Flutter vs React Native: Navigating the Cross-Platform Dilemma

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Flutter vs React Native

Seeking to accelerate app development and reduce expenses through cross-platform solutions? Uncertain about the right technology? This blog post is tailored for you. We’ve compared Flutter vs React Native to assist you in discovering the most suitable option.

When we consider cross-platform development or mobile app development, the two prominent frameworks leading the industry that come to light are React Native and Flutter. Both these frameworks are used for cross-platform development to speed up the development process and reduce codes.

If you are wondering which technology is right for the development of an app for your business, then you have come to the right article. Here, you get a brief knowledge of Flutter, and React Native, their pros and cons, and other necessary insights.

Once you are thoroughly familiar with the basics, you can choose the best framework that can complement your business and improve the effectiveness of your existing application. Flutter app development and React Native app development, both have their perks and drawbacks, the only thing is to leverage the perks in the right way. So we begin by understanding what is Flutter and React Native and slowly move towards in-depth knowledge of both and the key comparisons.

Flutter vs. React Native
Source: Statista

What is Flutter?

Flutter is an open-source UI development framework developed by the tech giant Google. Released in May 2017, Flutter is gaining immense popularity by becoming the developers’ choice. Flutter is making its place in the list of preferred frameworks because it allows cross-platform application development using a single codebase for web, mobile, and desktop applications.

Flutter is a cross-platform development framework based on Dart. Being a fast, object-oriented programming language, Dart is the best choice for the creation of the most interactive apps with a great look and feel. As Flutter helps to build apps with a single codebase, any updates or changes can be easily done with a single tool.

The latest version of Flutter is Flutter 3.7. This release has numerous performance enhancements that include engine and Flutter DevTools, WebView 3.0, etc.

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Things You Must Know About Flutter App Development

Now, Flutter is making headlines in the world of mobile app development as many big companies are embracing it for the development of their apps. So, if you are thinking of joining the wagon of Flutter app development for your business, then here are a few things that can give you a clear idea.

  • Flutter is free and open-source
  • It is based on the Dart programming language
  • Flutter provides desktop support for native Windows, macOS, and Linux in the experimental model currently
  • Flutter architecture is based on reactive programming
  • The developer community of Flutter is still in a growing stage
  • In Flutter, everything is a widget
  • The sizes of Flutter APK are bigger than other counterparts
  • Flutter is the first choice of startups
  • PWA and SPA of the highest quality are delivered with Flutter
  • Flutter 2.8 uses the codebase for 6 different operating systems: iOS, Windows, Web, Android, macOS, and Linux
  • Web apps developed with Flutter are supported by famous browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge

Apps Built with Flutter

apps made with Flutter

Google Ads

Google Ads, an intuitive application that is built with Flutter by leveraging the goodness of the Dart programming language. This application allows you to manage all the Google Ad campaigns directly from your phone. Update your bids and budgets in real-time, keyword editing, etc., to easily access your data and constantly get alerts.

Xianyu app by Alibaba

Alibaba, the eCommerce giant, embraced Flutter to empower its shopping platform. Alibaba used Flutter and came up with the Xianyu app that was fast, smooth, and easy to use. With the use of Flutter, Alibaba was able to enhance the buying and selling experience for the users in numerous ways.

Philips Hue

Philips has trusted Flutter since 2018, and they just knew that it was perfect for them. Philips got two of their apps created using Flutter, Hue Sync, and Hue Bluetooth. These apps enable users to change the lighting tone or sync them with media kits.

Hamilton Music

With the help of Flutter, Hamilton got an app for both Android and iOS quickly to improve the consistency in apps. This app uses the best features of Flutter to give users updates about Hamilton, video clips, trivia, merchandise, and more.

eBay Motors

eBay Motors has used Flutter to develop one of its apps, allowing users to buy and sell vehicles with their smartphones. This app was launched in a year with a fantastic user interface, and they have even described the whole process in eBay Motors: Accelerating With Flutter.

