Android, Business, Development, Flutter, iOS Tuesday January 5, 2021

Flutter vs. React Native – What To Choose In 2021?

Are you looking forward to developing your app recently? But not sure which technology to choose for reduced costs and rapid development? React Native by Facebook and Flutter by Google are the two most popular cross-platform app development technologies in the market.

In this article, we will compare the leading market technologies – Flutter and React Native. We will understand the significant differences between these widely used frameworks based on components, libraries, operational performance, architecture, learning curve, community support, and many more.

This article is a detailed guide written for the app owners to help you find the best-suited framework for your app development project. So, let’s get started with the basic details about Flutter and React Native.

Introduction To Flutter and React Native

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a free, open-source framework created by Google that enables cross-platform app development. It is addressed as an enhanced portable UI toolkit used to build apps with a single codebase. Flutter is a comprehensive app Software Development Kit (SDK) that provides accessibility to develop expressive and flexible UI with native performance using multiple widgets and tools.

Additionally, it functions on a fast, object-oriented programming language- Dart, supported and contributed by the Google developers team. It gives you an easy way to build and deploy visually appealing, natively-complied mobile applications.

Flutter provides its widgets, derived from its high-performance rendering system that facilitates fast, attractive, and customized applications. Flutter includes two sets of widgets – material design and Cupertino widgets, which imitate specific design languages of Google and Apple, respectively.

With widget options, your app gets a great look and feel using specific UI elements that follow specific platform guidelines.

What Are The Popular Apps Built With Flutter?

The Key USP of Flutter recognized by companies is that this framework can connect with the native components without hassle. Therefore, every mobile app made using Flutter has the native feel associated with it.

Here are some high-end examples that will give significant evidence proving it to be one of the most desirable SDK in the market:

  • Xianyu app by Alibaba
  • Hamilton Musical
  • Birch Finance
  • Google Ads app
  • Reflect
  • Coach Yourself
  • Topline app by Abbey Road Studios
  • SB Bus Tracker
  • Dream 11, etc.

This list of applications made in Flutter is increasing rapidly and will continue to do so. Flutter can be a perfect fit for your MVP development project or quick design and launching requirements.

What is React Native?

React Native is an open-source, cross-platform development framework for the mobile application created by Facebook. It uses JavaScript programming language to develop web and desktop applications using the best external libraries.

React Native is a solid framework for developing mobile applications for Android and iOS using a single codebase. This framework builds native applications using third-party libraries. If you want your mobile app to look identical across all possible platforms, React Native Material Design components will enable you to achieve so.

With React Native, you can extract shared code in mobile, desktop, and web apps to a separate repository treating it as a separate entity then inject it for different platforms dependently. This strategy allows you to focus on writing code for specific platforms without worrying about compatibility with each other.

What are popular apps made with React Native?

React Native is a popular technology that has already earned trust from companies around the globe. Let’s check out a few such popular applications that have used React Native for the cross-platform framework.

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Facebook Ads
  • Skype
  • Tesla
  • UberEats
  • Walmart
  • Wix
  • Soundcloud Pulse, etc

This list is not exhaustive but is enough to prove the wide acceptance from different industries.

Now that we have understood the basics of Flutter and React Native, let’s dig deeper to understand both these frameworks’ detailed pros and cons.

The Pros And Cons Of Flutter For App Developers Are As Follow:

Advantages of using Flutters:

1. Reduced Coding time

Flutter’s “hot reload” feature allows you to instantly review the applied changes without losing the current application stage. Now, developers can make changes to the codebase and, at the same time, see them immediately reflected in the application. Hence, Hot Reload plays a significant role in developer-designer collaboration to reduce coding time.

The feature helps the developer team add more features, fix bugs, and experiment with new ideas instantaneously. Mobile app development using Flutter is much faster, increasing the development speed and reducing the project duration.

2. Ready-to-use widgets

Flutter doesn’t rely solely on native system components but has put lots of time into developing a wide variety of ready-to-use widgets rendered and managed by the framework’s graphics engine. This feature allows quick customization of designs and saving the development time of the app considerably.

In addition to numerous core layout widgets, Flutter also provides a large pool of Material and Cupertino widgets that provides a perfect option for precise design language. Flutter apps have incredibly user-friendly UI imbibing with attractive features and visual details.

