What’s the Difference Between Flutter and React Native
mobile app development

Flutter Vs React Native: Know the Best Mobile App Development Framework

The battle between two of the best mobile app development frameworks.

Flutter Vs React Native: Know the Best Mobile App Development Framework

The mobile app development sector has received an overwhelming response from developers over the past couple of years, but with the launch of Google’s Flutter, the rage of Native apps has slowed down gradually. Google’s Flutter helps develop cross-platform apps with ease and that is the reason behind its immense popularity.

On the other hand, React Native is Facebook’s offering that allows the developer to build mobile apps using only JavaScript. React Native is well appreciated by the app development companies owing to a number of benefits it offers.

Flutter and reactive native search comparison

The above image is a representation of how both frameworks, i.e., React Native and Flutter have neck-to-neck competition in the United States. But before going further, let’s know more about Flutter and React Native.

What’s Flutter and React Native?

React Native is an open-source project that was started by Facebook in 2015 and Google-backed Flutter made its presence in the app development industry since I/O 2017. The common factor among these frameworks is that both these tools are for building cross-platform apps that too faster and by using a single programming language.

The reason why Google invested in the framework because the market related to cross-platform app development is expected to reach $7.5 billion by the end of this year and Google is hoping to take the lion’s share home by introducing Flutter as a way to develop such hybrid mobile apps.

If we look into Flutter vs react Native comparison, they have their own pros and cons and from a developers point of view, and in the following image, we have explained the important components of these frameworks.
 

Flutter Vs. React Native

React Native is a tool that has already made its mark, but Flutter adoption started in 2017. Still, Flutter is on the rise to invade the kingdom that is ruled by React Native, as more and more Flutter App Development Companies are investing in this framework.

In this article, we will be differentiating React Native and Flutter on the following criteria:

1. Installation
2. Performance
3. Hot Reload
4. Creating the UI Blocks
5. Documentation & Toolkit
6. Development Time
7. Clientele
8. Code structure
9. Community
10. Stability
11. Programming Languages
12. Developer Productivity
13. Technical Architecture
14. Setup and Project Configuration
15. Testing Support
16. Build & Release Automation Support

Differences Between Flutter and React Native

Following are the top differences between Flutter and React Native. Know what makes these app development frameworks a hit and or a miss.

1.  Installation - React Native Vs Flutter

The installation method is the first significant difference that can make a notable change in a framework's credibility.

React Native: For installing React Native framework, the developer can make use of Node Package Manager (NPM), which is a part of JavaScript. Hence, developers with the same background will find it easier to install React Native. For installing on macOS, the developer will require a HomeBrew package manager as well.

Flutter: To install Flutter, the developer has to download the binary from Github and for macOS, the flutter.zip file is required.

Verdict: React Native can be installed without the need for downloading the binary and doesn’t require extra steps.

2. Performance - React Native Vs Flutter

Performance of a framework matters a lot and thus you need to learn about Flutter vs React Native performance comparison.

Flutter: The app developers who are well aware of these languages will surely agree with my point of rewarding Google Flutter with some extra points. Flutter has the edge over its competitors because of Dart (the framework).

Moreover, the Javascript blanket helps to connect with native components more easily. Its architecture also didn't require any bridge to use the native components and crafts of fast working, native-looking apps.

Flutter Vs. React Native

React Native: The architect of React Native is comprised of two parts: Javascript language and native components. This means every app built using React Native app development uses the JS, but in order to use native components like audio, GPS, and OEM widgets, it requires a JS bridge.

The bridge converts the JS variables to native ones and enables the app to use them efficiently. However, this additional task slows down React Native.
 

React Native

Verdict: Flutter performs better by running the animation on 60 frames per second.

Using React Native for hybrid apps makes it a bit complicated for app developers to run smoothly through the architect, library, and native components. Flutter, on the other hand, makes it easy for the developers to reuse existing code. The C++ engine also backs the language, and that gives it bounty points.

3. Hot Reload - React Native Vs Flutter

The Hot Reload is available on both of these hybrid platforms and if you don't know about this, it is a feature that saves the developer from recoiling the app by using the same command again and again.

The Hot Reload automatically recompiles the app where changes are made to file, or you connect to a new gadget. Besides that, this feature also helps the developer by preserving the last state of the app. Hence, both React Native and Flutter offer the feature to make things easier for the developers.

