What are Ionic, Flutter & React Native? When to use it?

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In this article, we will see what Cross-Platform App Frameworks- Ionic, Flutter, and React Native are and when to use them. 

Each of these frameworks allows you to build an app for both the major platforms- iOS and Android. All of these frameworks are popular among the mobile app development world as it allows the developers to build applications using a single source code for every platform. It costs less, hence, the demand for cross-platform app development has increased over the past decade. 

It is now a well-known fact that smartphones have become an essential part of people’s day-to-day lives, with this increased number of smartphone users, it is only wise to invest in a mobile application for your business. No matter if you are planning to invest in a mobile application for your already established business or a startup, cross-platform app development is the way to go.

Cross-Platform App Development saves developers the trouble to write a different source code for each platform. Meaning, the need to learn various programming languages such as Swift, HTML, Objective C, etc., has been eliminated. Developers only need to be well equipped with basic programming languages like JavaScript for Ionic and React Native and Dart for Flutter. Therefore, Cross-Platform App Development has made it possible to develop native applications for several platforms using just one language rather than using a separate language for every platform reducing the extra effort required to learn multiple languages. 

So, let’s see what these Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks are:

Ionic

Ionic is an open source SDK that was launched in 2013 for Cross-Platform App Development. It was created by Drifty Co. and uses several technologies which makes it ideal for Cross-Platform App Development. Ionic is majorly used to build native mobile applications using different technologies like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. However, the main goal of developing mobile applications with Ionic would be the UI of the said application, its feel, and the looks. As it is open source in nature, the Ionic framework is free to use. 

Flutter

Flutter is a portable UI toolkit launched by Google for developing high quality Cross-Platform Applications that give a native feel to the user. Flutter is designed in a way that it works with existing codes, therefore, it is used by developers to build cross-platform applications around the world. Flutter is open-source and so it is free to use. It is built with C++, C, Dart. Developers like Flutter as it speeds up the development process, reduces the complexity and cost of app development.

React Native

React Native is supported by Facebook. It is a Cross-Platform App Development framework that builds apps for both iOS and Android and has the ability to build applications that have the native-like feel. React Native is used by several tech giants like Instagram, Airbnb, Facebook, Tesla, Walmart, and so on. It uses JavaScript as its programming language for writing native-like cross-platform app source codes. Currently, React Native backs both iOS and Android and has plans to expand its potential services to other platforms in future. 

Ionic vs. Flutter vs. React Native

Flutter is Google’s baby, suffice to say it is a well performing cross-platform app development framework. React Native is an SDK which is built by Facebook to make it easier to develop apps for iOS and Android using a single source code. Ionic, on the other hand, has a slightly different approach when it comes to building cross-platform apps. Ionic helps developers build cross-platform apps using JSS, HTML, and CSS. Ionic makes sure that you are able to reuse the codes.

Main objectives you need to keep in mind when choosing a Cross-Platform App Development Framework between Ionic, Flutter, and React Native:

ObjectiveIonicFlutterReact Native
Language StackCSS, JSS, HTMLDartJavaScript
Code ReusabilityAllows code reusabilityAllows code reusabilityAllows code reusability
Component LibraryPre-built componentsBuilt-in widgetsBuilt-in components
PerformanceFaster and Interactive appsGraphically enhanced apps that are high performingNative-like apps
User InterfaceGreat UIBest UIGreat UI
EcosystemGreat EcosystemGreat EcosystemGreat Ecosystem
CommunityStrongLess popular than the other twoStrong
Native Device FeaturesDecent native-like featuresDecent native-like featuresDecent native-like features
Backed platformsiOS8+, Android 4.4+Not sure as of yetiOS 8+, Android 4.1+
Popular appsNationwide, PacificaHamiltonInstagram, Facebook, UberEats
CostingOpen-source and paid as wellOpen-SourceOpen-Source

Final Thoughts

Which of these Frameworks is the best and when to use it?

Ionic is very popular as it eliminates the learning a new language factor whereas Flutter needs the developers to learn Dart programming language in order to build cross-platform apps. Although, when it comes to building highly graphical apps, Ionic is never the first choice of the app developers, React Native comes into play then. Flutter is new compared to Ionic and React Native but is soon getting the recognition it deserves. 

This comes down to mean that all these frameworks are best in their own way. But, while choosing a framework to develop an application for your business, acknowledging many factors is important as no one framework can be best for all kinds of businesses or applications.

Author Bio
Sandip Patel – BDE
Author works as BDE at Vindaloo VoIP Solutions (VSPL) since 2016. Sandip has 10+ years of work experience in VoIP Software Development Industry. VSPL is VoIP software development and solutions provider that offers FreeSWITCH, Kamailio, OpenSIP, WebRTC and Asterisk Development.