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Flutter vs PhoneGap: What are the differences?

Developers describe Flutter as "Cross-platform mobile framework from Google". Flutter is a mobile app SDK to help developers and designers build modern mobile apps for iOS and Android. On the other hand, PhoneGap is detailed as "Easilily create mobile apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript". PhoneGap is a web platform that exposes native mobile device apis and data to JavaScript. PhoneGap is a distribution of Apache Cordova. PhoneGap allows you to use standard web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript for cross-platform development, avoiding each mobile platforms' native development language. Applications execute within wrappers targeted to each platform, and rely on standards-compliant API bindings to access each device's sensors, data, and network status.

Flutter and PhoneGap can be primarily classified as "Cross-Platform Mobile Development" tools.

Some of the features offered by Flutter are:

  • Fast development - Flutter's "hot reload" helps you quickly and easily experiment, build UIs, add features, and fix bug faster. Experience sub-second reload times, without losing state, on emulators, simulators, and hardware for iOS and Android.
  • Expressive UIs - Delight your users with Flutter's built-in beautiful Material Design and Cupertino (iOS-flavor) widgets, rich motion APIs, smooth natural scrolling, and platform awareness.
  • Access native features and SDKs - Make your app come to life with platform APIs, 3rd party SDKs, and native code. Flutter lets you reuse your existing Java, Swift, and ObjC code, and access native features and SDKs on iOS and Android.

On the other hand, PhoneGap provides the following key features:

  • Android
  • Blackberry
  • iOS

"Hot Reload" is the primary reason why developers consider Flutter over the competitors, whereas "Javascript" was stated as the key factor in picking PhoneGap.

Flutter and PhoneGap are both open source tools. It seems that Flutter with 69.4K GitHub stars and 8.09K forks on GitHub has more adoption than PhoneGap with 4.15K GitHub stars and 974 GitHub forks.

According to the StackShare community, Flutter has a broader approval, being mentioned in 41 company stacks & 146 developers stacks; compared to PhoneGap, which is listed in 86 company stacks and 36 developer stacks.

Advice on Flutter and PhoneGap
espresso_coder
software engineer at AWS · | 5 upvotes · 15.7K views

I am building an app that would need at least two external APIs: a map and a payment service. I am currently building in Flutter, but I am having trouble integrating one of the external APIs with the app. I wonder (because I am still at the beginning) if I should switch to React Native or build native iOS and Android apps separately. Any advice would be appreciated!

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Replies (2)
Recommends
Flutter

Choosing between ios/android and Flutter is not simple. Neither is a one-size-fit-all solution. It would be impossible to suggest one or the other without first analysing particular project’s requirements.

Choosing cross-platform development (Flutter) offers a number of advantages – lower cost, faster time to market, etc…, and if applied to the right type of project, will result in high-quality, marketable mobile product. In my opinion, stick with flutter and try to resolve those problems. Here are some useful links,

Map: *https://pub.dev/packages/mapbox_gl *https://www.raywenderlich.com/4466319-google-maps-for-flutter-tutorial-getting-started

Payment Service: *https://developer.squareup.com/docs *https://github.com/square/in-app-payments-flutter-plugin *https://pub.dev/packages/stripe_sdk

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Recommends
Flutter

can you discuss in more detail why cant you integrate that API?

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Melanie Verstraete
Needs advice
on
Ionic React
and
Flutter

Hi community, I am looking into how I should build my tech stack for a business/analytics platform. I am not very familiar with frontend development; when looking into cross-platform frameworks, I found a lot of options. What is the best cross-platform frontend framework to go with? I found Flutter interesting, but Ionic also looks promising? Thank you for the advice!

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Replies (1)
Dominic Ocean
Founder at TwentyTwo Co. · | 5 upvotes · 7.8K views

TL;DR Flutter if you target mobile first. Ionic if you target web first and mobile is an afterthought.

Ionic uses a web stack - HTML, CSS, JS, so any web dev should be able to pick it up quickly. Also, if there is an existing React, Vue or Angular app, it can be ported to Ionic with minimal effort, while porting to Flutter would require a complete rewrite.

