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Flutter vs React Native – what to choose in 2020?

Do you want to develop apps more quickly? And to reduce costs with cross-platform development – but you’re not sure which technology to choose?

In this article, we compare the leading market players – Flutter and React Native – from the app owners’ perspective to help you identify which framework best fits your app idea.

What you’ll find in this article

Why we created this article

Cross-platform solutions are gaining in popularity. Flutter and React Native are the two leading market players, but at Droids On Roids, we’ll build commercial apps for partners using the approach that best fits the solution – be it native, Flutter, or React Native.

Still, business owners always want to know the answer to several critical questions:

  • Which framework best fits my project?
  • Which solution can provide the fastest time-to-market for my app?
  • Will my app be stable and user-friendly?
  • Which is best if perfect design is my #1 priority?

We wrote this article to summarize the answers we share with our partners so that you can benefit from them, too.

We hope it helps you make a smart, conscious decision when it comes to choosing the best cross-platform solution for your app idea.

Who wrote the article?

It takes a certain level of experience to write about Flutter and React Native in sufficient depth – and to compare and contrast the two technologies.

As such, we asked two Droids On Roids developers to take on the task:

  • Bartosz – Web & React Native Developer
  • Damian – iOS & Flutter Developer

These two build commercial apps for clients in Flutter and React Native every day. So, you can be sure the knowledge they’re about to share includes not only the theory but years of development experience as well.

We have also tested our understanding against popular articles in the developer community, referencing these sources to answer any questions. You can find a full list of their references at the end of this post.

Flutter vs. React Native: In a nutshell

FlutterReact Native
What is it?A portable UI toolkit for building natively-compiled apps across mobile, web, and desktop* from a single codebaseA framework for building native applications using React
Official releaseDecember 2018, Google I/OMarch 2015, F8 Conference
Created byGoogleFacebook
Free and open sourceYesYes
Programming languageDartJavaScript
Popularity68,000 Stars on Github (June 2019)78,400 stars on Github (June 2019)
Hot ReloadYesYes
Native performanceGreatGreat
UIFlutter apps look as good on the up-to-date operating systems as they do on older versions.

As they only have one codebase, the apps look and behave similarly across iOS and Android – but thanks to Material Design and Cupertino widgets, they can also imitate the platform design itself. How’s that possible?

Flutter contains two sets of widgets which conform to specific design languages: Material Design widgets implement Google’s design language of the same name; Cupertino widgets imitate Apple’s iOS design.

This means that your Flutter app will look and behave naturally on each platform, imitating their native components. 

Application components look just like native ones (e.g. a button on an iOS device looks just like a native iOS button, and the same on Android).

The fact React Native uses native components under the hood should give you confidence that, after any OS UI update, your app’s components will be instantly upgraded as well.

That said – this can break the app’s UI but it happens very rarely.

If you want your app to look near-identical across platforms – as well as on older versions of an operating system (as Flutter achieves) – then consider using third-party libraries (like this one). They will enable you to use Material Design components, in place of native ones.

Sharing codeCurrently on iOS and Androidbut the long-term vision for Flutter is to offer an integrated solution that allows developers to write one code for both desktop & mobile, and for the web.

Flutter for Web is not stable yet, it is currently available as a preview only.

When it comes to developing desktop apps with Flutter, APIs are in their early stages of development and so will be probably released, just further down the line.

iOS and Android – but there are select libraries that allow you to use the same code to build iOS, Android, web, and Windows10 apps.

You can also extract shared code in mobile, desktop, and web apps, to a separate repository; treat it as a separate project; then inject it in the same way as another dependency.

This allows a developer to focus on writing code for a specific platform without having to consider compatibility with another one.

Top apps made with this technologyXianyu app by Alibaba, Hamilton app for Hamilton Musical, Google Ads appInstagram, Facebook, Facebook Ads, Skype, Tesla
Time-to-marketTypically much faster than native development.Possibly as fast as development with Flutter.

However…

React Native uses bridge and native elements, so it may require separate optimization for each platform – a problem that widget-based Flutter doesn’t run into. It may make the app development with React Native longer.