Yandex Go

Yandex Go got its robust and reliable delivery app using Flutter. This app offers cab rides, allows users to order food from their favorite restaurants, or just send items across the city. You can track your driver in real-time without wasting time.

Groupon

Groupon is another giant that decided to use Flutter app development for their business. With the help of Flutter, they got two types of apps developed, one was customer-facing, and the other was merchant-facing. Both these apps were a massive success for Groupon to expand its customer base.

Capital One

The Capital One mobile app is developed using Flutter. It offers the users the ability to manage their Capital One credit card, deposit account, understand the process of increasing their credit score, etc. This mobile app is highly interactive and user-friendly as it is fueled with the functionalities offered by Flutter app development.

Reflectly

Reflectly is a mindfulness journaling app developed using Flutter and driven by artificial intelligence. This app allows users to create a personal journal with stories and takes answers to different questions daily. And all the features of this app are wrapped in a beautiful AI using Flutter app development.

My Leaf

The NissanConnect EV app got a fast and straightforward alternative developed with Flutter in the form of My Leaf. With a NissanConnect subscription, you can access all your vehicle’s data. Be it the current climate control state, scheduling climate control, or retrieving the last location of your car, this app offers it all.

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Flutter Pros and Cons

Pros of Flutter App Development

  • Cross-platform development
  • Hot reloading for faster coding
  • Seamless integration
  • More rapid testing owing to the same codebase
  • Perfect for building MVP
  • Code sharing

Cons of Flutter App Development

  • The limited size of the developer’s community
  • Bigger application size
  • Frequent changes to the development environment
  • A limited set of libraries and tools compared to its counterparts

What is React Native?

React Native is a JavaScript-based open-source mobile app development framework. This cross-platform app development framework develops apps using a single codebase, and the design is similar to React. React Native is made up of components that are fundamentally UI building blocks put together using JavaScript and React.

React Native was created as a part of Facebook’s Hackathon project in 2013 and was launched officially in March 2015 and made available for use on GitHub. As React Native is quite a mature framework, it has a more extensive community of developers to steer anyone out of any errors or complications.

React Native focuses on the native rendering of applications compatible with Android and iOS. Being a JavaScript-based framework, React Native offers a painless creation of interactive user interfaces.

| Bonus Read: 11 React Native Component Libraries You Should Know

Things You Must Know About React Native App Development

React Native has an entirely component-driven architecture which makes it extensible and easy. The main motto of React Native for developers is to learn once and then write everywhere. React Native exhibits high performance leading it to be the choice of many famous giants and thus can be considered the future of hybrid app development. So, here are a few things you must know as React Native will take hybrid app development on a roll in the near future.

  • React Native is based on JavaScript, one of the fastest programming languages
  • Easy and comfortable in development, React Native is the first choice for most developers
  • Owing to a relatively lesser cost of development, React Native has become very popular among the clients
  • As React Native is open-source, there is a wide choice of libraries to choose from while developing an application

Apps Built with React Native

apps made with react native

Facebook

React Native was born as a part of Facebook’s hackathon project and eventually created both Android & iOS versions of the Facebook app. The use of React Native proved to be the biggest milestone for the Facebook app witnessed as the performance improvement witnessed was huge.

Instagram

Instagram was brave enough to choose React Native and integrate it with their existing native application. They started by implementing the WebView for Push Notifications and transformed the entire application into React Native faster than they expected due to 85% of code sharing between Android and iOS.

Skype

Microsoft opted for React Native in 2017 to get an app developed that is uncanny to the desktop app. Skype being primarily a VoIP software for video calls, voice calls, and messaging, required robustness and consistency over all the platforms. React Native met the challenge quite successfully, and users applauded that as well.

Pinterest

Pinterest decided to opt for React Native due to its cross-platform development and effective code sharing. As Pinterest is kind of a social networking platform without any communication, it requires aesthetic, pleasant, and consistent UI across various platforms.

Bloomberg

The engineering team at Bloomberg leveraged the cross-platform native app development promise of React Native to get their consumer mobile app developed. This mobile app offers the users easily accessible content, live feeds of Bloomberg’s media, interactive experience, a streamlined UI, and much more.

