React Native and Flutter are both frameworks that enable developers to create mobile apps that run smoothly across multiple platforms. While React Native is currently the most widely adopted tool for the mobile, Flutter has been steadily gaining popularity and loyalty since 2017. In 2020, it’s one of the main competitors of React, and it’s predicted to grow in the future.

A Brief Overview of Flutter and React Native

React Native is a framework for cross-platform mobile development created by Facebook. It targets Android, iOS, Web, and UWP. React Native allows developers to use the power of React coupled with various functionalities of each platform, integrating the desired features seamlessly. This framework also enables developers to create user interfaces with elements that look native to each platform.

Flutter is a toolkit for software development, targeting mobile, desktop, and web platforms. Flutter was created by Google, and, similarly to React Native; it is open-source. This framework enables developers to create cross-platform applications that look equally good on both new and older versions of a device’s operating system and have a great feel due to an extensive collection of available widgets. Flutter significantly decreases the time needed to build an app compared to native development.

Programming Language

React Native uses JavaScript, the most popular language when it comes to web development. JS developers are usually familiar with the React framework, which shares many features with React Native. It makes the tool easier to master and incorporate, particularly when a company already has a web developer team. React Native makes it relatively easy for those already familiar with JavaScript and React to learn to build mobile applications.

Flutter relies on Dart, a programming language created by the Google team, and rarely used outside the framework. Dart resembles both JavaScript and Java in syntax, making it easy to learn for developers who have some experience with JS, as well as C# and other object-oriented languages.

Architecture

In terms of the development speed and productivity when it comes to cross-platform applications, React is definitely better than using native tools. The only potential pitfall of this framework is its reliance on a JavaScript bridge to run. React Native compiles your JS code into native code during runtime using Facebook’s Flux architecture. This necessity to connect the native modules with JavaScript code during runtime can make the app slower in certain cases, although the framework’s performance is generally sufficient despite its architecture.

Unlike React, Flutter usually doesn’t require the bridge to connect the framework and the platform’s native modules. This toolkit uses UI frameworks like Cupertino and Material Design, along with the Skia C++ engine, with all the necessary protocols and channels. The wide range of offered functionalities in Flutter typically removes the necessity for developers to turn to other technologies to build their apps.

Native Components

React Native provides the essential elements to develop an app, namely, UI rendering capabilities and device API access. For other functionalities, including accessing native modules, React relies on third-party libraries, which is usually less convenient than having all the tools you need in one package.

Flutter offers numerous libraries, navigation, testing tools, and an extensive set of widgets alongside the standard device API access and basic UI rendering to create visually appealing interfaces with minimal effort. In many cases, Flutter allows developers to forgo the use of third-party libraries. The functionality that the framework comes bundled with is usually sufficient to handle all necessary tasks and fulfill the design requirements.

Community

In terms of community, React Native holds its position as the absolute winner. This framework is older than Flutter, and the community that contributes to it is more extensive, active, and generally inspiring.
Flutter may be lagging behind for now, although with its rapid growth, it is expected to catch up to the level of interaction and engagement that the React community has fairly quickly.

Flutter vs. React Native: Which to Choose?

Both Flutter and React Native are incredible frameworks that can help you build a cross-platform application faster and easier than with the majority of native tools.

In comparison with React Native, Flutter loses points to the familiarity of JavaScript, since Flutter uses Dart—a programming language that is rarely utilized by developers. Therefore, if you already have a team of experienced JS developers, React Native might be a better choice.

At the same time, Flutter offers numerous customizable widgets that can be used both for Android and iOS. It removes the necessity to put considerable effort into styling separate elements of your app’s UI. Flutter also generally performs better and faster as it is compiled to native libraries. Choose this option when you need striking and highly tailored design or, alternatively, if you are already familiar with Dart instead of JavaScript.

Alex Zubkov

Alex Zubkov is a technical writer at LITSLINK from Dnipro. Previously, Alex worked for 15 years in sales before he decided to pursue his passion of writing. Alex has experience in marketing and promoting products in local and international markets.Likes sports, a fan of the Arsenal FC. Techno geek, loves gadgets, amateur photographer with 20 years of experience. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.