Flutter Vs React Native: Which Development Tool to Choose in 2021?

Apptread - Flutter Vs React Native: Which Development Tool to Choose in 2021?

Why are we comparing?

First things first, why are we wasting your time and comparing these two giant players in the market altogether?

Both Flutter and React native are popular cross-platform mobile app development frameworks, extensively used by developers to develop engaging applications for their users and businesses. With the increasing use of mobile phones amongst lakhs of users, almost every other developer will be moving on to mobile app development sooner or later. And when they decide to make that shift, this article can help them decide which of these frameworks amongst many others are the best option for them to consider before taking their next project.

So, let’s talk about these frameworks and compare its key features and differences one by one…

All about Flutter…

Developed by Google, Flutter is an open-source Google’s UI toolkit commonly used for building beautiful, natively compiled mobile and web applications for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows, Google Fuchsia from a single codebase.

Its first version came out in the name of ‘Sky’ dedicated to android and was later developed to be compatible for other platforms as well.

 Also read: Top 5 Tech Stacks to rule software development in 2021

All about React Native…

React native on the other hand is another open-source application development framework developed by Facebook frequently used for developing applications for android, iOS, macOS, tvOS, web, windows and UWP. React Native enables developers to use React’s frameworks along with native platform capabilities. It uses Facebook’s Javascript library for building user interfaces.

Let’s have a look at some of the best applications developed by Flutter and React Native:

Applications Developed by Flutter:

Apptread - Applications developed by Flutter

Applications Developed by React Native:

Apptread - Application developed by Flutter

Flutter: Key features

  • Hot-reloading: Flutter comes with this amazing Hot reload feature where all the changes you make after bug fixing and building UI are instantly reflected in the application without having to run the app over and over again.
  • Amazing widgets collection:  Flutter provides a huge collection of the visual, structural, platform, and interactive widgets for you to create beautiful applications.
  • Seamless integration: you do not have to re-write codes on Flutter again and again because it gets auto integrated with Java and Swift for both Android and iOS.
  • Less build time: Flutter helps save time on application building on the testing stage because only one code needs to be tested to create the application.
  • Sharing codes: Flutter makes sharing codes across platforms super easy and fast for other developers. 

React Native: Key features

  • Native rendering: Uses host platform to natively render APIs without the need for HTML or CSS markup. 
  • Performance: Translates the markup of an application to mimic authentic UI elements and yet maintain high performance. 
  • Ecosystem: Leverages rich ecosystem and UI libraries to automatically re-render app appearance with each state change. 
  • Debugging: Provides accessibility to intelligent debugging tools and error reporting. 
  • Hot-reloading: Allows hot reloading to add new codes directly into a live application.

Flutter Vs React Native: Key Comparisons?

Apptread - React Native vs Flutter

Source: Google Trends 


1. While Building Complex Applications

The basic idea behind building any application on a cross-platform framework for a developer is to make sure that the created app is as close to the native application as possible. The developers need to make sure that the application designed makes android and iOS users feel at home with their mobile devices.

Having said that, though creating applications on Flutter is easy for its cross-platform features, applications on React native have a smoother interface with reduced glitches on their overall application. That is because you need to involve the native app development along with React Native that ensures a Hybrid application to be created.

You as a developer, here, is only required to utilize your native development skills over JavaScript, and you’re all set to deliver the best applications on react native.

Flutter on the other hand is not a preferred choice amongst a lot of developers for creating complex applications because of its single code for all feature that leads to increased glitches on cross-platform application building.

 2. While Testing

One of the primary goals of developers is to ensure smooth functioning applications are built with reduced time and efforts being invested in it. Ease of testing is one of the crucial determinants in this step.

When it comes to React native, no official UI level testing support is provided by the React community. Developers have to rely on third-party libraries for build and release automation. Simply put, developers on React native have to rely on the manual process of deploying the app through Xcode.

