Flutter Vs React Native 2021: Which one is the best Cross-Platform Development Framework

Are you planning to invest in mobile app development but aren’t sure which cross-platform development technology fits your business requirements and budget? There is an excess of frameworks to pick from but choosing between the two popular technologies Flutter vs React Native is the biggest question. Undoubtedly, both cross-platform frameworks have their pros and cons but at the same time, they are leaving many of us with a big dilemma when it comes to which framework best fits our app idea – Flutter vs React Native in 2021? 

With the expansion in technologies, businesses need to find a way to increase their range. An average individual spends most of their time using mobile or web applications nowadays. Therefore, a mobile app development company needs to be approached in such a manner that the apps can be accessed and used by everyone alike. Mobile applications play a key role in the success of any business and hence have become an inseparable part of the industry. 

In this challenging world, due to the increasing demand for apps, every business is looking to develop an innovative mobile app that can be available across all platforms, as a result, cross-platform app development has gained popularity as it enables you to develop mobile apps that can be used on multiple mobile platforms. The ultimate goal of every mobile app development agency is to pick the right framework whether its react vs angular or flutter vs react native that should enable developers to write a single codebase and deploy it across multiple platforms. An app developed for iOS will not work for Android and vice-versa. Both these platforms have primitive technologies to create apps for them individually. 

Let’s take a brief overview of Flutter and React Native technologies.

What is React Native?

React Native is a framework for cross-platform mobile development which is created by Facebook. It targets Android, iOS, Web, and Universal Windows Platform. React Native allows developers to use the control of React coupled with several functionalities of each platform, integrating the desired features effortlessly. React Native uses JavaScript to build cross-platform apps which enable developers to create user interfaces with elements that look native to each platform. 

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a responsive cross-platform mobile development framework that uses the Dart language. It is created by Google who is constantly pushing the framework towards being the ultimate solution for creating cross-platform apps. This framework allows developers to build cross-platform applications that look equally good on both new and older versions of a device’s operating system and have a great feel due to a wide collection of available widgets. Flutter significantly cuts the time needed to build an app compared to native development. 

Which is better flutter or react native for Mobile Application Development in 2021?

Which is better flutter or react native for Mobile Application Development in 2021?
What to Choose Flutter or React Native to Build Mobile Apps

Let’s evaluate the differences between flutter and react native through these ten criteria, stay tight: 

1. Flutter Vs React Native – Programming Language

The main advantage of using a cross-platform mobile app development technology is that you can use a single programming language for both iOS app development and Android app development. React Native primarily uses JavaScript as the programming language, which is a dynamically typed language and anything can be done with it, which is good and bad at the same time. React JS is a JavaScript library used for developing user interfaces. JavaScript is a very commonly used language and hence does not involve extensive learning to understand it this makes it easier to master and incorporate, particularly when a company already has a web developer team.

On the other hand, Flutter uses Dart programming language which was brought to the forefront by Google in 2011. Dart programming language resembles both JavaScript and Java in syntax, which makes it easy to learn for developers who have some experience with JS, as well as C# and other object-oriented languages. Dart has been quickly adopted by many cross-platform mobile app development companies as it is more expressive. But since JavaScript has been around longer and widely used by most web developers, it’s easy to adopt the React Native framework. Dart also has a great feature set but it’s hardly used and less known in the developer community. 

Considering these points, if you compare flutter vs. react native, it is clear that React Native development wins the point in the programming language category.

2. Flutter Vs React Native – Technical Architecture

Flutter Vs React Native 2021- Comparison of Technical Architecture
Comparison of Technical Architecture – Flutter Vs React Native

Understanding the technical architecture is very crucial while reviewing Flutter vs React Native comparison. React Native framework makes use of JavaScript bridge, which is the JavaScript runtime environment. This offers a passage to communicate with the native modules. Using Facebook’s Flux architecture React Native compiles your JS code into native code during runtime. This necessity to connect the native modules with JavaScript code during runtime can make the app slower in a few cases, although the framework’s performance is usually satisfactory despite its architecture. 

