. However, developers can find the answers to their questions on Stack Overflow, GitHub, or Twitter.

Future-Friendliness

Flutter is a framework created by Google that is currently at the peak of its popularity. There are no reasons to predict that the company will stop supporting its product. But if we assume this, your code and your skills gained while working with it are unlikely to be used in the future. Therefore, when choosing Flutter, it is worth considering the long-term prospects.

Speaking of Ionic, you can not be afraid of such a situation. Even if the framework ceases to exist, developers will apply their knowledge when working with JavaScript.

Community

Community support plays a major role for developers. It can be used to solve almost any problem that arises when creating a software product. Let's take a look at what Ionic and Flutter offer in this area.

Ionic Community:

  • Developers can report bugs in the framework and request new features on GitHub.

  • Ionic Forum is another place where users can share ideas and look for answers to questions related to working on the platform.

  • Programmers can chat real-time in Slack.

  • The latest news about the framework is published on the official Ionic blog on Twitter.

Flutter Community:

  • Answers to your questions can be found on Stack Overflow.

  • Developers’ Discord channel allows Flutter apps creators to chat in real-time.

  • As with Ionic, you can report bugs and request additional features for Flutter on GitHub.

  • The latest news and updates are posted on the official Twitter account, FlutterDev.

  • Programmers can attend virtual and live events organized by the Flutter community and find information about them on Flutter.dev.

Testing

When it comes to testing, the main benefit of Flutter is the Hot Reload feature. It ensures that the digital solution is automatically updated after every change made to the code. The framework also provides ample opportunities for automated unit, integration, and widget tests.

Ionic does not provide any functionality similar to Hot Reload. After making changes, you have to update the program manually, so the development process becomes longer. On the other hand, automated integration, unit, and end-to-end testing is also available for Ionic apps. Popular web tools such as Cypress and Selenium support it.

Application Size

Average size of a Flutter app varies from 4 to 10 MB. For more complex digital solutions with advanced functionality, it reaches 20 MB and more. However, the size can be reduced. To do this, use Google fonts, network images, icons from the Material Icons/Cupertino Icons class.

The size of an average Ionic app is less than twice the size of a similar program written with Flutter. It positively affects the download speed of Ionic products and can increase the loyalty of end users.

Architecture

Flutter uses a layered architecture, Flutter Bloc, which implies separate layers of presentation and business logic. Its top level has widgets for each individual platform. The levels interact with each other using rendering layers, and API calls are sent to the base through the Scaffold widget set.

Ionic uses the AngularJS MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture. It allows multiple developers to work on a project at the same time, shortening the software development life cycle.

Flutter vs. Ionic for Mobile development

Flutter and Ionic are equally relevant for mobile app development in 2023. However, we still recommend choosing Flutter, as this framework shows the best mobile performance and allows you to create custom user interfaces with unique animations.

It is also worth considering that Flutter is a limited ecosystem based on the Dart programming language, so developers should learn it before creating a specific project.

Flutter vs. Ionic for Web development

When it comes to web development, Ionic is undoubtedly the best choice for an IT team. It is based on open web standards and technologies, which allows you to create high-performance cross-platform and progressive web applications.

The advantage of Ionic is a relatively flat learning curve: to work with the framework, your developers do not need to learn a new language if they are familiar with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Final Words – Ionic vs. Flutter For Startups

A startup is a project that is always associated with risk. It may have limited funding, tight deadlines, and high requirements for the software product. Flutter and Ionic are the leading frameworks for creating a hybrid mobile app. However, they have fundamental differences.

When choosing the best platform for your project, rely on individual business needs. Consider the type and complexity of the digital solution you are planning to create, define deployment options, and evaluate the skills of the development team.

It should be noted that businesses choose Flutter more often to create an MVP (which is very important for any startup). If the priority for you is developing PWA, it’s better to stop at Ionic.

If you find it difficult to choose a framework for development of your project, contact the professionals. The Lampa team is ready to answer all your questions regarding cross-platform app creation and provide services for the development of a perfect digital solution.

Need professional assistance gathering all the required artifacts to build a mobile app? Order product ideation services from Lampa!

FAQ

1.

What is the main difference between Flutter and Ionic?

The main difference between Flutter and Ionic is the programming approach. Flutter is a closed ecosystem built on the Dart programming language, while Ionic is based on open web standards and technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

2.

Which one is better for performance, Flutter or Ionic?

Users note that Flutter wins in the competition of Flutter vs. Ionic performance. This framework is not based on web technologies and offers native modules, available as native components, eliminating the need for any communication bridge on the Flutter platform.

3.

Is Flutter a good choice for developing a multipage website?

Yes, Flutter is a good choice for building a multipage website. In this framework, each page is a set of widgets that are connected together to develop the desired user interface.

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