Competitive advantage
  • Great look and feel thanks to rich widgets;
  • Rapidly growing community, and popularity;
  • Excellent documentation with strong support from the Flutter team (which makes it easy to start developing with Flutter);
  • Improving Flutter for Web, offering the potential for one codebase across mobile and web platforms
  • Difficult to beat time-to-market length
  • Stability (4+ years on the market);
  • Many successful, prominent market players using React Native;
  • Mature, vast community;
  • Easy-to-learn technology;
  • Plenty of tutorials and libraries, which allow quick and easy development;
  • Code can be easily reused for both web app and desktop app development.
When it is not the best fitIf…

• Your app needs to support 3D Touch (for now, Flutter doesn’t support 3D – but it features on the Flutter team’s long-term roadmap)

The design of your app is platform-specific

• Your app requires multiple interactions with an OS; or requires rare, little-known native libraries

• You need a minimalist UI, but rely on significant use of the phone hardware (e.g. an application that plays music, or only takes pictures)

• You want to create an instant app (small-sized app)

If your app sounds like any of the above, it’s probably better you choose native app development.

Read more about these cases here >>

If…

• Your app needs to handle less common, or ultra-specific tasks (like calculations) in the background

• You require custom communication via Bluetooth (which can be tricky to implement using React Native)

• You want to create an app for Android only

In truth, if you want to build an iOS app and you know JavaScript, consider React Native – but if you want an Android-only app, it’s likely better to build natively with another team. Why? Right now, iOS has better support than Android.

If your app sounds like any of the above, it’s probably better you consider choosing native app development.

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Introduction to Flutter and React Native

First, let’s cover the basic (yet essential) details about Flutter and React Native.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a portable UI toolkit. In other words, it’s a comprehensive app Software Development Kit (SDK), complete with widgets and tools.

What’s Flutter for?

Flutter enables cross-platform app development.

It gives developers an easy way to build and deploy visually attractive, natively-compiled applications for mobile (iOS, Android), web, and desktop – all using a single codebase (source: official Flutter website).

* Please note:

  • When it comes to developing desktop apps with Flutter, APIs are still in the early stages of development. Google is working on extending Flutter to support desktop as a target environment, allowing developers to create macOS, Windows, and Linux applications with the technology.

In the long run, this effort will lead to a fully integrated solution where developers can create apps for desktop platforms as they do for mobile platforms – at the time of writing, however, the solution is in development (source).

  • Flutter for Web is currently available as a technical preview only. Flutter for Web is a code-compatible implementation of Flutter that allows you to compile existing Flutter code written in Dart into a client experience that can be embedded in the browser and deployed to any web server. You can use all the features of Flutter, and you don’t need a browser plug-in (source).

A little more about Flutter…

  • It’s free and open source
  • It’s based on Dart – a fast, object-oriented programming language (Google released Dart 2.3 with new support for UI-as-code features). Dart is relatively new, and is easy to learn – especially for experienced developers more familiar with Java and C#
  • The architecture is based on the very popular reactive programming (it follows the same style as React)
  • It provides its own widgets, drawn from its own high-performance rendering engine – these are fast, attractive and customizable
  • Thanks to the widget experience, Flutter apps have a great look and feel (while you can still create your own custom app design using readily-available UI elements that follow specific platform guidelines)

Who created Flutter?

A team at Google built Flutter.

But as an open source project, both Google and the Flutter community contribute to its development.

How mature is Flutter?

A brief history of Flutter:

  • February 2018, Mobile World Congress – First beta release of Flutter
  • April 2018, Google I/O – Flutter beta 2 release
  • May 2018, Google I/O – Flutter beta 3 release
    • Flutter joins GitHub’s top 100 repos
  • June 2018 – Flutter Preview 1 release
  • September 2018 – Flutter Preview 2 release
  • November 2018 — Dart 2.1 release
  • December 2018, Google I/O – Flutter 1.0 release
    • A crucial milestone for the technology – since Dec. 2018, Flutter has been considered as stable and ready for production
  • February 2019, Mobile World Congress – Flutter 1.2 release
  • May 2019, Mobile World Congress:
  • July 2019, Flutter 1.7 release

As you can see, Google shifted from the Flutter beta version to the final stages of stabilization for Flutter 1.0 at a rapid pace.

