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A Comparison Between Flutter And React Native

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19 Mar 2019CPOL13 min read
Which is a better framework for your mobile app development, Flutter Or React Native?

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Introduction

As people are getting used to the convenience of mobiles apps, there is an increasing demand for the same. It is making companies also want to have mobile apps to get more customers. Entrepreneurs are finding mobile apps a good business. It is an excellent business opportunity for start-ups with fresh new ideas. Many mobile apps have been able to disrupt existing business models.

As the need for mobile apps increase, developers are looking at ways to build better apps in a faster way. New frameworks are emerging to make work easier for app developers. Developers can create the most attractive native-like apps with Cross-platform app development. These apps provide a better user experience while making the developing process easy and fast.

Flutter Vs. React Native

As more and more frameworks emerge, there is a compulsion to compare these and find out which is more suitable. Flutter is a reasonably new framework while React Native has been here for quite some time now. Both these are cross-platform frameworks helping to develop native apps easily.

A comparison of these frameworks will help many app developers to decide which will be better for their apps. While Flutter is a product from Google, Facebook had launched React Native. Cross-platform frameworks are a great help for developers because it avoids the need for maintaining two teams for the two mobile platforms.

What Is Flutter?

Flutter is a new baby on the block, and it is only fair that we learn more about Flutter before we turn our attention to React Native. Moreover, many people have written about React Native. It has a favorite among developers. So, let us see how Flutter will compare with React Native and what are its salient features.

Google released Flutter in May 2017. It issued a stable version on December 04, 2018. Flutter is one of the latest cross-platform frameworks. Google is touting this as the best framework. That makes it even more necessary for us to learn about Flutter.

Flutter uses the Dart language which is also a product of Google. Google uses these for many of its major projects. You can create native apps for both iOS and Android platforms. Flutter helps an app development company to develop apps very quickly. It is because Flutter uses a single codebase to build apps and interfaces.

Flutter is an open-source framework that is available freely. The widgets that come with Flutter allows you to create very appealing apps. You can create your UI or use any of the available UIs. Flutter uses reactive programming which helps in giving users a better UX and reacts to requests faster and smoother.

Flutter is compiled more directly than the native codes. It uses the GPU and gains access to APIs and the services of the mobile platform. Flutter is the framework for building applications for the new Google Fuchsia. Flutter is a mobile app SDK for creating excellent apps for both platforms.

  1. Flutter is a new framework which Google released in May 2017. Google launched the stable version on December 04, 2018.
  2. Flutter uses Google’s Dart language which Google uses for many projects.
  3. Flutter is free and open-source.
  4. Flutter has widgets, framework, and tools. The widgets allow you to create excellent apps.
  5. Flutter has reactive programming as the base which gives your users an excellent user experience.
  6. Flutter is a cross-platform framework allowing you to create native apps for both platforms.
  7. Flutter uses the GPU, APIs and other services of the mobile platform directly.
  8. It is a mobile app SDK for easy development of mobile apps.

Pros And Cons Of Flutter

Pros

Hot Reload

  1. You can see the changes you make in the code in the app itself due to the hot reload feature.
  2. This feature helps you write the codes faster and thus develop the app also quickly.
  3. Hot reload helps you to experiment or improve the app and see the results immediately.
  4. But not all code changes will use the hot reload feature.

One Code

  1. With Flutter, you can use the same code for both iOS and Android platforms.
  2. Flutter doesn't depend on the platform as it has its widgets.
  3. You can use the same app for both platforms.

Lesser Testing

  1. When there is only one app, you just have to test that.
  2. You need to write the automatic tests only once as there is only one codebase.

Faster Apps

  1. Flutter offers a quick and smooth app performance. Users can scroll very smoothly without any lag.
  2. This smooth performance is thanks to the unique reactive programming that Flutter uses.

Appealing Designs

  1. With Flutter, you can create your widgets to offer users an attractive app design.
  2. You can also customize the existing widgets to make it suitable for your app.

Same Look On All Versions

  1. Flutter enables you to give your users the same UI on all versions of the mobile platform.
  2. You can use Flutter on older versions of OS without any additional costs.

Quicker Development

  1. Flutter is an excellent framework for an MVP to show your stakeholders.
  2. Flutter enables you to build an app very quickly.

Cons

Support

  1. You don't have fully developed libraries supporting Flutter yet. You will have to spend more time setting up the libraries.
  2. As a new framework, the community is still in a developing stage.

