Flutter vs React Native

Summary: This week we’ll be looking at a comparison between two open-source mobile application frameworks, namely React Native and Flutter.

Mobile development is nothing new, you usually use native solutions à la Java/Kotlin (Android) or Objective-C/Swift (iOS). Cross-platform doesn’t have to be like this though, React Native and Flutter will help you with maintaining just one code base! There are other similar cross-platform frameworks available, but today we’ll be focusing on these two only, as I have written and published Apps with both frameworks already.

I have decided to do weekly TL;DR comparisons for software and hardware choices. This week we’ll be looking at a comparison between two open-source mobile application frameworks, namely React Native and Flutter.

Introduction

Mobile development is nothing new, you usually use native solutions à la Java/Kotlin (Android) or Objective-C/Swift (iOS). Cross-platform doesn’t have to be like this though, React Native and Flutter will help you with maintaining just one code base! There are other similar cross-platform frameworks available, but today we’ll be focusing on these two only, as I have written and published Apps with both frameworks already.

Quick Facts

FlutterReact Native
backed byGoogleFacebook
programming languageDartJavaScript
first release20152017

Performance

React Native: JavaScript communication to native code via bridge.

Flutter: Dart code is compiled into a native, ARM library.

Generally Flutter should have the upper hand when it comes to performance.

Native Look and Feel

React Native: Most critical platform components available built-in, tendencies for third-party libraries

Flutter: Many so-called “widgets” are built-in, flutter is currently trying to expand their built-in Cupertino (iOS) widgets as we speak

Third-Party Libraries

React Native: has an advantage when it comes to readily available third-party libraries

Note: libraries from the JavaScript package manager (npm) can be very messy (keyword: dependency gore)

Flutter: the Flutter/Dart ecosystem is still new, the amount of third-party libraries is still growing

Documentation

React Native’s documentation is simply horrible compared to Flutter’s. It exists, but seems half-written with outdated code.

Conclusion

React Native’s ecosystem has been there for years already with tons of third-party libraries supporting it. No doubt though, Flutter is catching up fast.

Flutter is rather new to the scene, but should have a very bright future ahead unless Google decides to do otherwise, which I doubt.

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