Flutter on the other hand is way easier to test compared to react-native. it offers a myriad number of testing features to test apps at the unit, widget, and integration level, but also boasts of detailed documentation related to it.

3. Better in Performance

React Native has a lower performance compared to Flutter. This is because of the JavaScript bridge that’s used to communicate between native modules.

So how does this work?

We all know that both of these frameworks build applications for iOS and Android. Now android developers use codes written in Java or cotlin to read their application functioning whereas iOS uses Objective C or Swift. When using React native to write your application codes, developers are typically using their JavaScript knowledge to write code logic which in turn will be interpreted by your iOS or Android device. This is a three-step process which includes a JavaScript bridge in between your native app and Javascript code.

Apptread - Three step process

Every code that’s built on javascript has to travel via this bridge to the native thread and return to the developer to be able to see any changes.

Now depending on your application, this process can slow down the performance of your app, one of the major reasons why apps built on React Native lack performance.

Flutter on the other hand does not require a bridge to communicate between the native modules due to the default availability of native components. In flutter, all these binaries are built at compiled times whereas, in React native, it happens in run time. Flutter also uses the C++ based graphics library, which directly renders UI on screen and allows you to create super smooth and fluid animations visible in its app.

4. Better Community

As we all know, React Native came into the market in 2015, that’s two years before Flutter came in, i.e. 2017. This means that community support available for developers for React Native is much bigger than Flutter. As a clear proof, you can check the number of contributors for React native vs that for Flutter on GitHub. Currently, there are more than 2,207+ professional developers for React vs 662+ for a flutter. 

Though the community for Flutter is growing rapidly, it still has a long way to go. Most of the necessary plugins and libraries that you may require for building your applications are missing in Flutter which is a major disadvantage for large scale development projects. 

It can also be noted that the number of stars for Flutter(93 160) is way above that for React Native (87 493)on GitHub.

5. Develpment Results

When building applications with Flutter, developers can be assured that the app is going to look the same in both android and iOS. With React native on the other hand, building your app on Android and then running the same on iOS can show different results. This means that the developer would have readjusted the entire configuration to make it look the same. This adds to the efforts involved in making an app because you need to set all the UI, styling and the positioning of the components again.

Flutter takes care of this well as it renders its graphic components on its preset frameworks pretty well for you to see the results instantly and great accuracy.

6. Upgradability

Flutter has amazing backwards compatibility which means that whenever a new version or a system update comes up in flutter, you can easily upgrade your application. And your app will not break whereas the same is not true for React native. Every time an update pops up, you’ll have to make a lot of changes to be able to run it smoothly in your processes.

When should you use Flutter?

As noticed flutter is an application better suited for building lightweight applications. It’s not the ideal platform for a large scale project that required heavy animations or expressive UI. So it’s better to use flutter when:

  • Your budget is tight and you do not have much delivery time in hand. 
  • You want your codes to be written faster and deployed in the market quickly. 
  • You have a fresh flow of talented developers who are yet to learn complex coding languages. (here learning one language as opposed to four for React native is an easier option)
  • You want your applications to deliver a speedy response.
  • You want to customize your UI with pre-designed widgets and less testing. 

When should you use React Native?

On the other hand, React Native is an application that may require you to have knowledge of four other languages, which has its own benefits attached:

  • You have an existing application that you wish to upgrade to a cross-platform application 
  • You have a  lightweight native application development project. 
  • You wish to create shared APIs out of the box. 
  • You have sufficient time for delivery and money to invest in the project.

The choice between flutter vs react native is not that difficult is you have the requirements of your company projects clearly noted down. Companies fail when they do not opt for a pre-analysis of their company goals and try these frameworks with having a clear understanding of what it involves. These un-prepped decisions increase cost and waste a lot of resources for many companies. Keeping this in mind, looking up to a software development services provider is not a bad option for your important projects. Apptread is a software services expert and can assist you in making many such complex decisions by analysing your company requirements and giving you the best results.

Schedule a call now for your next mobile development project with Apptread.