Integration Support

  1. Many CI platforms like Travis or Jenkins don't support the framework
  2. Your team will have to use custom scripts for automatic building, testing, and launching.

Understanding React Native

Facebook created React Native based on their React library. It is one of the most popular cross-platform frameworks allowing easy creation of apps for both platforms. It became suitable for public use in 2015.

React Native uses components from the React library for developing mobile apps. It uses a virtual DOM for communicating with the mobile platform UI components. React Native doesn’t provide as many widgets as Flutter does.

The components in React Native are adaptive. They can understand whether they are running on iOS or Android platform. It helps them to render the output suitable for the platform.

You can start React Native by installing the create-react-native-app package along with the NPM install-create-react-native-package. The create react native has integration with Expo. With Expo, you can run the codes on your mobile phone without connecting to the laptop. All you need to do is to scan the QR code appearing on the screen.

Almost all the editors that you want to use will support React Native. It also has a hot-reload facility. As the framework has been there for more than three years, numerous packages are supporting it. React Native is here for a few years now and has become a stable framework.

When it comes to documentation React Native has an evident and easy-to-understand record. It will tell you how to use the props. There are many tutorials on how to use React Native to create cross-platform apps. These guides also teach you how to use the native modules and create platform-specific elements.

In the performance front, Flutter has the edge over React Native. React Native doesn't just consist of C, C++ or native languages. Native equivalents compile the UI components. The JS performs separately and communicates through a bridge with the native modules. React Native is faster than many hybrid frameworks but cannot match Flutter.

Flux and Redux are the two major design patterns that React Native uses for creating applications. Facebook created Flux. Redux is a product of the React Native community. These help to keep your app components as stateless as possible.

  1. React Native is one of the most popular cross-platform frameworks. Facebook created the framework.
  2. The framework uses components from the React library to develop mobile apps.
  3. React Native renders the output suitable for the platform as it can know which platform it is running on.
  4. It is effortless to install React Native using the install-react-native-package along with the NPM.
  5. React Native is a stable framework with almost all editors supporting it. It also has a hot-reload facility.
  6. The documentation is very clear, and it has several tutorials that help mobile app developers create apps.
  7. Flux and Redux are the main design patterns that React Native uses to build mobile applications.
  8. In performance, React Native overtakes hybrid platforms but is slightly slower than Flutter.

Pros And Cons Of React Native

Pros

Optimum Performance

  1. You can get better performance with React Native by using native control and modules.
  2. The framework connects to native components of both mobile platforms. It also develops codes for native APIs.
  3. The performance improves as it uses separate threads from UI and native APIs.

Code Reusability

  1. You can reuse the codes written for one platform in the other platform also. It saves much time and effort.
  2. There are open-source libraries containing pre-developed components to help you.
  3. You can implement the codes which are already written and adapt them to the app requirements.

Developers Community

  1. There is a large community to help you if you get stuck with your app development.
  2. You also get an opportunity to contribute to the community. If you find out something new with regard to using React Native, you can publish that in the community.
  3. React Native is a Facebook product and hence the social media site also extends help in providing a platform for developers to communicate.

Live and Hot Reloading

  1. Live reloading refers to compiling and reading the portions where you have made the changes.
  2. Hot reloading allows you to place the corrected file in the right place even when the app is running.
  3. This feature allows you to view the changes live as you make them.
  4. It helps to save a lot of time which would have been wasted for refreshing and viewing the changes.

Economical Solution

  1. React Native is a cheap solution as you can reuse the codes. It saves time for the developer.
  2. The mobile application company doesn’t need to dedicate a large team to rewrite the codes.

Stable Apps

  1. React Native allows you to build more stable apps because it simplifies data binding.
  2. It only allows the updating of specific components. It makes it more reliable and stable.

Useful Solutions and Library

  1. It simplifies app development by providing you readymade solutions and libraries.
  2. There are a large number of libraries that help you in app development.

Cons

New and Immature Framework

  1. Frequent updates force developers to make a lot of changes to incorporate the updates.
  2. You may have to write extra code for elements that don’t match React Native.

Difficult to Learn

  1. React Native is not an easy language to learn, especially for the new app developers.
  2. The reason is that there is JSX in the JavaScript syntax extension where it combines with HTML.

Security Issues

  1. It is an open-source framework with JavaScript library which makes it not so secure.
  2. You will have to provide extra security when you build a bank or financial company apps where data is confidential.

