The framework you choose for your future application determines its productivity and feature set. A poorly designed app will, without a doubt, overheat the user’s device, lag, and malfunction. This is the origin of the long-standing conflict between native and cross-platform development, as well as the conflict between the two main streams of cross-platform development frameworks: Flutter and React Native.
According to Statista, React Native and Flutter are the most popular technologies for cross-platform software development of mobile applications for the second year in a row. Their adoption rate is increasing and has surpassed the competition. In this article, we will compare Flutter and React Native and ask experts which is better for app development.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is a lightweight user interface toolkit. In other words, it is a complete app Software Development Kit (SDK) that includes widgets and tools.
Flutter allows for the creation of cross-platform apps. It makes it simple for developers to create and deploy visually appealing, natively-compiled applications for mobile (iOS, Android), web, and desktop – all from a single codebase.
What is React Native?
React Native is a useful framework for:
- Development on multiple platforms.
- Creating apps for both Android and iOS from a single codebase
- Using the same React design,
After that, we will compare the benefits and drawbacks of React Native vs. Flutter based on some criteria.
Before we begin, let’s review some fundamental information about the technologies so that everyone is on the same page. React Native was created as a mobile application framework, and Flutter was created as a User Interface Software Development Kit (SDK) for mobile apps. Since then, technologies have evolved and expanded their device coverage significantly. Flutter and React Native are now both development tools for mobile apps (Android and iOS), as well as the web, desktop (Linux, Windows, and Mac), and embedded (AndroidTV, tvOS, car OS, and others).
Design and Graphics Capabilities of React Native vs. Flutter Apps
Although they use very different approaches to drawing user interfaces, both React Native and Flutter have excellent graphical features. Each of these technologies has the potential to produce pixel-perfect graphics and comprehensive animations.
React Native takes on native visual elements and appearance, such as buttons, navigation, and menus. These elements appear natural to the user and provide a consistent, personalized experience. When the operating system is updated, the app elements are updated to maintain the feel of nativeness and similarity to other native applications. Keep in mind, however, that the app will always appear slightly different on iOS and Android devices, as well as in different firmware versions.
The app will look the same with Flutter regardless of the OS version or device model. Unless the software engineer intentionally upgrades the navigation and elements, they will remain unchanged. When developed in a hurry or carelessly, Android users may encounter strange-looking iOS-styled menus, while Apple users may struggle with Android-style elements. The overall appearance and feel of the app are more reminiscent of hybrid frameworks (Xamarin, Ionik, and Cordova) than native. You can achieve a personalized native feel and look for both platforms separately with additional effort, which is, by the way, available off-the-shelf with React Native. However, it is far more straightforward to implement a common neutral style for all devices and reduce project scope.
1. Time to Market
Time to market is probably the most important factor in mobile app development. Because of their cross-platform origins, Flutter and React Native enable code reuse rather than writing separate independent apps, which would normally necessitate hiring more engineers with different skills and expanding the project’s scope. They enable engineers to reuse up to 80% of the code for iOS, Android, web, and desktop devices. Furthermore, each framework addresses all aspects of application development, including UX/UI, business logic, and app integrations. Let’s compare to see who is the best of the best in terms of time to market:
Engineers’ communities that support and aid in the resolution of non-trivial development issues
Because React Native is older, it has a larger community that has produced a large number of ready-to-use packages and libraries. However, some of those have not been supported or updated and thus cannot be used as-is. Furthermore, it becomes difficult to select one of many similar solutions that will best fit a specific scenario.
Flutter was released in 2017, two years after React Native, but it was fully supported by Google engineers from the start. It has much better documentation and fewer pre-set widgets that are regularly updated. Flutter comes with more features than just work, whereas React Native necessitates researching and connecting third-party libraries.
Which is more liked and loved by developers, resulting in higher development productivity?
In any industry, the most productive people want their tools and workflows to be better and faster. According to a Stackoverflow survey of 65,000 developers, Flutter ranks third among the most popular non-web frameworks with 69 percent. React Native is ranked tenth, with a slightly lower preference rate of 58 percent. We assume the developers like both because the difference is insignificant.
According to the survey, React Native and Flutter are also among the top four most desired frameworks for software developers to master. The RN is slightly ahead. We anticipate that more developers will become proficient in both tools in the coming years.
