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React Native and Flutter


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Flutter vs React Native in 2022: A Detailed Comparison

Posted in React Native, Flutter
Flutter vs React native

Mobile app development is a rapidly growing industry, especially after COVID-19’s demand for specific lifestyle and communication apps. But building apps for both iOS and Android means having two different teams and skill sets.

The solution to that is cross-platform mobile application solutions like Facebook’s React Native and Google’s Flutter. But which is better: Flutter or React Native?

Today we’ll walk you through popular apps made with each platform and compare Flutter and React Native based on their functionality and histories. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a solid understanding of Flutter vs React Native questions, including their individual pros and cons.

But first, here’s a quick glance at both the solutions, which should give you an understanding of the differences between Flutter and React Native.

 

Flutter vs React Native: Head-to-Head Comparison

Technology

React Native 

Flutter

Created By

Facebook

Google

First Release

Jan 2015

May 2017

Main Architecture

Flux and Redux

BLoC

Programming Language

JavaScript

Dart

Components Library

Large inclusive library

Smaller, non-inclusive

Performance

Slower performance because of JavaScript bridging

High-performing, quick

Adaptive Components

Some are adaptive automatically

Components aren’t adaptive. Need to be configured manually

Learning Curve

Easy to pick up, especially if you are used to React or Javascript before

Components aren’t adaptive. Need to be configured manually

Ecosystem

Quite mature, used in production in many big companies around the world, many packages available

Not yet mature, a fewer number of packages

Hot Reload

Supported

Supported

Apps

Instagram, Facebook, Tesla

Google Ads, Philips Hue, Postmuse

Time-to-market

Comparatively slower

Comparatively faster

 

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a reactive, open-source, cross-platform mobile development framework that uses the Dart programming language. Google created both Dart and Flutter, and the tech giant uses the framework for some of its biggest applications. The initial alpha release took place in May 2017. However, Google has released new versions every few months, with the latest in May 2021.

Let’s dive into a few characteristics of Google’s Flutter, including reactive programming, development, installation, and more.

Famous Apps Created with Flutter

Despite being a more recent development than React Native, Flutter has birthed many famous apps that we know and love today. Here’s a quick list:

1. Google Ads

Google Ads lets you manage ad campaigns conveniently right from your smartphone. The service helps you keep track of your ads with live alerts, editing, real-time bidding, rich statistics, and app customer support.

2. Cryptograph

Cryptograph is an app that lets you monitor thousands of cryptocurrencies and their performance, including Ethereum and Bitcoin. You can access rate maps and market history for every currency.

3. Postmuse

If you’re a social media or marketing professional, chances are you know of Postmuse, which can enhance your content considerably. The app lets you improve your content with unique image quality, calligraphy, story templates, and much more.

 

 

Reactive Programming with Flutter

Flutter is a reactive framework — but what does that mean and why is it so useful for app development?

Let’s say you want to send a request to a server and perform an action depending on the response. If you take action before a response is back, i.e., before you have an object, you’d be taking an action that will result in the famous billion-dollar mistake: a null reference. If you come from the Android and Java world, you’d know that one of the main motives behind Kotlin was eliminating the null reference.

When data comes asynchronously, with multiple user clicks and requests, many program parts must respond to the incoming data. In other words, it would be chaos without reactive programming.

 

Flutter Development and Installation

A Flutter application’s main building block is a widget. Widgets are analogous to components in React Native. Flutter comes with several ready-to-use widgets, most of which implement material design concepts. There are two types of widgets: stateless and stateful widgets, just like class and functional components in React. Unfortunately, Flutter’s widgets are not adaptive, so you have to make platform-specific adaptations manually.

It’s fairly easy to get started with Flutter. All you need to do is download the Flutter package, unzip it, and then create an environment variable pointing to a folder inside that unzipped folder. You might also need to download Android Studio and set up an emulator if you don’t want to use your phone.

Flutter supports the Hot Reload feature, enabling you to rerun your application with the adjustments you make while developing and speed up development. Flutter is currently officially supported on Android Studio, IntelliJ Idea, and Visual Studio Code.

 

Flutter UI Components

Flutter has a rich set of components compared to React Native. The framework comes with many UI rendering components, navigation, libraries, API access, and a lot else to help you develop great apps. The program’s many widgets also make it easier to design UI on Android and iOS devices.

 

Flutter Ecosystem

One downside of Flutter is that it is behind React Native when it comes to the ecosystem. React Native had already existed for two years before Flutter was released, resulting in tons of available packages for the former. However, Flutter is catching up quite quickly, with many mobile development core packages available for public use. The Flutter ecosystem also has a lot of momentum thanks to an active and dedicated community. Currently, there are over 23,000 packages available for Flutter.

 

Flutter Performance

When it comes to performance, Flutter’s approach is quite different from that of React Native or even NativeScript. Flutter’s application is compiled using the arm C/C++ library. This makes it closer to a machine language and gives a better native performance. Unlike React Native, it doesn’t have just the UI components compiled; instead, the whole thing is compiled.

