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FlutterFlow vs Outsystems: A complete comparison - 2024

FlutterFlow vs Outsystems: A complete comparison - 2024

If you are here, you are probably concerned about choosing the right development platform for your project. Today, we kick off our journey by shedding light on FlutterFlow and Outsystems, two platforms that have gained recognition in the no-code community. Both allow users to create robust applications without having to write extensive lines of code, but, what are their differences?

We'll dissect the key aspects of each platform, including deployment and hosting, flexibility, UX/UI design features, backend and data management, cost considerations, and more.

Intrigued? Read on and discover the differences and offerings of these platforms.

TL;DR

  • FlutterFlow: Open code (Dart), visual builder, mobile focus, cost-effective for startups and MVPs.
  • OutSystems: Proprietary language, robust data management, enterprise scalability, ideal for complex projects.
  • Choose FlutterFlow for flexibility and open standards, and OutSystems for enterprise-grade apps. Read the full article for a deeper dive into each platform's strengths and weaknesses.

What is FlutterFlow?

FlutterFlow is a visual low-code development platform that allows you to build native mobile apps for iOS and Android using Flutter, a popular open-source mobile framework. With FlutterFlow, you can drag and drop pre-built widgets and components to create the UI of your app, and then use Dart, the programming language of Flutter, to add custom logic and functionality.

What is OutSystems?

OutSystems is a more traditional low-code development platform, founded in 2001 that allows you to build web and mobile apps using a visual development environment. Developers can transition between visual modeling and hands-on coding, which allows them to handle both high-level architecture and granular details. The platform uses its own proprietary language, while also offering integration with industry standards like C#, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

Overview: Key differences between Flutterflow and Outsystems

  • Target platforms

FlutterFlow primary focus is on building native mobile apps, whereas OutSystems offers a broader scope, including web apps and progressive web apps (PWAs).

  • Open standards vs. proprietary language

FlutterFlow uses Dart, an open-source language with a large community and extensive resources, enabling easier migration, customization, and integration with external tools and services. OutSystems employs a proprietary language and platform and limits direct code access. This makes it less flexible and creates challenges for migration.

  • Data-driven apps

OutSystems might hold an edge in highly data-intensive projects with intricate data modeling and integration requirements, due to its robust data management features.

  • Hybrid development

The ability to seamlessly blend visual development with custom Dart code significantly expands FlutterFlow's possibilities,

  • Data management

FlutterFlow integrates with external databases and services. OutSystems offers built-in data services with advanced data modeling tools.

  • Enterprise integrations

OutSystems has a wider range of pre-built connectors to legacy systems and enterprise software, an advantage for businesses with complex IT landscapes.

  • Hosting

Flutterflow offers self-hosting or cloud-hosting options. OutSystems is primarily a cloud-based platform and has limited self-hosting options.

Ease of use and learning curve

FlutterFlow excels in accessibility, its reliance on the intuitive logic of visual blocks and pre-built components significantly lowers the entry barrier. OutSystems, on the other hand, strikes a balance between visual modeling and hands-on coding. 

While Outsystem’s visual development environment streamlines processes, developers still need to grapple with its proprietary language and integration with traditional languages like C#, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. This makes it better suited for developers with some coding experience or a willingness to learn new syntax.

In essence, FlutterFlow prioritizes ease of use and offers a shallow learning curve, but having coding experience will allow you to further expand your app and build custom features. OutSystems, while still visually driven, demands a greater degree of technical understanding, aligning better with experienced developers who seek a balance between visual modeling and coding flexibility.

Flexibility and external integrations

Through custom Dart code, developers can build custom functionalities and extend platform capabilities. Dart is a mature, object-oriented language capable of handling complex logic and integrations. Also, Dart code written for FlutterFlow can be reused in other Flutter projects. There are pre-built connectors and APIs for popular services like Firebase, Stripe, and social media platforms. Custom integrations are possible, and that gives a Flutterflow app a lot of extensibility.

Whether using their proprietary language or embedding other languages like C# and JavaScript, OutSystems provides granular control and deep integration with external systems. It also offers pre-built connectors for various services and databases. Additionally, its open architecture allows for custom integrations through APIs and web services. OutSystems blends visual modeling with a greater emphasis on custom coding using multiple languages. It’s better suited for teams with diverse development backgrounds and projects requiring extensive control.

Learn more: FlutterFlow Reviewed: An In-Depth Analysis of +10 Factors

Pricing

FlutterFlow

  • Free plan: A great starting point for hobbyists and learners, offering limited features and app usage.
  • Pro plan ($30/month): Unlocks most features for individual developers and small teams, suitable for most basic projects.
  • Premium plan ($60/month): Adds team collaboration features and advanced functionalities for more demanding projects.
  • Pay-as-you-go model: Beyond included app usage limits, you pay for additional active users and app installations.

