React Native vs. Flutter: What to Pick for Your Next Project?

Article by:
Denis Kastsiukevich
3 min
In the previous article, we discussed the rivalry between React Native and Flutter for cross-platform development and compared them on a set of parameters. This time, we will focus on the practical side of things.

Flutter vs React Native: When to Apply Each

As experienced mobile developers, we know how crucial it is to choose the proper technology from the project's outset. And we want to share our experience to help you out.

Although both frameworks are used in cross-platform mobile app development, Flutter and React Native shine in different projects and tasks. We compared them in another article: 'React Native vs. Flutter: What Is The Most Popular Framework for Mobile Apps?'. Now let's outline where each of them acts best.

MVP or Application for a Startup

When you decide to build an MVP, both the toolkits can be used relatively safely. However, if you already have an application written on React, it is better to start with React Native since some part of the code can be reused.

If you go for an MVP with Flutter as a technology stack, it is optimal to have some native development background. Flutter saves a lot of developer time while it is possible to evolve into production-ready product without conceptual re-factoring. This framework is good for small projects created from scratch. It has the UI components out of the box (not 3rd party ones). For example, the "Hello world"/"TODO" app can be made in 15 minutes.

Large-Scale Projects

React Native can be an option for this purpose. But its architecture is tightly coupled to near-React technologies. Some features like real-time data tracking can become extremely resource-intensive (both the resources  of end devices and resources of the development team).

There's a huge possibility to finish up with a working but not a scalable app. The RN stack gives a developer much freedom while coding. Sure, there are certain "best practices", but developers can code on their own to achieve the same result faster but losing the quality.

Falling back on our extensive expertise of providing React Native development services, we can clearly state that handling React Native projects with communication to native modules can be a nightmare (you may have to write native code for bridging it to the JavaScript layer).

If you pick the correct web application architecture from the outset, it can save tons of time. But while following the guidelines you can increase the complexity afterwards. Take for example re-factoring interfaces that were previously defined. So, we can say it's much easier to support & scale the app written in Flutter than in React Native. This is because Flutter doesn't give a developer such freedom in choosing architectural approaches. Choosing the correct architecture in React Native requires highly skilled and experienced developers, while Flutter has a bit lower entry barrier than RN.

Flutter's also good at integrating with Google Cloud stack products and fits the serverless approach well, too. Flutter's code is immediately compiled into native code but with RN it must go through JS before compilation. Therefore, applications on Flutter can run faster.

App That Works with The Camera, File System, Fingerprints

Both of these mobile app development frameworks use plugins to access camera, filesystem, or fingertips hardware. The only difference from Flutter is that React Native uses a JS part alongside the native one. With RN, there may be performance lags when you need to add logic into each frame.

App That Works with Maps And Geo-Positioning

As React Native uses the bridge to pass the data from native and JS thread, this can affect the performance of the app built for the purpose. Live data with Flutter is compiled without any intermediate layers. All in all, an RN app will be slower than a Flutter app.

What to Expect Next?

Almost ⅓ of software developers used cross-platform tools and frameworks, as of 2019. Taking into account this data, the future of cross-platform mobile development looks promising. As the technology and tools mature, they can help create beautiful apps faster and with better usability and save on development costs. That is why we strongly believe that React Native and Flutter are not going to wind things down.

And here is what our developers say about the prospects of both the frameworks:

RN has been developed by Facebook (and  is vastly used by Microsoft) while Flutter is a Google's creation with all that it implies. As they've become direct competitors, I think they'll continue coexisting together in the same way as React and Vue do now.

Thus, it turns out that React Native and Flutter have a future and we don't doubt that fact. As for now, it is impossible to foresee which technology can become the sole leader in cross-platform mobile development. Yet, Flutter is growing extremely fast and serves as a serious opponent to React Native and its years' long hegemony.

Let's see what is coming next for both the frameworks in the near future. If you have any questions regarding Upsilon's mobile app development services or wish to discuss your project, feel free to contact us!

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