Last Updated: January 16, 2024
.NET MAUI vs Flutter
Published On: January 15, 2024

Blog Summary: This blog sheds light on two popular frameworks, .NET MAUI and Flutter in cross platform development. It provides detailed comparison between these two frameworks in order to help you understand which one is suitable for your business requirements. Apart from this, we have also discussed current market trends and features offered by frameworks.

Nowadays, choosing the right framework for your app development has become important, especially for modern businesses. Two most used frameworks, .NET MAUI and Flutter, usually come to mind whenever talking about developing cross-platform applications.

With the former experiencing a surge in its demand, the latter has managed to capture the attention of 46% global developers, as per Statista’s 2022 developers survey. Both being a popular cross-platform framework, picking one from these two is certainly not going to be easy.

Statista’s 2022 developers survey

The reason is any app development company you approach, it needs to consider more than one factor like platform compatibility, performance and speed while developing frameworks for mobile apps.

This blog aims to eliminate your confusion by exploring frameworks – .NET MAUI and Flutter in the most detailed comparison ever.

.NET MAUI vs Flutter: Market Trends

Today choosing any one framework is easier said than done because there are plenty of factors that come into effect. First of all is – market trends because framework’s popularity changes in a span of weeks or months, depending upon how fast they are evolving.  

  • Aligning with the current market trends, Flutter has been a top choice for developers as it is easy to implement across multiple projects and also leads to higher customer satisfaction.
  • With increasing popularity, Flutter has also surpassed the React Native usage and will continue to surge in coming days. This is said because Flutter’s UI library had nearly 500k results as of February 2023.
  • Whereas, .NET MAUI is a new player in the market, it may take some time to reach that figure while competing directly with Flutter.

What is .NET MAUI?

.NET MAUI

.NET MAUI is a framework created by Microsoft to develop mobile applications or web applications. It is an open-source framework that has proven to be worthy for developing cross-platform apps.

.NET MAUI is similar to Xamarin.Forms and can be used for multi-platform app development. It is capable of developing app functionality along with UI design in the same project. 

Simply put, .NET MAUI is the successor of Xamarin that uses a single API to develop an app on iOS, Android or Windows. Thus, you need no further ado why it is crucial for teams using Xamarin to switch to .NET MAUI.

Features of .NET MAUI

Native UI: It provides a wide range of UI controls and layouts to build a native-like interface and improve user experience on any device. Also, it supports adaptive UI. 

Integration functionality: It can be integrated with the latest .NET platform, which means you can access libraries, frameworks, features along with testing the application.

Open source: Since developers are contributing to it on a daily basis, .NET MAUI is an open-source project that continues to evolve rapidly.

Performance: .NET MAUI excels in boosting app performance by optimizing native linking, ahead of time (AOT) compilation and application runtime.

Hot Reload: It helps developers to make changes, fix bugs or add any new feature as soon as possible, resulting in faster development. 

What is Flutter?

Flutter

Flutter is another open source technology developed by Google in 2015. It helps you build native or any cross platform app with a single codebase. It uses Dart programming language and has a set of intuitive widgets, eventually boosting the development cycle.

Any apps built using Flutter will have a better user interface and also they are easier to navigate. Also, you can work on independent libraries using its architecture for mobile apps.

If your company requires a Google Assistant-like framework or any specialized one, then Flutter can be your go-to option. Notably, Flutter can also be used as a multi-platform requirement, consisting of a mobile app or web app. Because of this, it has been rapidly evolving as a cross platform solution.

Features of Flutter

Consistency: One of the amazing features of Flutter is that you get cross platform consistency, no matter which platform you choose.

Widget Library: Flutter gives a wide variety of customizable widgets to create intuitive user interfaces for mobile, web or desktop applications.

Developer’s community: Gaining popularity in such a short time, Flutter has a growing developer’s community that continuously contributes to its development.

Faster development: Flutter boosts the development cycle by helping developers check code changes and bug fixes with the help of Hot Reload feature.

Use of Dart: It uses the popular programming language, Dart, known for its enhanced performance and productivity. Dart can be another benefit for your mobile app development.

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.NET MAUI vs Flutter: A Quick Comparison

At first glance, .NET MAUI and Flutter may look similar cross-platform frameworks, but what really separates them are technical factors and business factors.

C# is used by .NET MAUI as its programming language, whereas Flutter uses Dart as its primary programming language. So, if you are developing applications from scratch, you need to spend more time learning a new language in order to become more familiar with it.

On the flip side, .NET is mostly preferred when you have an existing project to work on. Right then, let’s compare these two frameworks, starting with technical factors first.

