Developing cross-platform apps is one of the biggest trends in 2022 due to the ease of development and launching it offers. This creates a warzone for mobile app development software, leading to battles like Flutter vs. React Native.
Both Flutter and React Native are the leading mobile app development software, offering unique advantages that are irreplicable by each other.
They are highly popular because they are open source and free to use. But their biggest strength is that they allow you to develop apps for both iOS and Android using a single source code.
This means you do not have to create separate codes for various platforms, thus reducing your workload, time, and resources spent.
As of 2021, 42% of mobile app developers prefer to use React Native while 39% use Flutter. Both are neck to neck in terms of popularity.
This makes it confusing for startups to decide which platform is better for their individual goals. You need to know if your mobile app development team is using the right technology or simply wasting your time and resources.
This is why we at WDI have done all of the backbreaking research for you and laid out simple points to help you get a crystal clear understanding of which platform you should choose for your app.
First, it is important for you to understand what Flutter and React Native are.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is a Software Development Kit (SDK) designed by Google. It was launched in May 2017 and has seen tremendous growth ever since.
With the use of the Dart programming language, it is used to write the source code for creating applications for Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Flutter allows developers to modify the UX, allowing for super smooth navigation and snappy loading speeds.
With an organization like Google behind it, there is no doubt that it will provide the best services.
Some applications made with Flutter are Google Ads, Alibaba, and eBay.
What is React Native?
React Native is another open source, free to use framework used for developing TvOS applications as well as iOS, Android, Windows, and MacOS.
It was created by Facebook and made open source in March 2015. So, it did get more time to flourish compared to Flutter.
Instagram, Amazon, and Netflix are some popular applications made using React Native.
Flutter Vs. React Native: Let the battle begin!
Both Flutter and React Native are popular and backed by tech giants.
There are many areas where both of them excel and fall behind.
This is why WDI has listed down the pros and cons of both, to make your decision making easier.
Pros of Flutter
Having high-end performance is pivotal for improving the user experience and competing with the giants in your selected niche.
Flutter apps deliver the best-in-class performance as they are directly compiled into the machine code. It is done by using the visualization and graphics engine built into C and C++.
This allows you to implement animations up to 120 frames per second in your app. As maximum phones support 120 frames per second, it is a sin not to provide the same in your app.
The response time is the fastest due to the direct compilation of the code and the lack of bridges.
In the latest update of Flutter 3, Google introduced an algorithm that predicts the complexity of the image rendering. This optimizes memory usage without hampering the app’s performance.
Flutter is full of widgets. Every object, like a font, button, block, or padding, is a widget. These are like building blocks that are used for creating UIs.
There are many existing building blocks for you to choose from, which also gives you the option to create your own widgets.
All of these widgets are tailored to the platform the app will be launched on, giving you complete control over its design.
Development time and costs are cut short, making Flutter an excellent choice if you want to launch an app as quickly as possible.
This is one of Flutter’s greatest features. With a single tap on the “R” button, you are able to see the changes made instantly in real-time. You do not have to restart the app.
What this means for you as a startup is that you can get to see the prototype faster.
You can suggest changes and get everything sorted before giving approval for the final version of the app.
This again saves a ton of time and gets everything simplified for you and your development team.
Multiple Language Support
One of the biggest requirements for a startup is to have their app available in multiple languages so that it caters to users worldwide. Not doing so means that you are losing out on a large user base.
As of today, Flutter supports 78 languages along with units of measurement, currencies, dates, and layouts for languages that are read from right to left.
This means your app will be accessible to people across the world, thus increasing your user base.
Faster MVP Development
Most startups need to get their apps out there as fast as possible and start pushing their services.
Building a full-fledged app takes a long time, even with snappy development kits like Flutter. This is where MVPs come into play.
An MVP, or minimum viable product, is the most basic version of your app that has enough features to be usable and get your business running. Extra features are delivered systematically
With Flutter, you can get your MVP up and running quickly and start generating business.
Cons Of Flutter
Limited Third-Party Libraries
Providing the latest features in your app is a no-brainer. Libraries play an important role here in simplifying the task and saving a lot of resources.
We are not talking about book libraries here. Flutter libraries are a set of pre-built animation or design packages that can easily be implemented in your app.
If you want a particular theme for buttons or a “swipe-down for refresh” feature, these have dedicated libraries for them which you can simply add to your app.
The libraries are pre-tested and open source, making them mostly flawless. This saves a lot of time as you do not have to create the app from scratch.
Flutter is a newly created SDK and most of its features are still in alpha and beta stages.
As of now, it has more than 25k libraries. This might seem like a big number, but it is not when compared to React Native.
Large App Size
As a startup, you need to make sure that your app is accessible to the widest range of people out there.
The built-in widgets become a downside here as they increase the app size, which easily exceeds 4MB.
This means some users will have to free up space on their phones to download your app. They might have to delete some songs, images, or video games for that, and believe us, most people will not do that.
