When it comes to developing applications, there are multiple options one has in the market. Today developing cross-platform applications is way easier than before because of the number of tools available. There are multiple frameworks like Flutter, React Native, Xamarin, Adobe PhoneGap, and more. But, with the increasing number of frameworks and programming languages, there is also confusion as to which one should choose.
If you are thinking of developing an application and unsure which framework is perfect for your cross-platform application development, you are in the right place. Here, we are going to talk about two of the most used frameworks for cross-platform app development i.e. React Native and Flutter. Herein, I will provide you details about each of these frameworks, their pros and cons, and which one to choose and why.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is a portable UI toolkit used to develop cross-platform applications using a single codebase. In simple terms, it is a software development kit used to develop applications easily.
Developers can easily develop intuitive, flexible, and expressive UI. Flutter is loaded with a large amount of in-built libraries and widgets; it helps to make the development environment faster. The best part of Flutter app development is the ease it provides developers to develop applications and works like native applications.
Flutter is free and open-source technology which makes it a go-to solution for developing applications. Moreover, Flutter uses Dart programming language, which is object-oriented and easy to learn. Because of the in-built widgets, app rendering is faster and has a great look and feel.
Google developed and launched Flutter in 2017 intending to provide users ease to develop applications and launch it. Today, it is one of the fastest-growing frameworks and Dart is the fastest-growing programming language. According to research by Statista, Flutter is the second most popular framework to develop cross-platform applications.
With the latest release of Flutter 2, they now support developing applications for different operating systems like Microsoft, Linux, iOS, and macOS. Additionally, it even aims to provide better experience to web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. You can also use Flutter to develop applications for cars, TVs, and smart home appliances.
Pros and Cons of Flutter:
- Hot Reload:
Flutter provides dynamic and fast application development, which developers prefer. They can make changes in the code base and can immediately see the output of it. As the output comes in milliseconds, it is known as Hot Reload.
Using this feature, the developer can add features, fix bugs, and try new ideas. Hot Reload is very easy to use for developers and designers as they can quickly make changes and see the output in a fraction of a second.
- Single Code-Base:
One of the biggest benefits of Flutter is its single codebase. Developers need to write code once and run it on multiple platforms. Flutter is platform-independent, so developers can use its functionalities for multiple platforms. Moreover, developers don’t need to change the style, or functionalities of apps depending on the platform, saving a lot of time and resources.
- Faster Apps:
Flutter apps work smoothly and fast without cutting or hanging while scrolling as it uses Skia Graphics Library. Due to this, the UI is completely redrawn every time when the view of the app changes. Most of the work is done using GPU, which means Flutter UI is smooth and delivers graphics in 60 fps.
- Seamless Integration:
With Flutter, it is easy to integrate third-party applications. Developers don’t need to write different codes to integrate on different platforms. Flutter depends on Java for Android integration and Swift for integrating with iOS, so there is no need to code or get into any technicalities.
- Less Developers:
Flutter is still in its early stages of development and as a result, it has fewer developers available. It is very rare to find a developer who has experience in Flutter app development. So, while developing complex applications, you are very less likely to get experienced developers.
- Flutter App Size is Larger:
Applications written in Flutter are larger than native applications. They occupy a lot of space and are difficult to download or update. People prefer an application that is small in size and occupies less space on their phones.
- Weak iOS Support:
Some of the Flutter features provide very little support to iOS applications. Often, there are problems with iOS SDKs as they do not work perfectly with them. Additionally, most of the iOS features like VoiceOver, Guided Access, Captioning, and Audio Descriptions are not supported by Flutter. But, over the years, we hope it will get better.
What is React Native:
The applications developed using React Native apps have similar performance and UX of native apps, which helps in providing users with a better experience.
Developers can easily develop flexible, interactive, and intuitive applications using React Native. Facebook owns React Native and revolutionized the way developers develop cross-platform applications. According to research by Statista, React Native is the most popular development platform to develop cross-platform applications. Roughly we can say that React Native powers every second application we see.
Today in the developer circle, React Native has one of the largest communities and provides large resources to learn. There are tons of resources available like blogs, tutorials, videos, monthly and yearly conferences, and constant updates from Facebook, making it better. As React Native is open source and easy to learn, you will easily find many React Native developers.
Going further, let’s see the pros and cons of React Native application:
Pros and Cons of React Native:
- Build Applications Faster:
- One Framework for Multiple Platforms:
Using React Native, you can reuse the codebase between iOS and Android applications. It provides a single code base for multiple applications and can work seamlessly. Some features will work in npm (node package manager) packages, while others you will need to create from scratch. Additionally, using React Native, you can share your code between React Web applications. Thus, it provides consistency among different platforms and provides users with a better experience.
- Fast Refresh:
This works similar to Hot Reload and provides developers with the perfect solution to fix their bugs, create new features, and more. The best part is developers can make the changes and see the results in seconds.
- Simplified UI:
React Native is used to creating mobile UI. In native app development, you will need to develop a sequence of applications. React Native helps in a new method of app development, i.e., declarative programming in which such an order of implementing actions is an old practice. Hence, it is easy to spot bugs and quickly fix them.
- Large Developer Community:
- Compatibility and Debugging Issues:
Being a top framework for developers can sound absurd, but React Native has an issue with debugging and compatibility issues. Many developers struggle with debugging their applications.
- Lack of Custom Modules:
React Native lacks many components and is still underdeveloped. There are many custom components available, but you will need to make your components from scratch in some cases. While developing custom components, you might end up having three codebases i.e., React Native, Android, and iOS for a component instead of only one. In each of those codebases, there might be differences in behavior of the app.
Which one should you choose:
Both the frameworks are best in their way and serve a purpose, i.e., to ease the development of cross-platform applications. Depending on your apps’ requirements you need to decide which framework you prefer. Consider parameters like users’ requirements, app functionalities, current market trends, discuss with your team members, budget, and more before taking the final decision.
The demand of responsive applications and frameworks has increased the demand of different frameworks. And to fulfill this demand, companies have played a major role in the developer community. Both Flutter and React Native serve a purpose and have matured a lot over the years. If you are still confused and need expert advice, you can reach out to us, and our developers will help you. Depending on your requirements, our experts will help you decide whether Flutter app development is better or a React Native app.
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