Flutter: It comes with an exceptionally fast hot reload function that can quickly and easily experiment, build UIs, add features, and fix bugs faster. The reload times also preserves the state on emulators, simulators, and hardware for iOS and Android.

Hot Reload

React Native: If we look at React Native, the framework offers the same capabilities as that of Flutter, but Flutter has surely stolen the thunder from it. Here, app developers have the option to speed up the development process by having their app reload automatically any time they change the code.

Verdict: Flutter stole the thunder by offering very fast hot reload function.

As discussed, both these frameworks possess the hot reload capability and from a developers point of view, saving time during the development process is always welcomed. And in this ecosystem, Flutter is better.

4. Creating the UI Blocks - React Native Vs Flutter

When it comes to creating the blocks for the user interface, there is a massive gap between React Native and Flutter.

Flutter: The Cupertino library lacks iOS-styled form components and it is a big issue among the developers.

React Native: It is based on native components and works exceptionally well with the sets of Proprietary Widgets. It helps to get comprehensively customized UI designs with good interoperability with additional native support.

Verdict: React native is the winner here as it works great along with Proprietary Widgets.

Since working with React Native app development smoothens the process, React Native has won the race for this section against Flutter.

5. Documentation & Toolkit - React Native Vs Flutter

Google has the upper hand in documentation as it is known how to precisely provide the documentation in the most convenient way for the developers to use Flutter. On the other hand, to learn the React Native app developers have depended on the external development kit where they have to find the documentation for each one.

Flutter: The process of tooling along with documentation is an extended one. And when it comes to documentation, Flutter makes it easier to go through the procedure. It further makes it easier for developers to use the same when documenting their application.

So, there is no doubt about Flutter being an impressive choice against its counterpart.

Flutter vs React

React Native: Documentation with React Native is a bit clumsy. Additionally, this language misses a number of components that are quite important to smoothen the process.

Verdict: Flutter leads in this section by making the documentation procedure easier.

The comparison regarding tooling brings a tough competition between the two frameworks. Flutter has wide IDEs and tools that have React Native support. Its compatibility with Visual Studio Code, Android Studio, etc. adds more to the prominence of Flutter framework.

6. Development Time - React Native Vs Flutter

A bouquet of companies that have emerged recently have proved their excellence in providing on-time delivery of projects and therefore, the need to cut down on development time arises.

Flutter: It is new and takes considerable time to develop projects in this particular regard. Flutter also promises high-end usability, but this app development framework also needs to get more recognition.

React Native: It remains one of the best companions for all these companies. This framework reduces the time-frame of developing applications, adds more to the user interface, and takes less time in developing the projects. React Native has ready-to-use components that help speed up the app development ecosystem quite smoothly for the developers.

Verdict: React Native gets the point here as it reduces the timeframe in the app development procedure.

7. Clientele - React Native Vs Flutter

The developer picks every framework according to their app requirements and functionalities. And as React Native and Flutter has numerous usability, both of these have different clientele.

Flutter: Flutter framework was launched a few years ago, and it is still trying to match the same user base as that of React Native. Still, the Google-backed framework has received significant backing from some prominent names under its hood, which include Alibaba, AppTree, Google Ads, and a few more. Most of the Flutter apps have done exceedingly well.
 

Flutter vs React Native

React Native: The popularity of React Native app development needs no mention. It is one of the most promising frameworks for developers of all ages. It has got all the required components important for accomplishing the project of any size.

Talking particularly about the number of Clientele in this popular framework, it has got some big names including Skype, Facebook, Tesla, Airbnb, Instagram, Walmart and many more.
 

Flutter Vs React

Verdict: React Native takes over in the clientele segment.

In the Flutter Vs React Native clash, React Native takes the lead with a more client base.

8. Code structure - React Native Vs Flutter

The code structure remains one of the most significant aspects of the mobile app development process. Everything depends upon it and thus the output is shaped accordingly.

Flutter: It seems to be more non-conventional in this aspect, as it doesn't separate the style, data, and templates for developers. This means to build a layout in Flutter you don't require any particular language like JSX and XML or any visual tool.

