Are you trying to decide between React Native and Flutter for your next mobile app development project? Both frameworks have their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we'll compare React Native and Flutter and help you decide which one is best for your needs

Mobile app development is one of the fastest-growing areas in the app development world. During and post-COVID-19, the demand for different apps has grown fast, like online ordering, healthcare, lifestyle, and more.

But building mobile apps takes lots of effort for both iOS and Android. If you are creating different apps for different platforms, you need different skill sets.

This is where cross-platform mobile application solutions like Facebook’s React Native and Google’s Flutter become handy. But which one is better: Flutter or React Native?

In this post, we will compare both platforms and their features so that you’ll have a solid understanding of Flutter vs. React Native questions, including their pros and cons.

But first, get a quick overview of both solutions to understand the main differences between Flutter and React Native.

Cross-platform mobile frameworks

Statista simply puts, cross-platform mobile frameworks are used to generate an app that is accessible through a large number of various end devices. A single code is used across multiple platforms for easy portability, and in the end the cost of software development is kept low. With cross-platform mobile frameworks, there is the possibility of maximum exposure to the target audience. For example, a single app can target both iOS and Android platforms, which maximizes the app’s reach.

React Native

React Native is developed by Facebook, and it is proprietary. React Native is a cross-platform framework for building native mobile apps with JavaScript and React. Some of the favorite apps created with React Native are Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Airbnb, and UberEats.

  • Developed by Facebook, React Native is a cross-platform framework for building native mobile applications.
  • React Native allows developers to use JavaScript to build complex mobile apps that are indistinguishable from those written in Objective C or Swift.
  • This framework uses a single codebase for Android and iOS app development, making the process of creating your app more accessible and faster than ever before.

The main drawback of this framework is that it might not be as fast as Flutter because it uses JavaScript, which can be slow on some devices. However, there are ways to make your app run faster with React Native (e.g., using libraries like Redux).

React Native is a JavaScript framework that enables the development of native mobile apps. It uses the React library to render components and make them interactive. React Native uses native components to create a truly native experience, which means it doesn’t require any web view component.

Flutter

Flutter is Google’s open-source mobile app SDK for crafting high-quality native experiences on iOS and Android in record time. Flutter works with existing code, is used by developers and organizations around the world, and is free and open source. It has been in use since 2016, and it is being used by many famous apps like Twitter, Tesla, Lyft, and many more.

Flutter is built on Dart, which makes it easier to develop apps with a single language. Flutter is an open-source mobile application development platform with a high-performance rendering engine. It's also famous for its ease of use, which enables developers to get up and run quickly.

Some of the benefits of Flutter are:

  • Open source: Flutter is an open-source mobile application development platform that offers a high-performance rendering engine. This means there is no licensing fee, and developers have full access to the codebase.
  • Performance: Flutter has a high-performance rendering engine that offers smooth animations, fast scrolling, and low memory usage. This means that apps built with Flutter will be more responsive than those built with other frameworks.
  • Ease of use: Flutter is easy to learn, making it popular among new developers looking to build their first app without spending much time learning the framework’s complex codebase.
  • Extensibility: The framework has been designed from the ground up to build apps.

The Flutter mobile app SDK gives developers access to a single codebase for iOS and Android, which makes it possible for developers to build apps with a native look and feel. The framework includes Google’s Material Design, making it easy for designers to create beautiful apps without having to learn different UI frameworks. Flutter is a new platform designed to make the app development process easy and fast.

Key Difference Between React Native and Flutter

The biggest benefit of React Native is the ability to use one codebase for both iOS and Android apps, which saves time and money when developing an app. In addition, React Native allows you to use the same skillset as you would for web development - without having to learn a new programming language or framework - which makes it easy to hire developers with web programming experience who may not be familiar with native app development languages like Objective-C or Java.

  • React Native saves time and money with the use of one code base for both Android and iOS apps, which means less time spent on development and less money spent on hiring developers to build two separate versions of an app.
  • The React Native app loads faster than an app built using other frameworks because it does not require a browser to load the content before it can be displayed on the user’s device, as needed in native iOS or Android development.
  • React Native allows you to use all of your favorite JavaScript libraries in your project, such as JQuery Mobile, Bootstrap, Redux, etc., without having to learn any new languages or frameworks.

Architecture
The architecture of React Native is based on a virtual DOM, which means that its performance is very fast. It also has a modular architecture, making it easier to maintain and develop the app.

Flutter is a framework for building high-quality native apps on iOS and Android in record time. Flutter is an open-source mobile app SDK that helps developers create high-quality native interfaces on both iOS and Android. It is Google’s response to the challenge of developing apps for both platforms. Flutter does this by using one codebase, which makes it easier for developers to build apps with a consistent experience across all devices.

