React Native vs Flutter – Comparison for Making Right Choice at the Right Time

React Native vs Flutter – Comparison for Making Right Choice at the Right Time

React Native vs Flutter comparison has flooded the internet for past 4 years. Many have tried to judge the winner between the two most popular frameworks in the world. It is natural to be worried about using the best software that is beneficial for the growth of business. However, sometimes the conditions require much more than what it seems at the beginning.

The market is becoming highly volatile and competitive so taking an advantage might not be easy if the user relies on just pros and cons of the software. If both of these powerhouses are absolutely best at what they do, as the reports on the internet suggest then imagine what can a developer achieve if he/she becomes proficient in both.

It is definitely a tedious task but it sure does help in the ever-growing mobile application market. There has always been a gap between applications developed for Android and iOS. Tech industry has faced issues in hiring two separate teams to manage each platform, which is why it came up with the idea of cross-platform mobile applications.

Next challenge was to make these cross-platform apps feel like native on iOS and Android both. Two of the best software that are doing this job well are Google’s Flutter and Facebook’s React Native. It might not be important to judge which one is better but only to identify which one can better solve the kind of task at hand.

To take this hybrid approach in cross-platform app development, developers can relate between strengths and weaknesses in a fair React Native vs Flutter comparison.

React Native vs Flutter – Key Differences

Both platforms have their pros and cons but let’s identify if they can cover each other’s gap in cross-platform app development. There are several questions in the mind of professionals regarding these two technologies. The major one is of course choosing the framework that is best suited for the project. The preferred technology among React Native vs Flutter must be able to create user-friendly and stable applications. Then it must also provide the fastest solution for app to reach market in as less time as possible.

While both frameworks are perfectly capable of all this, there can be certain projects where one could produce better results than the other. A rational analysis based on its pros and cons would allow developers to check whether their preferred framework is suitable for the given project.

When React Native is Best Suited for the Job?

React Native (RN) is by far the most popular technology in cross-platform mobile development. It gave birth to the apps like Facebook and Instagram, which are being used relentlessly on both Android and iOS. The social media giant created RN as a project for a design event, hackathon in 2013. For others developers, it became available to use in 2015.

This platform has made the developer’s life a bit easier. Due to native components, the app’s components also upgrade after every system update. The chance for a glitch or bug is very rare. RN is usually the first choice for developers who are well-versed in JavaScript language. It allows them to develop an app in short time. There is also a massive support community of RN so it is possible to cover all platforms. Moreover, it is best for deploying a single codebase for multiple platforms including desktop.

Some developers are fluent in structured languages like PHP, C, C++, Ruby, or Pascal. RN also offers TypeScript programming language for trans-piling large applications like high-end video games to JavaScript. So, it is easy for the users of other language to work in RN. This dynamic eco-system of language is liberating for developers but sometimes there can be problems.

RN also trans-piles the JS code into native language and then native modules have to connect with JS code at runtime. This process makes the app slower in some cases. Therefore, if the application needs to perform complex tasks like calculations in the background, then it is recommended to not use RN. Similarly, if the app requires to use Bluetooth for communication, then RN is not a best fit.

There is also some security gap because RN is an open-source platform with an extremely common language. Almost anybody with JS knowledge can attack the app and input any kind of malicious code in its source code. Hackers can even manipulate certificates, which are the proof of identity for the server. RN does not provide any built-in function to secure sensitive data which is why it is the primary concern and effort for most developers. It requires a lot of time for the app manufacturer to apply proper security protocols. This is one of reasons why app created in RN reaches the market late. It can be best suited for those who have lot of time and money on their hands.

When to use Flutter?

Google’s Flutter closed many technical gaps of RN but it is also not the “do all” solution the debaters might be looking for. React Native vs Flutter was never about finding a superior framework that can do everything. It is about using their core differences to plan which one will create what kind of apps more effectively. Otherwise, Flutter is deemed the best in almost every React Native vs Flutter comparison on the internet. It is fairly new in the cross-platform app development scene but it certainly gained a lot of admirers.

It offers a highly customizable UI to make aesthetically brilliant applications. Developers who wish their apps to look beautiful certainly go for Flutter. The toolkit provides a lot of widgets which can help in creating a unique app that stands out from the rest. It doesn’t matter how complex the functions are, Flutter can customize almost everything. In addition, it does not require the developer to create bridge between framework and native modules unlike RN. It uses all UI frameworks together with required protocols, so the developers do not have to use multiple technologies to make one app.

This is how Flutter’s development framework is faster than most of its alternatives. Time-to-market is also less than the app made in RN because the developer needs to optimize each UI component separately in RN. Flutter’s widget-powered system allows the app to be completed in shorter time, given the hold on Dart language. The speed of creating applications in Flutter is reportedly between 60 FPS and 120 FPS. Flutter is also an ideal choice if the developer is planning to create Minimal Viable Product (MVP).

This framework might not work well with those app that do not need visual enhancement. Given the large library, it could be unnecessarily time consuming to create a lightweight app. The apps that require complex data processing or calculation could be good for Flutter. Some examples include Google’s apps, eCommerce apps, and various finance apps. Creating such apps in Flutter could give them more security features, much easily than React Native.

Some of the major concerns about Flutter were about its learning curve and the supporter-base. Most developers have a professional background of JavaScript which is why they use RN to produce results. Flutter requires the knowledge of Dart language, which gaining popularity very quickly. According to the records, as soon developers got hang of it, Flutter also started to get popular. It ends up higher in searches on Google Trends and have more than 110,000 stars in Github while React Native has around 90,000. Still the React Native vs Flutter competition is going tough as nails.

Common Ground

As both frameworks offer distinctive advantages, it would not be wise to single one out. A developer with the knowledge of Dart language would be more than willing to work on Flutter. Similarly, a veteran JavaScript developer would choose RN to get things done. However, the traffic of young coders has been dramatically moving towards Flutter. For those who have started RN before, there are many documentations on the internet which can help them apply their RN knowledge to start making apps with Flutter.

Currently, the Google’s framework cannot support 3D applications due to which React Native is still a formidable contender. RN was the most popular framework for using the single codebase for web and desktop for a long time. Flutter made this feature easier in Flutter 2.0 version launched in 2021. However, its community started to grow well before that. Interestingly more than 2 million developers have used flutter since its launch and published over 90,000 Flutter apps on Play Store.

Yet, many reasons block the developers from using Flutter. It lacks critical libraries that are important for many developers and also critical language features which Dart does not offer yet.  Application would fail to perform a desired function if such requirements are lacking. More than 40% of the developer community uses React Native to avoid running into similar troubles. In the latest update React Native 0.64, Hermes is available for iOS too which was previously Android-only. Now RN apps are more lightweight, perform better, and decreases TTI (Time to Interact) on iOS platforms. React Native vs Flutter battle is only going to get intense from here.