Better still, since the release of Flutter 1.0, the team hasn’t rested on its laurels. It has actively worked on making the toolkit stronger and more resilient – prioritizing enhanced stability, performance, and quality.

Moreover, Flutter 1.5 includes hundreds of changes in response to developer feedback (source).

Flutter is now one of the top 20 active software repositories on GitHub (13th place as of June 3, 2019), which proves the developer community uses it and continues to contribute to its improvement.

In summary, Flutter remains a fledgling technology.

Yet, given the pace of Flutter’s improvements – and its explosive popularity – we can say with confidence that it’s impressively stable and mature for its age.

And judging by the rate of development, we expect to see Flutter for Web become stable within 12-months, as well.

What popular apps are made with Flutter?

For more examples of top Flutter apps, read this article > Top Apps Made with Flutter – 17 Stories by Developers and Business Owners


What is React Native?

React Native is an open-source mobile application framework that uses JavaScript.

What is React Native for?

React Native is an effective framework for:

  • Cross-platform development
  • Building mobile apps using JavaScript language
  • Developing applications for both Android and iOS using a single codebase
  • Using the same design as React

* Please note:

  • Apps created using React Native are not mobile web apps. React Native uses the same fundamental UI building blocks as regular iOS and Android apps: this means that instead of building in Java, Kotlin, or Swift – you’re putting the same building blocks together, using JavaScript and React (source).
  • React Native uses components that are analogous to widgets in Flutter.

To develop web and desktop applications with React Native, it’s best to use external libraries (as detailed in this paragraph).

Who created React Native?

Facebook created React Native.

How mature is React Native?

A brief history of React Native:

  • Summer 2013, Facebook hackathon – React Native started as an internal Facebook project
  • January 2015, React.js Conference – React Native 1 Preview release
  • March 2015, F8 Conference – Official Launch of React Native
    • Facebook declares React Native, ‘open for use and available on Github’

Looking at the above, two things are for certain: React Native is older than Flutter, and it boasts a bigger community. Not to mention the fact that the Facebook team has had plenty of time to stabilize the API as well as focus on fixing any underlying issues.

And let’s not forget – Facebook is working on several other notable enhancements as well:

  • Lean Core – reducing an app’s size by moving optional components/features to separate repositories (to add to an app as/when needed)
  • TurboModules – for improved handling of native modules
  • React Native Fabric – re-architected UI layer

What popular apps are made with React Native?

Flutter vs React Native 2019

Instagram
(iOS, Android)

Flutter vs React Native 2019

Facebook
(iOS, Android)

Top apps made with React Native

Fb Ads Manager (iOS, Android)

Top apps made with React Native

Pinterest
(iOS, Android)

Flutter vs React Native 2019

Skype
(iOS, Android)

Flutter vs React Native 2019

Tesla
(iOS, Android)

Top apps made with React native

Bloomberg
(iOS, Android)

Flutter vs React Native 2019

Wix.com
(iOS · Android)

… as well as plenty more.

If you’d like to see other examples of apps made with React Native, check out the official React Native showcase.


Flutter – pros and cons

In this section, we briefly discuss the key pros and cons of Flutter.

If you want to read more, check out this article dedicated to the Pros and Cons of Flutter for App Owners.

✅ PROS of Flutter:

1. Hot Reload = fast coding

From a developer standpoint, Flutter offers more dynamic – and faster – app development.

Developers can make changes to the codebase on-the-fly, and see them immediately reflected in the application. This is the so-called Hot reload feature, and it typically takes (milli-)seconds for changes to show.

The feature helps teams add features, fix bugs, and experiment with new ideas in an instant. Plus, Hot Reload is very handy when it comes to developer-designer collaboration.

That said – for a list of updates that require a full restart, see Hot Reload limitations.

