Flutter vs React Native is one classic war. Every day, you come across several blog and forum posts comparing the two frameworks. Mobile apps are witnessing massive growth every year. According to Statista, there are over 3.2 billion active mobile devices in the world. Some key mobile stats you should know:

  • Mobile apps are expected to generate $693 billion in revenue in 2021, $808 billion in 2022, and $935 billion in 2023.
  • The Play Store has around 3 million apps and the App Store contains 2 million apps. The number is expected to grow exponentially due to ease in cross-platform development.
  • Mobile apps account for 69% of the digital media time in the US.

flutter vs react native 2021

You can read the more amazing stats at Statista.

With billions of users all around the world, there is a golden opportunity for app developers to bag a big chunk of money in their bank accounts. Though it’s not easy, it’s not impossible too!

Once a developer has decided to develop apps, the next tough choice is to choose which one of the frameworks they are going to use. Or if they will go with native development. In today’s post, we are going to read about two of the most promising and used mobile app development frameworks in the market – Flutter and React Native.

Before we move on to our Flutter and React Native comparison, let us first check what does cross-platform, hybrid apps, and other fancy terms mean?

Native App Development:

Native App development means developing apps in their native languages. For Android, the native languages are Java and Kotlin. For iOS, they are Swift and Objective-C. Native development is still popular and gets the best performance result.

Cross-Platform Development:

Just a few years ago, if you wanted to build an app for both iOS and Android, you would have to hire separate developers. iOS apps are written in Objective-C or Swift while Android apps are written in Java or Kotlin. Therefore, companies used to hire iOS and Android developers separately.

This changed with the arrival of cross-platform frameworks such as Flutter and React Native. With these frameworks, you would have to code once and the app will run on both iOS and Android. No need to develop code for each OS separately. This is called Cross-Platform Development and the apps developed using one of the frameworks are called cross-platform apps.

Hybrid-Apps:

Hybrid Apps are on a lower level than Cross-Platform apps. A hybrid app relies on a built-in web browser that shows the views. Hybrid apps are not popular because of their performance issues. Although basic Hybrid apps are a lot cheaper to develop than Cross-Platform apps but developing complex hybrid apps is never recommended.

Let us start with Flutter first.

Flutter vs React Native in 2021:

Flutter vs React Native development 2021
Image Credits KoderLabs

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a free and open-source development UI kit from Google that lets you create beautiful mobile apps for Android and iOS. This is how Google introduces Flutter:

Flutter SDK is Google’s UI toolkit for crafting beautiful, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase.

Flutter was introduced by Google and since then it has been continuously pushing updates for Flutter. Due to heavy support from Google, Flutter has made its name within a short period and is now giving a tough time to its competitors.

Flutter’s Community:

Google Is not the only pushing Flutter to new heights. It’s the massive Flutter community too! At the time of writing this post, Flutter has 109k stars on GitHub and 70,000 questions asked on Stack Overflow. These stats show the popularity of Flutter and its thriving community.

Popular Apps developed in Flutter:

Google being the owner of Flutter has not only developed its popular apps in Flutter but some big names like Realtor, Tencent, The New York Times, Square, and many others have developed their apps using Flutter. A complete list of apps developed in Flutter can be found here.

Prerequisite for learning Flutter:

You do not have to be an expert at different programming languages to learn Flutter. Flutter uses Dart programming language that Is easy to learn if you have already worked with other OOP languages such as C++, Java, and others.

If you already know the basics of OOP and have coded in other programming languages, then learning Dart would be a piece of cake.

On the other hand, if you don’t know the OOP concepts and this is your first time with a programming language, you might face some difficulties at first. Once you get done with the basics, everything will start making sense.

It is better to learn OOP and other related concepts before starting Flutter development.   

Flutter – Ease of Learn:

The next question that many new developers have is how easy is it to learn and master Flutter? To be honest, mastering a language would take you years. You cannot simply master it within a year or two. However, learning Flutter is easy. As I mentioned above, if you are already programming in other languages then Flutter would be easy for you.

There is no rocket science in learning Flutter.

Maturity:

Flutter is not as old as React Native. It was introduced by Google in 2017 and the first beta version became available in 2018. Since then, Flutter has never looked back. Several billion-dollar companies have developed their apps in Flutter. This shows that the language is mature and can be used without worrying about anything.

