Flutter vs React Native: The Ultimate Comparison

The pandemic has increased the surge for mobile apps in the market. Businesses worldwide are looking forward to a cost-effective and quick way to develop apps. Hence, they have started adopting cross-platform frameworks to achieve the results.

Out of various frameworks, businesses and startups prefer using Flutter and React Native to develop mobile apps. The reason being, both frameworks are widely popular and allow you to build native-like apps effectively.

If you also want to develop mobile apps using Flutter or React Native but have questions like: What is the difference between Flutter and React Native? Which cross-platform framework to choose for the project in 2021? Then, you have reached the right place.

We have done in-depth research on both frameworks and decided to provide a comprehensive guide on Flutter vs. React Native 2021.

Here, we will look at all of these things in detail:

Here, we will look at all of these things in detail:

Introduction to Flutter

Flutter is a free and open-source UI toolkit released by Google in the year 2017.

Introduction to Flutter

Google is constantly updating the framework, and its popularity is also increasing. It enables you to create applications for desktop, web, and mobile using a single codebase.

It comprises two essential parts: Software Development Kit and UI Library.

What can Flutter be used for?

Here are some of the most common use cases of Flutter:

  • It is best suited for MVP app development.
  • It is effective for building natively compiled apps.
  • Developers can create a flexible UI with the help of its performant rendering engine.
  • Developers can also create modern mobile apps using the material design.
  • It is suitable to develop high-quality progressive web apps and single-page applications.

Now we will talk about some examples of flutter apps.

Which apps are made with Flutter?

Here are some of the most well-known apps made with Flutter:

Google Ads Alibaba Dream11
Hamilton Philips Hue BMW
Stadia Square Insight Timer

Apart from these, there are various other apps made with Flutter. To know more, check out these Flutter App Examples.

Pros and Cons of Flutter

Let us quickly go through all pros and cons of Flutter:

Pros:

  • Flutter allows developers to focus on the visual details of the app. The developers can create new widgets or customize the existing ones for their projects. These widgets follow Cupertino (iOS) and Material Design (Android) looks.
  • The hot reloading enables developers to see changes in real-time without affecting the state of the application.
  • Developers have to write code only once for building apps for multiple platforms. For instance, iOS and Android.
  • Developers have to test apps once only; hence, testing time gets reduced.
  • It is most suitable to build Minimum Viable Product (MVP) apps because of its speedy development and cross-platform nature.
  • Apps made using Flutter have the same UI even on the older versions of Android or iOS.

Cons:

  • It offers many libraries and tools; however, they are less as compared to React Native framework.
  • This framework is not compatible with emerging platforms such as tvOS, WatchOS, Android Auto, etc.
  • It does not offer a specific native app-like look and feel.
  • Apps built with Flutter are large compared to native apps.

Now, we will go through the basics of React Native:

Introduction to React Native

React Native is an open-source JavaScript framework released by Facebook in 2015. It is suitable to render native apps for Android and iOS.

It is basically a JavaScript library that comprises a collection of elements and user interfaces needed to develop a mobile app with a native look and feel.

What can React Native be used for?

Here is the list of the use cases of React Native:

  • Build mobile apps for Android and iOS using a single codebase.
  • Developers can utilize various external libraries to build web and desktop apps using React Native.
  • Developers can also create prototypes quickly & effectively using React Native.

What apps are built on React Native?

Some of the most well-known React Native examples are as follows:

Instagram Discord UberEats
NerdWallet Bloomberg Facebook
Coinbase Pinterest Walmart

The list of React Native examples is not complete here. Apart from these, many apps have been built with React Native.

Pros and Cons of React Native

Here, we will look at various pros and cons of React Native.

Pros:

  • It enables the native rendering of APIs without any need for the HTML or CSS markup.
  • Developers can utilize React Native for building an app that runs on multiple platforms with a single code.
  • It offers various useful debugging and error-reporting tools.
  • It also comes with a hot reloading function that allows developers to add new code instantly in the live app.
  • A big community of React Native developers is present across the world.
  • The framework gives complete freedom to developers. They can choose the solution based on the project requirements and their preferences.

To know more, refer to our blog on why use React Native for mobile app development.

Cons:

  • In several cases, the native rendering of APIs might not provide extensive support to native UI elements.
  • A vast number of packages are not working on React Native.
  • The size of the React Native apps is large as compared to native ones.
  • The framework supports only some of the primary components.
  • Complete freedom to developers is also a curse as they need to decide packages and various other things to get the desired solution.

Flutter vs React Native: Popularity & Market Share

Popularity is one of the most crucial factors on which developers decide whether to move ahead with the technology.

Here, we will compare Google Flutter vs. React Native popularity in detail.

First, let us check the popularity of Flutter vs. React Native over the last five years in Google Trends.