📌 Read: Top 24 E-Commerce Mobile App Features | Business Perspective

2. One codebase, 2 mobile platforms (and more!)

With Flutter, Developers can write just one codebase for two applications – covering both iOS and Android platforms.

Flutter is platform-agnostic as it has its own widgets and designs, which means you can have the exact same app on two platforms (while if you want to differentiate your apps that’s just as easily achieved).

Google is currently working on Flutter for Web, which you can see as a preview version. Once this goes live, a single codebase will cover Android, iOS, and web platforms.

3. Up to 50% less testing

Given you have the same application on both platforms, your Quality Assurance process will be much faster as you can test less.

We write roughly 50% fewer automated tests because we can create the same tests to run on both platforms, reducing the demands on our QA team.

That said, you’ll still have to run manual testing at a similar level as with native programming – as your QA specialists will have to check both apps on each platform, by hand.

4. Faster apps

Flutter apps perform smoothly and fast – without ever hanging or cutting while scrolling. Why?

Flutter uses the Skia Graphics Library. Thanks to this, the UI is redrawn each time when a view changes.

Most of the work is done on GPU (graphics processing unit); that’s why Flutter UI is smooth and delivers 60fps (frames per second).

However, you must be careful during the development so as not to cause redrawing of those elements of the view whose data has not changed.

Redrawing the whole view instead of just those elements that change, can affect the performance and speed of the application, especially if you need to reload the view often, e.g. in a stopwatch application.

5.  Designs your users will love

Flutter doesn’t rely on native system components. Rather, Flutter has its own set of custom widgets, rendered and managed by the framework’s graphics engine (source). Users will see different UI components from typical native apps, but that isn’t necessarily a disadvantage.

Flutter apps have a particularly user-friendly UI: a crucial advantage for Flutter over React Native, stemming from super-attentiveness to the visual details. Flutter was created so that you could easily create your own widgets, or simply customize an existing widget.

Feel free to browse a catalog of Flutter widgets; or, click the links to see examples of Material Design widgets and Cupertino widgets.

6. Same app UI, even on older devices

Even new apps look the same on older iOS or Android systems, so you never have to worry about supporting older devices.

Why Flutter

Android 5.1.1

Why Flutter

Android 8.1.0

7. Perfect for MVPs

If you need to build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for your app – say, as a showcase for potential investors – Flutter is the perfect option, especially if time is short. Read the article: How to Build a Minimum Viable Product – MVP Guide for App Owners.

Check out the Flutter Gallery app, which includes a demo of Flutter’s core features, widgets, and vignettes.

Flutter Gallery

Flutter Gallery

Flutter Gallery

Flutter Gallery

Flutter Gallery Screen

Flutter Gallery

🔻 CONS of Flutter:

1. Size of the developer community(??)

Most people will tell you: a key advantage for React Native over Flutter is its more established, more experienced developer community. Further, in terms of programming languages, Dart isn’t as widely used as JavaScript, at least for now.

In truth, Flutter has a lot of catching up to do if it’s to match its ‘older brother’ – which is understandable. The community needs time to educate its audience and to gain more experience, which is typical for any new, young tool.

However, we don’t see it as a significant disadvantage, and that’s why we added the (??) in the header. It’s also worth noting that the Flutter community is growing exponentially. Plus, there’s phenomenal excitement around the toolkit.

Please note:

There are also 35 Dart courses (with about 187,500-course participants (25 June 2019))

React Native numbers are roughly the same – about 287,000 students across 59 courses

  • Flutter has 68,000+ stars on Github while React Native has 78,000+

To sum up, Flutter does have a smaller, less experienced community at the moment, and Dart is more niche than JavaScript.

Still, current trends indicate that Flutter will catch up with its competitor in this respect, soon enough.

2. Libraries & support – impressive, but still not as rich as native development

Google’s support for Flutter is impressive, but Flutter is still quite new. This means you can’t always find the functionality you need in existing libraries, so your developers might need to build custom functionality themselves, which takes time.

