Some end-users might assume that developers use native programming languages to build products. In some ways, it makes sense to focus on native development that relies uses the Android software development kit (SDK) with Android Studio or iOS SDK with Xcode, depending on whether you want to make an app for Android or iOS mobile devices.
In reality, most developers want an approach that lets them build cross-platform apps that can only need slight adjustments to work on Android, iOS, and popular web browsers.
Open-source software development frameworks like Flutter and React Native help bridge the gap by giving teams easier ways to build Android apps, iOS apps, and web apps without repeating their work.
Should you choose React Native or Flutter for your app development team ? It’s such an important question that Gartner published a 2022 research paper investigating the answer. Let’s look at Gartner’s insights to learn more about Flutter vs. React Native.
React Native is a cross-platform mobile app development framework released by Facebook (now Meta Platforms, Inc.) through GitHub in 2015. Versions of React Native are available for Windows and MacOS users. The React framework has compatibility with several operating systems, including Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, and tvOS.
Flutter offers similar cross-platform functionality, although Flutter developers can also use it to build applications for Linux and Fuchsia, a Google operating system. Google began making the software development kit sometime around 2015 and released it to the public in 2017.
One of the biggest differences between Flutter and React Native is that Flutter developers need to learn the Dart programming language.
Other reasons we find React Native useful include:
React Native should give users consistent experiences across mobile platforms and most web browsers.
The popularity of React Native means programmers can use third-party libraries to speed up application development times and improve app performance.
A Gartner survey shows that 79% of respondents prefer React Native over Flutter. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider the benefit of Flutter, though. It has a single codebase and plenty of features that make it an excellent tool for developing apps that aren’t platform-specific.
Flutter’s cross-platform framework has a large UI library that includes reusable widgets. Developers don’t need to write new code to fulfill common tasks. The UI library likely has a widget that can fill that need. Customization makes the widget library even more powerful.
Flutter’s hot reload feature lets developers instantly see how their code looks in the native ecosystem. We like it because it encourages people to experiment and try new things. The faster you can test an idea, the more likely you will push the boundaries.
Flutter has some terrific features for cross-platform app development. There are also some cons of Flutter that you should know before choosing it.
Android uses Material Design widgets, while iOS uses Cupertino widgets. If you choose Material widgets, you might not get a native feel in iOS. The same goes for using Cupertino widgets on Android devices. You can potentially find widgets that look nearly identical regardless of the operating system, but it will take time, patience, and testing.
Once someone downloads a Flutter app, they can expect a good user experience. Unfortunately, Flutter apps are often much larger than those designed with React Native. End-users will need to wait longer to download apps. Since the apps take up more space on mobile devices, people will feel more tempted to delete them to make room for other files.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Many developers prefer React Native because they already have the experience that makes mobile and web development relatively easy. On the other hand, Flutter has the potential to offer improved user experiences with faster load speeds.
We advise talking to your development team and clients to make informed decisions that lead to success. You might even decide that you prefer developing for native platforms, especially if you only intend to distribute your product from one place, such as the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Still struggling to decide whether to choose React Native or Flutter for building products that function like native mobile apps? We can help. Contact us to start a conversation that helps you choose between the Flutter framework, React Native framework, or different development tools.