React Native Vs Flutter: What to Choose for Your Cross-Platform Mobile App Development?

React Native and Flutter both are well renowned cross-platform mobile app development frameworks. But which one is best out of the two and what you should choose? Let’s find out.

4 min read
Jan 17, 2022

The usage of mobile apps has escalated quickly and surviving without a mobile app in this cut-throat competition for businesses won’t be easy. During the pandemic itself, global app downloads increased by 23.3%, and user spending increased by 32% as reported by Sensortower.

Looking at these statistics, we can say that it has become inevitable for businesses to shift their focus to mobile app development and marketing.

React Native and Flutter are both well renowned cross-platform mobile app development frameworks. The most tech-savvy development companies as well as product owners that opt for the modern tech stack use either React Native or Flutter.

But still many feel the dilemma when choosing the best cross-platform app development framework out of the two. So, let’s get to know which one is better. But first, let’s understand the basics about both platforms.

Basics About React Native

Developed and maintained by Facebook, React Native is a JavaScript-based cross-platform mobile app development. The platform gained immense popularity and is the second most used framework across the world in 2021 as reported by Statista.

It was born out of the struggle of Facebook to maintain its applications for iOS and Android platforms. The framework keeps bringing new versions and upgrades released every six months or so. My recent article on the best highlights of the React Native v0.66 covers everything that’s new about it.

Basics About Flutter

Following the footsteps of Facebook, Google also released the Flutter mobile app development framework. Flutter is the reason why Native Script holds 2nd position, as it is the most popular and most used cross-platform app development framework.

It is an open-source enhanced UI toolkit to build hybrid and cross-platform apps for both iOS and Android platforms. It contains expressive & flexible UI, widgets for native performance, rich motion UI, and many other features.

We have already covered Flutter in our best app development framework guide and also compared Flutter with NativeScript, which is also a great cross-platform app development framework.

Now let’s get into the comparison.

React Native Vs Flutter: What to Choose for Your Cross-Platform App Development?

1. Code Reusability

Code Reusability is the key concept behind hybrid and cross-platform frameworks and their sole reason to exist today. Both the frameworks offer excellent support for code reusability.

In react Native, reusable codes are termed as components, which are custom-built and imported. By sending props, components are configured by rendering elements and data. Further, they can be modified based on the props and can be used multiple times on any screen.

Flutter also has a similar concept as React Native but the reusable components are termed as custom widgets here. Flutter has two types of widgets: Stateful widgets and Stateless Widgets. Values in the Stateful widget change dynamically while they remain static without changing in the Stateless widgets. Both types can be reused, modified, and configured based on parameters, making them convenient and efficient.

2. Performance

The performance of the mobile apps is measured based on how fast they can render UI elements into the app screen. Apps built on these frameworks perform great on this front same as the native apps.

However, since the React Native framework is built on top of the JavaScript language, it has to bridge the gap to interpret the native components. The framework has to call interpreters from native languages such as Objective C or Java to render UI elements. This takes time and makes the apps a bit slower.

Flutter apps, on the other hand, have comparable performance to React Native apps. The Dart language codes are compiled directly in the device CPU to run. Additionally, Flutter uses widgets instead of native components to implement and render user interface on the screen using the native device’s GPU. All these make Flutter apps faster.

3. Popularity

Popularity is another measure of a framework to know which platform is better to use for developing cross-platform applications. Both the platforms are quite popular in the development community.

React Native was released way before Flutter that’s why it has gained popularity and a loyal community of its own. Also, the framework is based on JavaScript, which is a scripting language that is in use for over 2 and a half decades. The React Native framework draws popularity from the JavaScript language.

Flutter and Dart — the language it is based on are relatively new compared to React Native and JavaScript. However, the framework has quickly gained popularity just after releasing in 2018. As mentioned before, Flutter has become one of the most used frameworks by developers from around the world.

4. Community Support

The larger the community, the more popularity a framework can amass. React Native is been here for around a decade now but Flutter has been here for only 4–5 years.

Thanks to this difference, React Native has a larger community than Flutter. The biggest benefit of having such a large community is that development issues are easily resolved. This large community has many contributions in suggesting new feature upgrades. Also, React Native’s link with JavaScript allows it to have an even larger and powerful community.

Even though Flutter may not have as large a community as React Native but it has rapidly grown and become the most popular and widely used cross-platform app development framework.

Thanks to this fact, the Flutter community is also rapidly growing and making its mark on the development world. They actively participate in resolving issues and helping with new feature releases. Thus, the Flutter community will reach the level of React Native in near future and may even surpass it.

Conclusion

From this article, we learned some basics about React Native and Flutter. We also delved into code reusability, performance, popularity, and community support to find which framework is better out of the two.

React Native has already made its mark on the mobile app development community. Flutter, on the other hand, has also started to blossom into an excellent framework that most product owners and developers turn their heads to. So, choosing out of the two really depends on your choice.

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