Flutter Vs React Native 2
Mobile DevelopmentArticlesGeneral

Flutter vs React Native

7 Mins read

With the upsurge of mobile apps, the demand for cross-platform app development has increased mainly in recent years.

React Native and Flutter are the two most popular cross-platform mobile frameworks. Both platforms help develop apps for Android and iOS faster and cheaper. 

Many developers find it hard to choose between the two platforms. So, we wrote this as a directory to help explain the differences between them and help you conclude which is more satisfactory for your app.

What can the audience learn from this article?

The article will explore the in-depth pro and cons of both React Native and Flutter with a detailed comparison of the two frameworks. You will understand the criteria you need to consider when choosing either of the two frameworks for your cross-platform mobile application by the end of the tutorial.

React Native Pros and Cons: 

The advantages of working with React Native are numerous. It’s a well-developed framework, and it is used by many companies, such as Walmart, Skype, Tesla, and Airbnb. 

Here are we list many pros and cons of React Native.

Pros:

  • Code reusability: Code reusability is an excellent feature of React Native. It gives developers the ability to use most of the code on multiple platforms. As a result, we do not have to write different codes for various platforms. The code reusability is not restricted to just mobile apps as websites can reuse it for websites and desktops.
  • A rich library and ready-made solutions: React Native has a ton of ready-made solutions that help in enhancing the mobile app development process. 
  • Web libraries: React Native for Web and ReactXP libraries are a valuable extension to the framework if you want to create a web version of your app.
  • Hot reload: Hot/Live reload (practically similar to Flutter compiles the code ahead of time and shows the preview before the project is rebuilt after any code change.
  • Popularity: JavaScript, the language React Native is built on, is ubiquitous and established among developers. It is one of the most popular languages. It has a large talent pool and a lot of resources.
  • Platform-specific native components: React Native is unique amongst cross-platform frameworks in the way it recognizes the significance of utilizing platform-specific native components, while other frameworks overlook them.

Cons:

There is no perfect cross-platform framework, and React Native has its drawbacks too.

Here are a few of them:

  • Highly dependent on the native platform: Unlike most cross-platform frameworks, React Native is not platform-agnostic. You will need the expertise of a native developer to help tweak your app to your preference.
  • Inadequate Documentation: React Native’s official documentation is not extensive and explanatory enough. One will have to depend on third-party sources for information.

Flutter pros and cons

Flutter is an open-source, cross-platform mobile framework developed by Google. We will go through many of the advantages and disadvantages of using Flutter.

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Pros: 

  • Highly customizable user interfaces: Flutter’s interfaces are highly customizable. The layered architecture creates very explicit UI components without compromising the quickness of rendering. And, you can also animate all the components.
  • Flutter UI is not dependent on the native UI: Flutter ensures a unified view across all platforms and doesn’t break whenever the native UI changes.
  • Excellent documentation: The official documentation of Flutter on Flutter.dev is very compressive and has graphical and video illustrations to ease learning.
  • Speedy development and deployment: Flutter has a built-in “hot reload” feature. It helps developers see modifications in real-time without rebuilding the project. These modifications lead to faster development and deployment.

Cons:

  • Choice of Language: Dart is not a popular language, and it has limited use cases. Most people only learn it for Flutter. The language is a significant barrier as it is required for Flutter.
  • File size: Flutter has a separate UI, which increases the project’s file size. Projects created with Flutter take more space compared to other frameworks.
  • It is still young: Both Flutter and Dart are still new. The community has a lot to do in developing complex and unpopular apps.

Flutter vs React Native: Comparison

Learning curve

The learning curve of either framework depends on the background you look at it. 

If you know JavaScript, then React Native will be better. React Native will be a walk in the park if you already know React.

Dart language is similar to .Net, C#, and Java. So, for people who have a background in .Net, C#, and Java, Flutter will be simpler to learn.

For newbies without any programming experience, Flutter should be slightly easier to learn.

Performance

React Native uses a bridge from the JavaScript code to interpret the device’s native API. Sadly, the bridge uses a longer time and more resources for processing, which impacts that app’s performance.

On the other hand, Flutter compiles to x86 and ARM native libraries before runtime. Hence, it performs faster and uses fewer resources for processing. Animations are also swift and very smooth – and don’t need much coding – on Flutter` because it has a C++ rendering engine that renders images directly to the device’s screen. 

Native support

React Native and Flutter convert your code into native code for Android and iOS. Though, they do it in different ways.