UI Components
UI component is something that can be separated from other elements, and you can reuse it as per your need. It is believed that React Native doesn’t have as rich UI components as compared to Flutter, and in fact, it provides a set of ready-made interface elements.

React Native only provides UI rendering, relying on third-party libraries to access native modules.

Performance
When it comes to performance, React Native’s approach is separate and distinct from Flutter’s.

The complete mobile app isn’t compiled into C/C++ or a native language. Rather, the UI components are compiled to their native counterparts, with the JavaSript code running in a different thread and communicating with native modules for any execution required through a bridge.

Documentation

The documentation of React Native is general in nature. The framework relies extensively on external development kits, and the documentation can be simpler than other frameworks.

Flutter’s documentation is easy to read and understand. The nice part is its format and detailed content. The documentation is more streamlined and straightforward.

Industry Trends

  • React Native - According to the recent StackOverflow survey of 2019, 62.5% of developers loved React Native. Since it has been around for a while now and uses React and JavaScript, it leads to better job opportunities.
  • Flutter - Flutter ranked higher with 65.4%. Flutter is comparatively new and used less by companies, leading to fewer job opportunities. However, this may not be the case a few years from now.
  • StackOverFlow’s 2020 Developer Survey highlights that among developers currently using Flutter and React Native, more using the former (68.8% to React Native’s 57.9%) would like to continue doing so.

The latest research from Statista places Flutter as the leading cross-platform mobile development framework in 2021. Flutter surpasses React Native by 4% (42% for Flutter against 38% for React Native).

Technology

React Native

Flutter

Created By

Facebook

Google

First Release

Jan 2015

May 2017

Main Architecture

Flux and Redux

BLoC

Programming Language

JavaScript

Dart

Components Library

Large inclusive library

Smaller, non-inclusive

Performance

Slower performance because of JavaScript bridging

High-performing, quick

Adaptive Components

Some are adaptive automatically

Components aren’t adaptive. Need to be configured manually

Learning Curve

Easy to pick up, especially if you are used to React or Javascript before

Components aren’t adaptive. Need to be configured manually

Ecosystem

Quite mature, used in production in many big companies around the world, many packages available

Not yet mature, a fewer number of packages

Hot Reload

Supported

Supported

Apps

Instagram, Facebook, Tesla

Google Ads, Philips Hue, Postmuse

Time-to-market

Comparatively slower

Comparatively faster

When to use Flutter

Flutter offers a great development experience for users as it has a simple yet powerful language. It also has a fast release cycle, which means you can get new features in the app with less waiting time.

  • Small budgets
  • Short development timeline
  • UI-centered apps
  • Iteration (Hot Reload)

When to Use React Native

React Native is a good solution for those who want to develop an app with a single codebase and a minimal learning curve. It can also be used when you need to have an app that works well both on Android and iOS.

  • Big budgets and complex projects
  • Complicated cross-platform apps
  • Reusing code for mobile and desktop apps
  • Less experienced developers because of extensive documentation support

Conclusion

The React Native vs. Flutter debate is a never-ending process. But you can draw parallels considering the pros and cons of both platforms. The idea is to choose the platform that fills can gap in your business need.

Some industry experts predict Flutter will take center stage in the future of mobile app development. But React Native still rules the roost with some of the most fantastic apps on today’s market.

The bottom line is that each platform serves different purposes, so you should consider your needs before committing to one.

Need more details about Flutter and React Native? Contact our experts today.

FAQ
Are Flutter and React Native Equal In capability?

Both Flutter and React Native have pros and cons. Flutter could be a better option if you are planning to build a small application with moderate budgets and value a rich component set. React Native can also provide greater flexibility as well as efficiency.

According to experts, Flutter is faster than React Native. React Native relies on JavaScript to bridge native components, making it a slower process.

With the tremendous growth in the mobile app development industry, the demand for Flutter and React Native will only accelerate in the future of mobile app development. It is predicted that Flutter might now have a slight edge over React Native in the coming years.

React Native provides greater flexibility to developers while building mobile apps of any type and size. Flutter is good in terms of performance, development cost, compatibility and app features.

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Manish singh

Co-founder and CEO at Minds Task Technologies. Manish helps businesses bring their digital vision to life by delivering scalable technology solutions.

I am a technologist, entrepreneur, and quester. I have always been passionate about solving problems through technology. I have spent my last 15 years in the IT industry building solutions for various verticals like eCommerce, Manufacturing, Real estate, Food and Beverages, and MLM.