Which developers are easier to find? Which developers cost less on average?
Even though Flutter developers are less expensive on average than React Native Mobile App Development, finding one in your area can be difficult. Flutter uses Dart, the programming language used by Flutter, which is distinct from traditional web development technology, despite its similarities to Java and C#. It is also more popular among junior developers than savvy developers.
It is difficult to scale the Flutter engineering team, whereas React Native developers are easier to train and hire. This has a significant impact on a mobile application’s time to market.
2. Reliability and Further Support
Despite the fact that they were developed by the world’s leading technology companies (Facebook developed React Native and Google developed Flutter), both frameworks are open-source and distributed under permission-free licenses. These two IT behemoths used these SDKs to create their own apps, such as the Facebook app, Instagram, Google Ads, and Google Pay apps. As a result, they are clearly concerned with framework reliability, support, and further development.
Flutter is simpler and more resistant to changes brought about by operating system updates. React Native is dependent on device native elements, which necessitates additional adaptation efforts for iOS and Android applications in the event of system updates. This is not a disadvantage of React Native; rather, it is a necessary trade-off for the app’s native experience. To be clear, you should anticipate the same issues with native mobile development to avoid minor unwanted bugs in UIs. Fortunately, significant OS updates are not common.
3. App Compatibility, App Features, and CI/CD
React Native is ranked sixth among the most popular non-web frameworks, libraries, and tools on Stackoverflow, with 11.50 percent of preferences. Flutter, on the other hand, receives 7.20 percent of the vote and ranks ninth. They combine to form the two most popular cross-platform technologies.
Shopping, Social, Finance, Productivity, and Parenting are the top five app categories built with Flutter. The following are some of the most popular Flutter apps on the Google Play Store:
- Google Ads.
The top five categories of React Native apps are Events, Shopping, Food & Drink, House & Home, and Business. Here are some of the most popular RN apps on the Google Play Store:
4. Market Trends and Further Technologies Evolution
Since 2020, the number of people searching for Flutter on Stackoverflow has surpassed that of React Native. This pattern is an early indicator of future growth and market distribution.
As a result, the software developer community had more questions, shared solutions, and shared knowledge and backgrounds with their peers.
Everything changes quickly in today’s modern technological world. The earlier you enter the market, the larger your slice of it will be. React Native debuted two years before Flutter, which is why it is the market leader in cross-platform development. Flutter, on the other hand, is on the right track as its adoption rate is increasing. It’s only a matter of time before Flutter overtakes the market’s leadership.
5. Ultimately, which is better: React Native vs. Flutter
In terms of performance, compatibility, app features, engineering cost, and future market trends, React Native outperforms Flutter. However, when it comes to finding software developers, React Native clearly outperforms. The availability of skilled engineers has a direct impact on time to market. This is critical for many businesses when selecting the right technology for an app.
6. Buyers Guide
React Native is an excellent choice for projects with simple functionality and many entities in common, such as events, social media, eCommerce, and customer loyalty apps. If you have an established business with a decent number of customers and the mobile app is not a primary product, choose React Native because it allows you to market natively looking apps much faster.
Flutter is ideal for unusual new projects that require accurate calculations and complex animations, as well as when functionality is more important than perfect design. It’s a good option for early-stage tech startups looking to build an appealing proof-of-concept with the bare essentials on a small budget, find a product-market fit, and then scale.
Both technologies, as well as the cross-platform approach as a whole, have a promising future.
Why did we create this article?
Cross-platform solutions are becoming increasingly popular. Although Flutter and React Native are the market leaders, at Groove Technology, we will build commercial apps for partners using the approach that best fits the solution – whether native, Flutter, or React Native.
Nonetheless, business owners are always curious about the answers to several critical questions:
- Which framework is best suited to my project?
- Which solution will give my app the shortest time to market?
- Will my app be stable and easy to use?
- What is the best solution if the perfect design is my top priority?
We hope it helps you make a smart, conscious decision when it comes to choosing the best cross-platform solution for your app idea.
Making compromises usually results in choosing the wrong mobile development technology. At the end of the day, this results in an unscalable application that prevents further company growth.
If you haven’t decided which is better for your project in the Flutter vs. React Native debate, chances are the answer goes beyond the options presented. Please contact us, and we will assist you in selecting the most appropriate mobile app technology for your project.