This is why having the tiniest app size possible is the best move forward, and Flutter does not allow that.
Your mobile app developers might have to sacrifice certain animations to reduce file size, and that will do more harm than good.
Not Suitable For iOS
Flutter being developed by Google is a big advantage, but it is also a problem as the apps struggle to run perfectly on iOS.
Flutter apps are designed specifically to run on the Android OS.
Frame skipping and freezing are some issues you might face when developing an iOS app on Flutter.
Pros Of React Native
Live & Hot Reloading
This is one of the main USPs of React Native. Similar to Flutter’s “Hot Reload” feature, it allows you to see changes made in the code in real-time.
You do not have to wait to check if the app is up to your standards and you can make improvements instantly.
A Plethora Of Libraries
With React Native, you get a huge number of pre-made and tested solutions that you can easily use in your app.
If you want to integrate camera or GPS functionality into your app, libraries can do it for you without having you write the code from scratch.
Even checking bugs in code and grammar in your text can be automated with the help of libraries.
As Native As It Gets...
The UI of apps made with React Native has a native look, making it impossible to differentiate them from truly native apps.
It is rendered using native APIs, giving them the same level of performance as native apps.
With a company like Meta behind its name, there is no doubt you will get excellent support. Developers from Meta ensure regular maintenance.
Along with this, there are many community forums where you can get almost instantaneous support.
It also allows mobile app developers to have fruitful discussions and expand their horizons of knowledge.
Providing regular updates is the key to improving interaction and expressing your concern for improving the user experience. An app not updated is a dead app.
When you launch an update for your app, you have to wait for the App Store and Google Play Store to approve it. This may take a few days.
React Native allows you to bypass this approval system entirely by implementing in-app updates.
The user can get a notification when an update is available and can directly update through the app itself.
Cons Of React Native
Debug Is Troubling
React Native runs on Java, C, and C++, which have a tedious debugging process.
The framework is still in development and still needs improvement in its debugging tools.
Having a fluid design means that you are well-equipped to tackle all of the screen sizes present currently and those that will emerge in the future.
It is difficult to create fluid designs with React Native. Your developers will have to manually check if the UI is visible properly on all screen sizes and make improvements accordingly.
This increases workload and development time.
Slow Loading Times
Any app built on React Native will load slower regardless of how powerful the device is used to run it.
If performance is your top priority, React Native will not serve you well.
When To Choose Flutter?
With the pros and cons of Flutter and React Native in place, it is time to compare them both and understand which one to go for according to your requirements.
In most cases, mobile app developers like WDI do the job for you. But, you need to know the reason behind their selection and why it is correct. This will provide you with better insights into your app development project.
Let us now look at what Flutter does better.
Performance Is A Priority
If your app demands lightning fast loading speeds and high-end performance, Flutter is going to take the upper hand here.
Flutter has an array of widgets to make development faster and the user experience richer.
With the option to implement animations up to 120 fps, you can bet that your app is ready for the future.
Google is consistent with improving performance through updates. Improvements like reduced CPU and GPU usage, memory reduction, and speed increases are regularly released.
App Required Urgently
Maybe you do not have the time to wait for months to get your app ready so that you can start your business.
Compared to React Native, Flutter has a faster development time. You can get your app ready in just two to four months.
With experienced mobile app developers like WDI, you will get your MVP ready for work super fast with further development through regular updates.
When it comes to mobile app development, pricing depends on the technology used and the time required for development. More time equals higher pay for mobile app developers.
Although both Flutter and React Native developers cost the same, things change when we include the development time.
With Flutter, your app gets developed significantly faster compared to React Native.
This means you only have to hire your mobile app development team for a limited time, thus reducing the overall cost.
When to Choose React Native
React Native comes with its own set of advantages that make it a better choice than Flutter in certain cases.
Here are the reasons to go for React Native.
Better UI Design
React Native has a larger catalog of design elements compared to Flutter. Although the process is more complicated and requires dedicated experts like WDI, it provides more flexibility as well.
With the right expertise, you can create almost any design you want with React Native.
There is no compromise when it comes to your preferences, giving it the upper hand over Flutter, which has limited design libraries,
Although Flutter apps feel native, they are far from being truly native.
With React Native, you can use the device’s native features like GPS, camera, microphone, 3D Touch, etc.
If your app requires any of these features, then you have to go with React Native.
Flutter Vs. React Native: Who is the Winner
It is time to end this Flutter Vs. React battle and announce the winner.
By looking at their functionalities, pros and cons, and usabilities, it is safe to conclude that the winner is… no one.
Both Flutter and React Native have irreplicable advantages.
If you want to get your app developed quickly and have a fast response time, then Flutter is the way to go.
If native features and gorgeous UI design are important to you, then opt for React Native.
This should put the Flutter Vs React debate to rest.
Our mobile app developers are well versed in both Flutter and React Native. Based on your requirements, we will create a first-class app that delivers exactly what you want.