13 Jun 2022

Four Reasons Why Flutter is Better Than React Native

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Written by Praveen Bhati

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The importance of developing cross-platform mobile apps can’t be overlooked today, especially when the resulting app needs to be speedily tested and released simultaneously for multiple devices. Additionally, platform-agnostic programming languages make it possible to speed up development times and reduce the time-to-market for applications, putting businesses in a highly competitive sphere.

In such a scenario, two programming languages seem to be competing for the top spot: Flutter and React Native. Both of these languages don’t care for the platform of development, are fast, and provide a range of high-utility tools to the developer.

If you believe in numbers, a survey done by Statista puts Flutter in the lead in 2021, with a market share of 42% compared to 38% for React Native during the same period. Programmers are evidently favoring Flutter lately – the same survey suggests that React Native was in the lead until 2020.

Let’s take a deep dive into the reasons Flutter is better than React Native for cross-platform application development.

Architecture: Flutter vs. React Native

Flutter, a brainchild of Google, is developed to be a UI toolkit – and as such, the architecture that drives it allows for the creation of customization-intense apps, according to Google’s Will Larche.

Flutter’s architecture exists in three distinct layers – the Embedder (platform-based), the Engine (written in C/C++), and the Framework (written in Dart). It allows for speedy customization of app elements without any restriction because it treats UI like a code.

On the other hand, React Native is a runtime environment based on JavaScript, and the latest release update for its architecture gives it three distinct “pillars” of the code ecosystem. These are the JavaScript Thread, the Native Thread, and the Shadow Thread.

While this does speed up the development of a UI, this architecture has an inherent problem. It uses a bridge to establish interaction with the Native modules; in high-demand development projects, this could create a requests queue and increase the turnaround times.

4 Reasons to Pick Flutter Over React Native

Let’s now look at the 4 ways Flutter is better than React Native.

1. Near Native Performance

React Native uses a JavaScript bridge to convey JavaScript-to-native and vice-versa calls, which takes away from its performance as a purely-native framework for all the apps it creates.

On the other hand, Flutter employs bidirectional streams of communication using binary channels between its native code and Dart, making it faster and more high-performance.

2. UI Experience

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React Native functions on rendering the UI code according to the platform an application is running on, modifying the output based on native operating system elements. As such, React Native apps look different on iOS devices and Android devices.

On the contrary, Flutter apps carry their own set elements of the user interface, which remain consistent and platform-agnostic, no matter which device the app is used on. This is more functional for good branding.

3. Layout Systems

React Native is a complicated deal where layout systems are concerned. It is based on the CSS FlexBox syntaxes, requiring additional skill to handle advanced styling in CSS. This often confuses web developers and requires hiring a UI specialist who can handle CSS FlexBox syntax.

On the other hand, Flutter bases itself on a widget-based styling. Flutter developers can simply override BUILD and define the visuals of an element/widget on a data structure similar to render-trees, making the learning curve flatter.

4. Platform Support

React Native currently only provides support for Android and iOS (some React Native branches may work for other platforms, but it becomes cumbersome).

On the other hand, Flutter can be utilized for many platforms – Linux, Windows, macOS, Web, Fuchsia, Android, and iOS.

Summing Up

React Native does provide high code reusability and extensive community support. However, where the end product is concerned, Flutter equips the developer with more usable and effective tools to develop truly native and performance-oriented applications that outweigh the troubles of investing in React Native.