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Comparing Flutter vs React Native

Comparing React Native vs Flutter

The rivalry between React Native and Flutter in mobile development is like comparing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in tennis: it wouldn't be fair to say that one is better. At its core, both are prominent market players in the open-source frameworks for creating cross-platform applications, which speeds up the development process for building world-class mobile apps for Android and iOS.

According to a Stack Overflow survey in 2022, around 12.64% of developers use Flutter, while 12.57% use React Native, which makes them equally popular. Yet, whether you're a developer or looking to assemble a development team to build a mobile app, choosing one isn't easy. We've combined both frameworks in this blog post to understand the differences between Flutter and React Native posts!

What is Flutter?

Google developed Flutter as a more modern approach to cross-platform development. Instead of relying on third-party libraries to create, maintain, and update features and functionalities, Flutter provides a vast set of out-of-the-box, easy-to-use widgets to create stunning UIs. These widgets include text, buttons, images, menus, animations, etc., and Skia's power to draw and render them natively on Android and iOS. As a result, Flutters offers better performance and ensures that your designs are nearly pixel-perfect on both platforms.

Flutter Languages and Technologies

Before starting with Flutter, you should know that Flutter uses Dart, another Google-owned programming language specifically created for cross-platform app development. Regarding Dart programming language, the goal was to develop a smooth language able to run on mobile devices in the cleanest way possible. While it's true that Dart is a language that only a few know outside of Flutter, its syntax is very similar to TypeScript, Java, and C#, which results in strong typing and robust IDE support.

Flutter Community and Support

Regarding support, it's important to note that Dart and Flutter are far less popular than JavaScript and React Native, so it's harder to hire Flutter developers with several years of experience. Similarly, it may be harder for new devs to get a job if they choose Flutter over React Native. However, due to their benefits, Flutter and Dart are growing in popularity, with amazing communities and shared information.

Flutter Learning Curve and Experience

Developers regard Dart as a relatively easy-to-learn programming language for beginners, which makes it much easier for new developers to get started with Flutter than React Native. Reasons for this learning curve include much fewer previous steps when starting, the wide variety of available resources, and comprehensive documentation. Its ease of use can make up for the fact that it's not so trendy to get jobs compared to React Native.

Flutter Tools and Features

Flutter's 3.10 version came with a new, long-awaited rendering engine that replaces Skia. Impeller is a next-generation rendering system that boosts performance, taking Flutter closer to native development speed. One of the best things about Impeller is that it harnesses the power of modern Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) such as Metal and Vulkan.

This new version takes Flutter's designs to the next level, enabling 3D graphics and making it an optimal choice for gaming development. Flutter 3.10 also has improved development tools updated with Material 3, including new features like Diff that optimize memory consumption. Plus, it lets you use the MediaQuery Class as an InheritedModel.

What is React Native?

On the other hand, React Native, based on the widely used web React library, is a robust framework with features that meet the challenging demands of mobile apps. Developed by Facebook in 2015, some of the largest businesses in the world have adopted it, including Instagram, Airbnb, Walmart, Discord, Tesla, and, of course, Meta. In previous articles, we've discussed React Native Fundamentals and its pros and cons. Feel free to check them out! Let's now explore its main aspects and features.

React Native Languages and Technologies

React Native (RN) is a JavaScript-based framework, so you must deeply understand this programming language to use React Native effectively. Additionally, it requires you to learn the famous UI library for web applications, React.js. In other words, if you're starting from scratch with mobile app development, you also need knowledge of web development.

React Native Community and Support

React Native has a vast community of developers supporting and backing it up. Whatever core features, functionalities, and looks you want for your app, there's a strong chance that someone else has already built it for you! Its popularity among developers makes it easy for employers to quickly assemble a team to build an app in record time. Yet, one thing we cannot overlook is that since neither JavaScript nor React was created with mobile dev in mind, React Native strongly relies on third-party libraries.

React Native Learning Curve and Experience

As mentioned, to learn to develop with React Native applications, you'll first have to dive deep into web development with JavaScript and React, which also involves a wide range of other techs and skills. As a result, React Native's learning curve may not be a walk in the park. The good news is that if you're familiar with JavaScript and React, it should be easy to pick up React Native!

React Native Tools and Features

Since React Native supports TypeScript development, you can have static typing, strong IDE support, and CLI, improving overall productivity and scalability. On top of that, RN is also compatible with Expo and the hot reload feature, which leads to shorter development time, boost efficiency, and help with the development environment setting. It also supports Skia graphics to use the same renderer on multiple devices or platforms to have a harmonious design, look, and feel across all platforms.

Another React Native development feature involves implementing Fabric's modern rendition system. Built-in C++, Fabric helps improve performance by working natively on both Android and iOS. While the offered performance is still below the level Flutter can reach, its use does not strongly impact the development of top-tier User Experiences (UX) on mobile platforms.

React Native vs Flutter: A Throughout Comparison

React Native or Flutter app? That is the question. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, it wouldn't be fair to say that one is better than the other. If you want to build a mobile app for Android and iOS quickly and choose Flutter or React Native, you're making an excellent choice. However, we've compiled a few questions to help you decide the best option for your project.

1. Does your team's experience lean toward Dart or toward JavaScript?
To answer this question, you can also consider if you have an experienced team with Dart, C#, or Java knowledge.

2. Does your team have previous experience in Web Development?
Flutter may be your best bet if your team has been developing mobile applications natively with Kotlin, Java, or Swift and has little to no web development experience.

3. Does your project also require Front- and Back-End Development?
The Flutter framework can be an amazing choice for web development, that's true. Nevertheless, since we often trust React and Node.js for full-stack products, we believe that it would help to rely on RN for the mobile app development if your project has a Front-and-Back-End development that could benefit from the previously mentioned stack. By combining React for web development and React Native for mobile app development within the same project, you'll ensure code reusability consistency for app performance across different platforms and devices.

4. How critical is performance for your Mobile App Development project?
As mentioned, Flutters blatantly surpasses React Native in terms of performance, which can make it a popular choice. So, while the gap may not necessarily impact User Experience, Flutter is your best option if you're worried about high performance.

5. What customization level does your Mobile App need?
Although there's a gap between what React Native and Flutter allow you to accomplish a consistent appearance across devices in design terms, we should highlight one of the advantages of Flutter applications that will let you go the extra mile. To give you a rough idea, Flutter has over 20 custom widgets for animation and motion.

Final Thoughts

Flutter and React Native are among the most popular frameworks for working on Cross-Platform Mobile App Development for a reason! Both can streamline Mobile Development for Android and iOS without compromising consistent User Experiences, ensuring smooth interaction is critical. When discussing which to choose, React Native may be best for businesses that need rapid time to market but innovative solutions with slightly lower performance. However, if you can afford to invest the time and resources to assemble a team of Flutter developers, it would probably be best to go with Flutter.