Flutter vs React Native: The Definitive Performance Guide

flutter vs react native performance

Flutter vs React Native, the debate rages on, since both offer some of the best options for cross platform mobile development.

Creating a cross-platform or hybrid app offers a ton of opportunities, including being cheaper to develop than native apps and providing the ability to work across multiple platforms. The framework enables developers to write a single codebase and deploy it across multiple platforms, sharing the maximum code and thus, reducing as much time and money as possible.

Flutter was introduced in May 2017 at the Google I/O Developer Conference while React Native has been around since February 2015 when it was announced at Facebook’s React.js conference.

React Native is an open source framework released on GitHub that paved the way for uniting both iOS and Android platform’s native APIs. However, Google’s Flutter has been a revolutionary move, which allows you to create Android and iOS highly responsive native apps at the same time. These two frameworks may be recent additions to the cross platform app development space, but they’re drawing the attention of companies, such as Alibaba, Uber, Walmart and Instagram.

When it comes to designing and developing your own app, understanding which platform is right for you isn’t always an easy task. You need to consider a myriad of factors, ranging from performance to interface, from development to support and testing before making that choice and we are here to aid you in making that decision.

If you’re trying to decide whether you should opt for using Flutter vs React Native, then it’s important to know what to look for in each platform and see if it aligns with your business goals.

Here’s a definitive guide to help you along the way between Flutter vs React Native.

Flutter vs React Native: Examine User Interface

The user interface of the platform you choose can make it simple for developing your hybrid app.

Flutter makes use of its proprietary visual, structural, platform, and interactive widgets. These widgets are built-in UI components that replace native components. The UI is flexible thanks to its layered architecture, which makes it easy to render graphics quickly and customize the widgets.

React Native on the other hand is based more on the native components both for Android and iOS.

It offers an extensive selection of external UI kits that surpasses Flutter, such as React Native Material Kit, React Native Elements and NativeBase. It also supports iOS-style components. This makes it simple to choose the UI kit that helps you create powerful user interfaces for your app.

Flutter vs React Native Verdict: React Native offers a better User Experience when a user taps into the Operating System and is the winner in case of User Interface design.

Consider Programming Languages

Flutter works on a completely different programming language called Dart, While React Native lets you build mobile apps using only JavaScript. While on one hand JavaScript has become widely accepted and adopted after years of use, Dart is extremely easy to write codes in and thus come with a low learning curve.

So it all comes down to personal preference. If you are well versed in developing using Javascript, then React Native is an ideal selection for creating your hybrid app.

According to Stack Overflow’s 2018 Developer Survey report, Javascript is the top programming language used by developers with approximately 71.5 percent of the professional developers who participated in the survey reporting having used Javascript.

On the other hand, the Dart programming language is not as widely used outside of Google. Dart has been designed in such a manner that  it makes compiling of native code faster and it is simpler to customize widgets. Though the adoption rate of Dart in the industry is not very high, the subset of the developer community that has been working it has all good things to say about Flutter.

Flutter vs React Native Verdict: React Native is the winner keeping programming languages in mind as JavaScript exceeds Dart both in terms of popularity and adoption rates.

Appraise Code Structure

When it comes to coding structure, it’s crucial to consider frameworks that offer the type you need. Flutter leaves out the need for the separation of templates, style or data. Instead, it enables developers to code everything from one central location and provides access to all the tools you need.

Flutter vs React Native Verdict: Flutter wins owing to its well thought out and simplified code structure.

Evaluate Performance

When it comes to performance, Flutter takes the crown as it is much faster than React Native.

There is no JavaScript bridge for initiating interactions with the device native components, the speed of development and running time gets expedited drastically with Flutter. Connecting to native components is streamlined compared to React Native.

React leverages Javascript to connect to native components via a bridge. Flutter streamlines this process by avoiding the need for a bridge to interact with native components. This makes it fast to create apps that appear native.

For instance, you can reach animation runtime speeds of 60 frames per second when using Flutter. It’s also useful for supporting reusing existing code. However, you can easily share code when using React Native, whether you’re developing for an iOS or Android platform as well as use the vast libraries that can help you run animations at 60 frames per second.

The use of React Native for hybrid applications makes it a little complicated for developers to run the architect, the native components and the library without problems. Flutter, on the other hand, makes it easy for developers to reuse existing code. The C ++ engine also supports the language, and that gives you reward points.

Since Flutter is compiled into the native ARM code for both Android and iOS, performance is the one issue that it would never face.

Flutter vs React Native Verdict: Flutter is the clear winner in case of app performance because of greater speed especially in case of hybrid apps.

