FlutterFlow vs Flutter: A comparison for 2024
FlutterFlow vs Flutter: A comparison for 2024

FlutterFlow vs Flutter: A comparison for 2024

Have you ever wondered about the differences between Flutter and FlutterFlow? The shared part of their names might have sparked some curiosity, maybe even a touch of confusion.

In this article, we'll dissect both Flutter and FlutterFlow and explore their roles in app development. We'll cover the fundamentals, the unique features each brings to the table, and how they fit into the bigger picture of building applications. Ready to learn more about the world of Flutter and FlutterFlow? Keep reading.


Flutter is an open-source UI toolkit for building natively compiled applications, offering extensive customization through coding. On the flip side, FlutterFlow is a no-code platform that simplifies app development with a visual interface. While Flutter provides granular control and is ideal for complex projects, FlutterFlow's strength lies in rapid prototyping and user-friendly design without manual coding.

TypeOpen-source UI toolkitNo-code platform
Development ApproachTraditional codingVisual interface
Programming LanguageDartGenerates Dart code from visual inputs
ControlGranular control over every aspectLimited control, focused on simplicity
CustomizationHighly customizableLimited customization, allows custom code
PerformanceFine-tuned performance for complex appsRapid prototyping with performance trade-offs


What is Flutter?

Flutter is a toolkit created by Google in 2017 that helps developers build user interfaces (UIs) for different platforms like mobile apps, websites, and desktop applications. But what exactly is a development toolkit? It's a collection of tools, code libraries, and resources that make it easier for developers to create software applications.

While Flutter uses Dart, writing Dart code from scratch doesn't inherently imply using Flutter. Dart is a general-purpose programming language that can be employed for various applications, including server-side development. 

When you're developing with Flutter, you're not just writing Dart code; you're using the Flutter framework to create a user interface and manage the application's lifecycle. Flutter extends Dart, and provides features that make it easier to create UIs.

What is FlutterFlow?

FlutterFlow is a no-code platform designed to simplify the app development process. No-code means you can build apps using a visual interface instead of writing code line by line. With this interface, you can design how your app will look by dragging and dropping pre-built components (like buttons, text boxes, etc.). You can also define the behavior and logic of your app visually, without coding. For example, you can specify what should happen when a user taps a button or how data should flow through your app.

Under the hood, FlutterFlow translates your visual inputs and configurations into actual Dart code that follows Flutter's best practices and conventions. The key benefit here is that you don't need to write this Dart code yourself manually. FlutterFlow abstracts away the complexity of coding, and you can focus on building your app visually.

FlutterFlow vs Flutter: A comparison for 2024

What are their main differences?

The development approach

The biggest difference between Flutter and FlutterFlow lies in their development approaches. Flutter follows a traditional coding approach, where developers write code to define the app's behavior, appearance, and functionality. 

In contrast, FlutterFlow is a platform for no-code development. As the name suggests, in no-code development, users can design and build applications without the need for manual coding. Instead, users arrange pre-built components, such as buttons, forms, and interactive elements, to define the structure and functionality of their applications.

The process extends beyond mere visual design; it includes the creation of workflows. No-code platforms feature a workflow builder where users can define the logic and sequence of actions within their applications. This can involve specifying what happens when a button is clicked, setting up data connections, or establishing conditional behaviors. 

The platform then automatically translates these actions and generates the underlying code. And this is where FlutterFlow and Flutter cross paths: everything you build in FlutterFlow will translate into clean, Flutter code.

The speed

No-code platforms like FlutterFlow inherently offer a quicker development process. With pre-built components and simplified workflows, users can piece together an application quickly without having to write and test intricate code structures. Flutter, while powerful, requires developers to write and debug code, which makes the development process much more slow.

The control you get

The level of control over the codebase is another significant difference. Flutter allows developers to have granular control over every aspect of their application. This includes fine-tuning performance, implementing custom features, and optimizing for specific devices. In contrast, FlutterFlow's no-code approach sacrifices some of this control in favor of simplicity. While it provides a user-friendly environment, there might be limitations in customization for advanced scenarios. We’ll cover the best use cases for each approach later on.

FlutterFlow and Flutter working together

So, we stated that FlutterFlow generates clean and readable code that follows the best practices of Flutter development. You can also download the code at any time and tweak it in your preferred Integrated Development Environment (IDE) or code editor. 

What practical benefits does this feature offer?

