In the world of mobile development, Android and iOS have been the primary platforms for developers. While these platforms share many similarities, their underlying codebases are different. For example, Android development relies on Kotlin, Java, C, and C++, while iOS development uses Objective C and Swift. Native mobile development, therefore, requires knowledge of multiple languages like Swift and Kotlin, which can be a significant challenge for developers who want to build and publish applications on both app stores.
To address this issue, cross-platform mobile development technologies have emerged, allowing for less coding, quicker app release times, and reduced development budgets. Among these technologies, Flutter and React Native stand out as the top contenders. In this blog post, we'll explore the differences between Flutter and React Native, weigh their pros and cons, and help you make an informed decision for your next project.
Before diving into the Flutter vs. React Native comparison, let's quickly go through some advantages of cross-platform mobile development:
- One code for two platforms: Developers only need to write a single codebase for Android and iOS apps. Cross-platform technologies are platform-independent, enabling the execution of the same app on both platforms while allowing for customization, if necessary.
- Less testing: Developing a single app for both platforms means fewer tests and a faster Quality Assurance (QA) process. Developers only need to write automatic tests once, and QA specialists have just one app to check. If there are differences between the apps on each platform, they need to be tested separately.
- What is Flutter?
Flutter, Google's mobile app SDK, is a comprehensive framework that includes widgets and tools for building visually appealing and fast mobile apps for Android and iOS. Launched in May 2017, Flutter's first stable release was in December 2018. With Flutter, developers code in Dart, a language unique to Flutter and developed by Google.
With its rich set of widgets, Flutter enables smooth and easy cross-platform mobile app development without the need for separate iOS and Android apps. Additionally, the hot reload feature allows for quick and straightforward experimentation, UI building, feature addition, and bug fixing.
Popular Apps Made with Flutter include:
- Google Ads
- Birch Finance
- What is React Native?
Popular Apps Made with React Native include:
- Documentation: Flutter's documentation is extensive, user-friendly, and filled with helpful graphics and videos, making transitioning from another framework or optimizing a current project easier. React Native's documentation, on the other hand, pales in comparison.
- Installation and Initial Configuration: React Native's installation and configuration are simple and quick relative to Flutter's due to their architectural differences.
- UI Components: Flutter offers a rich set of built-in widgets for designing an attractive and smooth UI, which reduces the need for third-party libraries. React Native, on the other hand, provides a more limited set of built-in components, often necessitating external libraries for UI development. However, the vast React Native community provides numerous third-party libraries, making it easy to find a suitable solution.
- Community and Support: React Native, being around longer than Flutter, boasts a larger community and more extensive support. Many libraries, tools, and resources are available for React Native, making it easier for developers to find assistance. Flutter's community is rapidly growing; however, it still lags behind React Native in available resources.
- Hot Reload: Flutter and React Native support hot reload, a feature allowing developers to see changes in real-time without restarting the app. This feature significantly speeds up development and debugging processes.