Kotlin Vs. Java Vs. Flutter Vs. React Native
App Technology

Mobile App Development – Kotlin Vs Java Vs Flutter Vs React Native – When to Choose What?

With a string of technologies out there for mobile app development, zeroing in on any one of them for mobile app development has become a daunting task. To gauge developers’ opinions regarding Kotlin Vs Java Vs Flutter Vs React Native, we conducted a poll on our LinkedIn page, which saw a great participation.

Kotlin Vs. Java Vs. Flutter Vs. React Native

As the results demonstrate, no technology emerged as a clear winner, so we decided to create a blog as a guide to help companies pick the right technology.

Let us examine how these four leading technologies stack up under various parameters and when to use what:

Flutter

Created by none other than Google, Flutter is a reactive cross-platform mobile development framework that helps build native apps for both iOS and Android with a single code base. Alpha release of Flutter was way back in May 2017.

  • Supported platforms: The framework supports Android Jelly Bean, v16, 4.1.x versions, and iOS 8+.
  • Language Stack: Using Dart as a programming language, developers can create mobile applications for Android, iOS, and Windows. Dart has borrowed aplenty from Java and C/C++.
  • Performance: Flutter eliminates the JavaScript bridging for initiating interactions with native elements, thereby greatly enhancing the app speed.
  • Market and Community: Flutter is a comparatively new platform, so its market and community ecosystem are still taking shape. With a giant like Google behind it, one can be almost sure about the platform gaining momentum.
  • User Interface: Thanks to an easy-to-use interface, Flutter is fun to use. Developers get to use several widgets, which shorten the development time.
  • Pricing: An open-source platform, Flutter is free of cost.
  • Specific Advantage: Hot-reload feature, which allows developers to make changes at the backend and see the implementation simultaneously. It allows them to immediately assess if the changes are in sync with other components of the app.
  • When to Use? If UI is a key priority of your app.

Kotlin

Kotlin is a general-purpose, cross-platform, statically typed programming language with type inference. It has been designed and developed by JetBrains, a Czech software enterprise.  

  • Supported Platforms: Kotlin is an Android-compatible language and fully supported for Android development.  Kotlin-based apps can run efficiently across all versions of Android and iOS 8+ versions.
  • Language Stack: Resembling Java, Kotlin aims at JVM (Java Virtual Machine), JavaScript, and Native.
  • Performance: Though the bytecode of Kotlin is similar to Java, the former is considered a better alternative to the latter. Though it has been developed to be interoperable with Java as well as its own Java Virtual Machine version, it can also compile to JavaScript for front-end applications.
  • Market and Community: With fast and smooth features, Kotlin is hurtling towards growth. Used across the world for cross-platform app development, Kotlin is among the top ten programming languages, according to Statista.
  • User Interface: Kotlin stands out when it comes to features and user experience as it is interoperable in Java. Developers use it along with SDKs to create remarkable user experiences.
  • Pricing: Kotlin is free of cost, and its source code is up there on GitHub.
  • Specific Advantage: As Kotlin is just a general-purpose programming language and not a software development kit, there is no need for developers to port the whole application to it.
  • When to use? Kotlin is the perfect choice for Android app development.

Java

Since the launch of Android in 2008, Java has been in use as the default development language to develop Android apps. Java itself came into being in 1995. Most other languages used for Android development are influenced by Java in some way.

  • Supported Platforms: Developers can build all sorts of Android apps in Java using an IDE called Android Studio.
  • Language Stack: While it is a given that Java works on JVM (Java Virtual Machine), it can also access JavaScript functions.
  • Performance: Thanks to its portable nature, Java is a vibrant and extensible programming language. A well-designed language with an intuitive set of APIs, it brings in quick results. Fewer bugs compared with other platforms boost its efficiency as well.
  • Market and Community: For advice regarding development, a huge community network of experienced developers is there to support. There are various forums and user groups which developers can use to post their queries and get answers.
  • User Interface: Java user interface supports OOPS (Object Oriented Programming) concepts, which make it flexible, extensible, and scalable.
  • Pricing: As of Feb. 27, 2020: Oracle is posting paid updates for JDK 8, 11, and 13 on their public site for commercial use.
  • Specific Advantage: Java boasts of one of the strongest communities.
  • When to Use? Go for Java if you want to build for Android.

React Native

A JavaScript framework built upon the React library, the React Native is the creation of Facebook. Like Flutter, it allows the development of iOS and Android apps using a single code base. The platform took off as one of the internal hackathon projects at Facebook in 2013. In 2015, it started out in public.

  • Supported Platforms: The framework supports Android 4.0.3+ versions and iOS 8+.
  • Language Stack: React Native supports JavaScript and React.JS. It even enables building a few elements in Java, Swift, or Objective-C, making it the foremost mobile development framework when it comes to the support for programming languages.
  • Performance: The framework provides the code elements specifically to native APIs, generating performance that resembles that of the native applications. 
  • Market and Community: A large market community network makes development easy for React Native developers. Utilizing ReactJS library and JavaScript, developers can create powerful react native applications.
  • User Interface: Taking advantage of native UI controllers, developers can create an impressive graphical user interface. Innumerable ReactJS library UI elements give them a lot of power.
  • Pricing: React Native is open source, so developers can use it free of cost.
  • Specific Advantage: The framework offers high code reusability across platforms. The developer community has created a lot of libraries that can be used as building blocks to accelerate development.
  • When to Use? If you want universal code for mobile, web, and desktop.

Closing thoughts

As evident from comparison across several parameters, all these platforms have their own strong and weak sides. The right approach will be to examine each one against your specific business requirements and pick the one which emerges as the best solution for the use case.

Kotlin-Vs-Java-Flutter-React-Native

Talk to our mobile app development experts for expert advice on your mobile app strategy. 

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