OutSystems

  • Free personal environment: Limited features for learning and individual use, not suitable for serious development.
  • Internal Developer Plan: Free for internal development and testing within organizations, a good sandbox environment.
  • Cloud editions: Subscription-based tiers (Starter, Basic, Standard, Enterprise) with increasing features and scalability. Prices start at $4,000/month, but detailed pricing is typically not public and requires contacting sales for custom quotes.

Considerations

  • User segment:

- Individuals and small teams: FlutterFlow's pay-as-you-go model can be cost-effective, while OutSystems might be overkill.

- Startups and small businesses: Both platforms offer options, with FlutterFlow being budget-friendly and OutSystems providing enterprise-grade features.

- Enterprises: OutSystems shines with its scalability and security, with custom pricing based on specific needs. FlutterFlow might be considered for smaller, app-centric projects within enterprises.

  • Team size: Ensure chosen plans account for your developer collaboration needs.
  • App usage: Estimate app usage and choose a pricing model that fits your budget and potential growth.
  • Support: Evaluate the level of support included in each plan and consider if additional support options are needed.

Backend and data management

Flutterflow

FlutterFlow prioritizes simplicity and ease of use for common data integrations. It's suitable for apps with less complex backend requirements or those primarily relying on external services. 

  • Data sources

- Connects to various cloud databases (Firebase, Airtable, Google Sheets, Supabase) natively.

- Supports custom APIs for integration with external data sources.

- Uses local device storage for offline data caching.

  • Data modeling

- Visual data modeler for defining data structures and relationships.

- Leverages the underlying database's capabilities for data types and constraints.

  • Backend logic

- Limited backend capabilities within the platform itself.

- Relies on external services or custom integrations for complex backend logic.

Outsystems

OutSystems offers a more comprehensive backend development environment for custom logic and integrations. It’s ideal for enterprise-grade apps with demanding data management needs and intricate backend processes.

  • Data services

- Comprehensive built-in data services with support for various database types (SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL). 

- Integrates with external data sources and services through connectors and custom code.

  • Data modeling

- Robust visual data modeling tools for defining entities, relationships, and data constraints.

- Advanced data management features like transactions, caching, and security.

  • Backend logic

- Full-stack development capabilities for building custom backend logic within the platform.

- Supports server-side business rules, workflows, and integrations with other systems.

Do you want to take the leap with FlutterFlow, but need expert guidance? Read more about our development services!

Security

FlutterFlow has all the robust security features of iOS and Android platforms, including sandboxing, data encryption, and secure communication protocols. Of course, it offers data encryption at rest and in transit, as well as it provides mechanisms for code obfuscation and secure storage, making it harder for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities.

The platform supports secure login processes with options like multi-factor authentication and social login integration. It also supports compliance with GDPR and other privacy regulations through data anonymization and user control features.

OutSystems employs a layered security model with built-in features like intrusion detection, access control, and vulnerability scanning. Like Flutterflow, it uses data encryption at rest and in transit, along with tokenization for sensitive data. 

OutSystems provides real-time threat monitoring and analysis to detect and respond to security incidents. It also offers built-in features and tools to comply with various security and privacy regulations like HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR.

Learn more: A Review of Flutterflow Security and Best Practices

Deployment and hosting

With Flutterflow, you can choose to deploy your app on your own infrastructure or utilize FlutterFlow's cloud hosting service. Flutterflow lets you build and submit your app directly to the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. Flutterflow will handle all the technical aspects of building the app package while leaving management and configuration to you.

In the case of Outsystems, your app is deployed to their cloud platform, taking care of infrastructure management and maintenance. Outsystems supports various deployment environments like production, staging, and testing for controlled rollouts and updates. 

Self-hosting on Flutterflow doesn’t require any additional subscription fees beyond the initial plan you choose for development and deployment tools. You can use cloud hosting for initial development and testing, then migrate to self-hosting when you are ready and need more control or specific customizations.

In contrast, for OutSystems, on-premises deployment comes with additional licensing fees on top of their regular cloud subscription plans. These fees can be substantial, especially for large-scale deployments. Self-hosting an app from OutSystems is a complex undertaking that will require deep technical knowledge and infrastructure management expertise.

Migration support

FlutterFlow

Offers better platform portability for mobile apps due to its reliance on native development principles and Dart.

  • High portability: Apps built with FlutterFlow are essentially native mobile apps, making them relatively easy to migrate to other platforms like React Native or even native development workflows in the future.
  • Code portability: The main logic written in Dart can be reused if migrating to another Dart-based framework.
  • Data considerations: Data stored in external services like Firebase can be easily migrated by adjusting connection configurations in the new platform.