Flutter app development framework allows you to do everything, including the UI (User Interface) on Twitter. Apart from this, almost all the required tools are easily accessible from the same locations.

This approach helps in saving time and making it more convenient by eliminating the need to switch between a different mode in Flutter.

React Native: On the other hand, React Native is not that mature hybrid app development framework and still requires some time before it can take on frameworks like Flutter. react Native completely lags behind in the race in this comparison.

Verdict: Flutter wins this one by eliminating the need for languages like XML and JSX.

9. Community - React Native Vs Flutter

Community holds great value to the mobile app development as it can help them in many ways. From learning the basics to overcome the most complicated bugs during the development, a healthy community can always come handy.

Flutter: Flutter is new to this ecosystem, but surprisingly, it’s growing at supersonic speed, and if the framework continues to hold the pace, it will overcome  React Native in the coming time.

React Native: Being older than Flutter, it has big names under its roof like Walmart, Discovery VR, Adidas Glitch, Wix, and a lot more apps that are built on this framework. For instance, the community of React native app development and the developers following it’s larger than Flutter.
 

Community Support

Verdict: React Native wins this round as it has been in the market for some additional years.

10. Stability - React Native Vs Flutter

Stability is one of the most prominent aspects when it comes to developing an application. And the competition seems to be a tough one here.

Flutter: It was a bit lacking behind it only had an Alpha version. This mobile app development framework is not suitable for large projects. However, last year, Google announced Flutter Beta 2, which offers impressive beta tools to developers.

React Native: This framework enjoys support from a huge community and is quite a  stable right from its release. As the Flutter app development is still making its place in the app development industry, we would have to say, React Native seems to be the winner for this section.

Verdict: React Native is more stable in comparison to the flutter app development framework.

11. Programming Languages - React Native Vs Flutter

Today, as an aspiring mobile app developer, it is recommended to know multiple programming languages instead of just one.

Flutter: It uses Dart as its primary language, which indeed adds some minus points to this framework. Dart was developed by Google and is still promoted. However, the developers who have used this programming language have talked about it in a positive manner which is a plus point for it.

React Native: It utilizes JavaScript (JS), which can be deployed into software development for almost every platform. By default, the programming language is used as a scripting language for web development. So, due to its wider use and greater scope, react native takes the lead.

Dart and JavaScript

Verdict: React native wins this round as it utilizes one of the most common programming languages, i.e., JavaScript (JS).

12. Developer Productivity - React Native Vs Flutter

It’s crucial that the app development tool should help the developer in increasing productivity, which will assist in building apps faster.

React Native: The React Native hot reload feature can quickly test the change in UI and save time for app building companies. For IDE support, the app developer can pick the desired editor or IDE for the development. If the developer has knowledge about JavaScript, it can be well used for cross-platform app development.

Flutter: It also has a hot reload feature, which makes it easy for the developers to get started, but with time, the developer is required to learn and adopt new concepts. Also, its programming language lacks support for IDEs and text editors.

Verdict: Concerning IDEs and language features, React Native performs better.

13. Technical Architecture - React Native Vs Flutter

For cross-platform mobile app development, technical architecture matters a lot.

React Native: React Native architecture depends on JavaScript bridge or JS runtime environment architecture, which is compiled into native code during runtime and used to communicate with the native modules.

Flutter: Dart is the programming language for Flutter and it has almost every component and thus, don’t require a bridge to communicate. We can say, Flutter has virtually everything in-built for the app development.

Verdict: The Flutter framework already has most of the native components, which makes the technical architect smooth.

14. Setup and Project Configuration - React Native Vs Flutter

Every framework takes time in setting up the process because of the configuration of software installations.

React Native: The getting started guide of the React Native has limited information on the Xcode command line tools, which might be less for many developers. It directly takes the developer to the steps for creating a new project.

Flutter: The getting started guide for Flutter caters to every detail like IDE and platform setup for iOS and Android. For more ease, its CLI tool guides developers through the setup. It automatically analyzes which tools are installed and which tools need to be configured.

Verdict: Due to better documentation and CLI support, Flutter takes less time in the setting up the process.

15. Testing Support - React Native Vs Flutter

A testing framework helps the developers in getting explicit feedback on the code.

