Cross-platform mobile app development is at a great pace and so as the needs of technology. When it comes to choosing the right technology to develop your cross-platform app the debate is between React Native and Flutter. Let's take a look into where they stand in 2020 as Flutter has spent a few years and with React Native has dominated the segment since 2015.
Pros of React Native
- Implementation of Native UI components
- Ready-made components
- Easier access to native device and platform features
- Hot reload
- Highly reliable
- Platform-specific code
- Open source and free technology
- React Native for Web functionality
Cons of React Native
- Complex UI
- Few rich components
Flutter Flutter is developed and maintained by Google, is one of the leading open-source cross-platform apps development frameworks operative in the industry today. Flutter is an app SDK for building high-performance, high-fidelity apps for iOS, Android, Web (beta), and desktop (technical preview) from a single codebase.
Pros of Flutter
- Open-source and free to use
- It offers a robust and comprehensive ecosystem
- Highly customizable
- Hot Reload feature
- One codebase: Development for two mobile platforms
- Dart the language used is a modern and completely object-oriented language & strongly typed language
- Rich UI experience
Cons of Flutter
- Large application size
- Reliance on native tools and technologies to build apps
Let's compare the details:
- Technical Architecture
Flutter relies on the Flutter engine which implements Flutter core libraries that include animation and graphics, file and network I/O, plugin architecture, accessibility support, and a dart runtime for developing, compiling, and running Flutter applications. It takes Google's open-source graphics library, Skia, to render low-level graphics.
Results: Both come with a strong architectural background, Flux and Redux are already a proven architecture and has been adopted by many of the frameworks. Flutter framework comes with numerous native components in the framework itself and does not need a bridge for communicating with native components. However, Flutter architecture gives more confidence in the way it is composed.
- Programming Language
On the other hand, Flutter uses the Dart programming language. In comparison its a fairly new language and needs much recognition. However, it is a fully object-oriented and strongly typed language with also used modern programming syntax. Developers coming from Java or C# find much easier to use.
React Native has been the most popular choice over the years but with the introduction of Flutter the market has been so competitive and the Flutter has been rapidly growing to catch the React Native market. Look at what Google trends say:
Results: Flutter has done exceedingly well and has been a tuff competitor to React Native. If the trends continue Flutter is going to surpass React Native for sure.
- User interface
React Native works by relying on a given system’s native UI components uses bridges to connect. Many of these are dependent on a third party or custom developed libraries.
Flutter, on the other hand, offers comprehensive widgets sets, which can be further customized according to the UI design, rendered and managed by the framework’s graphics engine. It offers structural, visual, and interactive widgets
Results – Here Flutter is the winner as its widgets are for both Material Design for Google as well as Cupertino for Apple, making Flutter better than React Native in terms of the user interface.
- Development time
Flutter, on the other hand, has all set of new things, Dart is a new language and could take time to learn. Flutter promises high-quality usability however the development framework demands more recognition over React Native.
Results – React Native requires less development time as it provides a faster time to market an app. With react you can use third-party libraries and ready to use components, which reduces development time.
Flutter comprises C and C++ libraries which is closer to machine learning and delivers a superior native experience. All the components of Flutter such as User Interface are compiled using C and C++.
Results – Flutter delivers better performance as it makes it easy for mobile app development agencies to reuse the existing code. Its C++ engine works flawlessly and supports the language.
React Native is usually supported by the developer community due to its consistency, reliability, and feature-rich functionality for better app performance.
Flutter with the release of the 1.12 version looking great and in becoming more stable than the previous version. However, since it has been younger to the market React Native has an edge.
Results – React Native guarantees code stability as it uses downward data flow. The developer can easily modify the specific components of the app which then allow better stability and efficient app performance.
Google is known for its clear, detailed, and well-formulated documentation and with Flutter, they have continued the expectation. It organizes your code qualitatively making it simple for an enterprise mobility solutions provider.
Despite React Native's longer market presence and better market adoption, its documentation isn’t easy to use. The way the elements are organized seems a bit chaotic. Finding exactly what you are looking for is also difficult since it isn’t clearly indicated which components of the framework are still supported and which are already deprecated.
Results – Hence, Flutter is the best option as far as documentation is considered when compared to React Native.