In today’s hyper-connected world, mobile devices have become ubiquitous and have facilitated the rise of custom-built apps. Although some may argue that the importance of the internet and online tools have rendered apps as less significant, the continued interest in app usage is testament to their relevance. With 218 billion apps downloaded in 2023, it is evident that they remain a popular choice among users.
In order to cater to the constant demand for modern software from their users, companies, entrepreneurs, and development teams have a strong driving force. The growth of the mobile app industry is reflected in the fact that approximately 100,000 new Android apps and 20,000 new iOS apps are launched each month.
In the highly competitive mobile app market, it is challenging to develop an app that truly stands out. Teams must meticulously consider various aspects, including the intended audience, functionality, and the app’s concept. However, one key factor often overlooked is selecting the most suitable framework. This is what we will delve into here.
Given the multitude of programming languages available, it is logical that numerous frameworks have emerged for mobile app development. However, this article will specifically discuss frameworks tailored for creating cross-platform apps, as many enterprises view it as the most cost-efficient approach to expand the reach of their app.
When discussing cross-platform development, it is essential to consider the two most widely used frameworks today: React Native and Flutter. React Native is a well-established and highly regarded framework, while Flutter is a relatively new player in the market that has piqued the interest of mobile developers. The question is, which framework is better? To determine this, further investigation is necessary.
Perpetually Comparable Origins
Prior to examining the differences between React Native and Flutter, it is crucial to acknowledge their striking similarities. Both frameworks serve the same purpose and possess overlapping features, suggesting that rather than being rival alternatives, they can be considered as complementary solutions. This is a noteworthy differentiation from the public’s perception of them as competitors.
As such, there are several fundamental similarities between React Native and Flutter, including:
- Both serve as a base for developing applications that can function on various mobile platforms.
- Major corporations support and contribute to the development of both frameworks. While Google is sponsoring Flutter, React Native is supported by Facebook.
- Both frameworks are freely accessible to the general public.
- One can use both frameworks to develop for both Android and iOS simultaneously using a single codebase.
Undoubtedly, both frameworks have garnered significant popularity among enterprises that do not intend to develop native applications due to several beneficial factors. They provide a rapid app development process for both key mobile operating systems and are dependable, with a thriving community that offers assistance to developers encountering any problems.
While there are similarities between React Native and Flutter, they are not identical, and it is crucial to analyze the significant differences to determine the most suitable framework for a particular application. Let us explore these differences individually.
React Native is Beneficial for Experienced Developers
In addition, using React Native to develop a mobile app has several other advantages.
- Fast Refresh enables developers to instantly view code changes, eliminating the need to recompile the entire application.
- Developers can leverage identical code testing for both platforms, eliminating the need to create separate tests for Android and iOS.
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- React Native has been in existence for a significant period and has a substantial user community, resulting in optimized performance and a plethora of resources accessible to developers.
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Although React Native offers numerous benefits, it is essential to consider its drawbacks as well.
- Despite its name, the resultant applications are not fully native. Whilst the experience and functionality may be comparable, it is not identical.
- Pre-existing features for use with React Native are restricted. Although external repositories can be employed, they necessitate additional effort (hyperlinked) and time to become fully operational.
React Native is a widespread mobile framework that is regularly used by 11.5% of developers. Esteemed applications, such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Skype, have been developed utilizing React Native (hyperlinked) and highlight its potential.
Flutter has Everything Ready to Go Straight Out of the Box
Flutter can be characterized as a software development kit for user interfaces (hyperlinked), providing a collection of widgets and tools that facilitate the development of mobile apps. It is suitable for cross-platform app creation that operates seamlessly on mobile, desktop and online platforms.
It is easy to comprehend why Flutter is a beneficial selection for mobile app development. By allowing the creation of a single codebase that operates across various (hyperlinked) devices and platforms, it simplifies the development process. Other alternatives to contemplate are…
- With Stateful Hot Reload, code changes can be viewed in a matter of milliseconds without losing state while working with emulators, simulators and hardware, providing similar functionality to React Native’s Fast Refresh.
- As a result of using its own widgets and designs, Flutter allows applications to be platform-independent, while simultaneously providing similar visual and functional familiarity on two different platforms. This is comparable to React Native and can reduce the amount of testing required to ensure a project functions successfully.
- Application built with Flutter gain from lightning-fast performance thanks to their user interfaces refreshing solely when a view modifies. The application’s rendering engine is responsible for delivering an efficient rendering engine (hyperlinked) that delivers remarkable application performance.
- The resultant applications rely on widgets created by the user that are utilized to design intuitive and well-crafted user interfaces.
Despite its benefits, there are numerous limitations to Flutter that you should consider before opting to utilize it for your mobile apps. Some of these include:
- Although there are libraries and support available (most notably from Google, the creators of Flutter), it is not as comprehensive as with React Native.
- As with React Native, the applications created using Flutter are typically larger than their native equivalents.
Flutter’s 7.2% market share is perceived as satisfactory, particularly given its limitations and recent entry into the market. Several leading companies, including Google, eBay, BMW, Alibaba, and Capital One, have already demonstrated their confidence in it.
So, Which One Should You Choose?
The desire for cross-platform mobile apps has grown significantly, resulting in the popularity of frameworks like React Native and Flutter. These frameworks are advantageous for mobile app development teams, as they reduce the time and effort required to complete their projects. The availability of pre-built components and libraries is also vital, as it frees developers from the need to create their own code.
The statement does not imply that React Native is interchangeable with Flutter. In reality, these frameworks differ significantly, and certain tasks may be more appropriate for one than the other.
Given this, React Native should be used whenever:
- If you prefer to build your app using only native user interface elements.
- If you are tackling a complex or innovative concept that requires the utilization of a diverse set of techniques and tools.
On the other hand, Flutter is a feasible choice when:
- Your team is proficient in the Dart programming language.
- When timing is a critical factor in your project.
- If your brand’s concept should be the primary consideration in designing your mobile app.
Clearly, neither framework is universally suitable for all purposes. It is advisable to experiment with both and seek guidance from seasoned mobile developers to determine which one is best suited for your project.