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Flutter vs React Native: What’s The Ideal Choice For App Development in 2023?  

    For most businesses developing native apps for each platform tends to be a waste of time. Hence, it’s common for businesses to search for cross-platform mobile applications. And this is when it becomes important to decide whether to choose flutter or React Native for app development.   

    In an age of instant gratification mobile applications is the catalyst for convenience. When you’re deciding on how to build a mobile application for your business, there are several considerations you must focus on, and the right framework is one of them. There are various options when it comes to the right framework.  

    Both frameworks are widely acknowledged for developing robust mobile apps. In this blog, we are about to explore the specific advantages and disadvantages of both these frameworks.  

    What is Flutter?  

    Flutter is acknowledged as an open-source framework by Google for developing beautiful and multi-platform applications from a single codebase. The framework has maintained its rapid growth and has become more popular in the developers’ circles.  

    The framework comes with the ability to create cross-platform applications using a single codebase. It means that there’s no need to develop separate apps for the web, desktop and mobile. With Flutter, you get one single tool that helps develop apps easily.  

    The Pros and Cons of Flutter Framework  

    We have carefully laid down several pros and cons of flutter to help you understand whether it suits the requirements of your specific mobile apps.  

    Pros of Flutter: 

    Hot Reload Equals To Fast Coding  

    From a developer standpoint, Flutter offers more dynamic and faster app development. This is one of the reasons why the framework is appreciated by every top mobile app development company.  

    Developers can easily modify the codebase on-the-fly and watch them immediately reflected in the application. This feature is recognised as a hot reload and it essentially takes milliseconds for changes to show.  

    The feature helps teams incorporate features, fix bugs and experiment with new ideas. Additionally, hot reload is quite handy when it comes to collaboration between the designers and developers.  

    Single Codebase For Two Separate Mobile Platforms  

    Flutter enables developers to write just one codebase for two applications covering both iOS and Android platforms. Flutter is platform-agnostic as it comes with its own widgets and designs. This indicates you can have the exact same app on two platforms (if you want two different apps for each platform, that is also easily achievable).  

    User-friendly and Intuitive Designs  

    Flutter doesn’t rely on native system components. Rather, flutter has its own set of custom widgets, managed and rendered by the framework’s graphics engine. Users will notice different user interface components from typical native apps, but that isn’t necessarily a disadvantage.  

    Flutter apps consist of a particularly user-friendly UI which is a crucial advantage for Flutter over React Native. This comes from super-attentiveness to the visual details. Flutter allows developers to create their own widgets or simply customise an existing widget.  

    Faster Applications  

    Flutter apps run smoothly and fast without ever hanging while scrolling. The reason for this is Flutter uses the Skia Graphics Library. Owing to this, the UI is to be redrawn each time a view changes. 

    Most of the work is done on GPU (graphics processing unit), that’s why Flutter UI is smooth and delivers 60fps. However, it’s important to be careful during the development process to not cause redrawing of those elements of the view whose data hasn’t changed.  

    Redrawing the whole view instead of just those elements that change, can impact the overall speed and performance of the application. This is specifically if you need to reload the view often, in a stopwatch application.  

    Cons of Flutter:  

    Large File Size of Apps  

    A crucial aspect that’s difficult to ignore for Flutter apps is the large file size of apps. Having sufficient memory space is a necessity for every mobile users. As most older smartphone devices can’t store additional apps, you may have to choose between an app, pictures or other files.  

    Having a small file size ensures better runtime and performance, which is one of the drawbacks of apps built with Flutter.  

    No Third-party Libraries  

    Third-party libraries significantly impact software by allowing developers more features that are essentially free, open-source, and pre-tested.  

    Since Flutter is relatively new in the mobile app development market, it’s still improving and thus provides limited options for third-party libraries and packages.  

    Skill Requirements  

    Even though Flutter is easy to work with, it still requires developers to learn the Dart programming language first. This makes way for an additional layer of learning, and hence increases the time and expenses of any project.  

    What is React Native?  

    React Native is another cross-platform app development framework which is created by Facebook (now Meta). React Native uses JavaScript to build efficient mobile apps for both Android and iOS. Similar to Flutter, it also allows for developing an app using one single codebase.  

    React Native boasts a huge community which makes it the most popular cross-platform development tool.  

    React Native uses react-native CLI to automate many of the common tasks of developing mobile platforms. This includes developing building modules and packaging them into an APK.  

    The Pros and Cons of React Native Framework

    Pros of React Native:  

    Mentioned below are some of the prominent pros and cons that React Native has as a framework. We’ve discussed a few of them at length.

