The rise of mobile applications has had a significant impact on the development industry. And since there are many users of mobile applications globally, innovative approaches that take less time and effort are needed. Flutter and React Native are the two most widely utilized hybrid frameworks for app development. Since the hybrid app market is expanding quickly and seeing as the native applications will be replaced in a few years, hybrid apps are the best option for any business.
This article contrasts the two top app development platforms, Flutter and React Native, from the developers' and app owners' viewpoints to assist you in making an informed decision on the best cross-platform solution for your app idea.
Today's cross-platform application development is a battle between the two major rival frameworks ‘React Native and Flutter. React Native is an open-source cross-platform UI software framework developed by Meta, formerly known as Facebook. While, Flutter is Google's most current open-source cross-platform development framework, which was introduced in May 2017. Both of these frameworks can easily achieve the basic aim of creating cross-platform applications from a single codebase that runs on iOS, Android, and the web.
Flutter vs React Native: Properties
Despite sharing a common purpose, they are significantly different in terms of operation and developer experience.
- Cross-platform Programming Languages
Flutters' and React Natives' GitHub repositories
are some of the most actively contributed to repositories in the world with the Flutter repository
thousand stars and React Natives' repository
thousand stars as of September 1st, 2022. React Native is architecturally designed to be minimal with base components provided by the framework. Still, virtually everything else is left to the open-source community to build upon, which means a React Native project would generally depend on loads of third-party dependencies, most commonly through the Node Package Manager
While Flutter comes with a built-in widget library and tons of prebuilt widgets, the company behind Flutter, Google, also produces and maintains a fair amount of open-source plugins that are housed on the Dart and Flutter Package Manager
(pub.dev). Developers can also build packages and plugins and host them on pub.dev
, Tech Lead of the Mobile Development department at NIX
, says: “Many tools and features in React Native and Flutter are on par with one another, including Code consistency and hot reload with the flexibility to make adjustments immediately. Other qualities are just as undesirable, such as state management.
"Unlike React Native, Flutter operates without the need for additional APIs when it comes to performance. The framework handles all of the work necessary to bridge the gap between the codebase and the device. However, React Native is more dynamic with a strong and flexible API when it comes to native design.”
Flutter, on the other hand, uses a high-performance rendering engine built with C++
which renders custom pixels to the screen with compiled native code. It renders pixel-perfect iOS and Android-style widgets while also giving developers the ability to render custom-built widgets similar to the gaming engine, Unity.
Flutter makes it easy to run applications on configured devices within the development environment that is being used with just the click of a button. And it also supports hot reload because of Dart's ability for just-in-time compilation. As Dart has a very sound type system, it is capable of providing great tooling as code is being written. For example, when typing, developers can hover over any class or variable in their code and see the full documentation for it. And if a developer inputs the incorrect datatype, the Dart compiler alerts them right away.
- Developer Onboarding and experience
When getting started with React Native, developers have access to the official React Native documentation at reactnative.dev/docs/environment-setup
. Starting a project is as simple as writing a single command in the terminal, and developers have the option of using third-party CLIs like Expo or Yarn, instead of the default React Native CLI.
Flutters SDK on the other hand, can be installed with guidance through the official documentation on docs.flutter.dev/get-started/install
. Flutter applications can be built using any text editor or IDE. Starting a Flutter project is a simple one-line command in the terminal as Flutter doesn't need to reach out to the Node Package Manager to install extra dependencies.
React Native and Flutter are excellent cross-platform development frameworks, and since they are both open-source frameworks, anyone can use them. At Fetchy, we lean more towards React Native as compared to Flutter, but notwithstanding whichever framework you select will depend on your priorities and what you or your team require.
*This is not the official Fetchly opinion but the opinion of the writer who is employed by Fetchly*