Flutter vs React Native: The best technology for cross-platform apps

By Teknorix on October 30, 2020

React Native is a project started by Facebook which they open-sourced in 2015. On the other side is Flutter, a project started by Google which they have been promoting since I/O 2017. Both technologies help app developers build cross-platform apps faster. These platforms use a single programming language.

React Native is already a mature tool and has a huge community. At the same time, Flutter has also started seeing huge adoption rates since 2017.

In this post, we will compare each of them using ten criteria:

  • Programming language
  • Technical architecture
  • Installation
  • Setup and project configuration
  • UI components and development API
  • Developer productivity
  • Community support
  • Testing support
  • Build & release automation support
  • DevOps and CI/CD support

Now that we have defined all our criteria, let us start exploring each of them in detail.

#1. React Native — JavaScript

React Native uses JavaScript to build cross-platform apps. JavaScript is a very popular language in the web community at the moment. It is commonly used with React and other popular JavaScript frameworks. Thanks to React Native, web developers can build mobile apps with a little bit of training. With this in mind, companies adopted React Native as a no-brainer.

JavaScript is a dynamically typed language. Anything is possible with JavaScript, which is both good and bad at the same time.

#2. Flutter — Dart

Flutter uses the Dart programming language introduced by Google in 2011. It is rarely used by developers. Dart syntax is easy to understand for JavaScript or Java developers as it supports most object-oriented concepts. It’s easy to get started with Dart. It has great and easy-to-follow documentation available on the official Dart website.

Quick Comparison: Flutter vs React Native

Different Aspects Flutter React Native
Created By Google Facebook
Free and Open Source Yes Yes
Official Release December 2018 March 2015
Programming Language Dart JavaScript
Hot Reload Yes Yes
Native Performance Yes Yes
User Interface Flutter App looks and feels natural on every platform. Not as great as Flutter
Sharing Code One code for both desktop and mobile and for the web. Selected libraries that allow the same code.

Flutter Advantages

  • Complete development ecosystem: Flutter offers APIs, pre-built widgets, and CLI tools. It pretty much offers all the tools needed for cross-platform mobile app development.
  • Customizable: While it offers an extensive library of pre-built widgets, you can also create your own or customize pre-existing ones.
  • Reliability: Developed and supported by Google
  • Hot reload: Allows developers to fix bugs faster through faster code implementation
  • Free: Open-source platform

Flutter Disadvantages

Flutter poses a few challenges, especially because it is a new framework:

  • Large app size: Flutter apps can be quite large compared to other frameworks that can force developers to reduce the libraries and packages used, compress images, and even steer away from using animation altogether in favor of reducing their app’s size.
  • Native APIs: Flutter does not expose many native APIs for you to use. That is why, for many purposes, you will need third-party packages, which means that you will have to depend on the ecosystem.

However, you can always write your native code that accesses the required feature. And, Flutter will give you a bridge to use that feature from within your Dart code.

Apps Built Using Flutter

Google AdWords, Google Greentea, Alibaba. AppTree, Reflectly, Hookle, Topline, Birch Finance, OffilinePal, Hamilton (musical), and BetaBubs.

Flutter Development Tools


Flutter Development Language:

Dart

 

Flutter IDEs:

Android Studio IntelliJ Idea Visual Studio Code

 

Flutter Tools:

Flutter SDK DevTools Hot Reload

 

Flutter Packages:

Dart Packages

 

#3. React Native

React Native Advantages

Some of the pros of React Native:

  • User Interface: Implements native UI components. It allows apps to look like native apps, and thus, provides a high-quality user interface.
  • Ready-made components: Offers a vast library of UI components, allowing for faster development time.
  • Access to native functionalities: Like camera, accelerometer, etc.
  • Platform-specific code: Allows you to further optimize your separate native apps by using native code.
  • Hot reload: Allows developers to apply changes to the apps right away without having to recompile the apps.
  • Reliability: Developed and supported by Facebook.
  • Free: Open-source platform.

React-Native Disadvantages

  • Navigation: Navigation built in React Native is not seamless and not comparable with native navigation.
  • Complex UI: React Native struggles with building complex animation and transitions.

 

React Native Development Tools

React Native Development Language:

JavaScript

 

React Native IDEs:

Atom Nuclide Visual Studio Code

 

React Native Tools:

Expo Redux Ignite Flow Reduxsauce ESLint React Navigation

 

React-Native UI components:

NativeBase Snowflake

 

React Native Testing Tools:

Enzyme Reactotron

 

Apps Built Using React Native

Facebook, Facebook Analytics, Facebook Ads Manager, Instagram, Uber Eats, Tesla, Skype, Pinterest, SoundCloud Pulse, Walmart, Bloomberg, Discord, Myntra, Gyroscope, Chop, Vogue, Artsy and F8 are some more.

Main Points of Comparison Between Flutter and React Native

  1. Performance

    While studying the near-native app performances, React Native Framework meets the design expectations. Whereas Flutter’s performance is excellent because of its Dart code compiled above the C library making it closer to native code. It results in enhancing the speed of interactions and displays a high level of performance.

    Benchmarking cross-platform app performances is indiscernible. There are plenty of factors that influence it including features added, devices, apps, and codes.

  2. Popularity

    The successive popularity ranking goes to the React Native Framework with its steady increase in the user base over the years. But Flutter is user-friendly. It is also amongst the most preferred framework with 75.4% of users. React Native engages up to 62.5% of users.

  3. Code Reuse

    Code reuse is the most important factor accentuating App Developers in building Android and iOS Apps. It is highly inquisitive to comprehend the code reusability of each framework.

    React Native empowers the ‘write the code once and ship it anywhere’ policy. Despite its inherent differences shown in embracing multiple platforms. Moreover, code reusability is a cumbersome process of keeping in mind the current platform that you had worked on. And, then recollect the required set of components.

    Flutter provides a maximum reusable codebase that can be utilized for developing a unique UI Widget. Thus, it allows the reusability of already-defined logic. It is best suited for cross-platforms that offer consistency in User Experiences.

  4. Pricing

    Both cross-platform frameworks are free.

  5. Support and Ecosystem

    Finally, developers favor cross-platform frameworks that have a bigger community base. These communities include forums, documentation, and tutorials. React Native offers enough learning materials, developers, and designers for documentation and help.

    Flutter has also begun to form a community base. Google offers reliable support for promoting it towards cross-platform app development. It will further grow and build into a stronger ecosystem.