3. Reduced testing

Considering you have a single application on multiple platforms in Flutter, the quality assurance tests will be done much faster without the need for various testings. Although you still have to run manual testing at multiple levels as with native programming to check the app on each platform. With fewer automated tests to be conducted, your developer will need lesser full-time quality assurance employees in the team.

4. Faster apps

Flutter apps react faster without hanging or cutting while scrolling because of Skia Graphics Library that redraws the UI each time an app views changes. Most of this work is carried out on GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) that delivers 60fps (frames per second).

Redrawing the full view instead of just those few specific elements can drastically affect the application’s performance and speed. Flutter helps to modify a few elements of the app to reduce the reload view time.

5. Same app for all platforms

All cross-platform framework provides a single codebase to share between the target platforms. But no application framework is capable of allowing sharing both the UI code the UI. Flutter is the only framework that helps the new apps to look similar even on older iOS or Android systems.

Flutter doesn’t require any platform-specific UI components to render it’s UI in the app. It only needs to show the application where UI is a canvas to draw onto. Now, you don’t have to worry about supporting older devices, as Flutter is working to reflect Native on every platform.

6. Perfect for MVPs

If you need to build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of your app, Flutter is the best option in the market, especially when you are short on time. Flutter opens up the opportunity for more flexible time and cost-effective development for your project.

Flutter also allows building two applications almost simultaneously and at the same cost, which doubles the probability of the number of users and ensures better customer feedback and analysis of the market.

Disadvantages of using Flutter:

1. Small developer community

As React Native is more established in the market than Flutter, you will find a more experienced developer community in React Native over Flutter. Another reason for this deficiency is also the programming language used. Dart isn’t as widely used as JavaScript, atleast until now.

The Flutter community needs more time to spread the word in the market and attract more audience to gain more experience. However, It’s worth noting that the Flutter community is already on the path to growing exponentially with phenomenal excitement around the technology.

2. Libraries & integration support

Flutter does have impressive libraries but is still not as diverse as React Native framework options. That means you won’t find all the functionality you need for your app in the existing libraries, so you might have to build custom functionality for yourself that will also extend the project’s timeline.

During the code writing, Flutter lacks the necessary support for CI platforms like Travis, Jenkins, etc. So, to progress through the automatic building, testing, and deployment, your developer’s team has to use and maintain custom scripts for all the support they need.

3. Lack of Native components

The look and feel of apps developed in Flutter are not 100% the same as native solutions. Hence, Flutter fails to create native components in the app. It replicates the Android’s Material Design and iOS system-specific components with its Cupertino library, but in the end, it’s not the same.

It’s explicitly visible, especially when compared with different mobile system versions, for, eg. The apps developed in Flutter have text fields or buttons varying from each other, lacking the app elements.

4. App size

The size of application written in Flutter is always bigger than written in React Native ones. Flutter apps are quite large and heavy to start with as they occupy a lot more space and take a longer time to download or update the app.

If you choose to develop your app in the Flutter framework, you won’t find a single set of guidelines, which can be problematic when your developer team builds a complex software solution. However, the Flutter team is working on strategies to reduce the size of apps built with Flutter.

The Pros And Cons of React Native For App Owners Are As Follow:

Advantages of using React Native:

1. Hot Reload

Just like Flutter, React Native also provides Hot Reload to speed up the app development process. It allows the developer to directly feed a new code into a running app to include new features and design. Hot Reload also retains the application’s state without risking the updated loss during a full reload.

The React Native team has included a 0.61 version of the framework for a ‘fast refresh’ feature that integrated live and hot reloading to improve the user experience with fast loading. This version of the framework is more resilient to typos and mistakes as compared to the older version.

2. Popular programming language – JavaScript

React Native uses a widely popular language – JavaScript, that’s a huge developer pool who are well known for. So, if you’re a program developer who prefers statically-typed programming language, you can move ahead with TypeScript language – a subset of JavaScript.

3. Choices for Developer

React Native allows developers to build cross-platform apps with a variety of choices. React Native gives the developer the freedom to decide what solutions they want to use and implement in their app. The deciding factor for these choices can be the specific project’s requirements and, of course, the developer’s personal preferences.

