The most popular frameworks used for cross-platform software development of mobile apps are Flutter and React Native. Their adoption rate is constantly growing and overtaking the competition. Today, in this post, we will know about React Native, Flutter, the comparison between the two, and more.
Let’s start then.
Why Is Mobile App Development So Popular?
Over the past few years, mobile app development has been growing steadily. Every second person is using a mobile phone. So, we can say that the user base is vast. The mobile apps are making the users busy with their mobile phones. Today, we have a plethora of apps for almost anything. So, the competition in the mobile app development era is increasing day by day. Everyone wants to develop a mobile app.
There are varied ways that you can opt for developing mobile apps. You can pick a native route to build your Android app using Kotlin and Swift for building iOS apps. On the contrary, you can go with the cross-platform path and use React Native or Flutter. While building mobile apps with React Native and Flutter, most developers use Android Studio, IDE, or Xcode.
What Is Flutter, And Its Uses?
Developed by Google, Flutter is a cross-platform user interface system. It uses Dart language. Google developed Dart also and is using Flutter in some of its top apps. The chief selling point of Flutter is its capability to support cross-platform frameworks utilizing a single code.
Flutter’s Desktop Support
- When you develop desktop apps with Flutter, you need to compile Flutter source code to a native Windows, Linux desktop app, or macOS.
- Desktop support for Flutter extends to plugins. The developers can install the current plugins that support Windows, macOS, or Linux platforms.
- Flutter’s desktop support is accessible as a beta release. So, it holds feature gaps. Although, developers may try desktop support’s beta snapshot on the stable channel or pace up with the latest alterations to the desktop on the beta channel.
Flutter For Web
Web support of Flutter delivers the same experiences on the mobile and web. It states that now you can develop apps for iOS, Android, and the browser for the same codebase.
As it’s written on the official website of Flutter, web support of Flutter is very useful in the below scenario:
Single Page Applications (SPA)
SPAs load at once and transmit data to and from the internet services.
Progressive Web Apps (PWA) developed With Flutter
Flutter delivers top-quality PWAs integrated with the user’s environment incorporating offline support, installation, and altered UX.
Current Mobile Apps
Flutter’s web support offers a browser-based delivery model for the current Flutter mobile apps.
Current Market Trends For Flutter
Statistics of Flutter that you should check out:
- Approximately 39% of the population utilize Flutter to develop cross-platform mobile apps all over the globe.
- 68.8% of the developing community prefer using Flutter.
- About 7.2% of the community picks Flutter for its popular tools and libraries.
Use Cases Of Flutter
- Applications with material design
- High-performance applications with Skia rendering engine
- Applications that perform with OS-level features
- MVP mobile apps
- Flexible UI with top-level widgets
- Advanced OS plugins with the simple logic
- Reactivate apps with extensive data integration
Top Apps Made With Flutter
eBay, Philips, Alibaba, BMW, Google Ads are all built-in Flutter
What Are React Native And Its Uses?
- Building apps for both Android and iOS using a single codebase
- Cross-platform development
- Using the exact design as React
Here, the point to note is that we create apps using React Native are not mobile web apps. React Native uses the components that are similar to widgets in Flutter. If you want to develop desktop and web apps with React Native, it’s best to use external libraries.
Current Market Demand For React Native
Statistics of React Native that you should check out:
- In 2020, about 42% of developers were found using React Native for their cross-platform app development.
- Approximately 11.5% of developers prefer using React Native because of its native tools and libraries.
- About 58.5% of the developing community choose React Native.
Use Cases Of React Native
- Fast prototype apps
- Applications that look almost native with responsive UI using FlexBox
- Apps that functions with synchronous APIs
- Simple cross-platform apps
- Applications with simplified UI
- Apps with reusable components.
Top Apps Made With React Native
Instagram, Skype, Shopify, Tesla, Salesforce are built-in React Native
Flutter vs. React Native: Tabular Comparison
|Platforms supported||Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows, Google Fuchsia||Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, tvOS, Windows|
|Popular Apps||Capital One, Google Assistant, The New York Times, eBay, Realtor.com, and Square.||Salesforce, Uber Eats, Instagram, Tableau, Shopify, Facebook, Coinbase, Skype, Oculus, Discord, Pinterest, Walmart, Bloomberg, and Tesla.|
Also Read: Tech Stack For Developing A Mobile App
Chief Differences Between Flutter And React Native
There is a lot in common between React Native and Flutter. But, here, we will check out the differences that exist between these two.
Both frameworks provide various architectural advantages to app developers. Let’s check them out.
The architecture of React Native application is known as Flux. Facebook utilizes Flux to develop client-side web apps. Mostly all the framework follows the MVC framework. The main concept of Flux is unidirectional data flow.
holds a Dart app architecture and unidirectional data flow inspired by Facebook’s Flux and RefluxJS. Flutter-flux is known for implementing a unidirectional data flow pattern including Stores, Actions, and StoreWatchers. It relies on w_flux but changed to utilize Flutter rather than React.
