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Christine
Christine

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FLUTTER vs React Native which is the best cross-platform

Are you interested in mobile app development? Even if you are not planning to build an app, for now, it is worth learning about the newest cross-platform open-source frameworks, Flatter and React Native. But let’s take it a bit slower.

With technologies evolving so fast, we will soon have digital tools for almost everything: we have digital wallets, digital banks, healthcare, and learning. What is next? The progress is unstoppable, and every day there is something new to learn and talk about.

The demand for new technologies and faster solutions makes us think of new ways to create customer satisfaction. To be competitive and active in the market, businesses need to react and act fast. If they need an app, they need it ASAP. While the development of an app may last for months, there are now better solutions for better productivity. We are talking about Flutter and React Native frameworks that make app development way much easier and faster.

What is cross-platform mobile app development?

The title of the post may be confusing for a non-technical specialist. So, let’s start with “cross-platform.” The term cross-platform refers to an app development type that will work for Android and iOS. Instead of building two separate apps, software engineers create a single app compatible with two platforms.

Business benefits of cross-platform app development
The business benefits of cross-platform apps are too prominent. You are paying for one-time development and get “two apps.” The app development cuts the costs of hiring separate teams for building, testing, and launching products for each platform.
By creating a cross-platform app, you target both customer markets. Just imagine, in 2020, the number of smartphone users was over 3,5 billion, and 87% of users spent most of their time in mobile apps. Targeting such a vast market is exceptionally beneficial in terms of business and marketing objectives.

With all the benefits of cross-platform app development, there are still some risks and pitfalls to be considered. To make it clear, let’s define the pros and cons.

  • Pros of developing a cross-platform app
  • Single codebase
  • Faster development time
  • Wider audience outreach
  • Fast and easy updates
  • Cost-efficiency
  • Shorter time for delivering ROI

Cons of developing a cross-platform app

  • Limited functionality
  • Limited UX
  • Slower app

Cross-platform frameworks. Flutter vs React Native: Why Consider Them?

If you are still reading this article, then you are interested in building cross-platform apps, and it is time to talk about the technology and top frameworks. The two popular frameworks, Flutter and React Native, share the market of open-source frameworks and continue to be the topic of arguments. Which one is better and which one to choose? Those two frameworks, in general, do the same thing. They are highly productive and help to build a single app for two platforms. The difference is in technology.

What is Flatter?

Flitter, developed and supported by Google, is a framework of advanced software development kits to build natively compiled and beautiful apps for mobile, web, and desktop. Flutter's cross-platform framework was launched in 2018, and though the framework is too young, we may consider Flutter one of the best cross-platform frameworks. SDK uses Dart, an object-oriented language for building attractive apps with a single codebase. It is easy to learn, especially for a developer familiar with C# and Java. The architecture of Flutter is based on popular reactive programming.

Is Flutter suitable for cross-platform? To get an answer to this question, it is wise to figure out its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Flutter

Fast app development and deployment due to hot reload. The term refers to the function of previewing the app and checking each minor change on the go. Hot reload helps to cut the time on testing and deployment deploying the app to the market.

Quality documentation. Flutter.dev has all the necessary toolkit to start the project even without Flutter experience. The open-source framework provides any kind of information and tools you are missing.

Strong community. Aside from being open-source, Flutter is supported by a robust community that comes to help with any issue and question.

Feature-rich UI. The user interface features are highly customizable and can produce complex UI components without cutting the rendering speed. Moreover, all the components can be animated.

Compatible with older OS versions and devices. Flutter cuts costs on creating different versions of an app for older and new devices, creating a single app compatible with all versions.

Disadvantages of Flutter

Framework age. Flatter is very young, and it means there are not many niche projects. It still has so much space to develop. Sometimes working with Flutter may feel like swimming in dark waters.

Dynamic evolution. The platform frequently updates with new features. From one side, it is beneficial, yet with every new update, your product may behave differently.

What is React Native

React Native is another top cross-platform mobile application framework that shares the fame with Flutter and is always compared to the latter. Launched in 2015 by Facebook, React Native is based on the Facebook JavaScript library for creating UIs targeting mobile platforms. This framework is chosen by 42% of developers and has the second-highest number of contributors. The top two popular social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram, are built on React Native.

The framework is working on JavaScript, one of the most popular programming languages. It means, when choosing React Native, you will have a vast talent pool to hire.

Is React Native good for cross-platform? This cost-effective and stable platform provides both developers and users with optimal performance. Get deeper into the advantages of the framework to understand its worth.

Advantages of React Native

A better developer experience. Compared to native app development, React Native offers a better developer experience with JavaScript. With the framework and JavaScript software, engineers only have to outline program must-dos and not how-tos.

Native UI. The top advantage of React Native that makes most project owners choose the framework is native UI. React Native implements native UI components making the app homogeneous with the device.

Modular architecture. With Reactive Native, it is possible to separate application code into several blocks resulting in flexible development, testing, and updates.

Third-party support. It has become an attractive asset for third parties who have created compatible APIs for React Native popular framework.

Hot reload. With hot reload, the developers can check the functions after a single code change. The functionality is a lifesaver for fast testing and deployment.

Strong community. The open-source platform is supported by a community and ecosystem that comes to
help whenever needed.

Disadvantages of React Native

App performance. Not fully aligned with the device’s hardware, cross-platform apps may register lower performance than native apps.

Need for native developers. Sometimes development may face limitations and need native app developers. In this light, using React Native is not justified.

Not suitable for complex apps. React Native is perfect for simple and medium complexity apps, but it is not good for an app with multiple screens.

React Native vs. Flutter: A Comparison and final thoughts

The choice of an open-source, cross-platform framework is based not only on popularity but the features meeting project requirements and business objectives. Here is a brief comparison to lay it all out and answer the question, “Which framework is the best one.”

Market share

According to Statista, React Native leads the chart with a 42% market share. Flutter managed to gain a 30% global market share in a couple of years.

Setup

In terms of setup, Flutter’s cross-platform framework leads with its straightforward setup process and automated problem checkups. React native still miss this function.

Programming language

Platforms are working on Dart and JavaScript, both are easy to learn, but in terms of language practice popularity, JavaScript is the winner.

User Interface

The process of building UI is different for Flutter and React Native. Flutter offers customizable UI widgets while React Native connects to native components with APIs. For complex UI, React Native is not flexible and may run differently across platforms. Meanwhile, Flutter creates a similar experience for any device and platform.

Development time

Compared to native app development, both cross-platform frameworks are the winners. Having all UI components integrated by default, Flutter cuts the time on integrating third-party APIs, so Flutter gets the award.

App performance

The speed and app performance award goes to Flutter as it is compiled into the native ARM code of Android and iOS and never faces performance issues.

Test support

Even though Flutter exists only three years, it has already got features of app testing at any development level. React Native provides only a few unit-level testing frameworks.

What makes a mobile app popular? It is the user feedback and satisfaction level. Think about which cross-platform may help you to meet this goal and you will succeed.

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