Flutter uses Dart lang, so you'll need people who have working experience with it.

Ionic is a nightmare when it comes to native functionality e.g. working camera, accelerometer, gps, address book etc etc. Both Ionic and Flutter use plugins to access native functionality. Ionic's plugin quality is spotty while Flutter has its own package manager - pub.dev, where packages are curated.

Flutter is built from ground up and Ionic is like a Frankenstein monster made up of different technologies.

There is Flutter Hummingbird which basically allows you to deploy app to web, but it's in beta and although some companies already use it in production it's not quite production ready. (I believe Rive is using or did use it for their app)

I have worked with both, Ionic and Flutter. Development with Flutter is much more pleasant experience while with Ionic we always felt like we had to jump though hoops quite a bit.

It is difficult to provide a quality advice without knowing your constraints and resources available.

Verdict: I would go with Ionic when : 1. you are on a limited budget 2. there is an already existing web app that just needs to be published to App Store 3. you do not have Dart programmers or cannot retrain existing resource 4. web is a primary target

Otherwise, I would go with Flutter.

P.S. I suggest considering React Native. That maybe a happy medium between these two.

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Nikhilesh Goyal
Senior Embedded Engineer at GreyOrange · | 5 upvotes · 147.5K views
Needs advice
on
Unity
React Native
and
Flutter

Hi Friends, I am new to #MobileAppDevelopment and I need to make a #CrossPlatformMobileApp. I want guidance regarding which tools should I use to build a mobile app. Main requirements: integrate Unity game engine and provide a platform for social chats.

Past experience - C++ and Python

I have tagged Flutter and React Native but if anything better than both please suggest them.

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Replies (3)
Sahil Singh
Product Manager at AutoVRse · | 10 upvotes · 136.1K views
Recommends
Unity

Hey, If you are using Unity you are going to have to do the end to end development on Unity, you can directly build for android and iOS on Unity. I dont see how Flutter or React Native fit into this equation. Unity is a standalone engine. As for Social Chats, you could use Firebase or your own API and integrate that in Unity in C#

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Recommends
Unity

I agree with Sahil. If Unity is a requirement, best way is to use just that to create your app.

If you really want, it should be possible to use Flutter and Unity together. Using Flutter Unity Widget. Although I wouldn't recommend it just yet. It's too early days.

If you do end up using it, I would be very interested in reading about your experiences.

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Mathieu Grenier
Recommends
Unity

You can start by small steps with Flutter and after Unity. Flutter = best choice to build a small cross-platform mobile app. With or no flutter, use directly Unity. Y'll have complete control but it's harder for new mobile developers. Keep in mind, the requirement is Unity!

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Decisions about Flutter and PhoneGap
Julie Quintero
Machine learning/ software engineer · | 3 upvotes · 21.3K views

We will use Flutter for our athlete-facing mobile app. Flutter is a cross-platform app development framework, which boasts native performance and allows for creating beautiful, fluid user interfaces.

React Native may sound like a more appropriate option given our choice of frontend technologies, but we foresee little to no feature overlap in the web dashboard and mobile app. Ease of use, performance, good user experiences are key to encouraging athletes to use our app, something which React Native makes difficult, and is where Flutter excels.

We will use the test and flutter_test packages to test our Flutter app

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Christopher Chow
Software Developer at University of Toronto · | 4 upvotes · 21.3K views

We chose Flutter since we are developing a mobile application that needs to be performant (to handle displaying large amounts of data and video uploading) and would cover both Android and iOS systems. Since we want the app to be cross-platform, two frameworks comes in to mind: Flutter and React Native. As shown below, Flutter's performance and out-of-the-box support impressed us to pick it as our framework for our mobile app.

React Native has been a dominant force in cross-platform app development since its launch by Facebook. The ability to write React-like code and have it compile to both iOS and Android makes developing mobile apps much easier. However, the overhead done to bridge Javascript code into native code means React Native apps might not be as performant. Moreover, React Native, much like React, is an unopinionated framework that covers minimal functionality out-of-the-box. This means that most functionalities would have to be relied on third-party libraries or developers would have to write their own native code.

