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React Native vs Flutter –Which one is better?

My experience with cross-platform development

I got an exceptional idea of building a mobile app that works on both iOS and Android platforms. Also, I don’t want to invest bundles in the development and market the app in the least time possible. Thereafter, I decided to go ahead with cross-platform development to get things done within time and budget and unlock a new dimension of businesses. I sailed through a great journey, but I faced a problem – which cross-platform development framework should I use- React Native or Flutter.

Both frameworks are leveraged for interactive business app development and fit well with a variety of project development requirements such as stability, user-friendliness, UI/UX design, and the fastest TTM.  So, how can you prove any one of the two is a feasible option or not. Mumbled? Don’t worry.

 Our tech geeks who have tried their hands on both frameworks to build mobile apps have written the one-to-one comparison of both frameworks in detail based on the years of expertise and experience. Let’s dive in!

  • Performance gains

Both frameworks are known for speed and agility but React Native scores lower than Flutter when it comes to performance. React Native uses JavaScript as the bridge to communicate between native modules, which reduces the number of frames by a large amount. Conclusively, it hinders the app performance, so third-party libraries are used for bytecode optimization. On the other hand, in a Flutter, the frames won’t take so much time to render because dart code is compiled to native code that alleviates the JavaScript bridge need, and thereby, the frames won’t get reduced much.

Winner: Flutter wins by a great margin.

  • What’s trending

The collaboration and knowledge sharing platforms like- Stack overflow has conducted a survey to assess the frameworks usage levels by the developers and companies. The survey conducted this year, it’s found that Flutter is more leveraged by the developers as compared to React Native. Though React Native is an old kid on the block, the functionalities, usability, and reliability that Flutter provides are second-to-none.

Winner: Flutter is the most loved and in trend in the IT space.

  • Code maintainability

The large community and official support never signify that upgrading and debugging the code is a plain sailing journey. When it comes to digging deep into the app’s code, this process starts interfering with logic and slows down the production process. Besides, the dependency of native components on the third-party library, which are mostly outdated and therefore, code maintenance becomes an issue. On the flip side, in a Flutter, code’s simplicity makes it easy for the developers to identify issues and source external issues. Plus, the instant issues are resolved by the stateful hot reloading feature.

Winner: Flutter is a clear winner.

  • How much it’s adopted?

There is an adage- the older will be the language the higher will be its popularity. But it goes true in the IT space due to technological advancements and dynamism. When we look at React Native, it has scored higher on the popularity chart and wide adoption too. It’s used by the leading players such as Instagram, Tesla, UberEats, and Facebook globally. Flutter, which’s officially supported by Google has gained optimal attention at speed and embraced by the top honchos like- Hamilton, Google ads, and more.

Winner: It’s neutral.

  • Modularity support

Especially, for the bigger projects, the team members of distinct technical knowledge and skills work on the project simultaneously. That’s where unclear code structure extends the development time. The modular nature of the framework can turn the table upside down. Flutter makes it easier to divide app codes into different modules and different team members work on different modules that improve the code accessibility by different team members.

When it comes to React Native development, different development teams (iOS, react, and Android) find it difficult to correlate and deal with fragmentation issues. Although React Native provides the chances for combining native elements of various OS platforms so that different development teams can work together.

  • Job prospects

When the platform stands high on the popularity ladder and is warmly embraced by the companies, then automatically job opportunities get created in the market. React Native uses React and JavaScript, which leads to more React Native job prospects in the market when compared to Flutter. However, the survey from leading tech communities had proven that the fluctuation in job prospects every year is obvious, and no one can declare any framework as a winner in this case.

  • Easy to test

Testing is all-important to ensure the app performs as expected without any glitches. In React Native, no official support for integration testing and UI level testing is provided, in addition to a couple of unit-level testing offered, which mandates the developers to count on third-party testing tools. On the other hand, Flutter provides immense support for automated testing and testing features that include- testing the app at the widget, unit, and integration level. The detailed documentation makes building and launching apps on Google play store and Apple store a breeze.

Winner: Flutter gets a cut above React Native framework.

  • Architectural advantages

Every framework offers unique architectural benefits to the developers. In React Native, there is a bridge between JS thread and native thread wherein JS code communicates with native API and platform. Depending on the platform type, JavaScriptCore is bundled under the app, or JavaScriptCore is used for running all the codes.

Read more: Technology Stack For On-Demand Appointment Booking App?

Flutter has layered architecture. The app development starts with platform-specific widgets that interact with rendering layers and platforms. Above the rendering layers, there are animation gestures that transfer API calls to the app’s foundation, which’s termed as Scaffold. The presentation layer can be separated from business logic using Flutter BLoC. This way, it becomes a breeze to develop comprehensive applications for both- novices and experienced developers.

Winner: Flutter architectural advantages makes it a preferred option.

  • Best for building complex apps

Complex app development is not a work of an average Joe. The developers need to refer to documentation, guidelines, plugins, and third-party services to build a complex app that performs impeccably.

React Native becomes a good option for engineering complex apps, but only when JS is used in conjunction with native development skills. Flutter is not considered the best fit for complex apps; instead, it’s favored by the organization to build MVPs and then gradually turn them into a complex app.

Winner: React Native is the top choice.  

  • Community support

The developer community keeps growing when the framework or programming language keeps evolving with continuous updates. The community provides great help to the rookie players and even, experienced ones to resolve the existing issues. React Native community is growing since 2015 with thousands of live projects and professionals sharing the development experiences and actively helping others. Flutter is launched after two years of React Native release, but it has received more traction with thousands of live projects handled by the community of hundreds of developers.

Winner: React Native lead the chart with a big community.

  • Learning curve

The difficulty of learning the framework and how to use it to build an app from scratch showcases the learning curve associated with the framework. React Native is a JS-based framework, which makes the development easier for the JS developers. However, the novices find it a little difficult to build a mobile app rather website. There are detailed documentation and tutorials that make learning easier.

Read more : Top 21 React Native Libraries 

Flutter is damn easier because developers need to write code using Dart language. The basic knowledge of development for major platforms and extensive documentation is also a great help.

Winner: Flutter gets an edge over React Native.

  • User experience

It’s a critical aspect of mobile app development that can make or break the app’s success. It’s the UX that makes the users interested in the brand and stay glued to it. When we talk about Flutter, it has all the elements, tools, and widgets in place that help in rendering the best user experience. Additionally, the generational garbage collection creates temporary UI frames for object codes and assigns objects within a pointer bump, which prevents UI junk and clutter of animation lag that’s a par and parcel of the development process.

Secondly, we all know how frequently Google is updating the Material design and Apple upgrading the style design, which necessitates React Native developers to follow the changes, and that’s where the job becomes difficult. Plus, the readymade UI kits make bringing consistency in design for different platforms is a hard nut to crack in.

Winner: Flutter is favored in this condition.

Conclusion

React Native and Flutter frameworks have gained enough popularity in the market due to the unique range of features. When the confusion- ‘which one to prefer’ is created, taking a decision is difficult. Understanding the difficult selection process, the one-to-one comparison of both frameworks is illustrated. Create a checklist of all things you require in the project and then cross-check which framework is meeting all the needs under the hood. Thereafter, make the right decision. All the best!

Renish

Renish

Renish is a business consultant and strategic leader bridging the gap between technology and client satisfaction. With 4+ years of knowledge, innovation, and hands-on experience in providing consultations to startups, agencies, SME's and large enterprises who need hire dedicated development and technology partners. He has also lead to the delivery of countless web development and mobile app development projects.