.NET MAUI vs Flutter: Comparing Technical Factors

1. .NET MAUI vs Flutter: Learning Curve

As far as the learning curve is concerned, it actually depends on your project requirements. If you are familiar with C# and .NET, then choosing .NET MAUI could be a straightforward decision.

However, if you are comfortable with Dart language, then Flutter will be the right choice. So, developers using Dart for the very first time may require time to understand the language.

In short, developers who use declarative UIs are likely to learn it more quickly than those who are using imperative UI development. That’s why it is easy for C# or .NET developers to continue going ahead with .NET MAUI.

While Flutter, being more complex to understand, offers a rich set of widget libraries that could be useful for developers in creating appealing user interfaces.

2. .NET MAUI vs Flutter: Development Process

Although both these technologies help developers to construct cross platform app development faster, Flutter has an edge over its newest competitor. With Hot Reload and a range of widget collections, Flutter can be used to create user interfaces in less time.

On the contrary, .NET MAUI may not have fully developed features, which requires more developer’s time. Notably, .NET MAUI is completely new and still in the developing stage, offering extended time to complete the development cycle.

To keep it simple, both are quick and efficient, but Flutter is slightly ahead in terms of development process.

3. .NET MAUI vs Flutter: Technology Stability

Another technical factor that needs to be taken care of while comparing these two is technology stability. No matter whichever framework you choose for a cross platform app, make sure it is reliable for use.

As a successor of Xamarin.Forms, .NET MAUI is still evolving yet more reliable and stable technology. This is because Microsoft has a record of developing technologies with better stability for future use.

The same can’t be said for Flutter. A Google-backed technology has achieved more likes from developers, but has failed to tick all the boxes in terms of stability. Therefore, .NET MAUI is a clear winner when it comes to technology stability.

4. .NET MAUI vs Flutter: UI Development

Since both .NET MAUI and Flutter have the same goal of helping developers create intuitive user interfaces, neither of them will disappoint you.

If you are willing to build a native-like user interface, .NET MAUI is the right choice as it has Xamarin.Forms community support to develop native UI components.

But in case your requirement is to build customizable and pixel-perfect user interfaces, Flutter has a wide range of widgets and animation that will easily meet your expectations. Also, Flutter has a rendering engine that ensures you get desired animation for UI development.

So, both of them are on the same page, the difference is Flutter can get you high quality animation across multiple platforms. And therefore, it is mostly preferred by developers for creating UIs.

5. .NET MAUI vs Flutter: Language Comparison

In language comparison, .NET MAUI has C# as its programming language that assists developers to access resources from .NET libraries.

Interestingly, it also integrates with Visual Studio, becoming go-to technology for .NET developers. As far as C# is commonly used language, developers find it easier to create cross platform apps.

On the contrary, Flutter uses Dart as its programming language, which may require time for adoption. Positively, Flutter has a stable growth and provides access to native device features along with its community toolkit.

6. .NET MAUI vs Flutter: Cross-platform Capabilities

Cross-platform Capabilities_ .NET MAUI vs Flutter

While Flutter allows you to write code once and run on any platform, ensuring better consistency, .NET MAUI takes a different route in cross-platform development by creating iOS, Android, or Windows applications using a unified API.

Ultimately both Flutter and .NET MAUI empower developers to write code once and deploy it across various platforms. As a result, it is a versatile cross platform framework that saves cost as well as development time for your company.

7. .NET MAUI vs Flutter: Ecosystem

Whether you are a beginner or experienced developer, one thing you would not like to miss out on is the ecosystem. The ecosystem consists of tools and libraries that can assist you in testing and deploying the mobile or web applications.

.NET MAUI consists of a .NET ecosystem that has Xamarin.Forms, Visual Studio, and Visual Studio Code. In fact, you will find it easier to build apps using Azure services.

Similarly, Flutter also has a wide range of plugins and packages available that helps you get native device features. Flutter gives you slightly better tooling support with Android Studio, Flutter SDK and IntelliJ IDEA.

Using Flutter, you can integrate with Firebase to access more tools for your mobile application. So, simply put, Flutter is the one which helps you make the development process smooth and efficient.

.NET MAUI vs Flutter: Comparing Business Factors

Now that you know how they are different in terms of technical factors, let’s move on to figure out what sets them apart based on business factors.

1. .NET MAUI vs Flutter: Market Popularity

Popularity_ .NET MAUI vs Flutter

In recent months, Flutter has been more popular among the developers than its newest competitor, .NET MAUI. Google-backed cross platform framework is the top pick of businesses, citing better user experience and efficient development process.

The best part is it has an ever-growing developers community that guides you if you want any documentation or resources. .NET MAUI has recently emerged as the successor of Xamarin.Forms, which is yet to impress developers in the near future.

