Flutter, Mobile App Development

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...

Written by Dhruv Mevada · 8 min read >
Flutter vs React Native

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. Still starting with the basics will help you with a detailed understanding of both concepts: 

What is Flutter?

Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit developed by Google. Its enhanced UI toolkit is used to create cross-platform applications with a single codebase. So developers can create natively compiled apps for mobile (iOS and Android), desktop, and web.

Flutter

According to market research, Flutter is an ideal choice for creating cross-platform applications, 42% of developers are using the same in 2022. As per Google, more than half a million developers do use Flutter every month.

What Will You See New in Flutter?

Flutter has released its latest version Flutter 3 of late. This version of Flutter is pretty much improved and scalable for the developers. Here are the key features of the same:

  • Firebase Support in Flutter
  • Flutter Casual Games Toolkit
  • macOS and Linux Support
  • Dart 2.17

Mobile Updates:

  • iOS Variable Refresh Rate Support
  • Streamlined iOS Releases
  • Foldable Phone Support

Web Updates:

  • Web app lifecycle
  • Image decoding

Pros of Flutter:

  • Decreased code development time
  • Own rendering engine
  • Easy platform-specific logic implementation
  • Capable of going beyond mobile
  • Embedded application builder
  • Codebase sharing

Cons of Flutter:

  • Its library support is not as good as native development
  • Apps created with Flutter are heavier
  • Dart programming language is relatively new
  • The risk of the platform, Flutter is an open-source framework; it could be risky to use if Google abandons it 

What is React Native?

React Native is one of the most popular open source frameworks that run on JavaScript. It enables you to create natively-rendered mobile apps for both Android and iOS. React Native is written with both XML -Esque markup and JavaScript, that is why it is also known as JSX.

React Native Logo

What Will You See New in React Native?

React Native has come up with its latest version React Native 0.69. This version of React Native is more improved in terms of new architecture and other technicalities. Here are certain features of React Native 0.69:

  • Bundled Hermes
  • Deprecating support for iOS/tvOS SDK 11.0
  • Support for C++17
  • Addition of the new. xcode

Pros of React Native:

  • Code reusability
  • Native look and feel
  • Large community support
  • Cost efficiency
  • Third-party plugins
  • Live reload

Cons of React Native:

  • Not pretty efficient in terms of design
  • Custom modules
  • Updating errors 
  • Difficult to debug
  • Framework is immature

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.

app development team banner

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 in 2022: Flutter or React Native?

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.

Check our infographic : Flutter Vs. React Native – Which of This Will Triumphs?

Who Has a Strong Community?

Flutter launched back in 2018. When it comes to the community around Flutter vs React Native, flutter will fail at it as React Native has been launched before Flutter.  Not that Flutter’s community is not good; it’s growing at a good speedy rate.

React Native launched back in 2015. The reason behind its popularity is its ease of JavaScript programming. Now the number of developers using this framework is increasing at a good speed.

Also, it has a great database of online tutorials so that if any developer is stuck in the middle, he can refer to these online tutorials immediately.

Which is More Compatible for Creating Complex Apps?

If we talk about Flutter handling complex projects, the results would be unfavorable as Flutter cannot handle complex projects. However, startups can still think of considering flutter for complex projects in order to create MVP (minimal viable product).

As mentioned above, Flutter is best for creating faster prototypes just to put your idea into practice with minimal costs to see if it works.

Yes, React Native is useful for creating complex applications, but, at the same time, you need to take care of one thing: creating complex apps will be easier when you will involve native app development with React Native.

So, creating complex applications with React Native does not only involve JavaScript but native development skills also.

Size of the Application in Flutter and React Native

The size of a simple application created with Flutter is around 7.5 MB. Apart from Flutter, the virtual machine of Dart and the C/C++ engine also influence the size of your app. The best part is that Flutter has its own codes and assets to avoid issues related to size.

The size of applications created with React Native is about 7 MB before native dependencies are added, the size goes up to 14 MB after native dependencies.

React native is good at iterating applications when it comes to speed with minimalistic size, unlike flutter.

Technical Architecture

Flutter uses Skia, a graphics rendering library, and the Dart language VM in a platform-specific shell. It compiles Dart’s source code by creating native code. Its code is an ultimate solution as it integrates seamlessly with both Android and iOS.

React native uses Flux architecture introduced by Facebook, it requires JS bridge to be integrated. This drawback automatically makes people choose the former one in terms of good architecture.

Which Framework has a Stronger DevOps Support?

When it comes to having robust DevOps support, React native will get the majority of votes as Flutter lacks good community support, unlike React Native.

React native is linked with Facebook, due to which it has massive third-party libraries, third-party support, guides, and a lot more. So, React Native is a clear winner here.

The Process of Installation

To install Flutter, you will require to download the binary for every particular platform from Github. If the installation is for mac, then there is one more step to be followed; you’ll need to download the additional zip file and add it as a path variable.

The process of installation of React Native is pretty seamless by using Node package manager if you are good with JavaScript. Still, both of these frameworks lack one-line installation and a native package manager.  And to add more to this; flutter asks to perform an additional step for mac. So, in this case, React Native wins!

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.

FAQs About Flutter Vs React Native

Which is better Flutter or React Native?

It is hard to pick the winner at the end, as Flutter and React Native both have their own set of pros and cons. React Native is a more mature framework where Flutter is also getting positive feedback from the developers.

Which is faster Flutter or React Native?

Again, both frameworks are fast enough to fulfill all the requirements. Flutter has the benefit of Dart and also the JavaScript Bridge to connect with the native components. Flutter tends to be somewhat faster.

Will Flutter replace React Native?

It is wrong to predict the future, but Flutter has the potential to cross all the boundaries. Flutter makes a way to the bright future.

Is Flutter harder than React Native?

Flutter is easier to deploy because of its resistance to system updates. This means that when iOS or Android update the operating system, the app will remain the same. On the other hand, React Native depends on native elements, so when the update is launched, some issues may appear in the launch app.

Written by Dhruv Mevada
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. Profile