A software development process can be quite complicated and time-consuming (those familiar with the software development process will surely know what I’m talking about), especially if you are developing apps for both Android (which requires coding in Java or Kotlin) and IOS (which uses Swift or Objective-C).
As you can see there is a stark difference between the technologies required by these platforms, so you may need two separate teams to work on your project.
It might not be much of an issue for companies with bigger budgets to hire development teams for both the iOS and Android platform. But not all companies can afford to do that. Besides that, there’s always a gap between the applications developed as they are made by totally different teams. This is where cross-platform mobile solutions come in — a single code base for both platforms.
There are a number of cross-platform mobile solutions out there, among them; React Native and Flutter are the most popular. Both cross-platform mobile development frameworks are being used to build thousands of mobile apps today. So, if you have to pick React Native vs. Flutter which one should you pick? Let me help you decide.
Before going ahead to discuss why this is, let’s have a quick look at these two frameworks.
What is React Native and Flutter?
Flutter is an open-source cross-platform mobile development framework developed by Google that uses the Dart language. It was first announced in 2017 at I/O conference, and they have been heavily promoting it ever since. The stable version was released in July 2019.
Both React Native and Flutter come with a number of similarities such as, building cross-platform apps using one codebase (pretty obvious by now), hot reloading, excellent UI, awesome tooling and native features. But, they do have their differences.
Let’s explore React Native vs. Flutter against several factors.
Flutter — Dart
Winner: Well, I think React Native easily takes the cake here.
React Native — Facebook
Facebook is actively supporting React Native. It has a dedicated team of engineers who are working on this cross-platform mobile development framework and making it better everyday. Their seriousness is easily evident from the fact that many internal products of Facebook are coded in React Native
Facebook’s heavy involvement in React Native, has gained it a lot of trust and popularity over the years. Big companies like Tesla, Walmart, Bloomberg, and Instagram have also begun making use of it for developing their apps.
The open-source mobile application framework is also backed by a strong community of developers, with meetups taking place in almost every major city in the world
Flutter — Google
Like Facebook, Google too is heavily backing Flutter. Some of its biggest applications are built using this framework. Its backed by a strong, large (although not as large as that of React Native due to its recent creation but still) and growing community of developers who provide support, contribute to the tool’s extensive documentation, and develop helpful resources to help out with any issues you may encounter.
Winner: This round is a tie between the two.
What is Trending?
Have you heard of the stack overflow developer survey results, if the answer is no, well, its a survey (as easily evident from its name) held annually in which developers are asked about how they learn and level up, which tools they’re using, and what they want. Nearly, 90,000 developers participated in the 2019 one. Below in the image you can view what the developer answered when asked about Most Loved Frameworks, Libraries, and Tools.
I don’t think i need to do any explanation here, as can be easily seen Flutter ranks at number third position with a score of 75.4% and React Native also made the cut with 62.5%.
However, there is one thing i want to say here is that RN has been around for a long time now and several people are already working on it. On the other hand, Flutter is only a year old and is starting to get more popular. So, a similar comparison needs to be made next year to see how they compare.
Winner: Well, there is no surprise here; based on the current trends Flutter can easily be declared the winner.
When it comes to performance there is this common belief out there that Flutter performs better than React Native. A reason behind this could be the way Flutter functions, as it takes an entirely different approach to render apps on the screen.
Well, i have to admit that it does sound good on the paper but i haven’t seen many (or any) real-time profiling comparisons that compare Flutter and React Native to definitely say Flutter is superior. So, yes that does make me a bit skeptical.
Winner: With that said, i think our this round winner is Flutter again.
Your ultimate decision (as an individual or a company) depends on a number of factors such as what is your previous stack, company budget, current development team, and so forth. An organization that already has a web development team would find it much easier to transition some of its developers to React Native. Whereas, you’ll find Flutter more attractive if you are more familiar with languages like Java and C#.