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  • Writer's pictureLeanware Editorial Team

Flutter vs React Native: A Comparison Chart for Your 2024 Projects

Updated: Feb 27

Choosing the right framework for building an application is tricky. When making your decision, it’s important to consider the functionalities you’re looking for, the most popular frameworks on the market, and who you hire to get your project done. 



In the world of app development, Google and Facebook reign supreme with their popular creations, Flutter and React Native. Each stands out as two leading contenders with their own unique strengths and community backing. As a development company, we work extensively with both frameworks, and we’re ready to break them down for your side-by-side comparison.


After reading this article, you’ll understand what makes Flutter and React Native so popular for both web and mobile development, and we’ll guide you to finding the right developers for the job. Ready to get your 2024 projects underway? Let’s roll up our sleeves and take a closer look at these two powerful frameworks.


What Are Flutter and React Native?

Before we can compare the frameworks of Flutter and React Native, we’ll start with some basic definitions:




What is Flutter?

Flutter is a Google-developed open-source UI software development kit. It enables the creation of applications for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows, Google Fuchsia, and web platforms using a unified codebase.



Who Uses Flutter?

Flutter is favored by developers and companies looking for a highly customizable, fast UI design that functions smoothly across multiple platforms. Notable apps built with Flutter include Google Ads, Alibaba, and Reflectly.




What is React Native?

React Native, introduced by Facebook, is an open-source framework that allows developers to build natively rendered mobile apps for iOS and Android using JavaScript and React.


Who Uses React Native?

React Native is popular among developers who prefer a JavaScript framework that enables fast iteration without compromising the end-user's experience. Companies like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Skype use React Native for their mobile apps.


Similarities

Both Flutter and React Native:

  • Support cross-platform development, enabling developers to write code once and then deploy that code on both iOS and Android platforms.

  • Have large, active communities, providing a wealth of resources, libraries, and frameworks to facilitate development.

  • Offer hot reload features for real-time updates during development, significantly improving developer productivity by allowing immediate feedback on changes.

  • Are backed by major technology companies, with Flutter supported by Google and React Native by Facebook, ensuring ongoing development and support.

  • Provide extensive libraries and plugins for integrating with a broad range of third-party services and APIs, enhancing the functionality and versatility of applications.


Differences

Flutter:

  • Uses the Dart programming language, which is optimized for UI development and offers a smooth learning curve for developers familiar with object-oriented languages.

  • Offers a more widget-based approach, enabling highly customizable and expressive UIs that can be tailored to match the brand’s visual identity closely.

  • Comes with a valuable set of pre-designed widgets that follow Material Design and Cupertino design languages for more visually appealing apps.

  • Emphasizes performance by compiling native code, which can lead to faster app startup times and smoother animations.


React Native:

  • Uses the coding language JavaScript, which allows for shared code with web applications, significantly reducing development time.

  • Offers a native-like user experience through bridge and native modules, allowing developers to write parts of the app using native code for optimal performance.

  • Facilitates integration with existing mobile applications, enabling developers to gradually adopt React Native for parts of their apps without a complete rewrite.

  • Supports live and hot reloading, where live reloading refreshes the entire app upon any file change, and hot reloading updates only the modified UI components, streamlining the development process by enabling instant feedback.


Flutter vs. React Native: Side-by-Side

Now that we know what each framework does. Let’s take a look at Flutter and React Native’s specific features side-by-side.


According to the latest Stack Overflow Developer Survey conducted in 2023, we observe significant insights into the popularity and desirability of Flutter and React Native among software engineers worldwide. The survey involved over 90,000 developers, providing us with valuable data points to analyze the trends within our comparison chart.


  • Current Popularity: In terms of actual usage, Flutter has garnered a 9.12% share while React Native holds 8.43%. This indicates that Flutter is slightly more popular than its competitor at this time.