Contemplate Development Time

The bunch of mobile app development companies that have emerged these days have demonstrated their excellence in the timely delivery of projects and React Native has remained one of the best partners for all these companies. This framework reduces the time frame for mobile app development, adds more to the user interface and takes less time to develop projects.

In the comparison of react native vs flutter, Flutter is new and requires considerable time to develop projects and if we talk about this framework in this particular aspect. React Native has ready-to-use components that help accelerate the landscape of mobile application development without creating much problems for app developers. Flutter also promises high-quality usability, but the framework for application development needs to get more recognition over react native.

Flutter vs React Native Verdict: React native is the winner with lesser development time among the two.

Assess API Capabilities

If you require native interfaces for NFC payments, Wi-Fi and biometrics, then React Native is the framework for the job. You’ll find application programming interfaces (APIs) to support geolocation, Bluetooth and other features. However, don’t count on React Native for customizing your graphics since it lacks this type of drawing tool.

Thanks to Dart, Flutter is easy to use with a variety of APIs. However, the platform is still recent and undergoing development. The release of APIs beyond the ones that support NFC payments and Bluetooth may take some time as Flutter stabilizes.

Flutter vs React Native Verdict: Flutter is the winner in terms of API capabilities as it offers more customisation.

Consider Documentation

React Native offers general documentation you can use. But the framework also depends on external dev kits extensively. On the other hand, Flutter provides documentation that is easy to read thanks to its format and detailed content.

Flutter offers a regimented and efficiently smooth documentation, which indeed simplifies the job of the app developers. So, undoubtedly, it proves better than React Native in documentation.On the contrary, the documentation of React Native is somewhat disorganized and clumsy.

Flutter’s community is not as strong as the one for React Native. But support provided by the Flutter Team at Google is really good. Their documentation is thorough enough to help you and they address the questions posted within a reasonable time frame which help to get started with flutter with app development using Flutter.

Flutter vs React Native Verdict: Flutter is the clear winner as it offers seamless documentation process.

Think About Support

From integrated development environment (IDE) support to community support, it’s critical to consider whether or not the cross-platform app framework you choose has what you need.

Also, you can find support for almost every IDE when you use Reactive Native. However, this isn’t the case for Flutter since the framework is new. IDE support is currently limited to VS Code, IntelliJ IDEA and Android Studio.

React Native released as open source on GitHub in 2015 and is the most popular framework on Stack Overflow it is backed by a huge community with 68k stars on GitHub, 14.5k user subreddit, ~9000 user Discord chat and strong support on Stack Overflow that’s why it has more third party libraries/plugins than Flutter.

Flutter is still making its place in the industry. Last year, Google announced Flutter beta 2 followed by beta 4 in May 2018, which offer impressive beta tools for developers. React Native enjoys the support of a large community and is quite stable since its launch.

Flutter vs React Native Verdict: React native wins this round as it’s been around for a longer time and has considerably more support.

Analyse Hot Reload

The idea behind hot reloading is to keep the app running and to inject new versions of the files that you edited at runtime. This way, you don’t lose any of your state which is especially useful if you are tweaking the UI. Both Flutter and React Native support hot reloading which is blazing fast compared to how true native apps recompile in Android Studio and XCode. If your app encounters an error, you can typically fix the error and then continue on as if the error never happened.

You can make a change to a Flutter app while it is running, and it will reload the app’s code that has changed and let it continue from where you left off. Although React Native has Hot Reload, it is not as fast as Flutter.

Flutter vs React Native Verdict: Flutter is the  winner because of faster hot reloading than React Native.

Client Use and Industry Adoption

If the ability to support a wide set of clients is important, then you may want to consider building your cross-platform mobile app on React Native. React Native has been in play since 2015 whereas Flutter wasn’t available until 2017. So, React Native has had some time for developers and companies to experiment and get accustomed to the platform. Large enterprises, such as Walmart, Tesla, Skype, Uber and Instagram.

Flutter on the other hand, boasts of several enterprises such as  Alibaba, AppTree and Tencent as its clients.

Flutter vs React Native Verdict: React native is the clear winner as it is better established with numerous Fortune 500 companies as its clients.

Conclusion

React Native is an already established platform with support from a huge community support. Flutter needs time to reach that level of stability and the platform is still undergoing development but it no doubt has an impressive future and can be used to create great apps.

React Native and Flutter both have their own set of pros and cons and at the end of the day it comes down to what factors are most important to you while designing and developing the app and the resources you possess.

Vinati Kamani
 

Vinati is a content writer at Arkenea, a custom software development company helping businesses and entrepreneurs build custom web and mobile apps.