On the contrary, Flutter contains most of the essential components within itself. This rules out the requirement for a bridge. Frameworks like Cupertino and Material Design are used along with the Skia C++ engine, with all the necessary protocols and channels. The wide range of functionalities in Flutter typically removes the necessity for developers to turn to other technologies to build their apps. Comparing Flutter vs React Native, the apps built on Flutter are thus more stable and effective.

3. Flutter Vs React Native – Installation

Easy installation is of utmost importance, it should be direct without having too many complicated steps so that it could be easily learned by developers that are just starting with it. React Native’s configuration process is simple and can easily be installed by someone with little prior knowledge of JavaScript. You can install React Native CLI globally through the command line. The requirements for installing React Native are Node JS and JDK8 as a package manager. 

Installing Flutter is a bit more difficult. The binary for a specific mobile platform needs to be downloaded. For macOS, a zip file is also required. The next step is adding it to your path variable, this can be done via the command line. Flutter installation does not involve any knowledge of JavaScript but includes a few extra steps as compared to React Native. With this extra setting, Flutter loses points to React Native as its installation isn’t that straightforward. 

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4. Flutter Vs React Native – Configuration and Setup

The procedure of setting up the developer machine to use the new framework with proper guidelines takes time. It requires loads of configuration of software installations. React Native does not deliver an appropriate setup roadmap, it starts with the creation of a new project. React Native does not provide sufficient information for a proper setup; there is only a little guideline to use the Xcode command-line tools. For the Windows app development platform, it requires JDK and Android Studio to be preinstalled. 

On the other hand, Flutter provides detailed information on IDE setup and platform setup for both iOS and Android. On top of this, Flutter has got a CLI tool called flutter doctor which can guide developers through the setup without much trouble. It thoroughly inspects which cross platform development tools are already installed on the local machine and which tools need to be configured. Once the flutter doctor command is happy, we can move forward with developing a new Flutter app. 

Hence, comparing Flutter vs React Native, Flutter provides better CLI support and a proper roadmap to setting up the framework. Adding to it, Project configuration can be done easily as well. 

5. Flutter Vs React Native – Testing Support

Flutter Vs React Native 2021 - Comparison of Testing Support
Comparison of Testing Support – Flutter Vs React Native

Writing tests is a great approach to check the integrity and reliability of the code and get quick feedback on it. There is always a testing framework connected with every mature technology to permit developers to build unit, integration, and UI tests for cross-platform application development. React Native is a JavaScript framework that offers some unit-level testing features. This framework does not provide any support for testing the UI or the integration. For testing the React Native apps third-party tools need to be used. 

On the other hand, Flutter provides a good set of testing features to test apps at the unit, widget, and integration level. Flutter has a widget testing feature where we can make widget tests for UI and run them at the speed of unit tests. The testing features of Flutter are officially supported and properly documented. 

Comparing React Native vs Flutter, the React Native framework has no official support for integration and UI level testing, whereas, Flutter has great documentation and a rich set of testing features.

6. Flutter Vs React Native – Development API and UI Components

When developing cross-platform mobile apps, support for the native component is vital. Without the support of the native component, our app won’t feel like a native app. The framework must have a proper API to access the native modules without any discomfort as it is necessary for accessing the Native modules. React Native can create the Native environment for Android and iOS with the help of JS bridge. To access most of the native modules, React Native has to count on third-party libraries. The React Native components may not behave likewise across all platforms which makes the apps unpredictable. 

Whereas Flutter is bundled with UI rendering components, device API access, navigation, stateful management, and plenty of libraries. This rich set of components eliminates the need to use third-party libraries. Flutter also provides widgets for Material Design and Cupertino that allow flutter developers to easily render UI across Android and iOS platforms. 

Therefore, Flutter is rich in development APIs and UI components whereas React Native is too much dependent on third-party libraries.

