React Native Or Flutter: Which One To Choose For Your Project?
The rise of mobile applications has significantly impacted the development industry. With more than 3.6 billion mobile users globally, new approaches take less time and effort to develop mobile apps. Flutter and React Native are the two primary hybrid frameworks for developing mobile applications. And they both continue to gain in popularity.
However, most organizations find it a massive waste of time to develop native apps for each platform. To build cross-platform mobile applications, they search for specific technologies and think about which is preferable: Flutter or React Native.
So why would we pick native app development when hybrid applications are an option? Flutter and React Native are the two ideal cross-platform programming options. Both offer many functionalities, open-source frameworks, and the power to create nearly any application.
Despite two similar aspects of cross-platform app development, Flutter and React Native is commonly referred to as fierce competitors. Both help developers reduce the Time to Market (TTM) for delivering interactive business apps to clients, increasing productivity.
Many mobile app development companies develop world-class apps leveraging the best-in-fit methodology to help their clients build their businesses. While it does not recommend utilizing a specific technological framework, such as native, React Native, or Flutter, this post will highlight using a more defined strategy as an alternative.
Here, we compare React Native and Flutter against one another to help decision-makers select the best tech stack and explain the critical differences between the two.
Before we begin a comprehensive comparison, let’s first dig in to understand a basic introduction to Flutter and React Native.
Google created the cross-platform UI framework known as Flutter. Flutter’s popularity has risen gradually since its initial release in May 2017.
Using a single codebase to build cross-platform apps is one of Flutter’s primary selling advantages. In the past, a business would require several tools and developers to build an application that could use on desktop, mobile, and the web.
For example, you may require:
- A web developer that specializes in that field developed the website using React.
- Another developer created the Desktop version using C# and Java.
- A professional mobile developer builds Android and iOS apps using Kotlin and Swift.
This method would need a big team of developers and several meetings to ensure that the Flutter app design & branding are similar across all platforms. Testing each platform and resolving any bugs or quirks it has are various other factors.
With Flutter app development, businesses must maintain one codebase when developing apps for many platforms. The amount of time & money needed to launch and manage an application dramatically decreases.
Flutter 3 introduced several significant changes. The Flutter Compiler allows you to develop iPhone, Android, Web, Windows, Mac, & Linux apps using the same codebase, even though the API for writing mobile and web applications doesn’t change significantly.
Better Firebase support and a Casual Games Toolkit are also included in Flutter 3 for those who want to use it to make games.
Here are some astounding stats about Flutter market usage:
- Globally, 42% of people use Flutter to develop cross-platform mobile applications. (Source: Statista)
- 68.8% of the emerging community adores Flutter. (Source: StackOverflow)
- Due to the popularity of its libraries and tools, 13.55% of the community selected Flutter. (Source: StackOverflow)
React Native Overview
Many businesses nowadays use React Native for app development. One competitive advantage arising with React Native lately by Microsoft is the new Xbox store app. React Native, like Flutter, enables the development of cross-platform apps from a single codebase.
The version of React Native, 0.68, enables opt-in support for the newly released React Native architecture that uses the TurboModule and Fabric Renderer systems. It is opt-in only because not all libraries have yet shifted to the new architecture.
With a faster and more flexible toolkit, the Fabric Renderer adds React Suspense, concurrency, and server-side rendering to React Native.
Here are some remarkable stats about React Native market growth:
- 38% of developers have used React Native to develop cross-platform applications in 2021. (Source: Statista)
- 14.51% of developers prefer React Native due to its native tools and libraries. (Source: StackOverflow)
- 58.8% of the development community adores React Native. (Source: StackOverflow)
Flutter And React Native Pros And Cons
Pros of Flutter
- Hot-reloading: The Stateful Hot Reloading functionality instantly updates the application without losing its state.
- Rich widgets: Provides rich widgets that adhere to Material Design (Android) standards and Cupertino (iOS).
- Seamless integration: It easily connects with Java for Android & Swift or Objective C for iOS, eliminating the need to rewrite any code.
- Quick shipping: Offers fast iteration cycles and reduces build time because just one codebase needs to be tested.
- Codesharing: The ability to write and share codes more quickly and easily across platforms makes it ideal for MVP development.
Cons of Flutter
- Tools and Plugins: Although the libraries and tools are great, React Native has more resources.
- User interface: Plugins have trouble producing vector graphics and animation support promptly.
- Operating platform: Not suitable for developing applications for Android Auto, watchOS, CarPlay, or tvOS.
- Updates: Patches and updates cannot be quickly deployed into apps without first going through the regular release steps.
Pros of React Native
- Native rendering: Uses the host platform to render APIs natively without HTML or CSS markup.
- Performance: Translates an application’s markup to mimic UI elements while maintaining excellent performance.
- Ecosystem: Uses a robust ecosystem & UI libraries to re-render the design of the app whenever a state changes.
- Debugging: Makes error reporting and intelligent debugging tools available.
- Hot-reloading: Hot reloading enables the instant insertion of new codes into running applications.
Cons of React Native
- User Interface: Certain native UI components may not be supported by the native rendering of APIs, giving the UI a slightly odd look.
- Tools and Plugins: Third-party libraries utilized for better implementation may frequently be outdated.
- Performance: It has poor performance because it does not support parallel threading and multiple processing.
- Debugging: It could be challenging to modify, review codes, and correctly view UI elements in the Chrome debugger.
Flutter vs. React Native Performance
It is pretty debatable how React Native and Flutter work differently. Flutter and React Native communities are somewhat divided over “performance” because everything about them suggests that they will be quick and agile. However, because native modules and external libraries are used, React Native has also been targeted for its performance. Let’s go into further detail to uncover the performance differences between Flutter and React Native.
