Is achieving your goals faster even a question in 2021? No surprise that expectations towards applications are skyrocketing. With everything else to worry about, you don’t want to get bogged down in deciding on how to start.
So, have you been eyeing cross-platform mobile app development? Rightfully so. Sharing code across different endpoints greatly reduces the overhead. Yet, there are a couple of caveats concerning which cross-platform framework you pick. Here’s the big question: Flutter or React Native?
Around since December 2018, it is a fully open-source SDK. Google announced this framework at its I/O. Where does it come from? There used to be a project named Sky, which was built with the purpose of rendering applications at much smoother than the standard frame rate – 120.
Now it grew into its independent self and supports both iOS and Android development. Furthermore, it allows for shipping on Windows and Mac, as well as Linux. Google is naturally pushing Flutter for the top spot on the cross-platform scene. Many view it as poised for success thanks to its truly efficient native code sharing.
Dart. Another offspring of Google, widely used within the company. Running Flutter, it powers built-in components from mobile app development. The biggest pro of Dart shines when paired with a Skia graphics library (C++). The result is that developers need not use any middleman software to talk to the device’s modules.
What is React Native?
A cross-platform heavyweight, it is an open-source framework that uses the React library. You can ship both iOS and Android apps with it, just as with Flutter. The difference is, however, that React Native is developed by Facebook. How did it start? Initially, React Native came up in Zuckerberg’s head after a foray into HTML5 development. Mark was unsatisfied with the way Facebook performed on mobile, and thus set a challenge for the company to create a better way forward. An internal hackathon was held in 2013, where React Native emerged as a fresh solution for cross-platform needs.
Flutter vs React Native
It is time for the frameworks to square off against each other in five categories that will hopefully shine a light on the winner for you.
Ease of adoption
Next comes the installation process. React Native is acquired via the Node package manager. The process is fairly easy for JS users. When it comes to Flutter, obtaining it has to do with an archived package that then must be added as a path. Some might feel like this is an unwelcome complication.
Getting started with any framework usually begins with documentation. However, React Native, assumes you already know all the steps required for setting up and using the command line. It cuts straight to the chase and provides a guide on how to make a project. Flutter, on the other hand, is much more beginner-friendly. There is information aplenty on the setup for any mobile platform, and a helpful interface tool is there to guide newcomers.
There is little difference in the enthusiastic supporters of both shows towards their framework of choice. Still, it is worth noting that Google’s Flutter is considerably younger than React Native. That does have an impact on its community size. The upside is, however, that it is growing rapidly and popping up in Google searches more often. Regardless, there is ample room for new supporters in either camp.
User Interface and Components
Apps made with Flutter share a tendency to look like the developer intended, paying no mind to the OS version it runs on. The beauty of Flutter lies in having a single codebase for both iOS and Android. Moreover, platform design can be mimicked through the use of widgets. Adaptive as they are, their customization makes it even more worth it to go with Flutter.
What React Native owes its name to is that application elements look exactly like the platform ones. Any impending OS update doesn’t ruin the design, it upgrades it automatically. This fact has a challenge to it, however. Simplicity means more work for developers to bring the result closer to their vision. The disparity in Android and iOS design further exacerbates the situation.
Any app compiled with ARM architecture in mind is sure to have the advantage in performance when running on a device with that kind of processor. Flutter does this natively, with no need for conversion, bridges, or any other middleman.
This is where React Native needs a bridge since it is a wrapper. Because of that, performance may suffer when dealing with complex calls.
Flutter also happens to use the same graphics library Google Chrome does. Well done, Google.
QA and testing
If developers know one thing, it’s that coding produces bugs. A perfectly normal human occurrence, since it is rarely possible to get everything right on the first at-bat. What is concerning every developer, however, is how much time does it take to fix these errors.
A negative tendency appeared recently for slower patch times for React. To resolve their pressing issues, companies who use it turn to custom repair forks, further straying from the original. And when a big problem hits, developers have to skim through numerous pieces of documentation to understand the cause.
Flutter has a better reputation since its devs tend to roll out fixes in a reasonable timeframe. Another area where using Flutter saves time is QA. A major plus of this framework is the ability to run the same program on both iOS and Android. It means you will have twice as much done in half the time. Your QA team will thank you.
Yet indeed, quality assurance for both frameworks has a degree of manual labor to it. The best review is still handheld testing on the device in question.
RN boasts an ability to create native components, yet performs worse than Flutter when presented with a ton of native calls. Testing Flutter apps is easier, as the framework shares code between platforms like no other. So, keep these differences in mind when choosing between Flutter and React Native – remember to pick smart.