Facebook Ads Manager

The first React Native app was developed for iOS, and the first cross-platform app developed in the company is Facebook Ads Manager. Using React Native, they could implement complex business logic, manage various data formats, animations, transitions, etc. Basically, the overall experience was elevated for users as well as developers.

Tesla

Tesla Motors always chooses the best in the field, and so they opted for React Native to get their mobile app developed. This app demanded an easy interactive UI development for the Tesla vehicle users and Powerwall to manage chargers, horns, locks, lights, etc.

Amazon

Amazon is an ecommerce giant that has created a mark for its easy-to-access services and simplistic user interface. Built on React Native, Amazon ensures to leverage all the benefits and features of React Native to enhance their user experience.

Netflix

Netflix is the most famous platform for witnessing the latest movies, TV shows, etc. This app is loved by everyone due to its simple UI and highly interactive UX. Netflix mobile app is built using React Native to fill it with all the goodness and elevate user experience constantly by keeping them glued to the features of this app.

UberEats

With the help of React Native, UberEats was able to get its mobile application an elegant user interface, smooth user experience, multiple features such as push notifications, and a lucid dashboard. The ease of access for the users and a seamless dashboard owe its existence to React Native.

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React Native Pros and Cons

Pros of React Native App Development

  • Fast refresh for faster coding
  • Cross-platform development
  • It uses JavaScript
  • Mature framework with stable APIs
  • Huge supportive community
  • Web and ReactXP libraries
  • React developers have an edge

Cons of React Native App Development

  • Highly fragile UI
  • Relatively poor documentation
  • It does not have many out-of-the-box components compared to its counterparts
  • Abandoned packages and libraries

Flutter vs React Native: A Close Comparison

Performance

Cross-platform development focuses on targeting several platforms such as mobile apps, web apps, and more. And so, the performance on each of these platforms must be taken into consideration. As Flutter is based on the Dart programming language, and React Native is based on JavaScript, the final performance is based on these two languages.

Web Performance

JavaScript is one of the basic front-end development languages. React Native rules the web development area. Whether performance or speed, you get everything best with React Native when developing a website or web application. Flutter is suitable for website development if you have a working prototype of the mobile app.

Mobile Performance

When mobile performance is evaluated, Flutter has proved to be faster. Out of the many reasons, one of the significant reasons to choose Flutter for mobile development is that Dart directly connects with the device. At the same time, JavaScript has an interpreter or bridge that connects it to the device, which makes it more time and resource-consuming. So, this point goes to Flutter, without a doubt.

Compatibility

When it comes to compatibility, Flutter supports the versions of Android 4.1+ and iOS 8+. At the same time, React Native supports the versions of Android 4.1+ and iOS 10+. Both Flutter and React Native offer near-native performance with hardware communication and highly complex features. In the case of mapping, geolocation, camera, video chats, streaming, and other native features, both Flutter and React Native show compatibility.

Flutter has numerous in-built plugins by Google to provide high compatibility with the device’s features. React Native sometimes faces issues in keeping a stable, compatible connection with the device features. Apart from this, both Flutter and React Native show complete support for third-party analytics solutions that can enhance the device’s performance. But, in one-in-a-million cases, React Native-developed apps’ performance is hindered.

Testing

When a smooth development and deployment process is to be maintained, testing plays a significant role. In the case of React Native, there is no official support for integration testing and UI-level testing. Thus, the developers have to take the help of third-party testing tools to ensure that the app is bug-free. Even the deployment process is not officially supported, nor is it automated, which implies that manual steps must be followed to deploy apps on the store.

When we consider Flutter, it offers complete support for automated testing as it functions on Dart, apart from extensive support for various testing features and detailed documentation for Android and iOS. And finally, Flutter offers an officially documented process for deploying apps on AppStore and PlayStore.

Documentation

React Native is more mature than Flutter and has been around for a long while. Still, when it comes to documentation, Flutter gets the brownie points for having better, detailed, more developed, and easily navigable documentation. Flutter’s documentation starts with an insight into the technical background and steers through the details slowly with complete explanations. Whereas, React Native’s documentation does not have organization and depth compared to Flutter.