OutSystems

Presents challenges for complete platform migration due to its proprietary technology stack.

  • Limited platform migration: Moving away from OutSystems typically involves rebuilding the entire app on a new platform.
  • Code reuse potential: The proprietary language used in OutSystems isn't directly transferable to other platforms, but some logic might be adaptable with effort.
  • Data portability: OutSystems offers tools to export data from its platform, enabling import into other systems.
  • Challenge: The tight integration between OutSystems' visual development environment and platform features makes migrating complex projects a significant undertaking.

UX/UI design capabilities

FlutterFlow lets you assemble pre-built UI components to create layouts and flows. It also offers a large collection of customizable UI elements to build your app's look and feel. You can use the theme editor to fine-tune your app's visual identity with colors, fonts, and styles. Plus, it’s possible to add dynamic touches to your interface with its built-in animation tools.

Flutterflow isn’t limited to pre-built components, you can also build unique UI elements and reusable components in Dart for a truly personalized design. UX and UI designers can benefit from the ability to import assets from popular platforms like Figma and Sketch.

On the other hand, Outsystems has its own built-in prototyping tool, so you can build interactive prototypes to test user flows and validate your design choices within the platform. Outsystems, like Flutterflow, also lets you create and apply consistent branding across your app, as well as add custom CSS code. 

Templates

FlutterFlow

  • Extensive template library: Offers a wide array of pre-built templates categorized by app types, including: E-commerce stores, social media apps, food delivery apps, task management apps, chat apps, fitness apps, marketplaces, and many more
  • Customization flexibility: Easily tailor templates to match your brand and specific requirements through visual editing and code adjustments.
  • Community-driven expansion: The template library continuously expands with contributions from the active FlutterFlow community.

OutSystems

  • Focused on business solutions: Provides a collection of templates designed for common business scenarios, such as: CRM systems, ERP systems, HR management systems, project management tools, customer portals, inventory management, and employee onboarding.
  • Customization: Templates can be customized through the visual development environment and code extensions, but the process might be more complex than FlutterFlow.

Use cases

FlutterFlow

Ideal for:

  • Rapid prototyping and MVP development: It’s ideal for quickly testing app concepts and gathering user feedback.
  • Building feature-rich mobile apps: Offers extensive functionality with features like push notifications, offline capabilities, and social media integrations.
  • Cost-effective development: Offers both free and paid plans, with self-hosting options for budget-conscious projects.

Possible applications:

  • E-commerce apps: Build online stores with user-friendly interfaces and secure payment gateways.
  • On-demand apps: Develop intuitive apps for food delivery, ride-sharing, or other service bookings with real-time tracking and notifications.
  • Social media apps: Create interactive platforms for user engagement, content sharing, and community building.
  • Content management apps: Build mobile apps for managing blogs, news articles, or any other type of content with offline access and editing features.

Outsystems

Ideal for:

  • Enterprise-grade applications: Offers robust features, scalability, and security necessary for complex business applications.
  • Data-driven projects: Provides advanced data modeling tools and integration capabilities for managing and utilizing various data sources.
  • Teams with deep technical expertise: Requires familiarity with their proprietary language and development environment for intricate customization.

Possible applications:

  • ERP systems: Develop enterprise resource planning systems for comprehensive business process management and data integration.
  • Supply chain management apps: Create efficient systems for tracking inventory, logistics, and deliveries across complex networks.
  • Financial services apps: Build secure and reliable applications for banking, payments, and financial data management.

Conclusion

In summary, FlutterFlow is a strong choice for startups and cost-conscious ventures aiming for quick iterations. Its visual builder, customizable components, and user-friendly Dart language facilitate rapid prototyping, making it particularly appealing for teams with diverse technical backgrounds. The option of self-hosting and affordable pricing plans adds to its attractiveness.

On the flip side, OutSystems is a good option to handle complex enterprise applications with its data management and security features. It is a good option if you think, for example, in data-driven projects with large user bases. However, the steeper learning curve and potentially high licensing fees may make it excessive for simpler apps or projects with limited resources.

OutSystems might have a slight edge in specific enterprise-grade scenarios, but FlutterFlow's flexibility, open standards, and hybrid approach make it a good contender for all kinds of app projects. 

To wrap up, in our opinion, OutSystems might be overkill for most projects with less complexity. Yes, both platforms offer compelling features, but we lean towards FlutterFlow's mobile-first approach, cost-effectiveness, agile development, and quick outcomes.

So, you’re impressed by FlutterFlow but want to focus on your core business while leaving the technical complexities to the pros? 

We’re an expert no-code agency! Contact us today to get a detailed quote for your project.

FAQs

Can I build complex apps with FlutterFlow?

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