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Cross-platform mobile app development platforms have changed the mobile app development game and the mobile app market. Providing undebatable benefits such as targeting both iOS and Android platforms at 1/3rd of the price of native app development and a 50% reduction in time to market has made the mobile app market more accessible to almost all businesses of any scale and any industry.
There are many available frameworks in the cross-platform category, and they all have their benefits and limitations. However, two of the most popular and leading cross-platform app frameworks are Flutter and React Native. As per a 2021 survey conducted on Statista, Flutter is the most preferred cross-platform app development framework for developers, with 42% of developers preferring it as their ideal framework in 2021, followed by React Native with 38% preference.
If you are unsure whether React Native is the right choice for your mobile app development project or Flutter, here are some important factors to consider while comparing Flutter vs. React Native for your project –
Flutter vs. React Native – Introduction
Flutter is a popular open-source UI SDK (Software Development Kit) developed by Google. It takes a widget-based development approach that helps developers build apps that follow Material Design guidelines. Google created Flutter to develop cross-platform apps for Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, and some other platforms, all from a single codebase.
Flutter vs. React Native – Development Time
Development time directly impacts the time to market mobile apps. Generally, businesses are on a tight deadline as clients want their apps built and stores on the app stores as soon as possible. Companies want to shift their business processes to online platforms sooner than later, even for internal processes. Hence, development time is an important aspect to compare Flutter and React Native.
If we put Flutter head-to-head with React Native in terms of development speed, Flutter loses by a clear margin. Flutter uses the Dart Language, which is comparatively new, and many developers are still not very familiar with it. Also, the framework doesn’t support many text editors and IDEs, which delays the development process, increasing the time to market.
Flutter vs React Native – Performance
Performance comparison is the first thing you need to discuss when comparing two of the greatest cross-platform mobile app development platforms.
However, though it has many good points that justify its performance driven to build, it also has some limitations. It uses more native components hence the overall program size also gets bigger. Flutter provides enough documentation to help developers reduce its file size, but it is still an inherent challenge.
Flutter vs. React Native – Salary and Developer Availability
As far as salaries are concerned, here is a quick salary comparison between Flutter and React Native developers according to different countries –
Flutter Developer Salary
United States – $85,100 | Eastern Europe – $32,500 | India – $4,200
React Native Developer Salary
United States – $110.00 | Eastern Europe – $38,500 | India – $4,340
Suppose you are planning to hire React Native developers from India. In that case, you should consider going to a trusted offshore development company with ample experience in React Native projects that match your niche. Similarly, you should hire Flutter developers from trusted and reliable sources only. As you can see, hiring developers from India can be significantly cost-effective.
Flutter vs. React Native – Ecosystem and Community
Any mobile app framework has its ecosystem and community that defines its reliability and integration ease. If we talk about community in terms of numbers, React Native is far ahead of Flutter, but this is also because it has been in the market for way longer than Flutter has. Flutter is noticeably catching up at a commendable pace in increasing community members and increasing packages that aid overall mobile app development.
Flutter vs React Native – Platform Stability
No matter how great a mobile app development platform must be, if it is highly irregular in its performance, it becomes a big question of reliability, especially when dealing with apps that might need sensitive data access or 24/7 uptime. Hence platform stability is one of the most critical deciding factors you should keep in mind.
Flutter It is still relatively new for us to comment on platform stability, though, through the years, it has proven to be consistently providing reliable mobile app development services to many businesses.
In contrast, React Native has a very active set of community members. They keep developing new libraries, plugins, and tools for helping React developers ease their everyday coding problems and improve app performance. However, React Native itself pushes many new updates frequently too.
Though it is good to have a framework that wants to update itself constantly, it comes with a never-ending learning curve that can be difficult for developers to keep up with. More than that, React Native also needs additional attachments for Android and iOS individually and depends on native elements on users’ devices. React Native also doesn’t have any in-house QA testing tool to analyze app performance accurately.
Flutter vs React Native – Quality Assurance
Google is known to provide proper QA tools and features for any products they launch. The same is the case with Flutter. Flutter has all the provisions for all kinds of testing. From unit tests, widget tests to integration tests, all kinds of customizable tests can be conducted on Flutter to ensure all aspects of the app are as per your standard.
Whereas React Native is, unfortunately, barely provides any features for integrated unit tests. Although React developers can cover this gap by using third-party frameworks available for React Security Testing like Jest and Detox, it is still an additional step with its complications compared to seamless out-of-the-box support provided by Flutter.
Pros and Cons of Flutter vs. React Native
Now that we have compared both these platforms on some of the most important factors you need to consider before selecting the right mobile app development platform for your mobile app project, we should have a quick look at the pros and cons of Flutter and React Native to get a better idea about their capabilities and shortcomings.
Pros and Cons of Flutter
- Hot Reloading
- Single codebase, multiple platforms
- Appealing Designs
- Reduced Testing (50%)
- Faster Apps
- Consistent App UI on all devices
- Ideal for MVPs
- Smaller developer community
- Continuous integration support
- Larger App Size
- Platform Risk (Google’s tendency to drop projects)
- Limited Libraries and Support
Pros and Cons of React Native
- Fast Refresh
- Single code, multiple platforms
- Platform Agnostic, more choice for developers
- More mature compared to Flutter
- Huge and active community
- Mimics Native isn’t native
- Many abandoned packages
- Lesser out-of-the-box components and features
- Too many updates
- No structure or excessive freedom
When to use Flutter?
If you are looking to develop an app with a different and intriguing user interface, Flutter has many widgets to help you achieve that. Moreover, DART also has many appealing graphic-based libraries. If you plan to go with Flutter, ensure to hire Flutter developers that have experience using such Flutter libraries.
When not to use Flutter?
If you are building a relatively larger app, for instance, an ecommerce app, Flutter might not be the best choice for you. Since there is a limitation of Flutter apps to be less than 4 MB, it would be a significant limitation for overly complex apps that need different libraries or third-party dependencies to function.
When to use React Native?
If you want a single codebase for developing apps on various platforms and devices, React Native is the ideal choice as it covers mobiles, desktops, tvOS, and much more.
When not to use React Native?
If you don’t want to build large-sized apps or have a requirement to build apps that require the app to do some calculations, React Native is not the best bet for you.
Both Flutter and React Native have their strengths and weaknesses in terms of mobile app development. If you are genuinely looking for a cross-platform app development tool, you can use any of the two depending on your project requirements and budget.