Jan 29, 2020

Flutter vs React Native: what is better for your app

We spend every day with gadgets on our hands, so a good application for the company is a must. Every app starts with an idea, but is implemented using a powerful technical part. It’s more effective for business when the app suits a few platforms. To choose the best option for your business, today we will look at two popular platforms Flutter and React Native.

Flutter

Flutter is a UI toolkit that helps develop cross-platform mobile, desktop, and web applications. This means that on Flutter you can create both iOS and Android apps. This new, but very promising product by Google that was released in 2017. The framework is now actively updated with components and architectural add-ons thanks to the developer community.

Of the popular applications created on Flutter, we can highlight eCommerce project Xianyu, Google Ads, Hamilton — the official app of the Broadway musical.

React Native

React Native is used only for mobile app development, especially native and hybrid apps. It was created by Facebook in 2015, so this framework is proven and loved by developers. Many of the world’s favorite applications were created by using it. For example, Instagram, Tesla, Skype, Airbnb, UberEats, Pinterest, and, of course, all Facebook apps. We can argue that at least a few of them are installed on your phone right now.

Let’s compare both platforms

Based on the complexity of the idea, opportunities, budget, and other features of your business, it is worth choosing the most convenient option for development. Consider the main features of each of the frameworks and compare them.

Popularity

Flutter is actively promoted by Google, gradually gaining popularity and, most likely, will continue to crowd out other cross-platform development tools currently in use. Now it is only gaining popularity due to its recent release. At this time, React Native has been around for 5 years and is actively used by developers. Its many ready-made solutions are also an advantage. Both platforms are quite popular and widely used depending on app needs.

Cross-platform

Both frameworks are cross-platform. This means that developers write only one code for both iOS and Android. A feature is that Flutter is suitable for all types of applications: native, hybrid, and web applications. And with the help of React Native, it will not be possible to make a web application, only mobile.

Program language

Flutter does not use JavaScript in any form. Dart was chosen as a programming language for Flutter. It’s compiled into binary code, due to which a high application speed is achieved.

React Native uses well-known JavaScript and React. This is a huge advantage for web developers because they don’t need to learn a new language. It is also beneficial for companies because you can easily retrain a developer to React Native.

Application complexity and speed

Flutter is ideal for those cases where the speed of native applications is a priority, but their complexity is not needed (that is, for small and medium-sized applications).

React Native is ideal for creating applications that provide data processing. They work slowly, but allow to carry out complex processes. Applications for travelers, offering search and booking, applications for shops, blogs, chats — these are types of products that need React Native.

Developer search

Flutter is a relatively new platform, so it’s not so easy to find a knowledgeable and experienced app developer. Accordingly, the cost of app development will be much higher. React Native has more advantages in this respect both in the cost of work and in search. After all, JavaScript is one of the most common programming languages.

For comparison, the hourly pay of the Flutter app developer in the US is about $100-$150. And the average cost of a React Native app developer is $81-$100.

Safety

React Native provides all the tools to create secure mobile applications. Skype, Instagram, Facebook, and other platform products confirm this. Risks are higher in case of development on Flutter since the framework is new.

UI-components

React Native has a more extensive library of UI components (or widgets) than Flutter.

In fact, if we discard all unofficial libraries and consider only the native ones, it turns out that Flutter has a lot more. React Native depends on many third-party libraries, which can be a problem because they have bugs or incompatibilities of the UI with a specific platform.

Testing

React Native and Flutter are cross-platform, which helps reduce the time for automatic testing by 2 times. This reduces QA team requirements because they only have one app to test. Of course, if your applications have some differences, they should both be tested.

Time-to-market

When we speaking about the development time of a mobile application, it is important to understand that there is no average time. Time-to-market is determined, first of all, by the size of the available team and the features of the application itself. The choice of platform has practically no effect on release speed. However, working with simple applications on Flutter can be more profitable and faster. Here, cross-platform frameworks can save time by using almost all of the code and the UI for two platforms.

System updates

If iOS and Android are updated, then you have to adapt the application created on React Native. Modules are also updated and bugs may occur. Errors can be fixed, but it takes time. If you do not follow the updates, the application on React Native may simply stop working.

Flutter has recently been released, so bugs are common enough. This is especially noticeable when the platform is updating — some libraries start to work with errors.

Let’s sum it up

Although many developers assume that the future of application development is for Flutter, it is worth weighing the pros and cons. Both React Native and Flutter are good for different purposes. For a developer or company, the choice of platform depends on various factors, such as their previous tool stack, budget, current development team, etc. Therefore, always choose the best path for your business.