Flutter vs React Native: The Epic Comparison Between Two Frameworks

Gillian Harper By Gillian Harper  |  Jan 10, 2022  |  Cross platform development Flutter App Development React Native
Flutter vs React Native

Usage of technology is making everything faster, accurate, more reliable and streamlined and the story is no different for mobile app development as well. Mobile apps, especially over the past decade or so, have been instrumental in taking businesses to newer heights irrespective of their industry. However, it is essential for businesses to hire leading mobile app development companies to obtain desired results.

Now with the increase in demand for app development, the utility of cross-platform app development has increased along with native app development as well. And in cross-platform app development, two of the leading frameworks are React Native and Flutter.

Flutter vs React Native has been hailed as staunch rivals since their inception although they are two similar facets of cross platform app development. With cross-platform app development, business houses can build mobile apps for different platforms at a rapid rate and in a cost-effective manner as well.

Therefore, in this blog, we will study in detail everything that pertains to the difference between Flutter and React Native. Moreover, we will also see the situations where business organizations should use Flutter or React Native according to their business requirements.

But before diving deep into the technicalities of the cross-platform app development frameworks, let us begin by taking a look at their basics.

Introduction of Flutter and React Native: Definition, Pros and Cons

What is Flutter?

Flutter is based on the dart language and it is a cross-platform mobile app development framework powered by Google. The tech giant uses the combination of Dart and Flutter for developing some of the biggest applications for companies such as BMW, Google Pay, ByteDance, etc.

A brief history of Flutter

The first beta version of Flutter was released in February 2018 at the Mobile World Congress and then at Google I/O, Flutter 1.0 got released. An important milestone in the journey of the mobile app development framework came when in December 2018, it was considered stable and ready for production.

Since December 2018, Google has been developing newer versions of Flutter consistently. Its latest version, Flutter 2.5, was released in September 2021.

Flutter app development framework assists the developers in building visually attractive applications using a single codebase for iOS, Android, web, and desktop apps. In addition, the learning curve of Flutter is easy, especially for the developers who have familiarity with C# and Java. The applications made through the Flutter app development framework are customizable, fast, and very attractive.

What is Flutter used for?

As Flutter enables the developers to build highly attractive and natively combined applications, it is used for various purposes.

Flutter offers desktop support as it is easier to compile the source code to a native macOS, Linux, or Windows desktop app.

Flutter’s web support is immaculate as it delivers the same experience on the web as on mobile. It is most useful in building Progressive Web Applications (PWA), Single Page Applications (SPA), providing web support for existing mobile applications.

Advantages and features of Flutter

There are some superlative perks of the Flutter app development framework that makes it a favorite of the developers. Along with enhancing the speed of the overall development process, the other advantages of Flutter are:

Layered architecture

Flutter has layered architecture and it proves vital when it comes to develop easy and rapid user interface customization. With high customization, the developers have complete control over every pixel of the screen. Therefore, it becomes easier to overlay and animate video, text and graphics without any hassle.

Hot reloading

Just from a developer’s point of view, Flutter offers a more dynamic app development as compared to React Native. Thus, in the fierce battle of Flutter vs React Native, Flutter has the edge when it comes to faster coding. Moreover, due to hot reload, the developers can make the change in the codebase on-the-go and see them immediately affecting the application in real time.

Therefore, due to this perk, top Flutter app development companies make the bug fixing process and adding new features process easier. In addition, the hot reload feature in Flutter app development acts as a bridge between the developers and the designers and helps them function like well-oiled machinery.

Faster quality assurance process

For the quality assurance team (QA team), it becomes easier to work with Flutter as they don’t have to run different tests for different platforms. Thus, the total number of tests can be reduced to 50% and this will help in decreasing the overall mobile app development process as well.

Clearly separated UI from the native controls

Flutter eliminates a lot of error as it separates the user interface from the native control. Thus, the smartphone manufactures can build error free products which in turn helps in increasing the loya; user base as well.

A separate user interface means having a singular and unified view on all system versions without making much of an effort.

User-friendly designs

Another battle that Flutter wins in the epic saga of Flutter vs React Native. From the super-attentiveness to the visual details, Flutter has everything that makes the app’s design user-friendly. In fact, one of the main reasons behind developing flutter was to create own widgets or even customize the existing ones to enhance the overall user experience.

Top applications made using Flutter

Flutter app development framework has been one of the most sought-after cross-platform app development frameworks since its inception. Here is a list of top applications made using flutter.

  • Google ads app
  • Xianyu app by Alibaba
  • Groupon
  • eBay Motors app
  • Topline app by Abbey Road Studios

What is React Native?

React Native is a JavaScript framework that is built upon the React library. React Native was created as a part of an internal hackathon project on Facebook way back in 2013 and it was first released publicly in 2015. So in terms of time in the market, React Native is relatively older as compared to the Flutter app development framework.

Just like Flutter, React Native to allows the developers to ship in both the iOS and Android apps with a single code base.

What is React Native used for?

There is no doubt about the fact that React Native is a mighty effective framework. It is best suited for:

  • Developing mobile apps using the JavaScript language
  • It is a leading cross-platform app development framework
  • The developers can develop iOS and Android apps using a single codebase

Advantages and features of React Native

Now it is time to look at the aspects where React Native has piped ahead of Flutter and won the epic saga of React Native vs Flutter.

