Flutter & React Native. Which one will you trust for your next cross-platform mobile application?
Year by year, mobile application development gets more traction and popularity. In 2019, numbers showed that there has never been a better time for building a mobile application than now. Here are some interesting stats and numbers you can read about in one of our earlier articles on mobile application trends you should be aware of in 2020.
As the development of mobile application increases, the alternatives for faster development are on the same ascending trend and competing for popularity.
Thus, if a few months ago we were discussing the differences between React Native, Swift, Java and Kotlin for mobile application development, we’re here to shed some light over Flutter and its capabilities for mobile app development.
At RebelDot the decision of going for one or another technology depends on the specific digital product’s need. At the same time, we know that it’s essential for business owners to know the answers to some of the critical questions in regards to their product. Hence, we thought it would be a good time to state the case of Flutter as a framework for developing mobile applications, in comparison to React Native.
What is Flutter?
As an open-source mobile UI framework, just as React Native, Flutter allows you to create a native mobile application for Android and iOS, using one single codebase. Using Flutter, today, you can use one programming language and one codebase to create two different apps.
Flutter comes with two important parts: a Software Development Kit (SDK) that helps you compile your code into native machine code (for iOS and Android) and a UI library that is a collection of reusable UI elements.
Flutter.dev highlights some of the new framework’s most essential features as being:
Fast Development & Quick Compilation – Google says that you can now paint your mobile applications in milliseconds. A more realistic scenario would be that thanks to Flutter’s Hot Reload, you can change the code in your app and observe the changes in real-time, a feature that is also available for React Native.
Fast Rendering Designs – Flutter allows you to quickly ship features, offering a focus on the experiences of the end-users. Its layered architecture allows full customisation.
Flutter claims to offer Native Performance – F lutter’s widgets incorporate all critical platform differences such as scrolling, navigation, icons and fonts, and your Flutter code is compiled to native ARM machine code using Dart’s native compilers. Thus, Flutter gives you full native performance on both iOS and Android. (Google)
What is the difference between React Native and Flutter?
User Interface on Flutter vs. React Native
Flutter - Having one single codebase as input, when it comes to User Interface, it is safe to say that mobile apps built with Flutter look and behave very similar on both iOS and Android.
If however, you would like your mobile application to imitate the platform design, you can make use of Material Design for implementing Google’s Design and Cupertino to imitate the native iOS application design.
React Native – React Native uses native components underneath. This means that a button on an iOS device looks and feels like a native iOS button, and the same principle applies to Android. This means that after every OS updated, some of the components of your mobile application automatically updates.
However, if for reasons you would want your mobile application to look and feel the same on all devices and operating systems, consider making use of third party providers like React Native Paper.
Time to market.
React Native, as well as Flutter, should most probably be just as fast in comparison with native development.
Remember how we said that React Native uses native components under the hood? Due to this reason, it’s worth mentioning that if your React Native app uses native elements, there might be the need for separate optimisation, which could prolong the development of your app.
The real advantages, and when to choose React Native of Flutter.
While Flutter is rapidly growing, fledgeling technology, React Native has the competitive advantage of 5+ years on the market.
While great tech communities support both technologies, React Native stands out with its maturity and proven success.
React Native is known to have a fairly fragile UI. We mentioned how React Native stands on the building blocks of native components, and while this should assure you of the fact that the app benefits from constant updates, this might also crack the UI of your applications here and there. The good news is that it rarely happens to be the case. Still, if you want to build your mobile application’s GUI using native components, React Native is the best option.
While the differences between React Native and Flutter as cross-platform development frameworks are minimal, it is essential to understand that every digital product is different; thus, its needs might as well be different. Before deciding in regards to using React Native or Flutter for building your next mobile application, make sure you consult and seek advice from software developers and engineers that have the needed experience.
🤓Were you looking for information we did not cover in this article? No problem! You can always contact us and chat with our mobile engineers. We love offering a helping hand.
✍️Are you a mobile development savvy and would like to contribute to this article? Drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can’t wait to hear your input on the performance on React Native vs. Flutter.