React Native uses a JavaScript bridge to communicate with the native components. The JavaScript bridge translates the calls to the native API. The bridge can result in a slower app performance– mainly if the user uses UI elements repeatedly in a short timeframe. 

However, Flutter uses built-in components, and it compiles the code before runtime. It doesn’t use a bridge. 

Flutter’s solution is more efficient. It may lead to an increase in the size of the apps compared to that of React Native, but it operates much more smoothly and performs better. 

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UI components and customization 

Regardless of the point that Flutter uses widgets while React Native uses UI components to build elements, both frameworks are known to deliver an outstanding user experience.

Though React Native and Flutter have numerous resemblances, there are some significant differences. One significant difference is how they handle UI building.

React Native uses native Android and iOS UI components. That implies that React Native UI components look like the platform’s native UI components. If an OS update modifies the appearance or function, your app gets updated correspondingly. While this might mean infrequent updates from you, it likewise means that such updates can break your app. Though this rarely happens.

Flutter does not use the native UI components, and Flutter instead uses remarkably customizable widgets. With Flutter, you can have an extensive influence over the look and design of your app. You also have the option of using a widget library, like Cupertino and material UI, to create a native-looking UI. 

Ease of use

Both frameworks offer a straightforward approach to mobile app development with ready-made components and a hot reload feature which makes them very easy to use. Much easier than native development.

Flutter has many third-party libraries, while React Native has made the job easier and faster for React Native developers. 

Code maintainability 

Flutter is simpler to maintain as it is more invulnerable to OS updates. It means that when the OS is updated, the app will not alter. Unfortunately, React Native relies on native elements, breaking the app when the native UI components get updated.

On the other hand, React Native can be easier to maintain because most of its components get updated automatically after an OS update, which leads to early compatibility with the new OS.

React Native comes with only UI rendering and device access APIs out of the box. It makes the framework heavily dependent on third-party libraries and depends on them for maintenance.

Community & Documentation 

A framework is a trifle without a solid community to educate, help, and build third-party libraries with the quality of its documentation, a very critical benchmark for having new developers on board.

Judging from official release dates, React Native is considered three years older than Flutter. With its vast community support and numerous third-party libraries, you’re nearly assured you will find an answer to almost every problem you may come across. 

Flutter has a large community but is much smaller than React Native and has fewer third-party libraries compared to React Native. However, they are very loyal. On Github, Flutter has about 130k stars despite being younger, and React Native has 90k stars. 

Flutter may have more fans, but it can not compete with React Native in popularity. Indeed, the Flutter community requires more time to improve. 

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Neither framework has an absence of documentation. While React Native’s official documentation is not extensive enough, you can find the information you need from third-party sources. Flutter’s official documentation is significant; you will find most of what you need. It even has guides that come with graphical and video illustrations.

Which to choose for your app

Deciding on what framework to choose depends on many factors, as both have their weaknesses and strengths.

These are the valuable points to consider for building your mobile app. But which of them suits your app idea satisfactorily? Well, it leans on the specifics of your project and the sort of team you have. 

  • If your team is fluent in Dart, then Flutter would naturally seem a better option as it removes the hurdle of getting familiar with another language. 
  • If your team, on the other hand, uses JavaScript as your primary stack, then it would make sense to go for react-native as it’s practically a Javascript-based framework. 
  • Do you want your app GUI to look native? If yes, React Native should be your choice.
  • Do you want your app GUI to look unique and the same across both platforms? If yes, we suggest Flutter.

Each application is distinct. You should evaluate each and its excellence. 

Developers Availability

Flutter is still young, but it has enormous job opportunities among enterprises for app development. Hence, the need for Flutter developers is significantly high compared to the available skilled developers. 

While React Native has numerous jobs, there are far more React Native developers than Flutter developers. But the number of Flutter developers is multiplying as opposed to React Native developers.

Things to consider before choosing one 

When to choose React Native:

If you want universal code for mobile, web, and desktop, you should consider React Native. React Native cuts across the three platforms and does a perfect job.

When to choose Flutter:

Flutter creates unique-looking apps and does not compromise functionality. If your priority lies on the app’s functionality over a native look or your app requires many animations, FlutterFlutter will do better.

Conclusion

Flutter and React Native have many things in common; like most cross-platform mobile apps, they are both open-source frameworks developed by top companies: Google and Facebook, respectively.

There are no winners or losers between React Native and Flutter because both have many solutions for diverse problems. They both have their dominant and weak sides.

All in all, they are both incredible choices to save time and money on mobile app development. What proper framework to decide on will rely on the priorities of the developer and the organization.

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