Cross-platform app development is gaining popularity. Why? You can get an app running on several platforms with just one code. The two most popular cross-platform mobile app development frameworks available in the market are Flutter and React Native. Let’s first understand app development basics and then move towards answering the final question: Flutter or React native: which platform to choose for app development in 2021.
What is Cross-Platform App Development?
Cross-platform mobile app development refers to the development process where the app developers can build mobile apps on several operating systems with one code. The code is compatible with several operating systems such as iOS, Android, and Windows, depending upon the expanse of framework support. This process is also known as hybrid mobile app development and has acquired popularity majorly for small and medium-sized businesses.
Reasons to Choose Cross-Platform App development?
In the many available advantages, some of the best advantages include shorter development time, being able to reach a huge audience, and easier implementation and updates. For small businesses, cross-platform app development proves to be advantageous by reaching their customers on every leading operating system in less time and being within budget.
What is React Native? – An Overview
What is Flutter? – An Overview
Just like React Native, Flutter is an open-source mobile SDK too. Released in May 2017, the Flutter framework was created by Google with a collection of reusable UI elements having the ability to be personalized based on the needs. Flutter uses Dart as its programming language. Dart is an easy-to-learn programming language for all people having little knowledge of programming. Some of the best apps that are developed on Flutter include Google Ads, Xianyu by Alibaba, SpaceX Go! and Hamilton. The use of widgets is the primary scheme of app development with this software development kit.
Primary Question: Flutter or React Native?
Flutter and Reach Native are both popular frameworks for cross-platform app development. Both these frameworks are in use by many Fortune 500 companies as well. But will there be a clear winner at last?
Comparison 1: Performance
Therefore, Flutter gains 1 point for better performance.
Comparison 2: Architecture
Flutter gets an advantage of 1 point for architecture, summing up to a total of 2 points.
Comparison 3: Installation and Initial Configuration
App developers look forward to an easy and straightforward installation method. Too many complex steps make the process difficult for new learners and sometimes even veterans. The Node Package Manager (NPM) can be used to install React Native Framework. Learning about Node Package Manager is necessary for the app developers to install. Understanding the location of binary and having HomeBrew (in macOS) is required for the completion of a successful React Native installation process. For Flutter, Github can be used to download the binary of a specific platform for the installation. For macOS, the Flutter zip file needs to be downloaded and then the PATH variable can be added. Overall, the Flutter installation process is cumbersome and can be made easy with the use of package managers like Homebrew, MacPorts, YUM, and APT.
This point goes to React Native opening its account with 1 point, keeping Flutter at 2 points.
Comparison 4: Developer Productivity
Fast App development is enabled by developer productivity. The reusability of React Native code is high across all the available platforms. Moreover, the devs community has created a lot of libraries to help in accelerating the development process. Any text editor or IDE can be used by the app developers for React Native IDE support. Fast app compilation is offered by Flutter. Although, Flutter apps can become a little challenging when complexity grows. Since Dart is a comparatively new language, many IDEs and text editors are found to lack support.
This point goes to React Native, creating a tie between both the frameworks with 2 points.
Comparison 5: CI/CD Support
Getting continuous feedback can be achieved by Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery practices. To deliver a bug-free app, continuous feedback is necessary. Unfortunately, React Native does not have any official documentation to set up CI/CD. For Google Play Store, manual deployment is documented whereas for the Apple App Store no relevant documentation can be found. With the Flutter framework, setting up CI/CD is easy by using Command Line Interface. Development and deployment are easy for both iOS and Android apps with the use of a rich, well-documented guide available with Flutter.
Flutter here earns one point, with a total of 3 points, and React Native remains at 2.
When we discuss performance, architecture, installation and initial configuration, developer productivity, and CI/CD support, Flutter emerges as a winner with a close match. However, this does not mean Flutter takes over React Native in all cases. If your app development requires calculation efficiency or a universal code for iOS, Android, and Web, you must choose React Native. Predicting the future can be difficult, but for now, let’s all hail for Flutter.