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React Native Vs. Flutter – Which Is the Best App Framework?

August 25, 2021
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Sourav Jangra

Mobile Team Lead @ Radiansys

The mobile app development industry is presenting us with new tech wonders every now and then. We have technological frameworks like Flutter and React Native taking over the industry with their wonderful cross-platform app manufacturing abilities. These two app frameworks are booming highly in the market by producing superiorly versatile apps.

Now, which side will you take if it was React Native vs. Flutter for you?

It can a tough choice since both framework shave proven to be trendsetters with their unique specialties. These are the most significant contributors to cross-platform app development, giving major benefits like cost reduction and production acceleration.

If you have been in the whirlpool of picking the right app framework, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s begin with looking deeper into the technologies and moving to analyzing them towards a fair and acceptable result.

Why Should You Read This Article?

This piece aims to break down the details of React Native and Flutter to you. This will help you- both as an app developer or as an app owner- to know which of the two technologies will serve the purpose better.

We have clients coming up with several questions regarding app development like:

What will be the apt technology for my project?
Which technology will improve my app?
Which is the budget-friendly technology?
…and many others.

We are going to summarize all of our responses here in the form of a more informative article so that you get all your answers at one place. Our experience in the app development arena backs the endeavor of this article. We can help you further with deciding the best framework for your app.

So, let’s begin.

Quick Summary

Things To Know About React Native

Things To Know About Flutter

React Native Vs. Flutter- A Table of Their Merits and Demerits

React Native Vs. Flutter- A Table of Comparison

How To Pick the Right Framework?

Is There a Winner?

Things To Know About React Native

React Native has continued to be the prime choice of developers ever since its launch. React Native is a mobile app framework that contains components used as building blocks for native app development.

It was launched by Facebook in 2015 as a free and open-source framework. React Native possesses a larger community and it has proven to be a much stable framework than the rest.

Primary Features
  • React Native uses the JavaScript language. It is a much popular language among developers.
  • It uses building blocks similar to those of the Android and iOS apps for developing apps’ UI.
  • React Native is based on the conceptual framework of ReactJS.
  • This framework also includes components that facilitate app customization.
Main Functions
  • React Native is used for developing apps that are cross-platform compatible. It allows the development of applications solely for mobile platforms like iOS and Android from one codebase.
  • It uses the components similar to those of mobile platforms and then compile them onto the native apps. These apps look much similar to the ones developing with using common native technologies.
  • It can be used with third-party libraries to develop applications for desktop and web platforms.
Some React Native Apps

React Native has been used by some of the internet industry giants for their apps including:

  • Facebook app
  • Facebook Ads manager app
  • Instagram app
  • Pinterest
  • Skype
  • Bloomberg
  • Tesla
  • Wix

Things To Know About Flutter

The app industry saw a new sunny day with the launch of the Flutter SDK. Unlike the traditional app frameworks, Flutter is a whole UI toolkit replete with plenty of advanced app development tools and widgets.

It was launched by Google in 2018 as an open-source, free, and portable app SDK. Despite being a new technology, Flutter has been seeing growing at a surprisingly fast rate. It has proven much stable, advanced, and high performing.

Primary Features
  • Flutter uses Dart which is an OOPs language. It imparts the client-side orientation and fast responsive nature to Flutter, both features being best for app development. Dart was launched by Google.
  • Flutter has the same architecture style as that of ReactJS.
  • Flutter toolkit contains widgets that allow attractive customizations at a fast pace. These widgets also give a unique appearance to the Flutter-built applications.
  • Flutter is an open-source toolkit which is developed by Google as well as Flutter’s community.
Main Functions
  • Flutter is used to develop cross-platform compatible applications. It allows the creation of a common codebase from which applications can be built for all major platforms- web, mobile (both Android and iOS), and desktop.
  • It facilitates the development and deployment of applications built from respective native components.
  • Flutter allows the compilation of its source code to the native desktop apps and also supports plugins.
  • Flutter for the web proves most useful for building progressive web apps, single-page applications, and developing browser prototypes for mobile applications.
Some Popular Flutter Apps

Given the high utility and ease quotient of Flutter, many popular brands chose it for their apps like:

  • Google’s Google Ads app
  • Alibaba’s Xianyu app
  • Broadway Musical’s Hamilton app
  • Baidu’s Tieba app
  • Groupon app
  • Abbey road studios’ Makani app

React Native Vs. Flutter- A Table of Their Merits and Demerits

With the plethora of business requirements existing out there, it’s impossible to expect a perfect framework that can fit all.Here, we are going to assess the pros and cons of React Native and Flutterto help you know how well would each framework fit the sleeve.