7. Flutter Vs React Native – Productivity of Developer

Developer productivity is the key to developing apps faster. In this regard, it’s very essential to choose which framework is better suited to the developer so that he can emphasize on app development without any kind of wait or distraction. The React Native codes are reusable across all the platforms as JavaScript is supported by all editors. It also provides the hot reload feature which saves a lot of react native developers time while testing the changes in the UI. This means that any changes in the backend will be directly visible on the front end also, even without recompilation. 

Flutter also consists of a hot reload feature and it’s very easy to get started with the demo app. However, dedicated flutter developers would need to learn and adopt the new Flutter concepts as the complexity of apps grows. Even the compilation time on Flutter is shorter as compared to React native. But all editors do not support Dart as it is not common and there is a lack of support for it in many IDEs and text editors. 

Comparing React Native vs Flutter, React Native has great developer support in terms of IDEs and language features, whereas, Flutter is fairly new at this point but will surely catch up soon as the community around Flutter nurtures.

8. Flutter Vs React Native – Community Support

Flutter Vs React Native 2021 - Comparison of Community Support
Comparison of Community Support – Flutter Vs React Native

Once developers start showing interest in technology and adopt it in their development process, they form a community to share knowledge. Forming a community is important for developers as a solid community allows mobile app developers to learn from each other and solve the difficulties they are facing. Community support gives us an impression about the Flutter vs React Native popularity. Communities help in sharing knowledge and facts about specific technology and solving problems related to it. Being launched in 2015, React Native has gained popularity progressively ever since. The React Native Community on GitHub is a flourishing one apart from it there are lots of meet-ups and conferences around the world. 

Flutter started gaining popularity and attention in 2017 after it got promoted by Google. The Flutter community is relatively smaller, but it is growing rapidly these days, meet-ups and conferences are taking place online and many groups are starting to form worldwide. React Native has wide community support. However, for Flutter, there is a long way to go, but it is being acknowledged globally at present. 

In terms of a community if you compare React Native vs Flutter, React Native holds its position as the absolute winner. Flutter may be lagging for now, although with its rapid growth, it is much expected to catch up to the level of React Native community soon. 

9. Flutter Vs React Native – Build & Release Support

Releasing mobile apps to the Google Play Store or App Store is a painful and tedious process. It involves the composite task of code signing all other application setups. The React Native doesn’t have any automated steps to deploy the iOS apps to App Store, it provides a manual process for deploying the app from Xcode. It relies on third-party libraries to build and deploy iOS and Android apps written with React Native. 

Whereas, Flutter has a solid command-line interface, through which we can create a binary of the app by using the command line tools and following the instructions in Flutter documentation for developing and releasing iOS and Android apps. 

Therefore comparing Flutter vs Native React, flutter has pronounced build automation tools that can be used to deploy apps from the command line. React Native development lacks support for the CLI tools that are officially supported for build automation. 

10. Flutter Vs React Native – DevOps and CI/CD Support

Continuous Integration and continuous delivery practices are necessary for any app development to get a continuous response and avoid releasing buggy code. Officially, React Native does not offer any CI/CD solution, it needs to be introduced manually, but that too does not have a proper guideline to it. Therefore, there is a requirement for third-party solutions. 

Setting up a CI/CD with Flutter is relatively easy. The complete steps are well mentioned for both Android and iOS platforms, through which a command-line interface can easily be used for deploying them. React Native DevOps is properly documented and well explained. DevOps development can also be set up for the Flutter framework. 

Comparing Flutter vs React Native, Flutter apps are easy and effortless to set up on CI/CD services by using its strong CLI tools. Whereas, React Native doesn’t offer any official instructions for CI/CD practices. Considering all these points, Flutter edges React Native in terms of DevOps and CI/CD support because of the official CI/CD solution. 

Flutter Vs React Native: Who Won The Battle in 2021?

Who should you hire flutter app developer or React Native developer? If you are still eyeing the winner then it is worth concluding that all these detailed comparisons provided merely an overview of the pros and cons of these two frameworks, rather than proclaiming a clear winner of the battle. 

As you are still uncertain about what framework you should consider using for your cross-platform mobile app development needs. 

