Almost 92% of mobile users spend time using social media and apps. Whereas only 8% use web browsers. Considering this, there’s a growing need for businesses to be present on all platforms so they don’t miss any chance to attract potential clients via different channels.
But here’s the case: developing a native app for each platform is a waste of time. Thus, almost every business owner is looking forward to developing a cross-platform mobile application. One thing they frequently encounter is which is better: Flutter vs React Native?
In 2021, 42% of developers choose Flutter for building apps while 38% choose React Native. Hybrid apps are undoubtedly the best solution for businesses that want a presence on both iOS and Android. They’re growing fast, and it looks like they’ll be ruling the mobile app development industry for all the right reasons—less costly, less time to build, no need for different teams/varying skill sets, and many more to name.
Today, we’ll walk you through a detailed guide to answer the question: which is better for development: React-Native vs Flutter? Hopefully, by the end of this guide, you’ll have a solid understanding of the two, as well as their pros and cons.
Let’s begin with a glance at the two perfect mobile app frameworks in cross-platforming development. Flutter and React Native both have a plethora of features, and open-source frameworks, and are powerful enough to create almost any application.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is an open-source, cross-platform mobile development framework that uses the Dart programming language. Dart and Flutter were created by Google, and the framework is used in some of the company’s most popular applications. The first alpha release took place in May 2017. Google, on the other hand, has released new versions every few months, the most recent in May 2021.
Flutter can create cross-platform apps using a single codebase. This implies that with Flutter, there’s no need to build separate apps for mobile, web, and desktop. Instead, one single tool develops apps conveniently with no compromise on speed, performance, or quality.
Besides, it’s worth noting that apps built with Flutter are more intuitive and easier to use. App developers can modify UX using this framework. This procedure necessitates the modification of a state variable. It’s an important point to consider during the React vs Flutter comparison.
Now let’s dive into a few more characteristics of Flutter including the development, documentation, and performance.
Development and Installation
Flutter is one of the fastest cross-platform mobile development frameworks, yet its speed is lower than that of React Native. The issue is that when working with Flutter, it’s necessary to include separate code files for Android and iOS systems. However, this occurs only when an app necessitates more complex UI elements.
Flutter, however, has access to several third-party UI libraries with ready-to-use components. As a result, the development time can be reduced as these libraries make the development process easier. Another fantastic feature of Flutter is Hot Reloading or Hot Restart. Because of these features, a developer can see all changes in real-time.
Flutter is famous for its perfectly structured documentation. Despite its low speed, many developers still prefer it due to this reason. The only drawback is that you need to visit a website every time to check out something. But the documents on the website are so well-organized that the inconveniences are almost unnoticeable. Flutter documentation is open source and can be found at docs.flutter.io. The documentation for Flutter includes, but is not limited to:
- Web (HTML elements and resources for web-based applications)
- Platform integration (iOS and Android)
- Core (support for asynchronous programming, classes, collection support in Dart, etc.)
- Flutter test
- Flutter_web_plugins, and many others
All-in-all, you’ll find everything you need to about Flutter in the documentation. Even then, many argue that React Native’s library is far more well-structured.
Talking about the performance, Flutter apps have a high performance by default. Flutter takes a different approach than React Native and Native Script. Such apps are compiled using the arm C/C++ library, making it closer to machine language and better native performance.
Flutter is written in Dart language, which is powerful in its own right. So, when it comes to Flutter vs React Native performance, many people believe Flutter has the upper hand. Not surprising given its smooth 60 frames per second frame rate!
Flutter: Pros and Cons
- Quick development using a single codebase
- It’s rich in widgets
- Well-structured documentation
- It requires less testing
- User-friendly designs
- Cross-Platform Rendering Engine
- Separate UI prevents errors
- Simple experimentation and bug resolution with ‘Hot Reload’
- A limited set of tools and libraries compared to native apps
- Apps take a lot of space and more time to download
- Young framework with some issues that cannot be sorted out easily
What is React Native?
Today, React Native is the most well-known cross-platform framework. Let’s move on to explore some of its many characteristics.
