By continuing to use our website, you consent to the use of cookies. Please refer our cookie policy for more details.
    Grazitti Interactive Logo

      Web Development

      React Native vs Flutter: Which is the Best Framework for Cross-Platform Application Development?

      Apr 11, 2024

      7 minute read

      Currently, the global cross-platform app development framework industry revenue is $120 billion, and it is expected to rise at a 16.8% CAGR in the next ten years[i].

      This surge in cross-platform app development is fueled by several factors, including an increase in mobile usage, a fragmented device landscape, evolving user needs, and the growing demand for cost-effective solutions. Additionally, the evolving needs of users, demand feature-rich apps available on their preferred platforms, further contributing to the rise of cross-platform development.

      With the cross-platform framework, businesses can reduce their development costs and speed up time-to-market, enabling consistent user experiences across different devices. To build robust and secure cross-platform applications, developers seek frameworks like React Native and Flutter. They provide a single codebase for building apps across iOS, Android, and even web platforms.

      As per Statista, in 2023, 38% of web applications are made using React Native, whereas 42% use Flutter for development. React Native is being used to make some famous cross-platform applications like Instagram, Facebook Ads Manager, Airbnb, Skype, and more. On the other hand, Flutter is being used by other popular cross-platform apps, including Google Ads, Alibaba, and Hamilton.

      So which one to add to your tech stack for ensuring a successful cross-platform development?

      In this blog post, we’ll learn about the intricacies of React Native and Flutter to choose the most suitable framework, based on your project’s requirements. But before that, let’s decode React Native and Flutter’s evolution in the digital landscape.

      From Inception to Evolution: React Native vs Flutter

      Flutter originated from Google’s release of the Sky framework, which laid the groundwork for a cross-platform application development solution. Officially introduced in 2017 at the Dart developer summit, Flutter aims to enhance developer productivity by enabling the sharing of the UI and codebase.

      Its key innovation includes the use of a mobile SDK for responsive design without relying on a JavaScript bridge. Flutter has evolved to ensure uniformity in app development, providing a stable and reliable ecosystem. Furthermore, Flutter Web gained attention for enabling web solutions comparable to native applications. Its features include Hot Reload for real-time code changes, widget-based development for faster testing, a rich library of in-built widgets, and Firebase support for backend functionalities.

      On the other hand, React Native emerged from the concept of “learn once and write everywhere,” a principle that emphasizes cross-platform development. Originating from React, a JavaScript framework for web interfaces, React Native was developed by Facebook for building mobile applications with a component-based approach.

      React Native enables developers to achieve native-like performance by implementing unique elements for each platform after creating a primary codebase. This framework uses a declarative UI to interact with native APIs, providing a seamless cross-platform app experience. Its features include Live Reload for instant interface code changes, a write-only-once approach for a single codebase across platforms, and a focus on UI development. It also includes modularity for flexible codebases and leveraging native UI components for native-like performance.

      Cta Image 6

      Choosing Between React Native and Flutter to Ace Cross-Platform Development

      React Native vs Flutter

      1. Language

      React Native distinguishes itself by being entirely written in JavaScript, leveraging the language’s ubiquity and familiarity within the developer community. This aligns with JavaScript’s status as one of the most widely used programming languages globally. On the other hand, Flutter opts for Dart, which is less prevalent among developers. Dart potentially poses a learning curve for those more accustomed to mainstream languages like JavaScript.

      2. User Interface

      React Native takes a pragmatic approach by relying more heavily on native components for both Android and iOS platforms. This approach enables developers to access an extensive collection of external UI kits, facilitating the creation of visually appealing and platform-specific interfaces. In contrast, Flutter adopts a distinctive strategy, utilizing proprietary visual, structural, platform, and interactive widgets. These widgets serve as built-in UI components, effectively replacing native platform elements and providing a unique approach to user interface design.

      3. React Native vs Flutter Performance

      In performance, React Native utilizes JavaScript to connect to native components through a bridge. While this approach enables cross-platform compatibility, it may impact the speed of development and execution. Conversely, Flutter distinguishes itself by not relying on an interconnecting bridge. This design choice results in faster interactions with native components, enhancing the overall performance of the application. Flutter’s performance benefits from its more direct communication with native elements, eliminating the potential bottlenecks associated with a bridge-based approach.

      4. Documentation

      React Native, despite its popularity, exhibits a reliance on external development kits, contributing to a somewhat less straightforward documentation system. The framework’s documentation may pose challenges for developers seeking comprehensive and user-friendly resources. Whereas, Flutter stands out for providing documentation that is both easy to read and detailed. The format and content of Flutter’s documentation contribute to a more streamlined and straightforward resource, facilitating clear guidance for developers.

      5. Popularity

      In popularity, React Native takes the lead as a widely adopted and more popular app development framework compared to Flutter. React Native’s popularity is attributed to its early establishment and the convenience it provides to React developers who can swiftly create mobile apps using their existing skills. Whereas, Flutter, being relatively new, has gained attention, but lags in developer count. Its adoption rate is influenced by Dart being a newer language, contributing to a slower uptake among developers.