  • Enhancing an existing Flutter project with FlutterFlow:

Consider this scenario: You've got a Flutter project and want a better-looking UI, but you're not keen on spending too much time coding. FlutterFlow can be the perfect fix. Use its drag-and-drop interface to create UI components and animations. Once you're happy, you can export that refined UI code straight into your existing Flutter project. 

  • Transitioning from FlutterFlow to full Flutter development:

If you've kickstarted your project in FlutterFlow and now wish to keep working on it with Flutter and Dart, you have the freedom to do so. After exporting the code, you can continue developing on an IDE editor, and access the complete suite of Flutter's features for further development and customization outside the FlutterFlow environment.

Something important to note: the download code feature is exclusively available to users with at least a "standard" plan subscription on FlutterFlow. Also, it's a one-way street – once you've taken your project out of FlutterFlow, there's no turning back. 

FlutterFlow doesn't currently allow the import of edited Flutter code back into its environment, so plan your steps wisely. Also, getting out of Flutterflow might not be necessary at all if you consider you can add custom code to include more complex features. Let’s dive into that:

  • Advanced features adding custom code to FlutterFlow

FlutterFlow allows developers to introduce complex features beyond its in-built capabilities. When you integrate Flutter code into the main.dart file, you can tailor specific functionalities and customize apps without the need to download and modify the entire project.

Of course, be mindful that this requires a solid understanding of Dart and coding experience to ensure a smooth and effective implementation. But it’s good to know that, at the end of the day, FlutterFlow allows for a powerful hybrid approach, that combines its simplicity with the tailored precision of coding. 

Our developers can get the most out of Flutterflow for your project. Learn more about our services!

Maintenance and costs

When you build an app by writing code from scratch using Flutter, there are a few key points to consider in terms of costs:

  • You'll need to hire skilled developers who know how to code in Dart, which is the programming language used with Flutter. These developers can be pricey, especially if they're experienced with Flutter.
  • The initial development costs tend to be higher because your developers have to build everything from the ground up. However, this also gives you the flexibility to customize every aspect of your app to meet your specific needs.
  • After your app is built, there are ongoing maintenance costs. Your developers will need to keep updating the app to ensure it works well with new operating system versions and devices that come out over time.
  • If you want to add major new features or significantly expand your app later on, you'll have to pay for more development work.
  • The costs of hiring and retaining experienced Flutter developers can fluctuate over time based on their demand in the job market.

Now, let's look at FlutterFlow:

  • The first cost to consider is the subscription fee to use the FlutterFlow platform. The costs are predictable since you know the subscription prices upfront.
  • Maintenance, security updates, and keeping the platform up-to-date are all handled by the FlutterFlow team. You don't have to worry about dedicating resources to these tasks.
  • Building apps on FlutterFlow is generally faster than traditional coding since you can visually design and configure your app instead of writing every line of code manually.
  • FlutterFlow comes with many pre-built features and components out-of-the-box, so you don't have to code as much custom functionality from scratch.
  • The quicker development time made possible by FlutterFlow's visual approach can help you get your app to market faster, which can be a cost-saving advantage, even if you decide to hire no-code developers.

Related: The cost of no-code development

Related: FlutterFlow security: A Review and best practices

When should you use Flutter, and when should you use FlutterFlow?

Both Flutter and FlutterFlow will shine if used for the right use case. So, you should choose which one to use with the specific requirements of your project in mind.

Use cases for FlutterFlow

  • User-friendly applications: When the primary focus is on creating user-friendly applications with a smooth and intuitive interface, FlutterFlow is perfect. With its visual design and pre-made components, it simplifies the process, ensuring a clean and intuitive UI for your app.
  • Efficient workflow automation: FlutterFlow is well-suited for applications that heavily rely on workflow automation. The platform's no-code workflow builder simplifies the process of defining logic and sequences of actions, making it an excellent choice for applications with complex but standardized workflows. It also integrates with Make and Zapier, which offer quick solutions to connect services and automate processes.
  • Rapid prototyping and MVPs: FlutterFlow is particularly advantageous for rapid prototyping and building Minimum Viable Products (MVPs). Its no-code approach enables quick ideation and testing of concepts without the need for extensive coding, making it ideal for projects with tight timelines.

Related: What you can and can’t do with Flutterflow

Use cases for Flutter

  • Highly customized applications: Flutter is the go-to choice when your project demands a high level of customization. If you need precise control over every aspect of your application's behavior, appearance, and performance, Flutter's traditional coding approach provides the flexibility required for intricate customization.
  • Performance-critical apps: For applications where performance is paramount, such as graphics-intensive games or applications with complex animations, Flutter's direct control over the code allows developers to fine-tune performance and optimize for specific devices.
  • Cross-platform development: If your goal is to create a single codebase that can run seamlessly on multiple platforms, including mobile, web, and desktop, Flutter is a great option.

