Flutter Vs. React Native: Let’s See Who the Winner is

Nowadays, the cross platform app development has gained popularity as it enables you to develop mobile apps that can be used on multiple mobile platforms. There are numbers of cross platform available today, which are worth comparing.

Previously, we had React Native introduced by Facebook. It got an overwhelming response from the app developers. However, last year, Google has also launched its SDK (Software Development Kit) – Google Flutter that helps to create cross platform apps with ease.

By introducing Flutter, Google literally tried to resolve the issue of cross platform app development, which otherwise has always been a major challenge for the app developers. However, if we look at the current statistics, the market related to cross platform app development is expected to reach at $7.5 billion by this year.

However, the focal point of today’s discussion is making a very crucial comparison between two frameworks that help in creating cross platform apps. The opponents are Google Flutter on one hand and React Native on the other.

Flutter has been introduced last year only at the Google I/O Developer Conference 2017, while React Native has been there from 2015. Therefore, comparatively, the developers have just commenced using Flutter but React Native is proudly associated with giants like Facebook, Instagram, Skype and Bloomberg etc.

React Native is an open source framework released on GitHub that paved the way for uniting both iOS and Android platform’s native APIs. However, Google’s Flutter has been a revolutionary move, which allows you to create Android and iOS highly responsive native apps at the same time.

What’s interesting to note is that you can use the same code. But Flutter is still new in the arena of mobile app development industry and has a long way to go ahead.

The Quick Comparison Between Flutter and React Native

flutter react native compariso

Flutter Vs. React Native – Performance Wise

When one compares both React Native as well as Google Flutter on the basis of their performance, it is the Flutter that has an edge over its competitor. Flutter has the advantage of Dart and also the JavaScript Bridge to connect with the native components.

However, the problem with React Native is visible when the app developers are building the hybrid apps, but as far as native apps are concerned, you won’t face any performance related issues. It offers seamless performance in all standard cases and is highly reliable.

However, when developing the hybrid apps using React Native, one has to face issues related to its architecture, libraries and native components.

On the other hand, flutter encourages the app developers to reuse the same existing code. Plus, it is also backed by a powerful C++ engine.

Developing the Blocks for UI

One of the key aspects where we find a huge gap between React Native and Flutter is regarding the creation of blocks for User Interface. React Native is based more on the native components both for Android and iOS.

At times, you may also need the support of additional third-party or custom components too. However, flutter prefers to work with the sets of Proprietary Widgets.

  • Material Widgets that are copying the UI elements on iOS and Android-styled Cupertino Widgets.
  • For the layout designs, texts, and styling, animations etc. Flutter makes use of platform agnostic widgets.

By making use of the Flutter’s proprietary widgets, you can get comprehensively customized UI designs with good interoperability as well as native components.

But it also poses some drawbacks as well. For instance, talking about Cupertino library it lacks iOS-styled form components and other important elements. Also, the React Native offers a better User Experience (UX) when a user taps into the Operating System. Therefore, React Native is victorious here.

Comparison on the Basis of Documentation and Tooling

On the third round of dual, we are comparing both Google Flutter and React Native on the basis of documentation and tooling. Flutter offers a regimented and efficiently smooth documentation, which indeed simplifies the job of the app developers. So, undoubtedly, it proves better than React Native in documentation.

On the contrary, the documentation of React Native is somewhat disorganized and clumsy. Moreover, React Native has missed a lot of things as far as documentation is concerned. For details, you can check the documentation of React Native.

Now focusing on the tooling, we can see a stiff competition between the two frameworks. Flutter comprises of wide range of IDEs and tools that support React Native. It is known for its compatibility with Visual Studio Code, Android Studio etc.

The Tussle of the Programming Languages

So, when we are discussing and drawing a comparison between Flutter and React Native, we need to focus also on which programming language is better; JavaScript or Dart. To be precise, this is one of the pivotal questions for any app developer when he begins with building an app.

And the answer to the question is that JavaScript enjoys both in terms of popularity and adoption rates. In fact, it has been declared as one of the most popular languages on GitHub for the current year 2018. It also gets adequate support from web browser, server and mobile.

On the other hand, since Dart is still new, it hasn’t received as much attention as JavaScript. Its familiarity is restricted to mostly Google. However, Dart is easy to learn as a language and is expressive so you can try using it.

Who Takes Less Development Time

The app developers work on very strict deadlines nowadays. Therefore, it becomes a bonus if they opt for a framework that offers shorter development time. So here, React Native has emerged as the winner as it reduces the time of app development. This is one of this biggest USPs.

And how does it provide that comfort to the developers? It has ready-to-use components, which upsurges the speed of cross platform app development. Although Flutter has also promised of high speed app development but it is still to be tried properly.

Who has More Clientele

Of course, the winner is React Native because of its tremendous popularity amongst the global industry. Some of the most popular clients include Skype, Facebook, Tesla, Airbnb, Instagram, Walmart and many more.

Since Flutter has just made its appearance a year ago, it does not have much to showcase from the industry standards. At present, only a Hamilton app is what it has in its bank. However, as time progresses, many more will surely be added into that list as it as a bright future.

Which is More Stable: React Native or Flutter?

The stability becomes an important factor when you are developing a cross platform app. And yet again, we have a tough competition here. At first, Flutter was lacking behind since it had only its alpha version, which was not very suitable for longer projects.

However, last month Google has announced the Flutter Beta 2, which offers improved developer tools and asset system.

React Native was quite stable from earlier and it also enjoys the support of large community of contributors.

Possibility of Validating Changes

Well, this is one of the important criteria for the app developers today as they have to make possible changes in app specifically if developing cross platform app.

However, it’s a huge sigh of relief that both flutters and react native have the support of Hot Reload Feature, using which you can check as well validate the changes immediately. This makes the job of the developers very easy.

Conclusion

Well, it can be said that it is extremely difficult to pick the winner at the end, more so because both React Native and Flutter has their own set of pros and cons. One must not forget that Flutter is still new in the hub of app development industry and React Native made its inception way before to gain a good audience ground.

Although Native passes the edge over Flutter after an honest comparison but the later has bright future. The final choice has to be made by the developers based on their specific requirements.

Dhruv is Sr. Android Engineer at Mindinventory. He is passionate about Android and has got his hands dirty and feets wet with all things Android. He loves to explore the bleeding edge tech stuff. He is an early adopter and would like to stay up to date regarding latest trends in Industry.