Flutter Vs React Native – Which technology you should choose for Mobile APP Development?

Are you confused in the debate of Flutter V/s React Native and couldn’t decide which technology you should choose for your next project? Flutter launched by Google in 2018 & React Native launched by Facebook in 2015, are cross-platform mobile APP development frameworks to reduce the time, effort and cost of development.

Do you also want to develop your Mobile APP in lesser time & at a lesser cost? To give you clarity about both frameworks, let’s compare them on few parameters and decide which technology suits you the best.

Introduction:

Flutter: It is a free & open-source portable UI toolkit to develop natively compiled APPs on a single codebase. It uses the Dart programming language, which is a fast object-oriented programming language.

React Native: It also an open-source cross-platform development framework that uses JavaScript language. React native enables both android app development & iOS app development using a single codebase.

Technical Architecture:

Flutter has the Dart framework which uses Skia. Skia is a C++ engine having all the components, protocols and channels inbuilt. Since it has everything required to develop Mobile APPs, therefore, it does not require any bridge to facilitate communication with native modules.

React Native uses the Flux architecture that is highly based on JS runtime environment architecture (JavaScript Bridge). During the runtime, JavaScript code is compiled into native code. JavaScript Bridge facilitates the communication of React Native with Native code.

Installation:

React Native is installed using NPM i.e., Node Package Manager without any hassle. The packages can be installed locally or globally, developers need to find where is the binary located. JavaScript developers can easily locate the binary, whereas other developers need to learn the NPM.

To install the React Native on MacOS, HomeBrew Package Manager is also needed.

Flutter installation requires some extra efforts; it can be installed by downloading binary for a specific platform. It does not support any package managers for installation. For macOS, you need to download the flutter.zip file and add it as a PATH variable.

Project Setup & Configuration:

React Native guide book has very little information about project setup and takes the developer directly to creating a new project. It assumes that the developer already has the required setup & configuration for Android & iOS.

Flutter provides all the detailed information for IDE setup and platform setup for both Android & iOS in its guide book. In addition to this, it also has Flutter Doctor, a CLI tool to guide developers through the setup. Flutter Doctor finds out which tools are already installed in the local machine and what tools are required to be installed.

Once all tools are installed and the environment is successfully set up, you can create a new project from CLI.

It also separately discusses how to set up the editors to work with Flutter.

UI components and APIs:

React Native provides very few development components; it highly depends on third-party libraries to access most of the native modules. At its core, it just provides UI rendering & device access APIs.

Flutter, on the other hand, is very rich in UI rendering and device access APIs. It also provides advanced components like navigation, testing, stateful management, etc. Flutter has widgets for Material Design & Cupertino to easily render the UI on both Android & iOS.

Productivity:

React Native is easy for skilled JavaScript developer. It has a hot reload feature which saves a good amount of the developer’s time while testing the changes in UI. Developers can use any text editor or IDE they have hands-on.

Flutter is easy to start with the demo app but becomes complex as the app grows. It also has a hot reload function. Flutter uses Dart, which is a new programming language and does not support many IDEs and text editors. Developers need to update themselves with new Flutter concepts regularly.

Testing Support:

React Native have some unit level testing frameworks available in JavaScript such as Jest for snapshot testing. But for integration and UI testing, requires support from third-party tools such as Appium and Detox, but they are not officially supported.

Flutter is rich in testing features to test the APP on the unit. Integration, UI and widget parameters. Its widget testing feature can be used to create widget tests for unit testing and running them at the speed of unit testing.

APP Release Support:

React Native provides the manual process to deploy the APP from XCode, it does not have any automated steps to deploy the iOS APPs on the APP store. But, the third-party tools can be used to deploy the iOS and Android APPs on the store for built and release automation.

Flutter has a pre-defined process to deploy the iOS and Android APPs using Fastlane. Its command-line interface is very strong, therefore, it has a good release automation tooling to deploy the APPs from the command line.

Both Flutter and React Native are big cross-platform development tools and have their own pros and cons. So, on the basis of your project specifications and team skills, you can choose what better suits you: Flutter or React Native.

If you are fluent in JavaScript then React Native is a good choice but if you know dart or want to hand on it, then Flutter is the logical choice. If you want to build your APPs GUI using Native UI components then React Native is good to go, but if you want brand first design, then Flutter is the correct choice.

Both frameworks are known to reduce the time, cost and effort of the project.