If you’re still unsure which platform to choose, you can read our other comparisons to gather more information:

Success cases


  • Xianyu (Alibaba Group)


Xianyu is Alibaba's online marketplace for secondhand goods trading. With millions of listings and users, performance was a top priority. And Flutter delivered - providing a super smooth 60 frames-per-second experience even on older smartphones. Thanks to Flutter's hot reload feature, Alibaba's developers could iterate at lightspeed too. The end result? A snappy, responsive app loved by millions of users across China.

  • Grab


Grab is a "super app" providing food delivery, ride-hailing, and more across Southeast Asia. Their merchant app had to work flawlessly for millions of delivery partners, many using entry-level Android phones. Flutter's single codebase across Android, iOS, and the web reduced costs significantly. But more importantly, its compiler optimizations ensured zippy performance even on modest hardware.

  • BMW


For their "My BMW" app, the automaker needed deep integration with vehicle hardware for connected experiences like remote controls, and Flutter was a great option. The app also provides an ultra-premium feel with smooth animations and transitions built with Flutter. Having one codebase worldwide also simplifies updates across markets.


  •  MakeWell

MakeWell is a healthcare app that provides personalized wellness insights and plans. MakeWell simulates a panel of medical experts to analyze symptoms, ask clarifying questions, and provide reliable condition assessments.

FlutterFlow’s integration with GPT-4 allowed its creator to build an AI Symptom Analyzer that goes beyond basic symptom checking with custom recommendations based on the user's medical profile. Its private cloud functions ensure secure storage of custom AI prompts. 

The founder chose FlutterFlow for its visual tooling, customizability through code export, and ability to rapidly build a cross-platform app with a modern UI. The idea is to empower patients to take a more active role in managing their health and wellness. Of course, it's important to note that the AI Symptom Analyzer provides only suggestions and does not replace professional medical advice.

  • ToyCycle

ToyCycle is an innovative app for kids to safely trade and buy toys under parental supervision. It promotes sustainability and responsible consumption. Developed using FlutterFlow, the app provides a secure and engaging platform tailored to the needs of both kids and parents.

The app has a user-friendly interface, suitable for kids of all ages. They can easily list their toys and browse listings from other kids in their school, thanks to FlutterFlow's intuitive UI design tools. All transactions and communications are subject to parental approval, a critical feature enabled by FlutterFlow's ability to handle complex logic.


FlutterFlow has really come into its own as a powerful no-code platform. It's packed with features and pre-built integrations that let you create sophisticated apps quickly without having to build everything from scratch. The ability to incorporate custom code means FlutterFlow can adapt to handle very complex app requirements too.

It's an innovative platform that empowers developers to bring their ideas to life quickly and creatively. Flutter, on the other hand, shines as a coding-focused solution that gives advanced developers immense customization capabilities right out of the box.

But here's the kicker - Flutter and FlutterFlow don't have to be an either/or choice. They can actually complement each other.

The hybrid approach - Our recommendation

We recommend considering a hybrid approach that combines the strengths of both tools. Start your project on FlutterFlow to rapidly validate your app idea and get an initial version off the ground at light speed using the no-code builder.

Since FlutterFlow is built on Flutter, the base of your app adheres to Flutter's standards from the get-go. Once you have a working prototype, you can decide if FlutterFlow's feature set and custom coding capabilities check all your boxes. If not, you now have a solid headstart to transition your app to a full Flutter codebase for more advanced customization. The people at FlutterFlow have made this migration process very straightforward.

But chances are, for a vast majority of apps, FlutterFlow will have you covered without needing to make the jump to Flutter. Its capabilities and third-party integration ecosystem continue to grow rapidly. So by starting with the no-code approach first, you can innovate faster, validate your idea quickly, and then make a data-driven decision on whether to stick with FlutterFlow or transition some or all of your app to Flutter's coding environment. It’s a hybrid approach that gives you the best of both worlds.

Do you have an exciting project in mind? Schedule a call now for a detailed quote and let's bring your vision to life.

FlutterFlow vs Flutter: A comparison for 2024

Created on 

November 25, 2023

. Last updated on 

July 10, 2024


Jesus Vargas

Jesus Vargas



Jesus is a visionary entrepreneur and tech expert. After nearly a decade working in web development, he founded LowCode Agency to help businesses optimize their operations through custom software solutions. 


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