For example, if your developer needs to decide how to store and manage the application data used in many app components. They can choose a router library or choose between JavaScript and TypeScript – if they’d prefer to use a custom UI library or write their own.

4. Most popular cross-platform framework

The official React Native framework was released more than five years ago, so the developing Facebook team has had plenty of time to explore and stabilize the API of the system. It has invested a significant amount of time-solving problems and address the prevailing issues.

5. Active community support

React Native has a huge developer community who is always ready to support the users’ occurring hurdles. React Native team has released countless tutorials, libraries, and UI frameworks that make it easy to learn the technology.

The complete support of the team enables quick and easy development and deployment of the app. Also, if you compare repositories focused on gathering information, tools, and materials about technology, React Native is a much better option than other frameworks such as Xamarin, Flutter, Ionic, etc.

6. Easy to learn for developers

React Native is extremely simple to find out to React programmers. The benefit of this technology is that it’s highly targeted for React programmers. For all those developers who possess a background in web development and use popular React options, it’s possible to work readily with React Native without finding new libraries. It’s possible to use exactly the very same libraries, tools, and layouts for all apps.

Disadvantages of using React Native:

1. It’s not really Native

Like any cross-platform solution, the UI experience and operational performance are never the same in native apps – just close to them. However, it’s still a lot simpler to attain the Native feel of the components with some extra effort than Flutter.

2. Fewer external components

React Native, despite its maturity, lacks some components and modules. React Native supports only the platform’s basic components, and the majority of custom modules your app might need are available and well-documented.

However, If you are building your app solution right from scratch while developing your custom modules, you will end up with three codebases – RN, Android, and iOS, for the components instead of one. This brings in the differences in behavior and appearance.

3. Compatibility and UI Issues

React Native is used by many top companies in the industry, but it’s still in beta. Your developer’s team might face issues with compatibility or debugging tools during development. Furthermore, if your developers aren’t proficient in React Native, this might result in spending a lot of time on troubleshooting.

React Native uses native components, and after every OS UI update, your app components are instantly upgraded. It can break the app’s UI, but fortunately, this happens very rarely.

Whereas in Flutter, the app UI is way more stable than React Native.

4. App size is bigger

Applications written in React Native must adapt themselves to run Javascript code as React Native is working on JavaScript. But, Android doesn’t have this functional integration by default. Hence it needs to include an additional library supporting JavaScript code. This added library results in bigger size apps that are comparatively bigger than their native Android counterparts.

Luckily iOS apps made with React Native don’t have this problem but still come out to be bigger than native ones. However, as mentioned before, the React Native team is currently working to reduce the app sizes.

The Future Of Flutter & React Native

A growing number of organizations are drawn towards the new technology- Flutter. As Google is working relentlessly to enhance its tool, we see a great advance with Flutter SDK, extending a good competition.

Moreover, soon enough, Flutter will offer services not just limiting to portable software but also for desktop, laptops, and web programs. The future of Flutter looks promising for its tool kit, considering the recognition by leading businesses such as Alibaba, PostMuse, Hamilton, etc

Flutter has established a hold in the market, imposing solid competition to React Native.

Meanwhile, the Facebook team is doing its best to enhance support for the React Native users and extend the community further. And thanks to the efforts, the framework may now readily offer alternatives to the frame’s center broadcasts via an RFC procedure which works using a fully dedicated GitHub Retailer.

The true outcomes of these structure enhancements will be:

  • Hermes – an Opensource JavaScript engine optimized for mobile programs that significantly reduce the time of discussion, App size, and memory.
  • Big changes in the 0.60 version.
  • iOS will be managed easily by taking in the popularly used dependency manager – CocoaPods.
  • Quick migration of React native to AndroidX
  • Extract optional features as part of a lean procedure.

React Native already has a renowned status in the marketplace and will continue to do so above all competitors. It is on the trajectory of continuous improvement and development, seeking more users than ever. It’s highly unlikely that React Native will leave the ground any time soon in the future.

Concluding Remarks:

We hope this article has enlightened you to make up your mind to select the technology best suited to your app development project requirement. Scan through all the Pros and Cons to provide your developers with the right tool kit and support. For more such insightful blogs, follow this space…

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