Development and Installation
React Native is well-known for faster development time as well as the access to third-party UI libraries with ready-to-use components. These components help save time during the development. While React Native doesn’t offer as many widgets as Flutter does, it’s inclusive of many other adaptive components. Similar to Flutter, it has a Hot Reload feature. As a consequence, developers can make quick changes and see the results instantly.
Besides, the installation is easy. But unlike Flutter, it creates packages that some find annoying and some beneficial. Apart from this, it only offers UI rendering and device access APIs. So, the framework is dependent on third-party libraries.
While React Native’s documentation is not so impressive, some developers still find it more user-friendly. You’ll be able to find everything you require including popular topics and guides. Some things it covers include:
- Core and native components
- React fundamentals: JSX, props, state, and components
- Using a scroll view
- Using list views
- Handling text input
- Platform-specific code
- Environment setup such as integration with existing apps/Android fragment, building for TV devices, etc.
- Workflow: fast refresh, debugging, testing, using libraries, upgrading, etc.
- Design (style, layout, images, color reference, height, and width)
- Interaction (handling touches, navigation between screens, animations, gesture responder systems)
- Native modules and components
- Android and iOS guides
React Native: Pros and Cons
- Fast coding via the Hot Reload feature
- One codebase to create cross-platform apps
- Code reuse and 50% time saving on testing
- An active and vast community
- Great performance
- Easy to learn for React developers
- Debugging issues
- Fragile UI
- Quite many abandoned packages and libraries
- Not many out-of-the-box components
- Apps are bigger than native ones
Flutter vs React Native: A Comparison
Now you probably know what these two cross-platform app development frameworks are. They’re both excellent frameworks and can be developed with the help of expert mobile app developers. For a better understanding, here is a comparison between React Native and Flutter.
|First Release||Jan 2015||May 2017|
|Main Architecture||Flux and Redux||BLoC|
|Components Library||Large inclusive library||Smaller, non-inclusive|
|Adaptive Components||Some are adaptive automatically||Components aren’t adaptive. Need to be configured manually|
|Ecosystem||Quite mature, used in production in many big companies around the world, many packages available||Not yet mature, a fewer number of packages|
|Apps||Instagram, Facebook, Tesla||Google Ads, Philips Hue, Postmuse|
|Time-to-market||Comparatively slower||Comparatively faster|
The Bottomline: Which is Better?
In summary, the React Native vs Flutter debate results in pros and cons for both sides. However, the goal is the same: to bridge the gap between two platforms (Android and iOS).
Besides, many similarities exist between Flutter and React Native. To begin with, they are both open-source frameworks that anyone can use. They are both created by leading companies: Flutter was created by Google, whereas React Native was created by Facebook. For a detailed guide on React JS development, read here.
According to some industry experts, Flutter will be the future of mobile app development. However, React Native reigns supreme with some of the most impressive apps on the market today, such as Facebook and Instagram.
The bottom line is that each app development framework serves a different purpose. What you choose depends on your needs and requirements. So, before you finally commit to one, make sure to evaluate all of the factors. Lastly, hire a top-notch mobile app development company to handle it all for you.
Q: Is Flutter faster than React Native?
Q: Should I choose React Native over Flutter?
A: The app development framework you choose depends on your needs. For example, if your budget is limited or you need to create a simple application quickly, Flutter is the way to go. You can also create a Flutter application if the UI is important to your app. However, if your budget is sufficient and you want to create a complex app, React Native could be the best pick.
Q: Will Flutter replace React Native?
A: The simplest answer is maybe. It may or may not replace React Native shortly. It all depends on which is the better fit for your project. While Flutter is growing in popularity among developers, React Native is still around.
Q: Is Flutter enough for app development?
A: Since Flutter has more advantages than risks, it is fair to say that Flutter is enough to build an app. It lets developers build high-performance and good-looking mobile apps that fit perfectly to the customer’s needs and requirements. Besides, Flutter is worth considering if you wish to build an app for Android as well as iOS.
Q: Does Flutter have a future?
A: Considering the ever-growing features and the pace with which Flutter is setting the trend in mobile development, developers are quite confident that the future of mobile app development belongs to Flutter.