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When it comes to cross-platform development, choosing between Flutter and React Native is difficult. Both lead the cross-platform landscape with robust functionalities, user community, and performance. In this blog, we will help you clear out the fog and help you make an informed decision about which language will fit your purpose.

What Is Flutter - A Quick Intro

Source: Flutter

Google released Flutter in 2017 after gaining serious traction. Flutter is an open-source tech stack for developing cross-platform mobile, web, and desktop apps. It builds, tests, and creates attractive, fast-paced mobile, web, desktop, and embedded apps. It is an SDK - a collection of software tools that assist in developing compelling multi-platform apps.

Flutter stands apart from React Native as it uses a language called Dart, which gives it the unmatched advantage of easy transition to supporting web, desktop, and embedded. Here are the key features and benefits of Flutter that are making it popular among developers.

Benefits of Flutter:

  • Dependable as Google backs it.
  • Support Internationalization, which is critical to reaching a global audience.
  • You can create high-quality natively compiled applications for iOS and Android with one codebase.
  • It has a beautiful interface, thanks to the Material Design UI language.
  • Hot reloading features make experimentation easy as developers scan and see the changes live without starting from scratch every single time.
  • With the ever-growing cross-platform landscape, Flutter is here to stay.

What Is React Native?

First released in 2015 by Facebook, React Native is commonly the first choice for cross-platform app development. It's a JavaScript framework popular for building cross-platform apps that act like native apps. In addition, its code is reusable for making iOS and Android apps, which is why companies like Pinterest, Walmart, Tesla, and Airbnb have built apps on this platform.

Benefits of React Native:

  1. An ample number of third-party plugins makes it easy to add new features without coding them from scratch.
  2. Large community support makes it easy to get help whenever you need it.
  3. Live reloading features allow developers to see the code changes instantly, saving compilation time.

Let’s dive deep into the key differences between Flutter and React Native

1. Language: Compiled Dart vs JavaScript

Flutter has a language called Dart. Dart is a typed language that offers Just in time and ahead-of-time compilation. Ahead-of-time compilation automatically compiles the code into native machine format, thus helping achieve fast loading (rendering).

Whereas react native uses JavaScript. Let's understand this in layperson's terms. Your smartphones are generally coded in either Java (Android) or C#/Swift (iOS). How will it read JavaScript? That's where React Native creates a bridge between the target platform and JavaScript, so your smartphones can understand what the app wants to do.

2. Performance: Flutter vs React Native

React Native works on the bridge principle. The bridge is communication between JavaScript and native components. This means React Native plays the middleman between JS and native code, which causes a time lag and hence slows down the app's speed and performance.

Flutter, however, needs a bridge. It has a rendering machine called Impeller (available in Flutter 3 version) that powers hardware-generated graphics. The Flutter app can work with heavy pictures without all those glitches. So, if you want something supporting profound transitions, go with Flutter. If your app requires JavaScript and does not have rich graphics, then React Native will make a good choice.

3. Debugging: Flutter vs React Native

Finding bugs is challenging in React Native, as there is hardly any way to pinpoint the exact line of code where bugs may be present.

Adding to the difficulty, the errors can be on either JavaScript or native. As a result, developers have to go through both sections to pin down the error, which usually takes time to find out and thus slows down the entire testing process.

Flutter makes debugging easier than React Native as Google provides a wide range of tools like Android Studio, Visual Studio, and Chrome tools to find the bugs.

The verdict is that if the speed of delivery is what you need, Flutter will be a good choice as debugging is easy and fast compared to React Native.

4. User Interface: 

Flutter offers a rich set of customizable widgets that provide a native look and feel to the app. The widgets in Flutter are customizable and can be adjusted to fit the specific needs of the app. React Native also provides a set of pre-built UI components, but they are not as customizable as the widgets in Flutter.

5. Third-Party Libraries, Components, and Packages

React Native uses a typical approach to app development, which means it has everything needed to build a fundamental app. The problem arises when using UI language, icons, statement management, HTTP requests, etc. To use these features, React Native depends on third-party libraries or community-supported code. This means standard React Native apps will be made after joining many libraries and packages from different code styles, non-standardized APIs, and little to no documentation.

Compared to React Native, Flutter does a beautiful job as it comes with Material Design, hundreds of icons, state management setup, core packages including localization, and HTTP requests. These features come with tree-shaking so that you won’t use unnecessary features.

This means that when developing apps with Flutter, you will spend on only a few third-party libraries and handling the configurations, saving time and money. If you are on a budget and looking for a self-sufficient platform, Flutter is the way to go.

6. Development Time & Code Reusability:

Code reusability is a significant point to consider when choosing between React Native and Flutter. After all, it's one of the main reasons cross-platform is trending.

Flutter has more code reusability than React Native. This is because developers can define the tree and reuse the component logic. That's not the case with React Native, where, despite components being reusable, there are always major compatibility issues. This means they often leave developers searching for platform-compatible details, slowing the development process.

Flutter has a more straightforward setup process compared to React Native, which requires additional tools to be installed, such as Node.js and the React Native CLI. Flutter, on the other hand, can be set up using a single command-line tool called Flutter CLI. Additionally, Flutter provides an excellent development environment called "Flutter Studio," which offers a visual interface for building UI components.

However, Flutter has more code than React Native. It's a tie here!

7. Deployment: Flutter vs React Native

Flutter has much support for releasing apps on the App store and Google Play Store. There is documentation for fast lane deployment for both Android and IOS easy deployment.

In contrast, React Native app release is typical. There is no automation. The entire process is manual. Any automation would require third-party intervention, which adds to the complexity.

8. Community Support:

Both Flutter and React Native have strong and active communities that provide support to developers. However, Flutter's community is relatively new compared to React Native, which has been around for a more extended period. But Flutter's community is growing rapidly, with a considerable number of developers adopting the framework.

What Does the Future Hold for Flutter and React Native?

Flutter recently launched the Flutter 3 version, bringing unique features and improvements like platform support for iOS, Firebase plugins, casual games toolkit, Impeller preview, and more. React Native also launched version 0.71, packed with features like:

  • TypeScript by default
  • Developer Experience Improvements
  • New Architecture Updates

Source: Statista

Judging by their popularity, both frameworks are here to stay. Although, the popularity of Flutter is rising each day.

Which Is Better, Flutter or React Native, In 2023?

Flutter and React Native have their advantages and disadvantages. Flutter provides excellent performance, a customizable user interface. React Native, on the other hand, has a more extended history, a vast community, and pre-built UI components. Ultimately, the choice between Flutter and React Native depends on your specific project requirements and personal preference.

When to Use Flutter?

  1. You want a picture-perfect UI without spending on third-party libraries to achieve the results.
  2. You want to deliver apps quickly and within a limited budget.

3, You want to focus on the mobile app experience rather than the web or desktop experience.

In short, Flutter is an apt choice for new and aspiring businesses looking to build cross-platform, attractive, and feature-rich apps at comparatively lesser cost and time.

When to Use React Native?

  1. If you have a team of JavaScript developers and a reasonable budget.
  2. You also want to focus on desktop and web experience and mobile apps.
  3. You need dynamic apps instead of resource-intensive apps.
  4. You have no restrictions on using third-party libraries to enhance your app features.

Start Cross-Platform Development with Clarion Technologies

If you seek dependable specialists in cross-platform development projects, lean on Clarion Technologies. We deliver high-performance, user-friendly, business-aligned apps to help you scale your business effectively.