Currently, the ecosystem of multiplatform mobile application programming is focused on React Native, but lately there has been a competitor that is not negligible and is giving much talk, it is Flutter, the Google SDK to develop cross-platform mobile applications and that it allows developers to create applications for iOS and Android, using a single code base.

In this article I will try to explain the main differences between React Native and Flutter so you can decide which of the two worlds you prefer.

What is flutter?

Before I begin, I would like to explain what Flutter is for those who still do not know it. Flutter. Flutter is a development SDK for cross-platform mobile applications that includes a framework, widgets and all the tools needed to create mobile applications.

Flutter is open source and completely free and is based on the Dart programming language created by Google. It also has features that increase our productivity such as Hot Reload, an extensive library of components and excellent documentation.

Programming language

React Native uses JavaScript and JSX syntax to build views and application logic. This is an advantage if we come from the world of web programming since JavaScript is a widely used and used language. We can also maintain a common code base between our frontend, backend and mobile developments.

For its part, Flutter makes use of the Dart programming language, a language created and supported by Google. A priori, this may seem inconvenient for the learning curve, but the truth is that Dart is a fairly simple language to learn and with some similarities with JavaScript that can make the learning curve not so pronounced. In addition, Google has made sure that a lot of documentation about Dart is available and of very good quality.
Crea apps para móviles facilmente con Flutter

Productivity

When programming, the user experience as a programmer is important. That is why it is important that an available platform of the necessary tools and features to maximize our productivity.

Regarding the possibility of updating the application in real time (Hot Reload), both Flutter and React Native support this feature that allows us to see in real time the changes we make in the code applied to the running application.

As for the code structure, Flutter does not separate templates from styles and data, while React Native does. In this aspect we can consider that React Native is more flexible, although Flutter allows us a faster development.

Both Flutter and React Native support several IDEs, although Flutter is more limited in that regard, limited to IntelliJ IDEA, Android Studio and VS Code. In any case, these tools integrate fantastically with Flutter, assuming a great help when programming fluidly and quickly.

With regard to installation and configuration, Flutter makes it very easy, with a simple installation and a tool called Doctor, to detect that everything is configured and functioning correctly. For its part, the React Native ecosystem provides us with tools such as Expo or Create React Native App, which allows us to create the necessary structure to start a project, as well as the tools to work with it.

Finally, it is also important to know how many specific APIs for the hardware of our devices each environment has. In that aspect React Native has a very dynamic ecosystem with many solutions. In Flutter every day there are more resources available. In addition with the support of Google, new resources appear every day that make the difference with the React Native ecosystem smaller every day.

Documentation

We all know the importance of documentation when we use a language, framework or development ecosystem. and in this aspect Flutter is much superior. The quality of Flutter documentation is indisputable and Google’s effort to publicize and facilitate the implementation of Flutter is noted.

For its part, the documentation of React Native is a bit more scarce and incomplete, at least the official one. Of course, being a widespread technology among the developer community, it will be easier to find unofficial documentation in forums, articles, etc. than with Flutter.

Components

Given that the development in both Flutter and React Native is based on components (or widgets), it is important to know what libraries we have in each environment.

React Native has a large number of UI libraries provided by the community. For its part, Flutter offers a magnificent collection of its own UI components divided into three categories: Material widgets, Cupertino widgets and independent widgets.

Crea apps para móviles facilmente con Flutter

Performance

One of the most important aspects of choosing a cross-platform mobile development framework is without a doubt the performance.

React Native uses a JavaScript bridge to interact with the native elements, while Flutter compiles faster, thanks to the use of Dart that compiles using POO and C / C ++ libraries, normally achieving 60fps in animations.

 

Conclusions

This concludes the quick review of the main differences between Flutter and React Native for the development of hybrid applications.

We have seen that, although React Native has been on the market for a longer time and enjoys great popularity, Flutter is entering hard and can challenge him for the throne in no time. Google’s support, performance and documentation quality make Flutter have a very promising future ahead.

For its part React Native remains for now as the most popular and robust platform for the development of hybrid mobile applications, with a large support community and a variety of available resources.

It will be interesting to see where this competition is going, in the meantime don’t miss my next articles on Flutter!

And remember that if you need a mobile application for your company or to develop your great idea, do not hesitate to contact me today.