React NativeFlutter
  • The fast-refreshing feature of React Native combines hot reloading with live reloading. It allows faster coding and deployment into any app on the go with the instant reflection of changes in the running app.
  • With React Native, it becomes possible to easily publish the apps on respective app stores of the platforms.
  • React Native-built apps run fasterthan hybrid apps. This is because they are built with native components similar to those of the native tools.
  • The UI components offered by React Native allowfaster code development. These areready-to-use components that can be easily inserted into the respective platform and generate unique views.
  • Debugging is easierin React Native as it allows testing of the apps on the physical devices conveniently.
  • React Native permits the implementation of project-specific and developer-specific requirements into the creation of a precise solution.
  • Uniquely enough, React Native permits distinctive modification of running native apps through combining React Native code with other native codes like Java, Swift, etc. This allows the insertion of other preferable components with the respective code.
  • React Native is JavaScript-based and utilizes vast libraries and similarities to react framework.
  • The community support quotient of React Native is much stronger.Alongside, sturdy UI frameworks, vast libraries, and innumerable libraries boost its popularity.
  • Hot reloading in Flutter causes the instant appearance of changes on the application. It leads to faster deployment of the apps and reflects on the changes on the go.
  • The widgets in Flutter help the development and customization of apps on all the platforms to both similar and different effects. Flutter uses these widgets only and not the native components of the platform.
  • The UI of Flutter is very fast, fluid, and very user-friendly.It becomes even better with the GPU. The Skia Graphics library re-constitutes the UI after every view.
  • Using Flutter saves time as any changes made in the codebase are deployed on all platforms uniformly.
  • Flutter apps look the same on all the versions of the Android/iOS devices, whether they are new or old. However, in case of iOS, Google does introduce its own elements into the Flutter apps.
  • Apps are now treated as MVPs. In that case, Flutter proves the best choice to produce apps at a faster rate and best ease.
  • The community support for Flutter is growing stronger alongside the backing by Google. The Github ranking of Flutter has soared higher than React Native. This shows that Flutter is gaining momentum among the users and becoming a stabler option for developers and app owners.
  • The components supported by React Native are very few.To achieve extra furnishing for the app, the developers need to spend more effort picking external components.
  • Though React Native allows freedom of project developments, it also paves way for confusion regarding different aspects.
  • The risk of UI crashes in React Native apps is still mentionable. There occur chances of this issue after OS UI updates.
  • The React Native apps are still bigger than the true native apps.
  • It is mandatory to learn the Dart language for operating Flutter. This can turn discouraging for plenty of users already adept in the more common languages like Java, etc.
  • The absence of rich libraries of functionalities in case of Flutter renders it little disability. The Flutter developers would have to deal with customizing functionalities as per the need.
  • The Flutter-based apps end up being larger which is not a good scenario always.

React Native vs. Flutter- A Table of Comparison

As the React Native vs. Flutter battle continues, it is turning much more confusing for the users to know which framework to choose. To solve this task for you, we are going to compare the two technologies using certain important parameters.