However, both Flutter and React Native can be learned independently and in detail from various platforms such as Reddit, StackOverflow, etc.

Time to Market

One of the most important factors to be considered while choosing the right framework for mobile app development is the time to market. Both Flutter and React Native have the feature of code reuse which can effectively reduce the development time. React Native is relatively mature compared to Flutter, so it has a vast community of developers and engineers.

Thus, there are many ready-to-use libraries available for developers to pick and use. Flutter was launched two years later, making it younger with a smaller community. Nevertheless, Flutter has more features and is strongly supported by Google engineers.

Flutter vs React Native: Key Differences to Know

Flutter vs React Native
AttributesFlutterReact Native
Release dateMay 2017March 2015
Created byGoogleFacebook
Programming languageDartJavaScript
Open-sourceYesYes
Platform supportedAndroid, iOS, Web AppsAndroid, iOS, Web Apps
ArchitectureFlutter BLoCFlux and Redux
DocumentationExtensiveExtensive
JIT, AOT compilationYesNo
UICustomized widgetsNative components
Hot reloadingYesYes
Time to marketFasterRelatively slower
Native appearanceGood as it has access to the core functionalities of the deviceAverage as it depends on third-party apps
LibrarySmall and non-inclusiveLarge and inclusive
DeploymentEasy with in-built librariesRequires third-party solution support
Code reusability50-80%90%
StabilityThe alpha version is not apt for larger projectsStable since its launch
SpeedQuick developmentTakes relatively more time for development
Community supportAverageVery strong
LicenseNew BSD licenseMIT license

React Native vs Flutter: What to Choose?

Flutter is the best choice if you are looking to create an MVP in a short amount of time. Due to the built-in native components, hot-reload feature, and other amazing features, Flutter is the best tool for development with iterations. Also, if you are looking to develop an application that needs a highly interactive and aesthetically pleasant user interface, then Flutter is your perfect partner.

React Native can be perfect for you if your project is cross-platform, expected to expand, and deeply rooted. React Native offers excellent documentation while creating complex cross-platform applications as a mature framework and a huge community of developers to support. Another fact that needs to be considered is that if you are planning to reuse the code for desktop applications and web applications, then React Native can offer the best support.

Flutter vs React Native: A Developer’s Verdict

To know both Flutter and React Native indeed requires years of experience and in-depth development skills. To give contrasts and comparisons of Flutter app development and React Native app development, we requested our Sr. Android Application Developer, Kasim Rangwala from OpenXcell Technolabs to share his views. And let’s see what’s his take on Flutter vs React Native,

Being in the industry for the past 7 years, I can say that both Flutter and React Native have their own pros and cons. On one side React Native is more mature and suitable for social networking or ecommerce, etc. Flutter is young, filled with in-built features, and offers great documentation.

Whether to choose Flutter or React Native solely depends on your requirements, time, and budget. If you’re already familiar with React fundamentals you can go with React-Native but Google has a very active development team behind Flutter thus it is evolving at a very rapid pace. Flutter is likely to have stable support for the desktop platform soon & the upcoming Fuchsia OS in the future. I personally see that Flutter seems to be the next big thing.

Summing Up

After all the above-discussed topics, you might have an idea about the good and bad of both Flutter and React Native. When discussing cross-platform development, both Flutter and React Native reduce the time to market, offer reusable codes, and offer great user interfaces. But when it comes to picking one, it solely depends on your project’s requirements and which features you are looking for.

So, both these platforms have their pros and cons. You need to choose the one that offers the best features complementing your app requirements. So, gather your requirements, ping us, and our tech team will guide you through the entire process.

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author
Bhoomi Ramanandi
AUTHOR

Bhoomi Ramanandi is a Content Writer who is working at OpenXcell. With an IT background and more than 7 years of experience in the writing field, she loves learning new technologies and creating useful content about them. She loves pens and paper as much as she loves pan and pepper. Give her the latest technology or any recipe, she is always up for it.

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