In this article, we will go through various topics which would help us understand the difference between React Native and Flutter. We will compare the leading market players Flutter and React Native used for building cross-platform solutions.
React Native is currently the most popular and widely used library for Mobile and websites.
Flutter and React Native both are cross-platform mobile frameworks with tremendous functionality, robust user communities, and an enormous amount of pre-programmed modules that help to supercharge our development speed.
Flutter was developed by Google in 2017. In simple words, Flutter is a UI framework built by Google that uses the Dart programming language.
Why it is so popular? There are many reasons but the main reason is its ability to create cross-platform applications using a single codebase. This means a single application for web, mobile, and desktop and no need to develop separate apps for all. With Flutter, there appears one single tool that helps to develop apps easily.
Flutter helps to build apps within a single codebase with no compromises on speed, quality, or performance. The rendering engine is designed predominantly in C++.
According to Google, “Flutter’s web support builds on these innovations, offering an app-centric framework that takes full advantage of all that the modern web has to offer.”
Before diving deep into the details of React Native let’s have an overview of how React Native was developed, let’s have a look at the history.
In 2011 at Facebook the engineering team realized that the expansion of Facebook ads and adding new features was slowing down the progress made. Content cascading changes and updates forced the developers to realign the entire app. As there were move developers working, the problem also grew in the same proportion.
FaxJS created by Jordan Walke, used XHP an HTML component library for PHP which was basically the first prototype of Reactjs. This was like a revolution to the user interface. In 2011, Reactjs was deployed for Facebook’s timeline, and it was a huge success. Later when Facebook acquired Instagram, Reactjs was also used for Instagram’s timeline as well.
The same year Facebook acquired Instagram, Mark Zuckerberg quoted that
“The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML as opposed to native”
This denoted the development of React Native as a framework.
Advantages of Flutter
Rich user interfaces
Feature-rich user interfaces that are fully customizable down to the last pixel. The layered architecture produces highly detailed UI components without sacrificing the speed of rendering. Adding to it, every component can be animated.
Speedy development and deployment
The built-in features like “hot reload” compiles the code ahead of time and display an app preview before the project is rebuilt after minor code changes. Flutter offers more dynamic – and faster – app development. Faster development coupled with the tool’s cross-platform nature translates into high speed-to-market.
Hot Reload helps teams add features, fix bugs, and experiment with new ideas in an instant. Plus, Hot Reload is very handy when it comes to developer-designer collaboration.
Flutter uses the Skia Graphics Library, in this library, the UI is redrawn each time when a view changes. Redrawing the whole view instead of just those elements that change, can affect the performance and speed of the application.
We will have to write fewer automated tests as we can use the same tests on both the platforms, so roughly we would decrease dependency on QA to 50%.
The official Flutter.dev itself is enough to start building projects without prior Flutter experience, which is indispensable for open-source projects.
Compatibility with older devices
Compatibility with older devices guarantees proper rendering and functionality on Android versions starting from 5.1.1 and iOS versions 8 and higher.
Different platforms, one codebase
We can write one codebase for both Andriod and iOS.
Advantages of React Native
React Native provides the facility “Learn once write everywhere”. When you use React Native to build an app, the framework automatically detects the platform it’s being run on. This way, it generates the right code for the right platform. You don’t have to build the same application for iOS and Android, separately as React Native allows your developers to reuse the common logic layer.
As we know that React Native combines all the advantages that React.js which also includes the Hot Reload feature. The hot Reloading feature of React gives developers the liberty to reload a mobile app automatically which makes the process of development fast and saves time. Making a few changes in the code of your app will be immediately visible during development. If the business logic is changed, its reflection is live reloaded on screen.
UI libraries for smoother UI experience
There are a lot of component UI libraries in the React Native Ecosystem which makes it smooth for developers to use.
Having a huge ecosystem of components saves the time required to build the components from scratch, and we can focus more on innovation and ideas, rather than focusing more on creating libraries from scratch.
Let’s have a look at the statistics of the previous year’s numbers. 42% of developers choose React Native for building apps, while Flutter is chosen by 39% in 2020. The third popular framework is Cordova which is chosen by only 18%! Flutter has already been used by over 2 mln of developers, and 500,000 use it monthly. Compared to 2020, when 30% chose Flutter, in 2021, this number grew to 39%.
Comparing React Native and Flutter
|Created by Facebook
|Created by Google
|Uses Dart for creating Applications.
|It is an open-source framework used to develop native mobile applications with reusable components that can run on different platforms.
It is a UI framework built by Google that uses the Dart programming language
|It is unorganized and uses third-party tools for making applications attractive.
|It has an organized structure with lots of widgets.
|It has UI components with its Native android and iOS components.
|It has a lot of built-in widgets to use in Material Design and iOS style.