Fast refresh

One of the top answers, when asked to the React Native community about their pain point, was that the hot reloading feature was broken. Thus, to solve this matter in React Native 0.61 fast refresh feature was implemented. Fast refresh fixed all the issues that hot reloading had and gave a better experience to the developers.

Fast refresh fully supports the modern React Native platform, recovers after all the typos and other types of mistakes, and includes functions such as components and hooks.

Rich component library

We have already discussed that React Native is based on JavaScript. Therefore, this gives the cross-platform app development framework access to the largest package ecosystem across the globe. Moreover, the platform also has a large number of ready-to-apply components that can accelerate the entire process of app development. Therefore, hiring the best React Native development companies will give your business a clear advantage over its peers.

Having a rich component library also reduces the manual development time and gives the platform a clear edge in React Native vs Flutter battle.

Massive community support

Along with having a large component library, React Native platform also has strong community support as well. At present, there are more than 90000 active contributors of React Native on Stack Overflow. Thus, with this large community, it becomes easier for the developers to resolve their issues during the development process and also improve their overall coding skills by taking guidance from fellow contributors.

Declarative user interface

React Native has a declarative user interface so if you are making a comparison between React Native and Flutter in terms of ease of bug finding, React Native wins the race. Moreover, React Native is solidly based when it comes to creating a mobile user interface.

Top application made using React Native

React Native cross-platform app development framework too has been at the top of its game since its beginning and that is why we see some of the leading apps made using this framework. This elite list includes applications such as:

  • Meta (Facebook)
  • Instagram
  • Skype
  • Tesla
  • Pinterest
  • Wix.com
  • Bloomberg

After getting through the basics, advantages, features and the top apps made using either of the two app development frameworks, it is time to compare them on the basis of:

  • Ease of testing
  • Modularity
  • Suitability for building complex apps
  • User experience
  • Performance

Ease of Testing

Flutter vs React Native in ease of testing is an intense battle as ever. Flutter on one hand offers amazing support to automated testing since it supports dart. And on the other hand, it boasts detailed documentation that is related to widget, unit, and integration level. Moreover, if a developer is looking to build robust apps on either iOS or Android, Flutter offers detailed documentation for it.

When we talk about React Native, it offers no support for Integration testing and UI testing. As there is no official support, the React Native developers have to rely on third-party applications such as Detox and Appium. Since the framework doesn’t support any kind of automated steps, the React Native developers use the manual process of deploying the iOS apps through Xcode.

Modularity

The modularity aspect indicates to what extent the app development framework will allow people with different technical skills to work under one project. But when it comes to comparing Flutter and React Native in modularity, Flutter wins the race. It offers better accessibility for team diversity with its pub package system. In addition, there is a division of project codes into different modules in the same system.

React Native has its own limitations in the modularity aspect. However, it offers a combination of native elements of different OS platforms to work together to a certain extent.

Suitability for building complex applications

Both Flutter and React Native are open-source platforms that offer detailed documents, guidelines, plugins, etc. to support the developers throughout the app development process. But when it comes to comparing the ability to work on complex apps of Flutter and React Native; the latter edges past the former.
The process of building complex applications using React Native includes JavaScript as well as utilizing native development skills. Flutter however is a good fit for startups who are aiming to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

User Experience

When it comes to user experience, there could be a question: ‘What is better, Flutter or React Native?’. Well, to answer this question, Flutter offers a rich set of simplified elements, tools, and widgets that enhance the user experience to a great extent.

Dart in Flutter has a generational garbage collection feature that allocates all the objects within a single pointer bump. This feature helps in avoiding UI junk & clutter and shutting off the lag in animation during the app development process. Due to this, it will be safe enough to say that Flutter app development framework is here to stay for a long time

React Native has different ready-made UI kits and it makes it difficult for the developers to create consistent designs across platforms. Thus, in user experience when it comes to Flutter vs React Native, Flutter appears as a clear winner.

Performance

If we are talking about the performance of Flutter and React Native, the app development platforms’ respective community seems a bit divided. But when one takes a closer look, Flutter emerges as the more performance-oriented platform of the two in concern. This is because it does not require any kind of bridge to communicate between the native modules. In addition to this, Flutter uses the Skia graphics library that allows the UI to be redrawn every time there is some alteration in the app view.

On the other hand, React Native has a lower performance bar as the app development framework uses JavaScript bridges to communicate between the native modules. But, the developers can use third-party libraries like Progaurd to optimize the performance.

Final words:

In conclusion, we will state the situations where business organizations should choose Flutter and React Native. The analysis of the below conditions will help the business owners to get through the constant conundrum of React Native Vs Flutter and make informed business decisions.

When to choose Flutter:

  • Tight budget and app development timeline
  • No requirement of complete native functionality
  • Customized UI with widgets is a priority
  • Aim to reduce the app development cycle and write codes faster

When to choose React Native:

  • Looking to develop lightweight native apps
  • Scale the already existing apps with the help of cross-platform modules
  • No money or time crunches
  • The aim is to build an app with a highly responsive UI
Gillian Harper Gillian Harper   |  Jan 10, 2022

A professionally engaged blogger, an entertainer, dancer, tech critic, movie buff and a quick learner with an impressive personality! I work as a Senior Process Specialist at Topdevelopers.co as I can readily solve business problems by analyzing the overall process. I’m also good at building a better rapport with people!

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