What makes Flutter different in terms of performance?
A Flutter app runs faster than a React Native version. Due to the native components’ essential availability, there is no need for a bridge to enable interaction between native modules. According to the performance test, the “hello world” app consistently rendered images at 60 frames per second, and each frame took no more than 16 milliseconds to display. Fewer frames were dropped, which is good. As was already noted, Flutter uses the Skia graphics package, which enables the UI to be updated whenever the application view changes. It makes sense that Flutter can operate effectively even at 60 FPS.
What makes React Native different in terms of performance?
Flutter vs. React Native Architecture
Both Flutter and React Native provide application developers with several architectural benefits. Let’s get into further detail about them.
Which type of architecture does Flutter support?
The architecture of Flutter is layered. The architecture of a basic application based on this framework begins with a top-level root function or, in other terms, platform-specific widgets. Basic widgets that interact with the platform & rendering layers come next. The animation gestures that convey API calls to the application’s base layer are present above the rendering layer. It is also called Scaffold and is powered by a platform-specific embedder and a C/C++ engine. Consider using Flutter BLoC if you wish to decouple the display layer from business logic. The ability to build complex apps from small, accessible components is made simpler by this architecture for both experienced and newbie Flutter developers.
Which type of architecture does React Native support?
Flutter vs. React Native Testing
One of the main objectives of development is to maintain the flawless execution of code with the least amount of time and effort. Let’s look at how much simpler it is to do testing in Flutter and React Native apps in the section below.
How simple is it to test a Flutter app?
Flutter provides substantial support for automated testing because it works with a dart. It boasts comprehensive documentation and many testing options to test applications at the unit, widget, and integration levels. Flutter also offers thorough documentation for developing and launching iOS apps on the Apple Play Store and Google Play Store, and the deployment procedure is fully documented.
How simple is it to test a React Native app?
React Native boasts that UI-level testing & integration testing are not officially supported. In addition, there aren’t many frameworks for testing React Native apps at the unit level. Due to the lack of official support, developers must rely on third-party tools like Appium and Detox to find bugs.
Additionally, it still automates development and release using third-party libraries. The entire framework offers no automatic processes to upload iOS apps to the App Store. Instead, React Native advises developers to use Xcode to specify the manual app deployment procedure.
User Experience: Flutter vs. React Native
When selecting the ideal mobile development framework for any project, user experience is essential. It aims to provide intuitive experiences that encourage people to remain with the brand or product. A meaningful user experience also enables you to specify customer journeys on the website that are most beneficial to business growth.
Flutter’s ability to provide the most incredible user experience
Through the use of streamlined tools, elements, and custom widgets, Flutter provides a rich user experience. Dart has a generational garbage collection feature that aids in creating UI frames for possibly temporary object codes. By allocating objects within a single pointer bump, Dart’s functionality prevents UI clutter, trash, and shutter of animation delay while the application is being developed.
React Native’s ability to provide the most incredible user experience
It’s challenging for React Native to stay consistent with the continual change in the demands of native platforms like iOS’ Style Design and Android’s Material Design update regularly. Additionally, it is much more challenging to produce consistent designs across platforms because of readymade UI kits, i.e., React Virgin, Ant Design, and Shoutem. However, many essential elements, such as the ScrollView fixed header, the Activity indicators, the Snap carousels, and the Pagination components, considerably enhance the UX across many platforms.
Mobile Application Size: Flutter vs. React Native
The application code size might be significantly affected by the choice of a mobile framework, and the application size should be larger than the framework size for a large project. In this scenario, less size is always more. Let’s compare the sizes of the applications developed by Flutter and React Native.
Application size in Flutter
A basic hello world app written in Flutter weighs around 7.5 MB. The Dart Virtual Machine and the C/C++ engine impact Flutter’s app size. To prevent size issues, Flutter may self-contain all codes and assets. Additionally, adding a specific tag like -split-debug-info reduces the size of the code.
Application size in React Native
The Hello World React Native app was 7 MB in size at first. Later, it added native dependencies, and the size grew to 13.4 MB. Compared to Flutter, React Native can iterate projects more quickly and with smaller file sizes.
It will also reduce the size by automatically creating split builds for all native & external libraries when Proguard is enabled and the enableSeparateBuildPerCPUArchitecture element is used.
Final Thought: When to go for Flutter Development and When to go for React Native Development
Even if it is easy to get React developers, Flutter is a crucial React Native alternative to take into account simply because Google supports it.
Flutter has a built-in rendering engine that allows for really original designs but at the cost of heavier projects. React Native is only compatible with native components, some of which may require manual changes. While a React app has to go through a web interface, a Flutter app may launch directly into the desktop environment.
We’ve built a checklist to help you decide which technologies should be added to your IT stack.
Choose Flutter, if:
- You don’t need native functionality entirely for your plan.
- Both your timeline and budget are constrained.
- You want to write codes more quickly and get them on the market as soon as possible.
- By building a single codebase with multi-platform compatibility, you expect to lower development expenses.
- You want to develop applications that run at 60 to 120 frames per second.
- You need to test less and tweak the user interface using widgets.
Choose React Native, if:
- You want to use cross-platform modules to grow your existing apps.
- Aim to build lightweight native apps.
- You are searching for ways to create shared APIs quickly.
- Aim to build an application with a highly responsive user interface and an asynchronous build.
- You have enough money and time to dedicate to the project.
By the way, EvinceDev specializes in cross-platform app development. So, are you seeking experienced developers to help you start a project from scratch? Let’s contact us for your project, and we will gladly assist you.Science and Technology
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