      6. Community Support

      React Native enjoys robust community support with over 310,507 tagged questions on Stack Overflow. Flutter, being a newer framework, has a smaller community; however, it is gradually growing, as evident from its 89,638 questions on Stack Overflow. Despite its smaller size, the Flutter community is becoming increasingly engaged and supportive.

      7. Predictions

      Flutter envisions a future marked by enhanced AI integration, enabling the creation of robust, personalized AI-powered apps. Its cross-platform adaptability is poised for improvement, facilitating seamless code use across devices. Furthermore, its framework foresees streamlined 3D graphics integration, advanced support for wearables, and improved efficiency, including faster build times and reduced app sizes.

      On the other hand, React Native anticipates augmented reality integration, stronger ties with IoT devices, and streamlined workflows with auto-linking. Additionally, memory profiling tools and the introduction of Hermes (the JavaScript engine) promise enhanced performance, while optimized native components and broader third-party library compatibility aim to enrich React Native’s ecosystem.

      8. Native Performance

      Flutter stands out with its native performance because it’s built using native C/C++ and Dart, providing the capability to create high-performance apps. Furthermore, it supports hardware acceleration features like Skia, enhancing overall app performance. React Native also achieves native performance through the use of native components for UI, ensuring fast and responsive applications. However, React Native’s performance may vary since it doesn’t always utilize native components, impacting its ability to fully leverage device hardware.

      9. App Size

      Flutter apps tend to be relatively large compared to other cross-platform frameworks, although they benefit from a single code base, simplifying maintenance. React Native apps, in contrast, are usually smaller than native apps, thanks to the lightweight nature of JavaScript. Despite this advantage, React Native apps can still be sizable. The choice between the two frameworks involves considerations of app size and the trade-offs associated with it.

      10. Minimal Required SDK Version

      Flutter boasts a lower minimum required SDK version of 16, making it compatible with Android 4.1 and various other devices. React Native often requires a lower minimum SDK version compared to other frameworks, contributing to more lightweight apps that demand less code. However, React Native’s minimum SDK version is set at 21, limiting its compatibility with older Android versions.

      11. UI Development

      Flutter adopts a reactive programming paradigm, simplifying and enhancing the efficiency of UI development. It provides various UI components and tools, making the creation of beautiful, interactive, and dynamic user interfaces straightforward. React Native, known for its declarative programming style, facilitates better UI development, ensuring responsive interfaces across different devices. However, the complexity and time-consuming nature of React Native’s UI development may require expertise in React and native UI components.

      12. Debugging

      Flutter supports a hot reload feature, streamlining the debugging process by enabling developers to iterate quickly on their code. It also features a built-in debugging environment that aids in identifying and fixing performance issues.

      Whereas, React Native apps, being more accessible than traditional native apps due to visible code, may still present challenges in debugging. Flutter’s debugging environment, while powerful, may be perceived as different from other platforms, requiring some adjustment. React Native debugging can be more challenging, and certain features may not be universally available on all platforms.

      13. Code Reuse Between Mobile Platforms

      Flutter enables developers to write code in a single language (Dart) and compile it for both native Android and iOS platforms. This approach significantly facilitates code reuse, saving time and development resources. React Native also enables code reuse between platforms, streamlining the development process. However, Flutter, being a relatively new technology, may have areas where code reuse could be improved. In contrast, React Native faces challenges due to a lack of experienced developers and support resources, potentially impacting code reuse between mobile platforms.

      The Final Verdict

      The choice between React Native and Flutter depends on a detailed understanding of your development project’s needs and priorities. React Native’s mature ecosystem and strong JavaScript community are ideal for projects requiring rapid development and integration with existing platforms. Additionally, React Native’s performance improvements are particularly beneficial for building complex enterprise applications or native features. It also emphasizes on minimizing the gap with native development.

      However, Flutter’s hot reload feature, single codebase, and focus on performance and visual appeal make it a great option for projects requiring rapid prototyping, cross-platform UI consistency, and high-performance experiences. Additionally, if your project involves Bluetooth integration or has a heavy focus on mobile gaming or e-commerce, Flutter might offer advantages.

      By taking the time to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each framework, you can make an informed decision, making your cross-platform development journey a success.

      Deliver Exceptional Digital Experiences With Feature-Rich Mobile Applications. Talk to Our Experts!

      Team Grazitti is adept at creating high-performing and secure cross-platform applications If you wish to learn more about our mobile app development prowess, drop us a line at [email protected], and we’ll take it from there.


      [i] LinkedIn

      What do you think?

      0 Like

      0 Love

      0 Wow

      0 Insightful

      0 Good Stuff

      0 Curious

      0 Dislike

      0 Boring

      Didn't find what you are looking for? Contact Us!