Flutter vs React Native: Popularity & Market Share

(Image source: Google Trends)

The above image indicates that the popularity of both frameworks is almost the same in the year 2021.

What is the Survey of Stack Overflow about Flutter & React Native Popularity?

Stack Overflow surveys to know the popularity of various frameworks, tools, and technologies every year. In the year 2020, Stack Overflow conducted this survey on 65,000 developers.

According to the same poll, the popularity of Flutter is more than React Native in terms of the most loved framework with 68.8% of votes, while React Native has got 57.9% of votes.

Survey of Stack Overflow about Flutter & React Native Popularity

Moreover, 7.2 % of the Stack Overflow community prefer to go with Flutter because of its libraries and tools.

Developers who aren’t familiar with any cross-platform framework showed interest in learning React Native compared to Flutter.

familiar with any cross-platform framework

Also, around 11.5% of developers choose React Native for third-party tools and libraries.

According to Statista, around 39% of developers worldwide utilize Flutter, and 42% of developers prefer to go with React Native for developing cross-platform apps.

Flutter vs React Native: A Detailed Comparison

Here, we will compare Flutter vs. React Native based on some of the most important aspects:

Programming Language

A programming language helps a developer automate, maintain, assemble, measure, and interpret things efficiently. Here, we will compare two programming languages that are useful for building apps on multiple platforms efficiently.

Flutter – Dart

Google founded the Dart programming language in the year 2011, and at that time, only a few developers were using it.

Later, Google introduced Flutter in 2017, which uses the dart programming language. And since then, it has become famous.

Dart is based on object-oriented languages like C/C++, Java, and JavaScript. Hence, any developer who is familiar with these languages can quickly start their journey with Dart.

Lastly, the Flutter community loves its documentation because it is easy to understand.

React Native – JavaScript

It depends heavily on JavaScript to develop apps that run on multiple platforms.

JavaScript was introduced for the web in 1990. It is still well-known among developers because of its dynamic coding. Further, JavaScript’s primary benefits are event-driven functioning and scalability.

According to Stack Overflow, React Native is the most commonly used programming language among developers. Further, developers utilize ReactJS with various other JavaScript languages available in the market.

Also, any of the developers who are familiar with JavaScript can initiate their journey with this framework.

Lastly, JavaScript is highly popular among developers, and it is also the primary language among various browsers.

Technical Architecture

Technical architecture is one of the most important aspects of a mobile app. It helps you to determine the business growth and scalability.

By considering the architecture of the leading frameworks, you can choose a suitable framework for your project.

What is the architecture of Flutter?

It possesses a layered architecture that offers a lot of customization. It utilizes the Dart language that consists of a vast number of built-in UI components. Therefore, developers don’t have to rely on the JS bridge for any customization.

For instance, Flutter comprises Material Design (Android) and Cupertino (Apple) UI design elements that developers can use for developing mobile apps.

Further, the dark language uses a Skia engine that comprises various protocols, compositions, and channels. Hence, developers can control all the things on the screen while building Flutter apps. Also, developers can include animation, text, graphics, and more effectively into the apps.

Which architecture is used in React Native?

Its architecture depends more on the JS runtime environment. It is also referred to as a JavaScript bridge to build communication with the native UI modules. Communication with the Native UI is possible with the help of JSON messages and Flux architecture built by Facebook.

In simple words, React Native ensures that the JS code is compiled with the native module in runtime.

React Native mobile app architecture utilizes JavaScript core inside the android app while it uses JS Core separately in iOS to run the codes. However, the use of a bridge in React Native increases app size and reduces the performance of the app.

Installation and Configuration

An installation and configuration of any framework should be precise. Any developer should be able to install a framework without any hindrance. Here we will compare Flutter vs. React Native to see which has a quick installation process.

Flutter

The installation of Flutter is somewhat complex and consumes more time. Here, developers have to download a binary for a specific operating system.

A developer without knowledge of dart can complete the installation. One of the benefits of Flutter is that it offers an in-depth installation guide. Moreover, it provides a CLI tool known as Flutter doctor to install and configure things effectively.

React Native

The developer does not need to have a comprehensive knowledge of JavaScript to carry out React Native installation.

It provides a CLI (command-line interface) which needs installation. One of the downsides of this framework is that it does not offer any detailed installation guide.

Performance

There is constant talk on Flutter vs. React Native performance. Also, a vast number of developers in each community believe that both offer better performance.

Here we will do the Flutter vs. React Native performance comparison based on a simple Hello World program.

What kind of performance does Flutter provide?

It can handle CPU-heavy operations, and it possesses an excellent memory. Moreover, if you want to integrate beautiful animations and expressive UI in your app, then Flutter offers the best performance.