Read more about this disadvantage here >>

3. Continuous Integration support

At the time of writing, Flutter lacks support for CI platforms like Travis or Jenkins. So, to achieve automatic building, testing, and deployment, your developers need to use and maintain custom scripts like this one.

That said, it is worth to note that:

4. Platform risk

Even though Flutter is open source, if Google decided to pull support for the project, it would spell disaster.

That said since the Google team released the Beta version of Flutter, it has only ramped up its efforts, as illustrated by Flutter’s prominent role during Google IO ’19, alongside the recent Flutter Live event.

At the current point in time, we cannot imagine a world where Google walks away from Flutter.

5. App’s size

Applications written in Flutter are bigger than native ones. Check out the article Comparing APK sizes. However, the Flutter team is working on reducing the size of apps made with Flutter.

React Native – pros and cons

✅ PROS of React Native:

1. Hot Reload = fast coding

Essentially the same feature as Flutter.

Hot Reload speeds up the development process by allowing a developer to inject new code directly into a running app. So, a developer can see changes instantly, without rebuilding the app.

Hot Reload also retains the application’s state, avoiding the risk of losing it during a full reload (a critical benefit in the context of state-based frameworks) – speeding up the app development process even further.

2. One codebase, 2 mobile platforms (and more!)

Exactly the same as Flutter: write a single codebase to power 2 apps – covering both Android and iOS platforms.

Better still, JavaScript gives you a leg up when writing cross-platform applications by sharing code with web apps. This is accomplished by creating abstraction components that you can compile to target platforms.

See below for example libraries that allow you to simultaneously create code on platforms other than iOS and Android (including web and desktop apps):

  • React Native for Web – supports Android, iOS, and web (Twitter used this to create Twitter Lite)
  • ReactXp – developed by the Skype Team to support Android, iOS, and web; plus, works on Windows 10 (UWP)

Side Note:

Bartosz (our React Native developer) sees things a little differently to most, and so prefers an alternative approach.

If you compare a web desktop app, a mobile web app, and a native app, you can assume they share the same business logic – but they likely need a specific UI that fits distinct user requirements.

So, why not:

  1. Extract shared code to a separate repository;
  2. Treat it as a separate project;
  3. Inject the code in the same way as any other dependency?

Working this way allows developers to focus on writing apps to an actual platform – without having to consider cross-platform compatibility.

Watch Ben Ellerby’s presentation about the approach.

3. It uses a wildly popular language – JavaScript

React Native uses JavaScript: a programming language that many developers know well (whereas Dart is still not so widely known or used). And if you’re a developer who prefers statically-typed programming languages, you can even use TypeScript – a JavaScript subset.

4. Developer freedom of choice

React Native lets developers build cross-platform apps; no more, no less.

The advantage is that React Native allows the developer to decide precisely what solutions they want to use; both according to the project’s requirements as much as the developer’s preferences.

Say, if a developer needs to decide how to handle the global state (how to store and manage the data that’s used in many components in the app), choose a router library, or choose between JavaScript and TypeScript – they can decide if they’d prefer to use a custom UI library, or write their own.

4. Relative maturity

The official React Native release was more than 4 years ago, so the Facebook team have had plenty of time to stabilize the API, as well as focus on fixing issues and solving problems.

Now, they’re working on a few exciting improvements – like reducing app size.

5. An active – and vast – community

React Native has a massive developer community. Not just that, but there are countless tutorials, libraries, and UI frameworks that make it easy to learn the technology – as well as quick and easy to develop with it.

And if you compare repositories focused on gathering articles, tools, and materials about specific technologies, React Native is much better placed than Xamarin, Flutter or Ionic (source: Awesome-Flutter, Awesome-ReactNative, Awesome-Ionic, Awesome-Xamarin).

What is more, React Native is part of the “React family”. While many of its libraries are platform agnostic (like Formik, React Router, styled components), which means they work across both web and mobile.

  • It’s also worth calling Expo to your attention – the React constitutional framework that simplifies access to native APIs – which has ready-made solutions for typical mobile features (e.g., push notifications).
  • A second library worth mentioning is AWS Amplify: a solution that simplifies integration with AWS features by covering authentication, storage, push notifications, and analytics.