  • Future Desire: When asked which framework they would like to work with next, Flutter leads with 14.04% compared to React Native's 11.81%. These figures suggest that there may be a growing interest in adopting Flutter as a preferred choice for new development projects.

  • Community Admiration: Both Flutter and React Native have strong communities, but Flutter stands out with a higher percentage of admirers at 64.43% versus React Native's 54.00%. This demonstrates that Flutter enjoys greater support and recognition among developers.


Performance

  • Flutter: Excels in animation complexity and startup times thanks to its ability to compile directly to native code, generally offering superior performance benchmarks.

  • React Native: Might necessitate extra optimization efforts to achieve high performance, as it bridges JavaScript code with native components.


Development

  • Flutter: Offers a widget-based approach, providing extensive customization capabilities. This approach, however, might lead to more verbose code for basic functionalities.

  • React Native: Leverages native components for development, facilitating smoother integration with mobile platforms and potentially reducing the amount of code needed for common tasks.


Design

  • Flutter: Uses a comprehensive widget library that simplifies the creation of dynamic, complex UIs without the need for native code, giving designers more freedom in UI/UX design.

  • React Native: Supports customizable UI designs as well, but achieving highly dynamic and complex UIs might occasionally require additional native code or third-party libraries.


Coding

  • Flutter: Uses the Dart programming language, which could present a learning challenge for those not already familiar with it.

  • React Native: Uses JavaScript, a language with widespread familiarity among developers, making it a smoother transition for those with web development backgrounds.


Hardware Interaction

  • Flutter: Offers a robust set of plugins for hardware interaction, though intricate hardware functionalities might require more effort to implement.

  • React Native: Depends on third-party libraries for hardware interactions, which can lead to variability in library quality and stability.


Native Performance

  • Flutter: Uses custom widgets for UI and efficient rendering process that help maintain high-performance levels, closely mimicking native behavior.

  • React Native: Benefits from direct use of native components, potentially providing better performance and a more native feel for specific functionalities.


Features for Businesses

  • Flutter and React Native: Both Flutter and React Native are viable for business applications, with the choice hinging on specific needs such as animation complexity, UI design requirements, or development speed.


Community Support

  • Flutter: Has a rapidly growing community and a substantial amount of resources thanks to Google’s backing.

  • React Native: Boasts a larger ecosystem of libraries and tools thanks to its longer presence in the market, supported by Facebook.


Costs

  • Flutter and React Native: Both frameworks offer cost advantages over traditional native development. The overall cost will vary based on app complexity and available development resources.


Future Outlook

  • Flutter: Supported by Google, Flutter continues to grow with a focus on enhancing performance, developer experience, and expanding platform support.

  • React Native: With Facebook's backing, React Native is also evolving, aiming at improvements in performance, developer satisfaction, and coverage of different platforms.


Flutter vs React Native: A Quick View

Here’s a quick view of the side-by-side information provided above:


Aspect

Flutter

React Native

Performance

Excels in animation and startup times due to direct native code compilation

May need extra optimization for similar performance levels

Development

Widget-based approach offers extensive customization but can be verbose for basic tasks

Uses native components for easier integration and potentially less code for common tasks

Design

Extensive widget library simplifies creation of complex UIs without native code

Supports customizable UIs but complex designs might require more effort

Coding

Uses Dart, potentially a steeper learning curve

Uses widely known JavaScript, easing the transition for web developers

Hardware Interaction

Rich set of plugins available, though complex interactions may need more work

Relies on third-party libraries, so quality and stability can vary

Native Performance

Custom widgets and efficient rendering closely mimic native performance

Direct use of native components offers potentially better native feature performance

Functions for Businesses

Suitable for business apps, choice depends on specific project needs

Also suitable, with choice depending on project requirements like animation complexity

Community Support

Rapidly growing community and resources due to Google’s backing

Larger ecosystem of libraries and tools, supported by Facebook

Costs

Cost advantages over native development; varies by app complexity and resources

Similar cost benefits; overall costs depend on app complexity and development resources

Future Outlook

Continues to evolve with Google’s support, focusing on performance and platform coverage

Also evolving with Facebook's support, aiming at improvements in developer experience

Pros and Cons: A Detailed Analysis for Decision Makers

Still not sure how to determine the best and worst aspects of Flutter and React Native? Here are some pros and cons to better distinguish the two:


Flutter

Pros:

  • Unified Codebase for All Platforms: Flutter allows developers to write a single codebase to create apps for iOS, Android, web, and desktop, significantly reducing development time and effort.