The performance test of the Flutter indicates the Hello World program takes only 60 FPS to operate efficiently, and it requires only 16 ms to render all the frames.

Moreover, the main target of Flutter is to offer 60 FPS or 120 FPS performance on all devices that can handle 120Hz updates.

What kind of performance does React Native provide?

Even though React Native is a robust framework, it doesn’t deliver performance close to Flutter.

The main reason is that it requires a JS bridge to interact with the native modules. Moreover, the total number of frames dropped in React Native’s Hello World program is way more than Flutter.

Several times, React Native took higher than 16 ms to render a program used in the application. Hence, the developer needs to rely on various third-party libraries to enhance the performance of the application.

Developer Productivity

“Developer productivity is the most crucial factor that helps you to decide which framework to choose to achieve results quickly.”

Flutter

It possesses a highly structured code. It uses the hot reloading feature that allows stateful reloading where changes are affected instantly without losing the app state.

Code compilation is quick in Flutter as compared to React Native. Moreover, it allows developers to reuse 50-90% of the code across platforms.

Flutter UI layout does not need any template language or visual tools. Also, debugging is involved in the toolkit.

In the case of a complex app, developers have to learn and implement the latest Flutter concepts.

React Native

It possesses the hot reloading feature through which developers can add new code & it gets live instantly. Hence, this speeds up the development. Further, developers can utilize various IDEs and text editors available in the market.

On the other hand, React Native possesses a complex structure. It utilizes a JavaScript engine to execute programs but does not compile code with source code.

The framework enables developers to utilize 90% of the code in building cross-platform apps. Moreover, developers can also integrate web app code written in React for developing a mobile app.

However, debugging is not included in this framework. Hence, developers face challenges in carrying out the debugging.

Learning Curve

Various developers, who want to start cross-platform app development get confused with the question, which is easier to learn: Flutter or React Native? Let us look into it in detail:

Is Flutter easy to learn?

It utilizes the dart language, which is new for many developers. However, it is easier to learn.

To learn about this framework, a developer should have a core understanding of native Android and iOS development.

In short, a developer who is familiar with JS/ Java/ Kotlin/ Swift/ C can get started with Flutter.

Further, various developers have stated that Flutter offers excellent documentation.

Is React Native easy to learn?

Developers who are familiar with JavaScript or React can quickly get started with React Native.

However, web development with JavaScript is different from cross-platform app development. Hence, several developers find it challenging to learn and start executing React Native framework.

Until now, there are a vast number of tutorials, comprehensive modules, and libraries released on React Native; hence, developers find it easy to learn about this framework.

Community Support

When the developers start learning about a programming language and adopting it in their work, they get familiar with it and create a community of like-minded people to share knowledge.

A robust community supports every developer to learn together and resolve any issues during the process. Here, we will look at whether Flutter or React Native has better community support.

How big is the Flutter community?

Flutter language has been in the industry for a long time; however, it got traction after Google announced it at the Google I/O conference in 2017.

Google organizes various meetups, hackathons, and other events online and offline, due to which the Flutter community is growing exponentially.

Even though the Flutter community is expanding; however, there are limited resources to resolve some errors. Hence, developers have to solve bugs by themselves.

Currently, there are only 881 Flutter contributors on GitHub for any professional help.

Apart from this, Flutter has got 124k stars on GitHub and 17.9k live projects forked by the community. Here, anyone can use these projects for development purposes.

There are some of the well-known platforms where developers can join the Flutter community is as follows:

  • GitHub
  • Gitter
  • Disord
  • Stack Overflow
  • Reddit
  • Slack

What about the React Native community?

React Native is an open-source library released by Facebook in the year 2015. Since then, the community of React Native developers has increased because of various meetups and conferences conducted around different cities worldwide.

At this moment, there are 2287 professional contributors of React Native on GitHub and 96.6k stars.

Besides this, 21k forks of the live projects which any developer can use for the project. Due to this, various developers prefer to go with this framework.

Moreover, React Native developers are active on various platforms as follows:

  • GitHub
  • Discord
  • Telegram
  • Reddit
  • Slack
  • Stack Overflow

CI/CD Support

In the field of software engineering, CI/CD stands for continuous integration and continuous development. Therefore, it is essential for any mobile application to obtain regular feedback and keep the code error-free.

Flutter

It possesses an extensive guide on developing and deploying Android and iOS apps. Also, it contains an action for various external resources.

With the help of CLI (Command Line Interface), developers can instantly deploy the application. Further, developers can utilize different third-party solutions.

Here are several built-in tools that developers can utilize in the Flutter.

Codemagic: It is a well-known CI/CD System launched at the Flutter event in 2018.

Bitrise: It is also a popular mobile CI/CD released in the year 2019.

React Native

This framework doesn’t offer a proper CI/CD solution for deploying apps on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Developers have to manually do all the things to deploy apps on Google Play. Moreover, there is not any appropriate documentation to deploy apps on the App Store.