This Microsoft-powered framework is better known for market penetration and it is majorly driven by experienced developers. Increasing popularity at a fast pace itself explains why .NET MAUI has 18k GitHub stars than Flutter with nearly 150k, being in the market for a long time.

2. .NET MAUI vs Flutter: Cost Efficiency

It is obvious that any business wants a framework that is less expensive and helps them with desired ROI. In that case, both .NET MAUI and Flutter are open-source frameworks that do not require any additional charges like license fees or sign up fees.

But, moving forward with .NET MAUI means you need to pay extra charges for using Azure services or Visual Studio. Hence, .NET MAUI could be an expensive solution.

Flutter, on the other hand, offers a less expensive solution that not only saves money but also time taken for development. So, it is understandable that picking up the Flutter framework can be a smart move as far as mobile app development cost efficiency is concerned.

3. .NET MAUI vs Flutter: Performance

Being a performant UI framework, Flutter has the upper hand in terms of performance. Having robust support from Google, its rendering engine and array of interactive user interfaces makes sure your development process is smooth and faster.

Even if your requirement is multi-platform support, Flutter is the ideal choice because of its large-size developer community. Else, if you have expertise in C# and .NET, then .NET MAUI is made for you without a doubt.

It will be easier for those who are using Xamarin to make a smooth transition next year. Since it is still in the developing stage, you can expect better performance and stability in the next few months.

To sum it up, performance wise, Flutter can be your go-to framework regardless of your chosen platform.

4. .NET MAUI vs Flutter: Community Support

Another factor you should consider is support from the developers community. And that’s exactly what you will get in both, .NET MAUI and Flutter. Flutter has a large-size developers community that helps you get tooling support and resources. In fact, it has active online communities like Flutter Discord or Flutter Meetup Network so that you can ask for support or share resources as well.

Speaking of .NET MAUI, it is still trying to form a large community, but you can get .NET community support as well as sturdy resources from Xamarin.Forms by accessing the Microsoft website. Such an active community from .NET and Xamarin.Forms will help you get things done. Thus, you will get better community support while using Flutter.

.NET MAUI or Flutter – Had Your Pick Ready?

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.NET MAUI vs Flutter: Use Cases

When to Use .NET MAUI?

  • Let’s say you are a .NET developer willing to develop enterprise applications with better efficiency level, then .NET MAUI comes out on top.
  • Secondly, in case you plan to develop mobile applications on Android, iOS or Windows without using a single codebase, .NET MAUI is the better choice for you.
  • When you are looking for native-like interface with improved performance and excellent user experience on any platform, you can use .NET MAUI.
  • Another scenario is where you already have Xamarin.Forms projects, then making transition to .NET MAUI would be easy as it offers backward compatibility.

When to Use Flutter?

  • Flutter comes handy when your requirement is to develop mobile or web applications using a single codebase.
  • Also, if you are looking for a rich widget library to create pixel perfect designs and enhanced interface, then Flutter becomes the preferred choice to complete your project.
  • In such cases where you wish to explore third-party packages from the Flutter ecosystem, you can pick Flutter as your go-to framework.
  • In addition to that, when you want to speed up your development cycle with the Hot Reload feature, Flutter is an ideal framework.

Conclusion

As the popularity of .NET MAUI and Flutter continues to grow, the ultimate decision lies in your hands. Either way you go, remember that both frameworks have likes and dislikes, but what really matters is your project requirements.

We understood that Flutter, being more consistent, has a slight edge over its newest competitor. .Net MAUI, on the other hand, can also prove to be a worthy choice for your project as it is expected to release more tools and resources. If you’re still scratching your head, we recommend you get in touch with professional developers from Moon Technolabs to make the right choice.

FAQs

Xamarin, Flutter, React Native, Cordova, NativeScript and Node.js are most commonly used technologies to create cross platform applications. You can choose any of them depending on your project requirements, hired team expertise and platform compatibility.

.NET MAUI’s future appears to be promising as it is created to boost the development cycle for mobile or web applications. This Microsoft-powered technology is expected to release more tools and useful resources in the near future.

Yes, it is expected that Xamarin is likely to get replaced by Microsoft-owned .NET MAUI in the coming days. To keep it simple, .NET MAUI is a successor of Xamarin.Forms that comes with a more streamlined approach in terms of cross platform development. And that’s why .NET MAUI could be your suitable choice in the next few years.
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Jayanti Katariya

Jayanti Katariya is the CEO of Moon Technolabs, a fast-growing IT solutions provider, with 18+ years of experience in the industry. Passionate about developing creative apps from a young age, he pursued an engineering degree to further this interest. Under his leadership, Moon Technolabs has helped numerous brands establish their online presence and he has also launched an invoicing software that assists businesses to streamline their financial operations.

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