Suitability For Developing Complex Apps
Flutter and React Native provide official guidelines, documents, 3rd-party libraries, and open-sourced projects to assist developers throughout the development process. Let’s know more.
It’s said that Futter is not perfect to handle more complex projects. Although, startups may accept Flutter as a good solution for developing Minimal Valuable Product (MVP).
This aspect indicates the caliber or the extent to which a framework permits distinct people with distinct technical experiences and skills to perform under one project. Let’s check about both frameworks.
React Native may provide less modularity support as compared to Flutter. iOS, Android, and Reactjs developers may find it tough to correlate with each other. With no expertise, different teams may have problems with code fragmentation in React Native.
Flutter provides better accessibility for the team diversity and the division of project codes into distinct modules with its pub package system. Your team can develop specific modules quickly with the plug-in ability and change or add a codebase.
React Native has the most significant communities along with official support. Still, there are issues that you may face while maintaining the code for your app. It’s easier to maintain Flutter than React Native. Let’s get deeper.
In React Native, debugging and upgrading the code is tough. When you pick the code to match your app, it interferes with the logic of your framework. Plus, it leads to a slow process of app development. Additionally, various native components may have 3rd-party library dependency. Usually, these libraries are outdated and can’t be maintained perfectly because of the problems that come along by default.
It is simple to maintain a Flutter app. The code’s simplicity assists developers in finding issues, sourcing the external tools, and support 3rd-party libraries. Moreover, the stateful Hot Reloading feature instantly resolves problems. The time taken for launching quality updates and applying immediate alterations in the apps is considered better.
The choice of a mobile framework may lay a significant impact on the size of the app code. For a big project, the app size should be more than the framework size. Let’s know more about React Native and Flutter.
Let’s take an example: Initially, the size of the Hello World app made with React Native was 7 MB. Next, when the native dependencies are added, the size reaches approximately 13.4 MB. React Native holds the caliber to iterate the apps faster and minimally, better than Flutter.
The Hello World app’s size crafted with Flutter was 7.5 MB. With Flutter, this app’s size got influenced by the Virtual Machine of the C/C++ engine and Dart. Flutter holds the caliber to self-clutch all codes and the assets to avoid size concerns. Also, using a unique tag, such as split-debug-info, you can lower down the code size.
One of the crucial elements in picking the proper mobile development framework is user experience. It targets to provide intuitive experiences that make the users stick to the brand and product. Moreover, a meaningful user experience permits you to define the customer journeys on your site that are development targets helpful for business success. Let’s talk about both frameworks.
Material Design of Android and Style Design of iOS are changing. That’s why it’s hard for React Native to pace up with the constant transformation in the need for native platforms. Moreover, ready-made React Native UI kits, like React Virgin, Ant Design, and Shoutem make it tougher to craft consistent designs across the platforms. Although, a few components, like Snap carousels, Modal components, ScrollView fixed header, Pagination, and Activity indicators, assist in enhancing the UX across multi-platform.
Flutter provides a rich user experience and simplified elements, tools, and even customized widgets. Its generational garbage collection feature is a part of Dart that assists in developing UI frames for object codes that may be temporary.
Ease of Testing
One of the chief targets of development is maintaining the seamless functioning of code with minimal effort and time. Let’s know how to implement testing in both apps, React Native and Flutter.
React Native holds no official support for Integration testing and UI level testing. However, there are just a few unit-level testing frameworks available in the market that test RN apps. Here, no official support states that developers need to depend on 3rd-party tools, such as Detox and Appium.
On the contrary, Flutter provides support for automated testing as it performs with a dart. Besides providing various testing features for testing apps at the widget, unit, and integration level, it also holds documentation-related.
Both Flutter and React Native hold distinct learning curves, which permits you to make rough calculations of the time required to develop a simple to-do app from scratch. Let’s check how feasible it is to learn Flutter and React Native.
On the contrary, Flutter is not that tough to learn. It may be a little unusual while writing code with Dart. But this is the reason which makes app development with Flutter easier. To understand this framework, you just need to hold basic know-how of native iOS or Android development.
The difference between the performances of these two frameworks is quite debatable. Their communities are separated when it comes to ‘performance,’ as they are perfect when speed and agility are considered.
This framework is more efficient when it comes to performance. It doesn’t need any bridge to set interaction between the native modules because the native components are available by default. With Flutter, frames get rendered within 16 milliseconds, not more than that.
Team Size Comparison
Regardless of the advantages and disadvantages of React Native and Flutter, it is crucial to know the team size before you start the development. It will assist you in planning and making a decision, which depends on the cost that may incur in hiring the expert developers.