Also Read: Top 4 Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks

React Native vs Flutter Performance – A Speedy Comparison

pros and cons of React Native Vs Flutter
Quick Comparison – React Native Vs Flutter

Let’s do a speedy comparison again keeping these few more important components in mind:

1. React Native vs Flutter – Code Reusability

As Flutter offers its widgets with its high-performance rendering engine, therefore code reusability is much faster, effective, and highly flexible.

2. React Native vs Flutter – UI Components

Flutter overtakes React Native here also, as it uses its UI components which offers great flexibility to a cross-platform application development company in tailoring the UI components of the flutter app development. Above all, Flutter does full justice with your app idea and allows you to use a single codebase for creating an app to make it run and look similar on both iOS and Android platforms. 

On the other hand, React Native doesn’t go as expected, as it uses the Native elements for the UI updates, but if you wish to run it on multiple platforms, then you need to use the third-party libraries.

3. React Native vs Flutter – Development Cost

The app development cost will be almost the same with both frameworks, whether you choose Flutter or React Native. However, the cost can vary depending upon the experience and brand image of the Software development company

4. React Native vs Flutter – Reach of the App

Cross-platform app development is designed to reach wider audiences through multiple platforms as compared to the native apps. To make your app reach a wider audience, it depends on how you take the advantage of the framework and its UI components to design a unique and well-crafted app. 

Without a doubt, with the constant enhancements in Flutter SDK, this Framework is continuously refining its cross platform development tools and attracting progressively more companies to choose it for cross-platform development. With the rapidly growing community of Flutter, it will not just catch up with React Native’s popularity quickly, but also allow mobile app development companies to create web and desktop apps.

What are the results of flutter vs react native performance tests?

Programming Language – Flutter <  React Native

Technical Architecture – Flutter >  React Native

Installation – Flutter <  React Native

Configuration and Setup – Flutter >  React Native

Testing Support – Flutter >  React Native

Development API and UI Components – Flutter >  React Native

Productivity of Developer – Flutter <  React Native

Community Support – Flutter <  React Native

Build & Release Support – Flutter >  React Native

DevOps and CI/CD Support – Flutter >  React Native

If putting it into simple words and combining all the aspects altogether, then it won’t be wrong to conclude that the future of the Flutter framework looks more promising for the toolkit as most of the leading mobile app development companies in the USA have already started using it.

On the other hand, the supporters and users of React Native development are putting their every effort on large-scale re-architecture of the technology and doing their best to expand their support system for the wider community to keep providing outstanding core functionalities of the framework in the upcoming future as well. Still, Flutter is a strong competitor to React Native and other frameworks, expecting the future of these frameworks is quite challenging and exciting for cross-platform application development.

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Is Flutter app development the future of mobile application development?

Comparing React Native vs Flutter both have their pros and cons, but Flutter came out as the complete winner in this match. Some of the business experts have already predicted that Flutter is the future of mobile app development. Considering the detailed comparison above, it’s quite clear that Flutter has entered the cross-platform mobile development race with a bang. 

Still, considering the facts both these frameworks have their advantages and disadvantages. React Native might be the base of preexistent apps, but Flutter has progressively gained popularity since its inception and has taken the developer community by storm. With the expansion of the Flutter Software Development Kit, Flutter is becoming more and more progressive and getting desirable for cross-platform app development. Flutter may overtake React Native as the leading cross-platform app development framework unless the React Native community keeps on updating itself. Taking everything into account, both Flutter and React Native are powerful options for cross-platform mobile app development and ensuring a convenient app development experience to the developers.

Conclusion

We have tried presenting the facts and figures of both frameworks without being biased as our purpose in carrying out an in-depth comparison between Flutter and React Native is to help developers choose the right programming language that fits their development needs and skills. 

However, if you still have any doubts in your mind or you are stuck somewhere between these two titans and unable to decide which one you should pick for the application development, then hire a reputed and experienced software development company. The trained and experienced developers can help you choose the right option for your business idea and clear your doubts right away.

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