React NativeFlutter
Ease of learning
JavaScript is comparatively popular and easier to learn. Developers with some experience in webdevelopment or JavaScript can pull it off conveniently.
Dart is a newer language that one has to start learning from scratch to operate Flutter. This calls for deeper learning efforts on part of the developers.
Language stack
The JavaScript bridge allows the compilation of dynamic code into running native apps. The remaining code functions as per the app’s virtual machine.
Dart is the language used by Google for most of its flagship projects including Flutter. It has a bridge that works faster for UI development.
The Flux architecture of React Native deploys single direction data flow. It helps react with taking care of the model part.
The Dart architecture of Flutter combines the data flow patterns of RefluxJS and Flux.It finally deploys a single direction data flow through Action, Stores, and StoreWatchers.
In standard app development cases, React Native gives a benchmark performance and proves much reliable.
However, the JavaScript ecosystem faces the risk of splits during the development of hybrid apps. It also has to be used with a bridge for calling APIs of other platforms like Mac, Windows, etc. This slows down the speed of app development along with increasing hassles for developers.
It is the best choice for web development as JavaScript is a very popular front-end language. JavaScript has also proven very powerful for executing desktop programs, server programming, and similar other native functions of JavaScript.
Dart provides all the means at one place for creating intuitive applications. It facilitates the simpler syncing of the native components of the device into the app without any bridge.
Flutter works seamlessly due to its compilation directly in the native ARM code bases of iOS/Android platforms.
Web development is possible with Flutter too and the best advantage is speedy development. However, it should be kept in mind that it does not have any web-specific development features.
React native facilitates a uniform UI experienceacross multiple platforms. This is because of thenative components including widgets, buttons, etc.sit compatible with both iOS and Android. These components also get updated at once after the OS updates.
However, it doesn’t come with any personal UI library which can be both a pro and con- pro because it gives room for more UI customizations with the use of as many external libraries and con because syncing external components might become a task, a risky one too.
React Native, thus, provides the benefit of variety while developing UI.
In the Flutter SDK, there exists a vast UI components library including plenty of widgets, designs, platforms, etc. This enables one to create UIs faster and with flexible options availableat one place.Pixel rendering feature of Flutter promotes identical UI development at the same pixel rate throughout devices. This maintains app similarity across devices.
Now, the presence of Flutter’s component library may still have developers wanting more options.
This would Flutter, thus, provides the benefits of convenience and flexibility while developing UI.
Time to market
This framework was launched to pace up app development by enabling cross-platform applicability. React Native is easier to work with due to familiar JavaScript, which contains ready-to-use, re-adjustable, and reusable components. The process is further accelerated by the external libraries.
This framework requires separate coding for each section of the app in tandem with the coding rules of each platform. Further, the files have to be added separately for the respective platforms involved. Flutter is a fast framework but entails a tedious process.
Code structure
The coding structure is a bit more complicated which is overshadowed by the fact that just one code will run on all platforms. Thus, developers can focus it all on the code without worrying about compatibility or shareability. React Native also allows easy code sharing with external libraries.
Here, the coding structure is simpler with high manageability.In one coding sheet, you can store and access all the styles, data, templates, etc. However, Flutter requires the maintenance of such coding sheets for each section separately along with code sharing limited to iOS and Android only.
Using JavaScript frameworks is a better option for unit-level testing but not much for automation and UI testing despite the availability of external libraries.
Flutter is still a newer option but good enough for unit-level testing due to the easy Dart frameworks. The Flutter widgets also allow speedy testing.
React Native adapts the OS updates because of its connection with the device’s native components. However, this takes a little more effort at the developer’s end as separate changes appear in different devices.
Flutter remains more resistant to the OS updates and keeps it simple for the developers to maintain the app as per preference.
Additional features
  • The setting up process is relatively easier but tackling system issues might prove tedious.
  • React Native is compatible with 4.1+ Android versions and 10+ iOS versions.
  • While React Native has lesser plugin configurability,it can still perform well with additional writing in the device language.
  • React Native provides considerably better support to external analytics solutions.
  • Despite lacking integrated support for CI/CD, React Native supports plenty of major external CI/CD services.
  • It adheres to the HIPPA mobile app security regulations.
  • It is much straightforward to set up Flutter with the benefit of automatic system issues diagnosis.
  • Flutter is compatible with 4.1+ Android versions and 8+ iOS versions.
  • There is vaster plugin support in Flutter including tracking features.
  • Flutter provides smooth support to external analytics solutions.
  • Flutter allows easy CI/CD for the Android platform through the command-line interface but extra efforts for iOS devices.
  • It adheres to the HIPPA mobile app security regulations.
Deriving from the benefit of early launch, React Native boasts a higher adoption rate. This owes to the supreme stability of the frameworks due to wider community support, consistent updation, and backing from Facebook.
Being new in the market, Flutter is still growing with regular interval updates and version releases by Google. It hasn’t been adopted by many powerful brands but still has some to boast about.
Market trends
React Native continues to have the upper hand among the cross-platform app frameworks. The owner company,Facebook, has been constantly upgrading it. Also, React Native was launched earlier than Flutter, which gives it a wider space in the market.
Ever since its launch, Flutter has seen a consistent rise in its popularity. Thegoogle search volume for Flutter has gone above that for React Native in the recent past. Popular surveys have shown Flutter ranking higher in the race of favorite app frameworks.

How to pick the right framework?

It was an extensive comparison for demonstrating the tight React Native vs. Flutter race. While the above info demarcated the features of both frameworks along with a clear comparison, let us quickly state which framework will prove the right match for whom.

Choose React Native for:
  • Developing apps for just mobile platforms
  • Projects including plain and simpler functionalities
  • Apps focused on clean and attractive design
  • Apps related to customer support, social media, events, e-commerce, and similar industries
  • Non-essential mobiles apps as native apps become popular faster
Choose Flutter for:
  • Developing apps for both platforms beyond just mobile easily
  • Projects including complexities like unique animations, complicated calculations, etc.
  • Apps focused on smooth functionalities
  • Apps related to productivity analysis, finance, social media, e-commerce, and similar industries
  • Startup tech projects to build an understanding of the market by testing smaller functions, saving cost, and investing in the right fit
  • Requirement of skilled engineers with a slightly low budget

Is there a winner?

It would still be too early to choose a winner for React Native vs. Flutter. This is because both the app frameworks are quite popular in the tech industry with their unique features serving different purposes. Most importantly, both these frameworks have their own merits and demerits which calls for a distinctively separate judgment of each. It becomes understandable that despite the tussle, both React Native and Flutter are going to thrive in the tech market.

As technology takes newer forms every day, choosing the right option rightly depends on the analysis of the personal case. After all, the main aim is to have a stable, reliable, user-friendly, and supreme product that serves everyone’s purpose.

There is no other way around while picking the best app framework but careful analysis. It's imperative to choose the right technology so that your app serves the exact purpose of not just your business but also the end-user. A scalable application can enlarge the magnitude of businesses at a wonderful rate.

This can be made possible with inputs from experts with vast knowledge and experience of different technologies that can provide unbiased help. If you still need to know more or want to rely on the experts, we are right here. We have developed apps for plenty of industry majors and provided successful app optimization.

We hope the above information helped you and that you will be able to create an app perfect for your business.

Thanks for reading!

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