Flutter vs React Native: Key Differences Between These Development Platforms

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From a total of 140.7 billion downloads in 2016 to 208 billion downloads in 2020, the application development industry is growing at an unimaginable pace. Today, you have access to several choices to try your hand at developing apps using industry-standard development platforms. 

Talking of development platforms, there are two specific platforms: Flutter vs React Native, which have a good market share in the app industry.

Today, we will discuss the two competing platforms and focus on their pros, cons, and critical differences. This will help developers in selecting the ideal platform as per their needs. Let’s get started!


flutter vs react native

What is Flutter, and what are its pros and cons?

Flutter is a cross-platform app development framework developed and launched by Google in 2019. It is one such platform where the same code is used to develop both the iOS and Android variant of the application. Since its release, the number of apps developed using Flutter is increasing rapidly in the Google PlayStore. It is a free and open-source platform, and the language it uses is called Dart, an object-oriented programming language and is very fast and easy to learn.

The Flutter platform is very flexible and customisable, with several ready-made UI elements that can be easily implemented into any app. Developers also have the freedom of making their design elements. It provides severe competition to the React Native framework, and some of its pros and cons are mentioned below.

Pros and cons of Flutter

Pros:

  • Fast developmental process –  Using Flutter, there is no need to write two different codes while developing iOS and Android applications. Flutter also uses the same UI for apps in different operating systems as Flutter has its UI and widget libraries. Less testing is required by the developer as both the apps are identical; checking one ensures that the other will be the same.
  • Multiple device support – Flutter makes sure that the user will enjoy the same interface and features even if they are using a smartphone using older processors or having an older version of iOS or Android. This helps maintain uniformity and make sure that a wider group of customers can use its products.
  • Faster code writing and implementation – Flutter is a dynamic and flexible platform compared to other application development frameworks. Another unique feature about Flutter is called hot reload that allows the developer to make changes in the code and shows the direct impact of that change on the app instantly, thus making the testing process a lot easier. 

Cons:

  • Lack of enough libraries – Flutter is a relatively newer platform, so although it is open source and has pre-built libraries, the number of such features remain minimal. It is up to the developer to create libraries from scratch and upload it to the community to help others.
  • Large file sizes – The Flutter file size can become huge and sometimes hard to manage due to its enormous size.  This is considered a drawback as this feature might compel the developer to move to another platform that produces more compact files. 

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What is React Native, and what are its pros and cons?

React Native is a relatively newer framework used to develop applications for different operating platforms like iOS, Android, macOS and Windows. It supports cross-platform app development with the help of Javascript and React. Initially developed by Facebook and Instagram to create their mobile and web applications, it has been converted into an open-source platform so that developers across the world can contribute and make React Native a popular framework for application development.

React Native helps in creating app features in the similar way it was done in native iOS apps or native Android apps that use Swift/Objective C and Kotlin/Java, respectively. React Native is a robust framework that allows developers to create immersive apps with stunning UI features, but it should be kept in mind that React Native also has various pros and cons and cannot be the best choice for every project due to its constraints. Some of its pros and cons are mentioned below.

Pros and cons of React Native

Pros:

  • Community support – Since it is an open-source framework, doubts and confusions can be easily solved by asking peer developers. And also, developers will be encouraged to share their codes and products and grow the community even more every single day.
  • Code reusability is a handy feature as most of the functions and codes are similar for the iOS and Android platforms. This helps reduce the time required in the development process, thus improving the entire system’s efficiency.
  • Third-party plugin and library support – A lot of third-party libraries consisting of complex functions can be easily imported and utilised in your app; this helps reduce the complexity of the entire process, and the libraries are tested so that there are very few chances of creating buggy codes while using these libraries.

Cons:

  • Difficult to Learn – Learning app development can be pretty difficult using React Native, specifically for newbies who are just trying their hand in the world of application development. Other than that, to get started with React Native, one has to have experience in native app development. So, React Native is not the best option to start your app development career with. 
  • Poor Memory Management – React Native is not that well with memory management because of its Javascript-based framework. Complex computations are also handled in a very inefficient way in React Native. Hence, it is the best framework choice for developing apps that are supposed to perform complex analytical tasks. 
  • Low Security – The open-source nature of Java also comes with its drawbacks. Every resource is open for the public. The apps that are developed using React Native have very low security and can be penetrated by another developer with ease. So, when it comes to building apps related to banking or transactions, developers keep away from using React Native. 

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Flutter vs React Native: What are the key differences between the two?

In the above sections, we discussed the features of each framework separately, and now we will be comparing key features between the two platforms. 

Differences Flutter vs React Native

  Flutter React Native
User
interface
Native Components are mainly used for the UI in FlutterOwn components and widgets created by third parties are used for UI in this platform
Native appearance Greater native appearance due to lack of third-party libraries Lesser due to the presence of third-party libraries and APIs
App performance Better performance due to improved computational abilityApps are a bit slower due to the cumbersome nature of javascript, leading to delay in launching time
Framework maturity Not matured as it is a relatively newer platform Highly matured with over 3 years of usage in the app development industry
Language Dart language which is an object-oriented language is used for programming in this platformJavascriptlLanguage is used for programming in this platform  
Industry adoption Lower because this platform is still in its infancyHigher adoption due to its long term existence in this developing industry
Configuration and setup Easy and straightforward which is easy for newcomers to understand and work withLacks configuration and streamlining abilities
Code structure The structure is unorganised and messy due to the absence of separation between two distinct sectionsCode is simplified and is a lot direct with Javascript

There are pros and cons in both the different frameworks, and it is up to the developer to make choices of which platform will be the better fit for the task at hand. However, both are open-source platforms, so the scope is immense in either case, and these are only going to grow more in the coming days.

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Harikrishna Kundariya

Harikrishna Kundariya, a marketer, developer, IoT, ChatBot & Blockchain savvy, designer, co-founder, Director of eSparkBiz Technologies. His 8+ experience enables him to provide digital solutions to new start-ups based on IoT and ChatBot.

3 comments

  • Thank you for your article, it is very nice! Especially the table with brief comparison, that’s great and very convenient. I often see opinions that now, after all the updates, Flutter overcame RN in terms of usability, performance, coding, etc, what do you think about it now?

    • Thank you for appreciating the blog. True, technology is an ever-changing concept and with each passing day, each and every framework, language, etc. keeps improving. The arguments are to the point and updated. Thank you.

  • A successful mobile application needs to be available on both – iOS and Android. Therefore, the developers are opting for Cross-Platform Technologies for fast-paced mobile application development. React Native has been around for a long time and has proved its mettle. It’s a great choice if you wish to build a feature-rich application where you can leverage all the capabilities of JavaScript and native app performance.

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