  • High Performance for Complex UIs: Due to its direct compilation of native code and its own rendering engine, Flutter ensures smooth and fast performance even for complex user interfaces.

  • Extensive Widget Library: Flutter offers a wide range of customizable widgets that adhere to Material Design and Cupertino design standards, enabling the creation of beautiful and responsive UIs with ease.

  • Hot Reload: Flutter facilitates a rapid development cycle by allowing developers to see the impact of their changes in real-time without restarting the app.

  • Strong Community Support: Backed by Google, Flutter has a fast-growing community and a vast selection of resources, tutorials, and tools available.

Cons:

  • Lesser-Known Dart Language: Flutter requires learning Dart, which is less commonly used than other programming languages, potentially posing a learning curve for new developers.

  • Larger App Size: The apps produced with Flutter tend to have a larger file size compared to those built with native development tools, which could be a concern for storage-sensitive applications.

  • Limited Third-Party Libraries: While growing, Flutter’s ecosystem of third-party libraries and tools is not as extensive as that of more established platforms, potentially requiring more custom development.


React Native

Pros:

  • Uses JavaScript: Leverages JavaScript, one of the most popular programming languages, making it easily accessible to a vast number of web developers and facilitating the sharing of code between web and mobile platforms.

  • Strong Integration with Native Features: React Native allows for the use of native code when necessary, ensuring that apps can fully access and utilize the device's capabilities and features.

  • Large Ecosystem of Libraries: React native benefits from the extensive ecosystem of JavaScript and React libraries, making it easier to add complex functionalities to apps without starting from scratch.

  • Community and Corporate Support: Supported by Facebook and a large community, React Native enjoys robust development, regular updates, and a plethora of learning resources.

  • Live and Hot Reloading: React Native supports live and hot reloading, which enhances developer productivity by allowing instant feedback on changes without fully restarting the app.

Cons:

  • Performance Can Be Inconsistent: While generally performant, React Native apps may experience slower performance compared to native apps, especially in graphics-intensive applications or those requiring complex animations.

  • Dependency on Third-Party Libraries for Advanced Features: React Native often relies on third-party libraries for more sophisticated functionality, which can introduce compatibility issues or instability if these libraries are not well-maintained.

  • Navigation Complexity: Implementing navigation that feels truly native can be more challenging in React Native compared to native development, requiring additional effort to achieve the desired user experience.


Make an Informed Choice for Your 2024 Projects

The future of both Flutter and React Native looks promising, and there are ongoing enhancements and growing communities for each. Your choice should be based on specific project needs, existing developer skills, and your ideal app performance.


Partnering with Leanware gives you access to a team of expert developers for both frameworks and a consultation process that helps you make the most informed decisions for your 2024 projects. Contact us to learn more about what Leanware’s team has to offer for your development needs.



FAQs: Flutter vs React Native

How Much Does Flutter Development Cost?

How Much Does React Native Development Cost?

Which is More Cost-Effective: Flutter or React Native?

What Are the Main Differences Between Flutter and React Native?

How Do Flutter and React Native Compare in Terms of Performance?

How Does the Developer Experience Differ Between Flutter and React Native?

What Are the Pros and Cons of Flutter vs React Native for Cross-Platform Development?

How Do Flutter and React Native Handle UI Rendering and Design?

Which Framework Has a Larger Community and Ecosystem: Flutter or React Native?





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