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Jetpack Compose and Flutter are two of the most popular user interface (UI) frameworks. While both are used to create applications, some key differences set them apart. Jetpack Compose, created after Flutter, gained traction among Android developers for its improved productivity, advanced code maintainability, and enhanced development experience. Despite Jetpack Compose’s rise in popularity, Flutter is still actively used; in fact, according to a developer survey by Stack Overflow, over 68 percent of developers identify Flutter as their favorite framework. Ultimately, choosing which framework to use involves specific factors such as the target platform, design requirements, and goals.
Jetpack Compose was designed specifically for Android app development. While that can refer to Android phones, many devices like home appliances, cameras, and e-readers also use Android's operating system. And while Jetpack was originally created for Android operating systems, a version is in development that aims to implement cross-platform integration. However, it is still in its alpha stage of development.
Jetpack enables the development of native Android apps using a modern, reactive, and declarative approach. Its predefined functions, called "composables," make the development process easier and faster while also helping maintain a cohesive look that enhances the visual appeal.
Jetpack Compose integrates into existing Android systems and leverages its native capabilities. The composables are used to define UI components. Jetpack's UI interface can seamlessly incorporate into devices that already use Android's operating system. Even if Jetpack isn't used for creating the initial interface, it can help modernize existing Android apps by replacing traditional XML-based layouts with a more intuitive and efficient UI development approach. Kotlin, Jetpack's programming language, integrates into existing Kotlin codebases and Android APIs
Flutter, developed by Google, is a cross-platform framework that enables app development for multiple platforms using a single codebase. This capability sets Flutter apart from Jetpack Compose. It means a single codebase can be used for ios, Android, and web applications. Flutter uses Dart as its programming language, which has its own syntax and semantics. Dart is known for its fast performance, efficient just-in-time (JIT) compilation, and modern language feature.
While Flutter also adopts a declarative approach, accessing OS-level components without bridging logic can be more complex. These could be features like accessing device-specific sensors, using platform-specific APIs or interacting with native UI components. The entire UI is described using a widget tree where each widget represents a part of the UI hierarchy. The widgets are fixed and declaratively define their appearance based on the current state. When there is a change in the state, Flutter rebuilds the widget tree, comparing the previous and current state to identify what parts of the UI need to be updated. This widget-based architecture promotes reusable and modular UI components. It allows developers to easily build complex UI layouts by composing widgets. While fixed once created, these widgets are customizable in the creation process. The framework handles the underlying rendering and layout optimizations, ensuring the updates are performed efficiently and consistently.
Flutter's hot reload feature is highly coveted when creating UI interfaces. This feature allows developers to see changes in code instantly reflected in the prototype app, speeding up the development and iteration process. This feature allows one to easily experiment as there is no need to restart the application.
While both frameworks have benefits and drawbacks, a decision should be based on the desired end goal. There are three main questions one should ask themselves before choosing between Jetpack Compose vs Flutter:
What is The Target Platform?
Flutter would be the better choice if the goal is one code for all platforms. Flutter specializes in cross-platform development, which uses a single codebase for multiple platforms such as iOS, Android, and web pages. It eliminates the need for separate codes for different platforms.
Jetpack Compose would be preferable if the needed app is specifically for Android operating systems. Jetpack Compose specializes in native Android app development. While there has been a shift to implementing cross-platform development, it is still in its experimental phase.
What is The Design Goal?
Flutter has a rendering engine called Skia, which allows for custom UI rendering and control over every pixel on the screen. It enables developers to create visually appealing interfaces with smooth animations and fluid transitions. If the goal of the application is for a visually satisfying experience, Flutter might be the better option. However, Flutter has difficulty managing large apps that require storage, so that is something else to consider.
Jetpack Compose would be the better option if one is seeking to modernize their already established Android operating system. Its declarative and object-oriented approach allows for quick and easy integration with set composable functions that provide an interface with a cohesive look.
What is The Time Frame?
While both apps were created to speed up the process of developing a UI interface, factors in each could affect the speed at which they are designed. While Jetpack Compose might be easier and faster because of its predefined functions, it lacks the hot reload feature that Flutter uses. This feature allows the framework to update the app immediately when a change occurs. It makes experimentation with the app easier as a developer would not need to restart it to view the changes. Flutter is a well-suited choice if continuous alterations and experimentations are needed for a project.
However, Jetpack Compose would be the better option if one is strictly looking for UI creation for an Android operating system. Its seamless integration into existing APIs and Kotlin codebases makes the process easier and faster than Flutter's system.
Both UI frameworks have their strengths and shortcomings. Choosing based on one's requirements for the application and project is important. Chetu’s experienced developers can work with either framework to create and improve an app's user interface. Contact us for custom application development tailored for your business needs.
Chetu does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of a specific software, company or individual does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.
Founded in 2000, Chetu is a global provider of business software development solutions and support services. Chetu's specialized technology and industry experts serve startups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies with an unparalleled software delivery model suited to the needs of the client. Chetu's one-stop-shop model spans the entire software technology spectrum. Headquartered in Plantation, Florida, Chetu has fourteen locations throughout the U.S. and abroad.