Currently, the two most popular frameworks for building cross-platform mobile apps are React Native and Flutter. These titans are supported by Facebook and Google, two of the largest tech businesses in the world.
Presently, there are more than 6.0 billion mobile users worldwide, and 42% of developers will pick Flutter over React when creating apps, according to Statista. Cordova, the third most popular framework, is only selected by 16% of users. Flutter has been used by more than 2 million developers, and 500,000 of them do so each month. Although the numbers are incredibly impressive, many of them depend on how popular mobile apps are with users.
What Is React Native?
What Is Flutter?
The Flutter cross-platform user interface framework was developed by Google. Since its original release in May 2017, Flutter's popularity has continuously increased. With Flutter, businesses just need to maintain one codebase when developing apps for many platforms. As a result, the amount of time and resources involved in developing and maintaining the software is greatly decreased.
The Differences Between React Native and Flutter
React Native and Flutter share many similarities, but they are also quite different in a handful of key ways.
Flutter uses a language called Dart, which is older and not widely used. Dart has an object-oriented class-based system.
Both Flutter and React Native have high quality documentation materials. This makes the development of apps simple for programmers.
React Native's documentation is less well-organized because it also includes community-developed dependent libraries.
Flutter has documentation that is well produced, organized, and comprehensive. In contrast, React Native's documentation requires some explanation.
Comparison: React Native Vs. Flutter
Next, we’ll compare React Native with Flutter, explore what makes each framework so special, and discover why they’re so highly sought after. The comparison will be based on the following:
- Libraries and Packages
- File Structure
It's difficult to say whether a Flutter or React Native app performs better. There are numerous aspects to take into account, like the type of app, codebase, animations, transitions, app size, layout, data passing, the end user's phone, and more. Therefore, it won't be the same for every app. Both frameworks use hot reloading, which speeds up development by allowing you to see changes immediately.
With the help of their developer and user communities, Flutter and React Native are both continually enhancing their performance. As far as overall performance though, Flutter actually narrowly prevails right now.
Both the Flutter and React Native communities are thriving, with numerous conferences, hackathons, and events taking place every year.
It’s impossible to overstate the breadth of the community and available communication avenues where you can interact with professionals and get help with your development-related questions.
Here is a comparison of each tool's most popular communication routes in more detail:
As the table above shows, the Flutter community has expanded more than the React Native community. This is significant since it indicates that more problems are being actively fixed by Flutter developers. By looking at closed GitHub issues, you can get a sense of the speed and attentiveness with which unresolved issues reported by developers are being handled.
According to Statista's most recent study, Flutter will be the top cross-platform mobile development framework in 2021. React Native falls short of Flutter by 4% (42% versus 38% for Flutter). However, it's accurate to say that both technologies are being used almost equally. Hopefully, their statistics for 2022 will be out soon.
We know that, as of 2021, Flutter was leading the race for, “cross-platform mobile framework used by developers” on Statista. In addition, the recently conducted Stack Overflow Survey is more current and includes both frameworks, and it includes 2022 statistics as well.
According to the results of the Stack Overflow Survey, in terms of usage and popularity, Flutter was on the verge of surpassing React Native as of 2021. With 0.96%, React Native was taking precedence over Flutter during the year 2021:
Currently, in 2022, Flutter has overthrown React Native in the popularity contest. This survey shows that Flutter technology has now taken the lead.
In the Stack Overflow Survey 2022, Flutter beat React Native in the category "Most Popular Technology - Other Frameworks."
A close race between the two is evident from data shown in Google Trends. In April 2020, Flutter overtook React Native for the first time in over two years, and it has maintained that position through 2022.
- Worldwide React Native (blue) and Flutter (red) quality trend (2019–2022). Source: Google Trends.
The code structure in this part should look extremely familiar if you’ve used React for the web. Similar to how React projects are set up, React Native projects follow the same architecture:
The widget-based architecture of Flutter is highly distinctive when compared to conventional programming paradigms. Once you understand how it operates, it becomes automatic.
When to Apply Each Framework
React Native and Flutter are both efficient for fast styling and easy mobile app development. However, it’s best to know when to use the different frameworks in developing a project.
Use React Native When:
- You want to transition back and forth from a web application to a mobile application and have a single tech stack.
- You need to locate a team of React Native engineers quickly (unlike Flutter developers, who are currently harder to find).
Use Flutter When:
- Financial resources are limited (no need to have multiple teams for native Android and iOS development).
- You have a tight deadline and must quickly deliver a product.
- You want pixel-perfect designs and other elements that make a superb UI.
- A cross-platform experience (mobile, desktop, etc.) is required.