To make the entire deployment process automatic, you have to utilize third-party solutions such as Nervercode, Fastlane, or Bitrise.

Testing

Ensuring that your code runs smoothly with less time and effort is the main objective of any development.

In order to achieve this, every framework offers the functionality of testing.

Developers use this testing functionality to conduct unit, integration, and UI tests on apps periodically.

Now, below we will compare Flutter vs. React Native based on testing support.

How effective is it to test Flutter apps?

Flutter provides top-notch support to developers to conduct automatic testing of apps as it relies on Dart. It offers features to test apps at the unit, widget, and integration level.

Also, it offers in-depth documentation regarding the same. Besides this, it also provides a unique feature where developers can create widget tests to test the user interface and leverage unit testing.

Is it hard to test React Native apps?

React Native doesn’t offer any support for unit and integration level of testing. Moreover, there are only some specific tools for unit-level testing of React Native apps.

Due to this, developers have to utilize various third-party tools available in the market, such as Appium, Detox, and Jest, for conducting different kinds of testing.

Flutter vs React Native: Quick Overview

Here we will have a one-on-one comparison of Flutter and React Native.

Factor Flutter React Native
Programming Language Dart JavaScript
Created By Google Facebook
First Release May 2017 Jan 2015
Latest Version 2.2.3 0.64
Technical Architecture Skia Flux
Performance Robust, 60 FPS Close to native
Time to Market Faster Slower than Flutter
Developer Productivity Limited support for IDEs and Text Editors Supports various IDEs and Text Editors
Learning Curve Easy to Learn Easy to Learn
Deployment Simple due to built-in libraries Needs support of third-party libraries
Documentation Accurate and up-to-date Up-to-date but vague

Flutter vs React Native: When to Choose What?

After looking at the difference between React Native and Flutter, you must have understood that both are well-known for developing mobile apps.

So, you might be confused about choosing the best from them. Hence, we will answer when to choose React Native and when to choose Flutter.

Choose Flutter If Choose React Native If
Your project has a tight budget and deadline. You want to upgrade your current apps with cross-platform modules.
You want to launch the app on multiple platforms using the same codebase. Your goal is to develop a lightweight native app.
Your idea doesn’t fully rely on native functionality. You are looking for a chance to create incredible APIs.
Your primary purpose is to develop high-performance applications. Your purpose is to develop an application with an asynchronous build and a highly responsive UI.
You require a tailor-made UI with widgets and less testing. You have enough time and money for the particular project.

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you choose Flutter or React Native. The main thing you should consider is that the app is user-friendly, intuitive, and scalable. We have developed many apps for clients worldwide in Flutter and React Native. You can reach out to us & we will help you choose the best one according to your requirements.

Conclusion

Here we conclude the detailed comparison on Flutter vs. React Native 2021. Our core purpose is to help all appreneurs decide which is the most suitable framework for their next mobile app development project.

Considering the facts and figures, both Flutter and React Native have their own advantages and disadvantages. Both are highly robust, effective, and performant frameworks. Also, both the cross-platform frameworks are popular and trusted widely by businesses and developers worldwide. However, in some cases, React Native is ahead of Flutter, while in others, Flutter is good.

You should select a framework considering the budget, timeline, features & functionalities, and future goals of a project. If you cannot choose the best between Flutter vs. React Native, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Guru Technolabs provides cross-platform development services and has helped businesses and brands worldwide choose the most reliable technology for building mobile apps. Hence, we can understand your project requirements and come up with a suitable solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions related to Flutter and React Native.

Q: Is Flutter better than React Native?

Flutter is an open-source SDK for building apps for Android and iOS using a single codebase. React Native is an open-source JavaScript framework effective for building cross-platform apps that look like native. Hence, we can say both are on the same page.

Q: Will Flutter replace React Native?

Both Flutter and React Native are useful for cross-platform development. Flutter offers detailed documentation that allows developers to build Android and iOS efficiently. However, React Native is based on JavaScript and possesses a great community. Moreover, the majority of developers worldwide are familiar with JavaScript. Hence, we can say that Flutter will not replace React Native.

Q: Should I learn Flutter or React Native in 2021?

Flutter uses Dart language, which is not well-known among developers worldwide. On the contrary, React Native is based on JavaScript that is popular worldwide. Therefore, one who knows JavaScrit should go with React Native. Lastly, one should choose what to learn depending on the requirements of the project.

Q: Is Flutter going to die?

Flutter is not going to die anytime soon. The reason being, Flutter is heavily backed up by Google and has a massive community of developers worldwide.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

An entrepreneur, an IT professional. Tech geek. Founder & CEO at Guru Technolabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. Loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in IT field.

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