Two of the popular hybrid app development frameworks are React Native and Flutter. Hybrid apps, a combination of native and web apps, help to develop apps quickly and cost-effectively. These frameworks are used to build cross-platform applications, especially for Android and iOS. A single code is compatible with multiple platforms. It is important to appreciate the differences between the two.
Let us take a quick overview of these two frameworks.
What is Flutter?
Flutter, a UI software development kit, was developed by Google. Flutter, one of the latest frameworks, is a premier open-source SDK. Besides, Flutter is an advanced and powerful tool that helps to create a cross-platform app with a single codebase.
The programming language of Flutter is DART, along with the support of Kotlin and Java. Flutter has C++ and Skia, a 2D rendering engine. In the absence of OEM widgets, it supports component implementation.
Some of the leading clients are Alibaba, Hamilton Musical, Groupon, Tencent, Sonos, EMAAR, and others.
What is React Native?
React Native, a Facebook product, was released in 2013 as a platform for web interface development. It has supported hybrid app development since 2015. However, the stable release was in 2019.
React Native is highly stable and provides a native-like experience. With a single JS codebase, developers can develop cross-platform apps for iOS and Android.
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Its leading clients are Facebook, Bloomberg, Pinterest, Tesla, Uber, Walmart, Skype, Instagram, Gyroscope, and others.
Flutter vs React Native: A Thorough Analysis
Flutter uses Dart as its coding language. Google introduced it in 2011. It also supports Kotlin and Java. However, Dart is rarely employed by developers.
Flutter has built-in widgets. It has proprietary visuals, platform, structural, as well as interactive widgets. These replace components of the native platforms.
React Native depends on native components. However, it also provides external UI kits. These help to create attractive and smooth user interfaces.
Flutter does not contain interconnecting bridges to initiate interactions with native components. The absence of bridges makes interactions faster. Thus, it enhances the overall performance.
On the other hand, React Native connects with native components via a bridge. Hence, the development speed and run-time are slower when compared to Flutter.
Flutter’s documentation is easy to read and understand. It is detailed, streamlined, and straightforward.
React Native has more generalistic documentation. Moreover, it has a high dependency on external dev kits. Besides, the documentation is not straightforward.
React Native is highly popular and widely adopted by developers. React developers can work on React Native too. Hence, more developers use React Native for app development.
Flutter has a smaller community of developers as it is relatively new. However, developers are slowly adopting this framework.
React Native is widely used by developers. It has a vast community of developers as it is being used since 2015.
In the StackOverflow survey, Flutter ranks 65.4%. As Flutter is new, it has fewer job opportunities. However, it is gaining popularity and has wider opportunities in the future.
Flutter is easier to learn. It is developer-friendly. Dart can be easily understood. On the other hand, Dart is closer to native programming languages in terms of usage.
Command Line Interface (CLI)
CLI of flutter provides tools like Flutter Doctor. It searches local machine tools. Further, it analyzes their configuration. Thus the mobile app is smoother.
React Native setup needs experience. The setup guide isn’t detailed. However, React Native uses Expo that makes app development easier. It helps you to view your apps when you code them. It also provides tools to develop, deploy, iterate, and compile.
Flutter makes debugging easier. It has tools that support both Android Studio and Visual Studio. OEM debugger and DevTools help the developers to recognize and understand the errors. The inspector helps to check the visual layer of the app. Hence you can understand what makes it look the way it looks.
Debugging is a bit problematic with React Native. It is difficult to locate the error. A bug can be in JS or Native code or the third-party library as well. Hence it is challenging to debug. However, a new tool Flipper is a rescue for React native debugging.
Packages and Libraries
Flutter has a pub-dev repository. Though it is young, it is dynamically growing.
However, React Native has a huge ecosystem. It has a node package manager that is a repository of packages. It had 1.3 million packages in 2020 hosted in npm. Though npm is mainly dedicated to web development, it easily adapts to React Native apps.
Flutter promises to be a true cross-platform framework. It has SDKs that allow the developers to share the code across multiple compatible platforms.
React Native allows developers to build Android, iOS, and web apps. It also helps to develop desktop applications.
We have understood Flutter vs React Native in various ways. Let us take a look at the Google Trend report on Flutter vs React Native.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Flutter vs React Native app development
Pros of using Flutter
- Hot reloading enables faster coding
- One codebase for iOS and Android
- 50% reduced tests enable easier quality assurance
- Smooth and faster performance
- Native-like user-friendly and attractive designs
- Suitable for MVPs
Cons of Flutter
- Limited developer community
- Functionality not rich as native apps
- Larger app size
React Native: Pros
- Faster refreshing for faster coding
- Single codebase for Android, iOS, desktop, and web apps
- Popular language
- Developers have wide preferences
- Higher maturity than flutter
- Active and vast developer community
React Native: Cons
- Provides close native experience but not native
- Supports basic components only
- Fragile User Interface
- Larger app size
Flutter vs React Native: What to choose?
Hope you have got insights on Flutter vs React Native. If your question is which is better, then it depends on your project. Consider these points before you determine your intention.
- The intention behind the project and its requirements
- The flexibility of the framework to modify the app
- Developers availability
- Support system
Statista reports the similar popularity of both frameworks in three consecutive years.
React Native and Flutter, both frameworks need experienced and skilled developers to make the best app. When used correctly, both give a near-native performance.
Consider the technical benefits as well as limitations before choosing the framework. Choose the development team wisely. Consider the one that helps you to maintain and evolve your mobile application. Know Flutter vs React Native: Language, User Interface, Performance, Community Support, Industry Trends, Learning Curve; Pros and Cons of both.
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