In one of our previous articles, Emerging Technology Capabilities To Fast-Track Mobility Adoption For Your Business, we spoke about the general trends surrounding the direction mobile application development is taking. While the Native Application development is going strong with Kotlin and Swift, React Native & Flutter both are capturing the imagination of developers and businesses alike. Developers love them as both React Native, and Flutter allows them to bring an exceptional experience to the cross-platform apps. With earlier tools, the experience and performance were both considerable barriers to adoption. Business managers like them as they enable faster delivery and lower costs, through the single codebase targeting both the leading platforms, Android & iOS.

However, both these highly capable platforms have created a new dilemma. Which is a better platform, React Native or Flutter? How do React Native vs Flutter compare? As the development partners to many businesses with extensive experience on both, we at BillionApps wanted to lay out the differences, pros and cons, from a more strategic perspective. So let’s take the deep dive and understand the differentiating factors. We will speak about the technical aspects, but the primary focus will be on the business dimension.

Choose React Native or Flutter Based on the platform you want to target

The biggest differentiator is the support for Web apps. React Native equally supports all three platforms, Android, iOS, and web. While Flutter is also in the process of introducing the support to Web platforms, you can get early access if you wish. But full-fledged support for the web with Flutter is still a little bit away.

The Speed of Development Is Another Differentiating Factor

When it comes to the discussions about the speed, developers liked to debate about the fast refresh and hot & live reload. However, since React Native launched the “Fast Refresh” feature in late 2019, both have become comparable when it comes to responding to code changes. The hot reload enables developers to see the effects of the changes in real-time, without having to start over.

If you are reading this article, chances are you are looking to start your first project using either Flutter or React Native. If that’s the case, the learning curve also plays a crucial role in how soon you will be able to develop and release your app. While React Native uses JavaScript as the development language, Flutter uses Dart, which is a Google language. In addition to the development language, Flutter also has a different approach to development.

For us at BillionApps, we spent more time initially mastering Flutter when compared to React Native. But now that the team has become familiar, the speed of delivery has increased substantially to match the beautiful capabilities of Flutter. Those who want to learn Flutter afresh need to be patient and persistent.

The End-User Experience May Be Pivotal

We might be biased, but Flutter is excellent for animations. The speed of rendering, 60-120 FPS for technically inclined, renders your UI element beautifully. So if your application’s value comes from animations and rendering, Flutter might be the outright winner. This preference doesn’t mean that React Native’s rendering is terrible, but just that Flutter was meant to provide this impressive performance from the ground up.

React Native uses JavaScript to Native bridge. The JavaScript variables are converted to Native ones at the compile time. This conversion is essential as React Native uses the Native components, with its UI components acting as wrappers. On the other hand, Flutter uses Skia to draw the UI components on the screen. While they give the native-like feel, they are rendered by Skia. This approach helps Flutter render the UI better. One thing to note, however, is that so far, Flutter does not support 3D touch. They have the feature on their road-map, but right now, only 2D interactions are supported.

Conversely, if you are looking for an app with a minimal UI but with a high amount of platform interaction, React Native might be a better choice. React Native provides better access to a more significant number of Native Libraries than Flutter. In some rare cases or very complex use cases though, taking the Native route may be better than choosing either of these frameworks.

React Native vs Flutter, A Battle Royale In Making

Two capable platforms, backed by two powerful technology companies, have finally brought cross-platform application development to the mainstream. While there always will be individual and team preferences and native develop will remain a preferred option for many use cases, the popularity & adoption of both Flutter and React Native in increasing quickly. The way Google and Facebook are putting efforts behind developing the platforms, there will not be a clear winner soon. Instead, they both will likely survive with their fair share of the developer market, along with the native development platforms.

If you wish to ascertain the right development framework for you quickly, reach out to us through the form below, or drop an email at [email protected]. Do subscribe to our blog to be notified when we publish next articles.


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