React Native: React Native has only a few unit level testing frameworks. For instance, Jest is used for snapshot testing, but for integration or UI level testing, there is no support. To navigate that, developers can make use of third-party tools like Appium and Detox.

App testing

Flutter: Flutter has a robust set of documentation for app testing. It has testing features for the unit, widget and integration level. With its widget testing feature, the developer can even go for widget tests.

Verdict: Flutter clearly thumps React Native due to its rich set of testing features.

16. Build & Release Automation Support - React Native Vs Flutter

Rolling out an app on app stores is a complex process and for cross-platform mobile app development, it adds more complications.

React Native: React Native has a manual process for deploying the app from Xcode and lacks automated steps, which is a concern for developers. But with the help of third-party tools like Fastlane, the iOS and Android apps can be deployed easily.

Flutter: Flutter command line interface is fantastic and can be used to create a binary of the app, which can further be used for building and releasing Android and iOS apps. To help the new developers, Flutter has officially documented the whole deployment process.

Verdict: Flutter’s automation tooling directly deploy apps from the command line itself and thus makes the app deployment easier.

Similarities Between Flutter and React Native

After going through the differences, take a look at the similarities between Flutter and React Native.

Flutter and React Native Affinity:

1. Designed for Cross-Platform App Development

Both the frameworks churn out swift and high-quality app performances on platforms like Android, iOS, and UWP. However, Flutter is limited to Android and iOS platform only.

2. Backed by Tech Giants

React Native is backed by Facebook and Flutter has Google. The backing by such tech giants has helped these frameworks to garner colossal community support, although Flutter is fast catching up with React Native in terms of community members.

3. Both are Open-Source and Free

React Native and Flutter are free SDKs and open-source frameworks that allow developers to create multi-dimensional apps due to their native performances.

4. Detailed Documentation

The one thing that has put these frameworks atop of others is that their documentation is kept up-to-date with comprehensive resources and API references.

5. Excellent UI Support

Flutter makes use of rich widgets to furnish excellent native experience, whereas, React Native engages fundamental UI building components on Android and iOS platforms.

6. Hot Reloading

With React Native Hot Reloading, the developer can run new codes and keep hold of other elements. Similarly, Flutter “Stateful Hot Reloading” helps in reflecting changes without restarting the app.

Flutter Vs React Native - Detailed Summary

From User Interface (UI) to the code structure of the framework, we have covered every aspect of these two widely popular hybrid mobile app development frameworks, i.e., React Native or Flutter.

Have a look at the below table to browse through all the points:

 

Flutter Vs React Comparison Chart
  Flutter React Native

Initial Release

2017 2015

User Interface (UI)

Native Component Native Component

Stateful Hot Reloading

Available Available

Native Appearance

Better as it has access to the device's core functionalities Less due to its dependency on third-party

App Performance

Higher at 60fps animation standard Lower as it uses JavaScript bridge for initiating interaction

Framework Maturity

Lower as it’s fairly new Higher in comparison

Language

Dart JavaScript

Industry Adoption

Lower as it’s fairly new Higher as it is an industry veteran

Configuration & Setup

More straightforward It lacks a streamlined setup and configuration

Tooling

Higher compatibility with IntelliJ idea, Visual code studio & Android studio A wide range of IDE’s and tools support React Native

Lifecycle Management

No tools to save application state Better at simplifying the app lifecycle, management & optimization.

Code Structure

Messier as there is no separation between templates, styling & data in the file Direct as it uses JavaScript (JS)

Documentation

Clean & easy to follow Chaotic & unclear to follow

Speed

Slow Fast

Our Take on Flutter Vs. React Native

Here comes the end to an extended comparison of Flutter vs React Native. Both frameworks have their ups and downs, which makes it difficult for the developers to pick anyone.

Flutter is still new and needs to travel miles to compete successfully with React Native. Practically speaking and taking the above discussion into consideration, React Native seems to lead the race for now and it would be interesting to see how React Native app development will lock horns with it in the near future, as Flutter app development has an impressive future.

Twinkle <span>Product Strategist</span>
Written By
Twinkle Product Strategist

Twinkle is an experienced business and marketing consultant of the mobile app industry. She advocates perfect branding to the latest tech releases. She is passionate about writing well-researched reports to help the app owners and the mobile app industry audience. Also, she has a vibrant touch that goes well in her writing as well.

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