The framework used for a mobile application development project greatly influences its chances of success. It goes without saying that a badly constructed app will regularly crash, load slowly, stop responding, and annoy the user experience.
In this respect, the popular dilemma between the choice of native and cross-platform development comes into the picture. Well, some cross-platform development frameworks became popular because they promise to deliver a native user experience without undermining the benefits of reusing a single codebase. The most well-known of these frameworks are Flutter and React Native. Naturally, the Flutter vs. React Native comparison has gained so much popularity among developers.
Before we conclude finding one better than the other, let us first get an overview of these two frameworks, their use cases, best-known apps, and their respective pros and cons. Then we can get into a more detailed comparison.
Launched by Google in 2018, Flutter rose to popularity as a cross-platform UI development kit for building native-looking apps faster for multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, web, and desktop.
The expert team of Flutter developers uses Dart, an object-oriented programming language known for clean coding conventions and quality solutions. Flutter comes with an extensive repository of modular UI widgets for shaping the user interface specific to each platform.
Some leading apps that use Flutter include Google Ads, eBay, Alibaba, BMW, Tencent, and others.
Flutter App development: Pros and Cons
Like everything in the world, despite being popular, Flutter has its own pros and cons. Let’s have a quick look.
- Fast-paced development because of modular widgets and one shareable codebase.
- Flutter’s cross-platform development capability goes well beyond mobile OS and allows building apps for web and desktop platforms as well.
- Faster testing and development cycles thanks to an instant evaluation of the code through running the app is a great advantage of Flutter.
- Flutter comes with very extensive documentation to guide new and aspiring developers.
- The widget-based UI development without relying on the native UI layer ensures faster and modular development.
Flutter has its own darker sides as well. Let’s see them briefly.
- Flutter apps take a lot longer than other frameworks.
- Flutter apps have a footprint and hence need a separate hosting solution.
- For complex and data-rich apps, Flutter often creates performance issues.
- Dart is still a relatively new and less known programming language in the developer community.
Which types of app projects should use Flutter?
Flutter is excellent for specific app projects while proving its shortcomings for certain app projects. Startup app projects and all projects having shorter development timelines and smaller budgets find Flutter a befitting technology. App projects focused on user interface design and needed frequent iteration to find Flutter great for its modular widgets and Hot Reload protocol.
Some leading apps built using React Native include Facebook, Instagram, Bloomberg, Walmart, and many others.
React Native App development: Pros and Cons
React Native made cross-platform development popular and reigned for years in the app development space. But its greatness is balanced by some shortcomings as well.
- By connecting native UI layers of respective platforms achieves a fully native user experience.
- Component-based modular architecture and access to many third-party tools make it a versatile framework.
- Being the most popular cross-platform technology, it has a large developer community behind it.
- Despite being a cross-platform framework, React still requires native development skills for platform-specific UI building.
- React comes with a smaller range of out-of-the-box tools and needs to depend more on third-party tools.
- React Native apps are generally bigger in footprint than native apps.
What types of app projects find React Native more suitable?
React Native is more suitable for large, complex, and multifaceted cross-platform app projects. On the other hand, excellent community support allows any new developers to get the necessary help for their app projects.
Key differences between the: Flutter vs. React Native
Now that you understand the capabilities of both frameworks as well as their primary advantages and disadvantages, it is time to shine some light on each area and choose which framework is best for a certain area. Let's look at the key differences between Flutter and React Native.
- UI Design and look
React Native, instead of relying on out-of-the-box UI components for a native look, always depends on third-party UI components. On the other hand, Flutter comes with an extensive repository of built-in native UI widgets. Naturally, Flutter apps are fast-loading and high-performance-focused.
- Development cost and resource availability
- App Security
As far as the security of the app and its data is concerned, both lack enough advanced security protocols. Hence using third-party security tools is common in most Flutter and React Native projects.
- Community support
A major area of difference between the two frameworks is community support. Since React Native is older and has the largest developer community worldwide, it is backed by continuous support for every passing development issue and challenge. React Native community is also highly active across developer platforms and continuously provides feedback and help for every app project. Flutter now only has a budding community of developers who fast extend their footprints across many projects.
- Summing it up
For those who believe that the rivalry between frameworks is sufficient for pushing the boundaries of innovation and originality, both Flutter and React provide enormous value. There is no simple answer to deciding. It is determined by the app project's length, complexity, budget, and development time.