Dart is quite a high-performing language on its own, which leads to many seeing Flutter as having the upper hand. Not surprising, considering its smooth, 60 frames-per-second speed!

 

Flutter Documentation

Flutter has good documentation and an active sharing community. Moreover, Flutter’s team is quite helpful, making it relatively easy to get started with the platform. Keep in mind that while the documentation is thorough, it may prove difficult to understand if you don’t have programming experience. However, some users have also reported that the documentation is unhelpful for certain common issues.

 

Flutter Architecture

Flutter is relatively new, which makes some programmers uncertain about the best architecture to implement for your application. 

One popular architecture is the BLoC architecture (Business Logic Component). Google depicted the architecture at DartConf2018, and it states that the business logic should be taken out of the presentation layer and placed in the business logic components. The BLoC pattern heavily relies on streams and RxDart (Reactive Dart).

You might feel more comfortable using Redux/Flux, which is possible with certain Flutter packages. These will suffice if you’re interested in creating small applications and just trying out Flutter.

 

Pros and Cons of Flutter

Pros:

  • Quick development using the same codebase
  • “Hot Reload” makes experimentation and bug resolution simple
  • Layered architecture maximizes customization abilities and control
  • Great documentation
  • Separate UI prevents errors
  • User-friendly designs

Cons:

  • Young framework, with some common issues that aren’t easily rectified
  • Apps take longer to download and take up a lot of space
  • Constantly updated programming language (Dart) and framework
  • Libraries & support are impressive but not as productive as native development

When to Use Flutter

  • Small budgets
  • Short development timeline
  • UI-centered apps
  • Iteration (Hot Reload)

 

What is React Native? 

Facebook’s React Native is perhaps the most renowned when it comes to cross-platform mobile development. React Native started as an internal hackathon project at Facebook back in 2013, released to the public in 2015. A JavaScript framework built using the React library, React Native helps you ship IOS and Android apps with a single code base.

 

Famous Apps Created with React Native

Here are some popular apps created with React Native:

1. Instagram

Instagram is the photo-sharing, story-taking, post-making social media giant we all know and use. Instagram used React Native for its intuitive UI, starting with the Push Notification and Webviews. Since a whopping 85%-99% of the code was shared, development was quicker than usual.

2. Walmart

Every month, 120 million people access Walmart’s popular app. The department store giant rewrote its mobile app code with React Native recently, citing benefits like improved speed and efficiency.

3. Tesla

Tesla created an app for electric car enthusiasts and owners to help diagnose issues and identify characteristics. Shockingly, the app even partially controls the car’s movements!

 

Development and Installation

React Native uses components, but instead of web components like Div and H1, you use the set of components provided by the react-native library for mobile development. React Native also uses a virtual DOM to communicate with native UI elements. React Native doesn’t offer as many widgets as Flutter, but it’s inclusive with adaptive components.

To get started with React Native, you must begin by installing the create-react-native-app package with npm, using it to create a new React Native application. One useful aspect about development with React Native is its Expo integration provision. Expo lets you run your code on your mobile device without wiring it up. Instead, you just need to scan a QR code that appears on the console.

 

Ecosystem

React Native has more years on the market, making it vastly supported by most editors. The platform also supports hot reload, like Flutter. When it comes to packages, React Native is the clear winner, with over five times the number of packages available as Flutter. The framework is also more mature and stable than Flutter.

 

Documentation

React Native’s documentation is sufficient and more user-friendly than Flutter’s. Official documentation includes prop explanations, guides, and popular cross-platform development topics like installing native modules.

 

UI Components

React Native doesn’t have as rich a component set as Flutter. In contrast, it only provides UI rendering, relying on third-party libraries to access native modules. Some users find that React Native relies too heavily on these third parties.

 

Performance

React Native’s approach is different from Flutter’s. The entire application isn’t compiled to C/C++ or a native language. Instead, the UI components are compiled to their native equivalents, with the JS code running in a separate thread and communicating with native modules for any action needed through a bridge. 

Unfortunately, initializing Javascript and requiring the modules is an intensive task. React Native might be higher-performing than hybrid alternatives like Ionic or Cordova, but it falls short in performance compared to Flutter.

There is some hope for React Native’s performance. Many optimization areas may increase performance, including lazy requiring, lazy native modules loading, and incremental cache read.

 

Architecture

There are two main patterns in building React/React to native applications: Flux and Redux.

Flux is the one created by the framework creators, Facebook, while Redux is the community’s most popular option.

These frameworks are about unidirectional data flow and storing your application’s state in one central place called Store. They also make your app components as stateless as possible. You can also use the Context API, a new React feature for state management.