To develop an app with React Native, you will need approximately five to ten developers. This team may include at least two React Native professionals to guide the team throughout the app development lifecycle. Moreover, as the code maintenance of distinct platforms is essential for the success of a React Native app, it’s recommended that you should make a team of developers holding diverse technical knowledge.
Big players took five and even fewer developers to form a team for developing their apps on Flutter. The learning curve of the framework is easy. Apart from allowing developers to write codes quickly, it’s also effortless for new developers to understand those codes.
Pros and Cons of Flutter
|Automated setup process||Libraries and support are fantastic but not as rich as native development.|
|Consistent API||Constant integration support|
|Various transparent in-built widgets to utilize Material design along with iOS style.||Web browsers do not support flutter apps.|
|Perfect documentation||It can’t include native web views and maps|
|Approximately 50% less testing||Platform risk|
|Independent for Android and iOS UI|
Why Makes Flutter A Good Choice
This feature reveals changes instantly with no loss of the app store.
2. Smooth Integration
Re-writing code is not essential as it integrates easily with Java for Android and Objective C or Swift for iOS.
Codes can be shared and written across platforms faster and easier, making it perfect for MVP development.
4. Quick Shipping
It provides swift iteration cycles and saves development time as testing is needed only for one single codebase.
It offers rich widgets that follow the rules of Material Design and Cupertino.
Weaknesses In Flutter
Can’t push the updates and patches instantly into apps without conducting the standard release process.
2. User Interface
Animation and vector graphics support have problems in delivering plugins on time.
3. Tools & Plugins
Tools and libraries are impressive, but it’s not as rich as React Native
4. Operating Platform
It is not compatible with crafting apps for AndroidAuto, watchOS, CartPlay, and tvOS.
Pros and Cons of React Native
|Broad community support||Fewer components|
|Best for MVP product and large-scale projects because of React Native stability||Abandoned libraries and packages|
|Easy to learn||Slow performance|
|One codebase, two mobile platforms|
|UI, along with its native Android and iOS components|
Why Choose React Native
It used rich ecosystem and UI libraries to re-render app appearance automatically with every state change.
It permits hot reloading to append new codes directly into a live app.
It translates the markup of an app to mimic authentic UI elements. But, it still maintains high performance.
It offers accessibility to innovative debugging tools and error reporting.
5. Native Rendering
It utilizes the host platform to natively render APIs without any need for HTML and CSS markup.
Shortcomings of React Native
It doesn’t support multiprocessing and parallel threading that leads to slow performance.
2. User Interface
The native rendering of APIs might not support some native UI elements that may make the UI appear slightly off.
Chrome debugger may be tough to inspect codes, UI elements and edit appropriately.
4. Tools and Plugins
3rd-party libraries that can be utilized for better implementation may usually turn out to be outdated.
Also Read: Mobile App Ideas In 2021
Future Of Flutter & React Native
More and more companies are using Flutter. Above all, we are noticing monthly enhancements in the Flutter SDK as Google constantly refines its tool. Also, the community proves to be enthusiastic and helpful always. Flutter allows us to craft not only mobile apps but also apps for desktop and web.
As the giants are already using Flutter, putting all its positive points together, we can conclude that the future of Flutter looks promising for the toolkit.
On the contrary, when it comes to React Native, Facebook targets a large-scale re-architecture of the technology right now.
The team is performing its level best to enhance support for both the broader community of React Native and its users. Also, the best part is the community can easily suggest the changes now to the core functionalities of the framework all through an RFC process that utilizes a dedicated GitHub repo.
As per the reports, React Native is holding a stable position in the market. It’s running on the track of constant development. It’s not expected that we will witness the toolkit being defeated soon.
But, Flutter is noticed to be an imposing competitor to React Native.
React Native Or Flutter – What To Choose For App Development
React Native is a good framework that develops simple cross-platform and native apps. Whereas, Flutter performs better while crafting various integrations and MVP apps.
So, you can choose React Native, if
- You need to scale your current apps with cross-platform modules.
- Moreover, you want to build lightweight native apps.
- You are looking for the possibilities to craft shared APIs out of the box.
- Your target is to develop an app with an asynchronous build and a highly responsive UI.
- You have enough money and time to invest in the project.
Besides, you can pick Flutter, if
- Your app idea doesn’t need complete native functionality.
- The delivery timeline and budget are limited.
- You need to write codes quickly and deploy them in the market faster.
- You are targeting to craft apps that work at a pace between 60 FPS and 120 FPS.
- Your need is to customize the UI with less testing and widgets.
Also Read: Launch a Mobile App in 2021
So here, there’s no clear winner: both React Native and Flutter hold their pros and cons, and the right pick will rely on your experience, requirements, and goals of your project.