6. Easy to learn for React developers

This advantage in our list is highly targeted at React developers. If you have a background in web development and already use popular React solutions, you can easily get to work with React Native, without having to learn new libraries. You can use the same libraries, tools, and patterns.

7. Up to 50% less testing

We write roughly 50% fewer automated tests because we can create the same tests to run on both platforms, reducing the demands on our QA team. It looks the same as in Flutter app development – we described it here.

🔻 CONS of React Native

1. It isn’t really Native

Like any cross-platform solution, neither the UI experience nor performance will be the same as in native apps – just close to them.

But still, it is easier to achieve a “native feeling” with React Native than with Flutter. If you want your Flutter app to have native components, it will require additional work.

2. Fewer components out of box

React Native supports only basic components out of box (many of them are adaptive to a platform out of box, like button, loading indicator, or slider).

As we said in this paragraph, there are outside repos with many additional components for React Native. A developer can use them in a project but that requires additional effort and time.

On the other hand, Flutter is designed to support Material Design out of box, so the framework supports much more widgets. It saves time. A developer using Flutter can create most of the views with pre-made widgets which are easily customizable and cross-platform consistent.

3. Developer freedom of choice

…both a curse and a blessing.

Once a developer has created a new project, they then need to decide which navigation package – as well as which global state management – to use.

It can take a lot of time to understand the nuances of every solution, and ultimately, to decide upon the best ones to use for the project.

4. Lots of abandoned packages

React Native boasts an enormous number of libraries. Unfortunately, too many of them are either low quality; or have been abandoned altogether.

Dan Abramov advises checking the number of issues and frequency of commits in a repository to prevent using abanded packages.

Read more about the problems and limitations of the current shape of React Native in this summary of his discussion of “What do you dislike about React Native?”

5. Fragile UI

The fact that React Native uses native components under the hood should give you confidence that, after every OS UI update, your app components will be instantly upgraded, as well.

That said – this can break the app’s UI but it happens very rarely.

What’s worse, updates can become even more dangerous if they cause certain changes in the Native Components API. The good news? This kind of event happens very rarely.

Whereas when it comes to Flutter (thanks to the way the framework recreates native components on their own), the app UI is a lot more stable.

6. Apps are bigger than native ones

Applications written in React Native must be able to run Javascript code (JavaScript Virtual Machine). Android doesn’t have this functionality by default – meaning applications need to include a library that supports JavaScript code, resulting in apps that are bigger than their native Android counterparts.

iOS apps made with React Native doesn’t this problem, but they are still usually bigger than native ones. The good news? As we mentioned before, React Native team is working on reducing their apps’ size.


Predicting the future: Flutter & React Native

More and more companies are attracted by Flutter. After all, we’re witnessing monthly improvements in the Flutter SDK as Google continues to refine its tool. Plus, the community is always helpful and enthusiastic. What’s more, we can expect that soon Flutter will enable us to create not only mobile applications but also apps for web and desktop.

Putting it all together – and given leading companies like Alibaba are already using Flutter – the future looks promising for the toolkit.

As for React Native – well, Facebook is currently focusing on a large-scale re-architecture of the technology.

The team is doing its level best to improve support for both React Native users and the wider community. And thanks to this, the community can now easily suggest changes to the framework’s core functionalities through an RFC process that uses a dedicated GitHub repo.

Creating an open environment to discuss React Native is a significant step. It’s both a sign of ongoing improvement as well as a signal for the technology’s bright future.

Given React Native has such a stable position in the marketplace – and is on a trajectory of continuous development – it’s unlikely we’ll see the toolkit left in the dust any time soon. Read about the long-term vision for React Native in this article.

Still, Flutter is an imposing competitor to React Native.

📌 Read also: Outsourcing Software Development – Benefits & Risks for App Owners

React Native or Flutter? 3 insights from developers & app owners.

We recently wrote an ebook covering the best Flutter app examples – including key insights from 17 different app owners and developers who are actively working with the Flutter framework.

Below, you’ll find a selection of quotes that cover the Flutter vs. React Native debate.