Initializing Delays

  1. Because of the JavaScript threads, React Native takes a long time to initialize the runtime.
  2. It is true even for hi-tech gadgets and devices when you render them for the first time.

How Are React Native And Flutter Similar?

  1. Both are cross-platform frameworks which can help in creating apps for both iOS and Android.
  2. Both Flutter and React Native come from tech giants. Facebook backs React Native while Google has launched Flutter.
  3. Both the frameworks have an active community of developers backing them.
  4. Both are open-source frameworks. They are also free and help in the fast development of cross-platform apps.
  5. They both help app development firms create amazing apps very fast because of their native activities.
  6. Communities of both frameworks are trying their best to keep the documentation updated.
  7. React Native uses UI components while Flutter uses widgets to give an excellent user experience on both iOS and Android platforms.
  8. Both the frameworks support hot-reloading which helps in making changes and viewing them without recompiling or restarting.

Finding The Differences Between React Native And Flutter

Programming Language

  1. React Native uses JavaScript for developing an app. It is a very popular language that developers use widely.
  2. Flutter uses Dart which is also developed by Google. It uses the features of several languages of today.
  3. There are no JavaScript elements or pattern in Dart. It is easy for people who are used to Java and C++.
  4. There is no separation of data files, templates or style.

Stability and Flexibility

  1. React Native offers users an excellent experience by direct communication with the native platforms.
  2. Flutter uses widgets for engaging user experience.
  3. React Native occupies the first position while Flutter is trying to gain top spot because it is still a new framework.

App Development Time

  1. React Native allows the use of third-party libraries and readymade components for the fast building of an app.
  2. Flutter uses a set of high-performance widgets to create a mobile app in lesser time than it takes for native applications.

Performance

  1. Flutter is a clear winner here due to its simplicity. The JavaScript layer enables communication with native elements faster.
  2. With Flutter, you can use the code again. React Native is slightly less suitable due to its architecture.
  3. While both are good, Flutter has a slight advantage due to the Dart language.

IDE and Coding

  1. Flutter is a new framework. Android Studio/IntelliJ and Visual Studio Code support it.
  2. React Native is an old language and almost all IDEs support the framework.
  3. If you want to use Flutter, you have to learn Dart, while you can use React Native if you know JavaScript, which is a very popular language.

 

FLUTTER

REACT NATIVE

User Interface Proprietary widgets Native elements
Native Appearance Direct access to device functionalities Dependent on third-party APIs
Performance High due to FPS animation standard Lower as it needs JavaScript connection to start the interaction
Framework Maturity Lower because it is comparatively new. More mature being more than three years old
Language Dart JavaScript
Industry Use Lower as it is a new framework More brands use it as it is an older framework
Configuration & Set Up Very straightforward Slightly complicated
Tooling Compatible with IntelliJ idea, Visual Studio Code and Android Studio Many IDEs and tools to support the framework
Lifestyle Management No tools for saving the application state. Simpler app lifestyle, management, and optimization.
Code Structure Disorganized style as there is no separation between templates, style, and data in Dart. Direct code structure and styling with JavaScript
Documentation Clear and easy to understand Unclear and difficult to follow
Brand Presence Google Adwords, Alibaba, Groupon Walmart, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.

Conclusion

As with all the mobile app development frameworks, both Flutter and React Native have their advantages and disadvantages. While Flutter is a new framework which has to develop fully yet, React Native has been in use and is a favorite of many app developers. Both are open-source and have free libraries as sources.

Flutter offers the advantage of using Dart as the language. App development companies can use this framework for creating attractive cross-platform apps with very appealing user interfaces. These apps offer excellent native performance. These apps take much lesser time to market.

React Native has the advantage of being in the market for many years. There is a robust and supportive community from where developers can take a lot of help. There is no need for developers to learn a new language as JavaScript is a popular language. The apps give excellent cross-platform performance.

History

  • 20th March, 2019: Initial post

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)



Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionMessage Closed Pin
21-Jan-21 7:14
errorsolve21-Jan-21 7:14 
GeneralFlutter is huge, but... Pin
Alex Stantor16-Nov-20 8:54
Alex Stantor16-Nov-20 8:54 
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Alex Stantor14-Nov-20 20:41
Alex Stantor14-Nov-20 20:41 
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Yeke Jom13-Jul-20 21:49
professionalYeke Jom13-Jul-20 21:49 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Jokeh Fandango6-Jul-20 19:23
professionalJokeh Fandango6-Jul-20 19:23 

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