Pros and Cons of Flutter:

ProsCons
One codebase. Android and iOS app shares the same code. Reusable code.Less libraries available as compared to React Native.
Perfect to build apps quickly.Lacks in Web Support.
Quick hot reload.Limited TV Support.
Fast Prototyping.

What is React Native?

Like Flutter, React Native is another framework to develop cross-platform apps. React Native was introduced by Facebook in 2015. In the last 5 years, React Native has become the industry’s favorite framework for creating Android and iOS apps.

This is how Facebook introduces React Native:

“A framework for building native apps using React.”

React is a javascript framework that too was introduced by Facebook. With React, you can build amazing web applications. Instead of developing a new programming language from scratch, Facebook used React to create mobile apps – pretty clever.

React Native’s Community:

As of today, there are 92.1k stars on GitHub and 90,000 questions asked on Stack Overflow. Flutter has surpassed React Native in terms of popularity on GitHub while on Stack Overflow, React Native is winning the race.

Popular Apps developed in React Native:

Since React Native is developed by Facebook, one can expect that the social media giant would have used it in their apps and they have. Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Ads Manager are using React Native. Other than these, big giants like Shopify, Coinbase, Skype, and Tesla are too using React Native in their apps.

A complete list of apps that are developed using React Native can be found here.

Prerequisite for learning React Native:

To learn React Native, you need to have a basic understanding of JavaScript. Without the know-how of Javascript, you wouldn’t be able to grasp some of the concepts. Facebook developed React Native by keeping in mind the web developers.

Web Developers are familiar with JavaScript already. To create mobile apps, they would have to learn completely new languages such as Java, Swift, or Objective-C. This would consume a lot of time. Hence, Facebook came up with a solution.

This makes React Native quite popular among web developers as they can start developing android and ios apps without learning a different language.

Ease of Learn – React Native:

React Native is easy to learn. It becomes extremely easy if your JavaScript foundation is good. If not, you will have to become good at JavaScript and then start creating apps with React Native. Nonetheless, getting started with React Native is easy and less time-consuming as compared to Flutter.

Maturity:

React Native came out in 2015. A huge community of open-source lovers, developers, and Facebook is actively maintaining the project. In 2021, one can easily call it a stable language and you can develop your app in React Native without any doubt.

Pros and Cons of React Native:

ProsCons
Easy to build.Lacks smooth navigation.
Excellent Web Support.License renewal issues.
Tons of libraries available.Limitations set by Facebook.

Cross-Platform Development vs Native Development:

I am not going to go into the technical details of Cross-Platform Development vs Native Development. This is totally up to you whichever you want to choose. Businesses are developing apps in both. If you are interested in cross-platform development then go with it. If you are not, then go with native development.

We will look into the technical details of these two in another post. For now, just remember that both kinds of developments are popular and you can start with either of these.

You have to keep in mind your end-goal. Once you know it, it would be easy for you to make the right choice.

What to learn in 2021?

Job prospects look equal for both Flutter and React Native. There is no doubt that Flutter is rising in popularity but React Native is still popular and hasn’t shown a sign of decreasing popularity. For 2021, our project is that Flutter will continue to rise. React Native will still be the most used cross-platform framework.

There are several common questions that a new developer would have. Let’s take a look at some of these questions:

Is Flutter better than React Native?

This is a classic question. Supporters of Flutter and React Native have their arguments. For one, Flutter is better. For others, React Native is. Let me tell you this. Both are good and equally capable of developing Android and iOS apps. If you are good at JavaScript, go with React Native. If you do not want to learn JavaScript then you can start Flutter development.

Will Flutter replace React Native?

For now, it seems difficult for Flutter to replace React Native. This is true that Flutter is growing at a rapid pace. On the other hand, React Native’s popularity hasn’t gone down either. Only time will tell if Flutter will replace React Native or not.

Flutter vs React Native, Easier to Code?

Both Flutter and React Native have the same level of difficulty. Neither Flutter nor React Native is easy to code. You will face some difficulties with both of them.

Which one is fast, Flutter or React Native?

Flutter is much faster than React Native. What React Native does is that it connects the compiled JavaScript with the native components via a bridge. Flutter does not use a bridge or any other medium to connect to native components. This is why Flutter is much faster as compared to React Native.

You can find more FAQs related to Flutter here.

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