React Native vs Flutter: Choosing the Best Hybrid Framework for Mobile App Development
Developing apps for iOS and Android using one code base is a tempting proposition. With the introduction of React Native in 2015, the already disruptive hybrid app development framework gained momentum. Prominent organizations like UberEats, Discord, and Facebook are moving their apps to React Native.
Fast-Forward to 2017, Google introduces the alpha version of their own hybrid framework called Flutter. Since then, both of the frameworks have been proving to be a dilemma for product owners and consumers looking to build hybrid applications. Which one should you choose? React Native or Flutter? Let’s break it down and figure out what is the most suitable option for you.
React Native vs Flutter | Productivity
One of the first things you must think about when deciding on a framework is productivity. How would it improve your efficiency? Whether the framework in question automates work functions or gets the work done in fewer lines of code.
1. Hot Reload
This is a feature that developers love! There is nothing better than a smoothly running Hot Reload environment. React Native and Flutter both come equipped with Hot Reload. Hot Reload eliminates the need to manually recompile the application by selecting relevant commands repeatedly. This happens automatically with the help of Hot Reload whenever changes are made or new gadgets are connected. It also preserves the last state of the app.
2. Code Structure
Unlike the previous feature, React Native and Flutter are pretty distinguishable in terms of code structure.
- Unlike React Native, Flutter doesn’t separate data, style, and templates.
- You don’t need additional templating languages like JSX or XML or any special visual tools to build a layout in Flutter.
- Flutter lets you switch to different modes like design or code for different needs and better efficiency.
- Flutter has even introduced a new feature “Outline View and Flutter Inspector” to make layout building even easier.
3. Installation and Setup
4. IDE Support
React Native has an edge over Flutter over the IDE support department where it comes with support for almost every IDE out there. Whereas Flutter only gets Android Studio, VS Code, and IntelliJ IDEA.
While RN lacks tools for drawing custom graphics, it makes it up in native interfaces, where it provides APIs for Wi-Fi, Geolocation, NFC payments, Bluetooth, Camera, and Biometrics.
The APIs case for Flutter is pretty hard to make as a lot of the interfaces are still in development except for Bluetooth and NFC payments.
Flutter uses Dart, which is created by Google. Although it is among the lesser-known, Dart developers are quite fond of the black sheep.
From the performance front, React Native lags behind Flutter as it requires a bridge to convert JS variables into native ones to interact with the native components. RN uses JS to build apps, and in order to interact with native components like OEM widgets, audio, and GPS, a JS bridge is required that converts these JS variables into native ones. However, RN utilizes libraries like react-native-swipe-view to make things faster.
In comparison, Flutter’s architecture lets you build fast native-looking apps without the need for a bridge for variable conversion. For this reason, Flutter is able to run animations at 60 FPS.
As Flutter is maintained by Google, the documentation is detailed and easy to explore and understand. React Native relies on external dev kits, and therefore, you will have to dig for documentation. However, the general RN documentation is easily available, and it happens to be quite detailed and helpful.
In Flutter you will find in-built UI elements named widgets in place of the native ones. These widgets are easily customizable and available for every popular mobile platform along with one that is platform-independent.
And if you look at the external UI kits available for React Native. React Native wins by a huge margin as the number of React Native external UI kits is far greater than that of Flutter widgets.
Considering the age of the frameworks, React Native is older and has a very rich and supportive community. Whereas Flutter’s community is constantly growing to become one of the most active ones.
Popular Apps made with React Native-
- Discovery VR
- Adidas Glitch
Popular Apps made with Flutter
- BMW App
- NU Bank
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