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flutter vs react native: which is better for cross-platform app development?

React Native is an open source framework from Facebook. Flutter is a mobile app SDK from Google. Both the cross-platform app development tools from two software giants boast of distinct features. It is hard to say which is the perfect choice for all circumstances.

React native was launched in February 2015 at the Facebook's React.js Conf. The open-sourced edition was released in March 2015. 

Flutter was introduced to the world by Google in the Google I/O Developer Conference 2017. 

Since it was released two years before Flutter, React Native was able to garner popularity amidst developers quickly. Built on HS meant there was no dearth of talent which ensured its quick growth. 

But, with the launch of Flutter things took a U-turn. Flutter promised several features that most developers felt was missing in React Native. Thus began the confusion and the comparison of both the frameworks for mobile app development

If you are someone who is in talks with a mobile app development company to build a mobile app using Flutter or React Native, then this blog is for you. 

We took a deep dive into the various features that both Flutter and React Native have so that you don’t have to spend hours doing the comparison. 

By the time you are done reading this blog, you will know which platform is best for which scenario. 

Let’s get started. 

The Language Stack

React Native is built on JavaScript, so you will have to be an expert on JS to make the best use of it. All dynamic JS code is compiled in native view at runtime, while rest of the code is pushed to a virtual machine. 

Flutter uses Dart. dart is a general-purpose programming language that Google itself had developed and launched in 2011. Dart as a programming language allows developers to create stunning mobile apps bolted with high-end features for all platforms, including Android, iOS and also the web. 

Architecture

React Native is based on an application architecture known as Flux. Flux is the same architecture that Facebook uses for building client-side web applications. The crux of Flux is its unidirectional data flow. While React handles the view part, Flux handles the Model in the MVC. 

Flutter also has a unidirectional data flow that is inspired by React’s Flux as well as RefluxJS. The only difference being the components included in the data-flow pattern like Actions, Stores, and StoreWatchers. 

Performance

React Native can run into a few problems when building hybrid mobile apps. This is primarily because of the JS Ecosystem and its many variants. However, when it comes to building native mobile apps, React Native promises rock-solid performances and high reliability.

Flutter, thanks to its Dart language offers a seamless mobile app development setup. It weeds away all the hassles that often accompanies hybrid mobile app development. As a result, the time taken to build and launch a mobile using Flutter is drastically low. The animation standard at 60fps is a testament to that fact. 

User Interface

React Native does not have its own UI components library. So, you will have to rely on third-party libraries to create your own custom user interfaces. 

Flutter, on the other hand, has layout widgets which can be used for a variety of uses. The UI boasts of impressive elements like rich motion APIs, built-in material design, iOS-flavor widgets and much more. The scrolling is also far smoother than React Native. Some of the Flutter widgets include Drawer, Inkwell, GestureDetector, and DefaultTabController. 

Support

The 2 years ahead of release has helped React Native built an active community of developers and enthusiasts. It is ranked as one of the most popular frameworks in Stack Overflow and also has a GitHub base with 68k stars. Other platform populations 14.5k user subreddit and ~9000 users on Discord. 

Flutter may not have a strong social backing as React Native, but Google’s support is nothing less than extraordinary. It’s Github stars count to ~25,000, has around ~2,500 stack overflow questions and a ~4,000 odd user community. In fact, the technical documentation does a great job of explaining everything that a developer would want to know while using Flutter for app development. 

Time is taken for Development

React Native, with the help of many third-party libraries like Calendar, Carousel, and Modal helps reduce the overall time taken for app development. 

Flutter allows for 70% of code reuse, which means you can build iOS, Android and web apps in the shortest time span possible. 

Conclusion

React Native and Flutter are two popular mobile app development frameworks. But, after the above comparison, we can lean towards Flutter as a preferred choice for cross-platform mobile app development



Dhaval Sarvaiya Co-founder

Hey there. I am Dhaval Sarvaiya, one of the Founders of Intelivita. Intelivita is a mobile app development company that helps companies achieve the goal of Digital Transformation. I help Enterprises and Startups overcome their Digital Transformation and mobile app development challenges with the might of on-demand solutions powered by cutting-edge technology.

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