 

Pros and Cons of React Native

Pros:

  • Extensive base packages due to using widely popular JavaScript language
  • One codebase - developers can develop an app for multiple devices simultaneously rather than individually
  • Developer freedom of choice as facilitates code reuse and cost-saving
  • Relative maturity
  • An active and vast community
  • Easy to learn for React developers

Cons:

  • Still needs native developers
  • Poor performance compared to Flutter
  • Debugging issues
  • Fewer components out of box
  • Lots of abandoned packages and libraries
  • Fragile UI
  • Apps are bigger than native ones

When to Use React Native

  • Big budgets and complex projects
  • Complicated cross-platform apps
  • Reusing code for mobile and desktop apps
  • Less experienced developers because of extensive documentation support

 

Conclusion

As we can see, the React Native vs Flutter debate results in pros and cons for both sides, but the idea is to fill the gap between two platforms (Android and iOS). 

Some industry experts predict Flutter as the future of mobile app development. But React Native remains king with some of the most impressive apps on today’s market, like Facebook and Instagram. 

The bottom line is that each platform serves different purposes, so you should consider your needs before committing to one.

Interested in learning more about Flutter and React Native? Trying to get a job as a React developer? 

Check out our 2022 Flutter Guide and our round-up of the best React Native tutorials and these React interview questions for additional help.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Flutter Better Than React Native?

Both have pros and cons. Flutter might be a better choice for you if you plan on creating small applications with modest budgets and value a rich component set.

2. Is Flutter Faster Than React Native?

Yes, Flutter is faster than React Native. React Native relies on JavaScript to bridge native components, making it a slower process.

3. Should You Learn React Native or Flutter in 2022?

You should learn React Native in 2022 if you plan on creating deeper projects and more complex apps. But many programming experts recommend Flutter for its unparalleled performance. Check out our “When to Use Flutter” and “When to Use React Native” sections of this article for more clarity.

4. Does Flutter Have a Future?

With ever-growing features and market development, experts see Flutter as a big player in the future of mobile app development.

5. Is Flutter Ready for Production 2022?

Yes, Google recently announced that Flutter would be eligible for Microsoft’s IDE Visual Studio 2022 version.

Abhimanyu  Krishnan

Abhimanyu Krishnan

With a bachelor's degree in Information Technology, Abhi has experience with several programming languages, including Python, JavaScript and C++. He is also an expert on blockchain technology and its development, having worked in the industry for several years. View all posts by the Author

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Rashid Iqbal
Rashid Iqbal

for me flutter wins the prize; because its make so easy to built complex UIs' that were just dreams before May 2017

Rocky
Rocky

Thank you, this is a helpful article! One thing I will suggest is that when it comes to programming languages, the advantage really depends on the current skill set of the user. Developers who are already comfortable with JavaScript will not need to learn a new language. But for most other developers, or people new to programming, Dart will likely be significantly easier to learn than JavaScript. Dart is extremely similar to other traditional object oriented languages like C# and Java, and it was designed to address the issues that can be confusing with JavaScript. This article pretty much echoes my own experience learning Dart:
Please Read this

https://www.articlesuperbundle.com/flutter-vs-react-native-which-is-the-best-for-you/

Lokesh Dokara
Lokesh Dokara

Flutter has 94.7k GitHub stars as of June 24th, 2020

Dai Software
Dai Software

The blog is absolutely fantastic! Lot of great information which can be helpful about benefits of developing website. Keep updating the blogs.

Rodolfo Davis
Rodolfo Davis

Both Flutter and React Native have their pros and cons. Have a look at the difference between both these high-end app development frameworks and I think choose the best one as per your needs. I just read one more blog before reading this blog that blog is also interesting. If anymore want more information then go through this URL :- https://www.softprodigy.com/cross-platform-app-development-how-react-native-is-faster-than-flutter/

Saurabh Kumawat
Saurabh Kumawat 10 Points

Obviously, they’re both solid performers. Either may render a perfect app, but trends suggest that techies see in Flutter vs React native - Right Framework for your Mobile App the future is Flutter. It’s simple. It’s powerful. It’s more efficient and looks sleeker.

Robson
Robson

Flutter stars on git are now 92,300 and react native is on 87,100. Flutter wins.

Stefan
Stefan

Agree, I choose Flutter for my company and stars on git is one of the reasons

Jibran
Jibran

Airbnb left React Native a while ago.

heyi
heyi

Airbnb stop giving package services for react native

RYan
RYan

Well it was while ago, you might need to test the rn 0.61+, If you're good at javascript you definitely better use react native but if you're not better to go with flutter since it's performance is better. The problem in react native is many developers not implemented it well so performance becomes really bad.

pasha
pasha

As of April 3rd, 2020, flutter has even more stars than react native: 89.5k vs 86k

Cinzia Nicoletti
Cinzia Nicoletti 10 Points

Flutter stars on git are now 77,620 not 37,200 and react native is on 81994 it really lacks little that exceeds it ...

Dev Manek
Dev Manek

React Native uses JavaScript to build cross-platform apps and Flutter uses Dart programming language which was introduced by Google. Both are the Cross-platform application development and both have their own advantages. your article is informative. Thank you for sharing this.

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