Abin Baby
Co-founder and Developer at KlasterMe
  • For me, Flutter was harder to learn than React Native. Mainly because React Native uses JavaScript (which is a familiar language for me) whereas I was new to Dart – the language used by Flutter. So, if you are new to Dart and trying to learn Flutter, it will take more time than learning React Native. But the opposite is also true – if you have experience in Dart, then learning Flutter will be a walk in a park.
  • The components in React Native are pretty basic, so if you need anything extra, considerable effort is required when styling. Only a handful of components are adaptive to the platform, while most of the time you have to use a different component for both iOS and Android; or, style it differently.
    On the other hand, with Flutter, everything is a widget. And the widgets are based on Material Design, making them easily customizable. Most of the widgets are adaptive, and you can use the same widget across both Android and iOS.
  • When it comes to performance, Flutter has the upper hand as it’s compiled to ARM or x86 native libraries, which makes it really fast. React Native isn’t compiled to native code, and it still has the JavaScript layer, making it less performant than Flutter.

Ishaan Bahal
Co-founder at Meeve

React Native is the closest competitor to Flutter. I like it as it sets the standard for cross-platform native development.

That said, our experience with it has surfaced a few issues.

  1. React Native is just a wrapper over native methods, so it requires a bridge to translate those calls into a native API; this becomes a bottleneck when you have a lot of native calls happening. There are ways around this, but with Flutter, you don’t ever have to worry about the issue as the view layer is rendered like a game would be – and as all components are designed by Flutter engineers, there are fewer native calls to the bridge.
  2. React Native components aren’t always customisable enough as they are just wrappers over native views. So, say someone decided not to wrap a certain method, then you won’t have access to it (for instance, dashed borders around a view don’t work) – while new components released by Google and Apple can take a long time to become available on React Native.
  3. Bugs on React Native have also started to take a lot longer to get fixed. The dashed border issue, for one; as well as a separate issue supporting various build flavours etc. Most companies running React Native in production, run a custom fork to fix bugs that aren’t fixed upstream. The Flutter devs are more proactive, and you can expect fixes fast. We ended up spending most of our time looking for issues in React Native documentation, then figuring out why things weren’t working the way they should.

The issues we found sent us searching for something better – fortunately, Flutter was just around the corner.

Swav Kulinski
Lead Engineer at The App Business

The main benefit of Flutter over React Native (and native, in general) is the lack of platform constraints. Flutter isn’t muzzled by the platform UI because it doesn’t use it; it renders everything by itself. This frees you to build the best UX without compromise – and it’s the primary difference between Flutter and React Native. Read more here >>


Summary

When to choose React Native, and when to choose Flutter

Delivering projects on time is one of the most critical aspects of mobile and web app development.

The cross-platform nature of both React Native and Flutter reduce time-to-market. Plus, their third-party libraries and ready-to-use components make it more efficient to use them to build your app.

Better still, Flutter and React Native offer more than just speedy development, they can reduce project costs as well.

…and these are the key reasons you should consider either framework for your project. But which solution offers the fastest development time? Or fits your app idea best?

Well, that depends on the specifics of your project and the balance of your team’s skills.

  • Do your developers know Dart? If yes, then programming with Flutter will be a walk in the park.
  • Are your developers fluent in JavaScript? If yes, then React Native seems the logical choice.
  • Do you want to build your app’s GUI using native UI components? If yes, choose React Native.
  • Is brand-first design your priority? If yes, we suggest Flutter fits the bill.

Remember that each application is different, so you must consider each one on its own merits. It’s always worth discussing your project with an experienced team of developers: people capable of considering the different approaches, with a varied enough skillset when it comes to cross-platform development – as if you seek the advice of programmers who know just one framework, they’ll likely steer you to use that tool.

If nothing else, take confidence from this: both Flutter and React Native are very good technologies. They benefit from huge popularity and enduring trust. Check out the article: How to Build a Minimum Viable Product – MVP Guide for App Owners.

Each of the frameworks can help your application spread its wings and fly. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for you – best of luck with your next steps!

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