    Fast Refresh Equals To Fast Coding  

    This essentially has the same feature as Flutter.  

    Hot reload quickens the development process by enabling the developer to infuse new code directly into a running app. Hence, a developer can see changes instantly, without rebuilding the app.  

    Hot reload also retains the app’s state, avoiding the risk of losing it during a full reload (a critical benefit in the context of state-based frameworks) speeding up the mobile app development process even further.  

    To enhance the developer experience with hot reloading, the React Native team has incorporated in the 0.61 version a new feature known as fast refresh that brings live and hot reloading together. This version is more resilient to typos and mistakes compared to the previous one.  

    Provides the Freedom of Choice For Developers  

    React Native allows developers to build cross-platform apps. The advantage is that the framework allows developers to decide what solutions they want to utilise. The solutions could be based on the project’s requirements as much as the developer’s preferences.  

    If a developer needs to decide how to store and manage data that’s required in many components in the app, they can choose whether they’d prefer to use a custom UI library or write their own.  

    An Active and Vast Community of Developers  

    React Native comes with a massive developer community. In fact, there are countless tutorials, UI frameworks, and libraries that make it easy to learn the technology and easy to develop with it too.  

    If there’s a comparison between different framework repositories in gathering materials, tools and articles then React Native is much better than Flutter or Xamarin.  

    More Matured Framework 

    The official release of React Native was 7 years ago, so the Facebook team have had sufficient time to stabilise the API and focus on fixing issues and solving problems.  

    Now, they’re working on several exciting improvements- such as minimising app size.  

    Cons of React Native:   

    It Isn’t Truly Native  

    Like most cross-platform solutions, neither the UI experience nor performance will be the same as in native apps, even though it’ll be close to them.  

    Even then, it’s easier to achieve a native-like quality with React Native than with Flutter. If you want your Flutter app to possess native qualities, it’ll still require additional work.  

    Rather Fragile User Interface  

    The fact that React Native utilises native components should convey to you that after every operating system UI update, your app components will be instantly upgraded, as well. That said, this can break the app’s UI but it happens rather rarely.  

    What’s worse is updates can become even more dangerous if they cause certain changes in the Native Components API.  

    Plenty of Abandoned Packages 

    React Native consists of an enormous number of libraries. Unfortunately, many of them are of low quality or have been abandoned altogether. It’s advised to check the number of issues in a repository to prevent using abandoned packages.  

    App Sizes Are Bigger Than Native Ones  

    Applications written in React Native should run JavaScript code. Now, Android doesn’t come with this functionality by default which means applications need to include a library that supports JavaScript code. This leads to apps that are bigger than their Android counterparts.  

    iOS apps created with React Native don’t have such issues, but they are still usually bigger than native ones. However, React Native team is working to reduce the size of the apps.  

    Major Differences Between Flutter and React Native  

    Both React Native and Flutter are excellent frameworks for developing cross-platform applications, and they have a lot in common. There are various factors are common to most businesses across the world. These factors would provide a clear picture to you to make more informed decisions.  

    Performance On Mobile Devices  

    Source code execution in React Native requires bridging from JavaScript code to the device’s native environment allowing communication and data exchange. The bridge interprets the JS code into the native programming language. However, this bridge is an additional agent in this chain that require more time and resource allocation.  

    However, Flutter compiles to x86 libraries without other layers. As a result, executing the code takes up fewer resources and time. Moreover, Flutter also comes with a C++graphic rendering engine, animations are smoother in this cross-platform solution.  

    Design and Graphics  

    Though React Native and Flutter comprise excellent graphic features, they follow different methods of drawing user interfaces. React Native inherits native visual appearance and elements that present a personalised experience. Even during OS updates, the app elements will also update respectively to maintain the feel and resemblance to other native apps.   

    The app will look like Flutter, irrespective of the OS version and device model. Navigation and other elements remain unaltered unless intentionally upgraded.  

    Time To Market  

    One of the essential aspects of choosing the best option among the two is time-to-market. Since both React Native and Flutter are cross-platform frameworks, it allows code reuse instead of coding separate independent apps.  

    Now, React Native is older than the two and already comes with a larger community that presents massive ready-to-use packages and libraries. Flutter is younger than React Native but has unwavering support from Google Engineers. The only downside for React Native, in this case, is that it requires connecting to third-party libraries for more features.  

    Wrapping It Up,  

    At a time when businesses are aiming for developing mobile apps to fulfil their specific business requirements, choosing the right frameworks is one of the first steps. From this comparison between Flutter and React Native, we can find both similarities and differences between the frameworks. All in all, either of the two would be an ideal choice for developing excellent yet cost-effective mobile apps.