In this post, we would look at identifying some of the differences between the React Native and Flutter frameworks. Let’s start with understanding the core areas of comparison.

As part of this session, we will be looking at key aspects to identify differences between both the frameworks, predominantly on the language front, the UI aspect, the performance, the documentation, the popularity, the community support that is available for both these frameworks, along with the industry trends in terms of the industry adoption for both these platforms.

The core objective of the post would be that at the end you should be able to decide and make an informed decision as to which framework is the best among those available.

1. Language Perspective

Let’s talk from a language perspective. Now, if you look at React, which is basically completely written and built-in JavaScript using the react js API, on the other hand, if you look at flutter, it is basically written in a very new language called Dart, and we do not have too many developers that are skilled on that.

However, every browser and every platform has an inbuilt JavaScript execution environment that makes the JavaScript platform language of choice for developers. So every browser today or every browser manufacturer would have built support for executing JavaScript roadmaps.

Similarly, the most popular platforms, mobility platforms like Android and iOS have default support for executing JavaScript programs. And that’s the reason when you compare this with flutter uses Dart, which is dominantly a newer language, and you really do not have too many developers who are skilled in this.

And when you work with React Native, you really do not have to re-learn a lot. You don’t have a sharp learning curve. Most of the JavaScript developers who are already working with HTML, CSS can easily align to this.

2.UI Perspective

From a UI perspective, when you talk about react native, it’s based pretty much on native components for the Android and iOS platform and flutter, on the other hand, uses a very proprietary set of widgets and it has its own page structure that needs to be set up. So it’s a closed ecosystem as compared to an open ecosystem in react native, which allows you to go and implement third-party widgets and UI frameworks as well.

Now, this is really what allows you to pick and choose with react native because you can go and decide whether you want to use Kendu UI or the set of Telerik controls or any other third-party UI framework that can be implemented.

But for Flutter, you have a pretty closed ecosystem. And that’s the reason the UI components that are available out of the box and builtin into the platform are all that you can use.

3.Performance Perspective

From a performance perspective. When you talk about React native, it basically is built and uses JavaScript out of the box. And that’s the reason that when you want to write any JavaScript that connects and tries to access native services on that specific platform. It uses a bridge to do that.

But when you’re using flutter, on the other hand, flutter does not need any kind of bridge. So  it reduces a bridge to go and connect to the native set of components to interact with. And this is what really impacts the speed and the performance aspect of developing and executing applications within these frameworks.

React Js speed and performance is a little bit slower when you compare that with flutter.And that’s because it has an intermediate bridge that it has to communicate with and every layer of additional communication and computation that you put in between two-tier applications that you build obviously would have a performance impact.

4.Documentation Perspective

From a documentation perspective, if we were to compare flutter typically has a very well-defined documentation repository and it allows developers to go through it in a very simple manner. So it’s all structured, organized, unlike what you see on React Native.

Because since the React Native is an open ecosystem, it allows you to implement a third party Widgets, and you can do a lot of configuration and plugin play, and that’s the reason, the documentation also is not very strong, well-organized, and impactful.

And that’s the reason most developers will find it a little challenging to go through the react-native documentation when you compare that to the documentation available, in terms of flutter.

5.Popularity Perspective

Popularity is always a key when working with platforms and that should be a crucial decision-maker because when it comes to open source technologies and you start somewhere, you obviously go to the community to go and find out how best you can solve the problem.

Now, flutter a new entrant into the market. It does not have a lot of developer penetration and that’s the reason the popularity in the community is not very strong.

React Native being there for a while now. It’s been around for some time and that’s the reason it’s pretty popular among developers.

Also, since it uses JavaScript, it’s a natural transition and a progression path for those who are working with HTML5, CSS and building web applications or building hybrid mobile apps find it very easy to migrate to this, because flutter requires you to learn a new programing language which is Dart.

And that is one reason why the popularity  is much, much better on the React Native as compared to flutter.

5.Community Support

So the community support, as we were speaking about, if you look at Stack Overflow, which is one of the most popular websites to go for any kind of developer trends and movements and for QNA that most developers would have, you can actually look at the number of questions here.

And also the react is part of GitHub as its open source. It was released in 2015 and it’s because of the huge community support that it becomes easier to implement.

You have a lot of confidence as a developer when you start building on the react because if you’re stuck somewhere, you will have a lot of help available on the way.

On the other hand, if you compare that with flutter, you could look at the question count share on stack overflow and this being a new entrant in the market, it has a smaller footprint on the community. Of course, that keeps increasing every day. Again, from the react-native perspective and you talk about stability in terms of stable releases there again, you will see that react-native does a much better job as compared to flutter.

6.Industry Trends

So the industry trends are something which all of us have to be aware of, specifically if we need to make a decision in terms of career, the technology that we are learning, what is the growth aspect, what is the industry adoption and how we could really move ahead on our career graphs in terms of the opportunities, job market, etc. So, again, getting back to stack overflow, which is the benchmark for understanding technology trends in IT and software development.

If you look at a recent survey conducted in 2020,62.5% of developers seem to have shown interest in React Native as compared to a marginal rise of 65.4%, where flutter seems to be doing much better. Of course, that could be due to the time frames that both these technologies have been around.

7.Job Prospects

React Native, job prospects are much better a lot of organizations implementing this, flutter being new, slightly fewer opportunities as the penetration still needs to happen in the opportunities job market and from a developer skills perspective.

So these are some of the big names that are using react-native. They are implementations, right, for Facebook, Pinterest, two weeks Sky, Destler, inStar Bloomberg.

You can actually look at the implementation of cross-industry, which is absolutely crucial when you’re learning something new, because when you want to join a large logo, obviously, if there are a lot of globals using this, that enhances the credibility of your learning, puts a justification to why you would want to learn this technology.

Flutter, on the other hand, is associated with big names like Google, Alibaba, etc. From a conclusion perspective, if we were to conclude on what we discussed from a language perspective, obviously we said we react is much more popular since it is a natural progression for developers to work on JavaScript and move to this as compared to Dart, which is relatively a new language from a UI perspective the open-source plug and play React is much better.