Flutter, on the other hand, is a much newer framework developed by Google. While Flutter uses Dart, a relatively new language compared to JS, syntax-wise it is similar enough to that a JS developer should be able to pick it up in no time. The Flutter engine also compiles directly into native code, making it more performant when compared with React Native. Flutter is also an opinionated framework, with a much large stack of Widgets to choose from out-of-the-box. The Widgets are also designed according to Material design principles, making styling easier.

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Pierre Canthelou
Lead Developper Frontend/Mobile at WinMinute · | 5 upvotes · 15K views

I've made 6 professional/business applications with React Native before choosing Flutter/Dart for the new version of WinMinuteConso (historical in Ionic...). Multi Platform is far more stable, Dart is far more powerful, the whole process is really better... It is just hard to find the proper software architecture...

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Pros of Flutter
Pros of PhoneGap
  • 100
    Hot Reload
  • 84
    Cross platform
  • 80
    Performance
  • 68
    Backed by Google
  • 54
    Compiled into Native Code
  • 43
    Open Source
  • 39
    Fast Development
  • 38
    Fast Prototyping
  • 37
    Expressive and Flexible UI
  • 30
    Single Codebase
  • 28
    Reactive Programming
  • 22
    Material Design
  • 19
    Target to Fuchsia
  • 18
    Widget-based
  • 17
    Dart
  • 12
    IOS + Android
  • 11
    Great CLI Support
  • 10
    Tooling
  • 9
    You can use it as mobile, web, Server development
  • 9
    Easy to learn
  • 8
    Have built-in Material theme
  • 8
    Debugging quickly
  • 8
    Support by multiple IDE: Android Studio, VS Code, XCode
  • 7
    Target to Android
  • 7
    Easy Testing Support
  • 6
    Community
  • 6
    Have built-in Cupertino theme
  • 6
    Good docs & sample code
  • 6
    Target to iOS
  • 5
    Real platform free framework of the future
  • 5
    Easy to Unit Test
  • 5
    Easy to Widget Test
  • 5
    Written by Dart, which is easy to read code
  • 4
    Flutter is awesome
  • 46
    Javascript
  • 13
    Backed by Adobe
  • 11
    Free
  • 9
    Easy and developer friendly
  • 6
    Support more platforms
  • 3
    It's javascript, html, and css
  • 2
    Common code base across all mobile platform
  • 1
    Not bound to specific framework
  • 1
    Powerful Framework
  • 1
    Runs on mobile browser
  • 1
    Similar UI across all platform
  • 0
    Free easy fast and not buggy in my experience

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Cons of Flutter
Cons of PhoneGap
  • 24
    Need to learn Dart
  • 10
    No 3D Graphics Engine Support
  • 9
    Lack of community support
  • 6
    Graphics programming
  • 5
    Lack of friendly documentation
  • 2
    Lack of promotion
  • 1
    Https://iphtechnologies.com/difference-between-flutter
  • 2
    Never as good as a native app
  • 1
    Created for web pages, not for complex Apps
  • 1
    Poor user experience
  • 1
    Not build for high performance
  • 1
    Hard to see

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What companies use Flutter?
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What are some alternatives to Flutter and PhoneGap?
React Native
React Native enables you to build world-class application experiences on native platforms using a consistent developer experience based on JavaScript and React. The focus of React Native is on developer efficiency across all the platforms you care about - learn once, write anywhere. Facebook uses React Native in multiple production apps and will continue investing in React Native.
Xamarin
Xamarin’s Mono-based products enable .NET developers to use their existing code, libraries and tools (including Visual Studio*), as well as skills in .NET and the C# programming language, to create mobile applications for the industry’s most widely-used mobile devices, including Android-based smartphones and tablets, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Android SDK
Android provides a rich application framework that allows you to build innovative apps and games for mobile devices in a Java language environment.
Java
Java is a programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. There are lots of applications and websites that will not work unless you have Java installed, and more are created every day. Java is fast, secure, and reliable. From laptops to datacenters, game consoles to scientific supercomputers, cell phones to the Internet, Java is everywhere!
Kotlin
Kotlin is a statically typed programming language for the JVM, Android and the browser, 100% interoperable with Java
See all alternatives