Choosing the right technology stack for a mobile app can have anyone confounded with the amount of technical jargon out there. The conflicting advice you would find on Google isn’t very helpful either, and this can have you feeling disheartened despite the exciting idea you have for your app. We know this as many a client has told us the same before we sat down with them and started asking the right questions.
The tried and tested method of developing apps for bothiOS and Android, is doing their coding separately (native apps). Android apps, for example, require a developer to use Kotlin or Java, while iOS apps are built using Swift or Objective C. Such separate coding is essential for the performance and the stability of the apps, despite the increased time and cost involved.
The technology stack you would need however is dependent on your idea and the expectation you have of your app, which is why we have penned this article with a comparison of Facebook developed React Native and Google-owned Flutter.
Maturity, community & stability
Flutter alpha was first seen in mid-2017, giving React Native a two-year headstart in building a solid foundation, larger community and access to big players in a market with no competition. Flutter, therefore, might still have issues that have been resolved by the React Native community who provide more support and is generally considered more stable. Google, however, is putting its weight behind Flutter and is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Flutter implements components from its own graphics library, allowing developers to choose between Android’s Material Design and Cupertino’s iOS-style widgets to make an app look the way it should without additional work.
React Native, on the other hand, uses platform-specific components, which makes the components such as buttons or switches look different on iOS and Android. Creating identical apps, therefore, will give rise to additional work.
Flutter as we mentioned previously can be useful for developing apps when time and costs are of the essence. This, however, is not applicable when the app contains a sizable number of custom views and requirements that are difficult to implement.
React Native with its large community of developers, on the other hand, can be useful here its head start on Flutter has created a library of information one can use to troubleshoot any issues.
Maintenance & Updates
An app is not a one-time investment and needs to be maintained well. Both Flutter and React Native are equally good in this regard if one is comparing the time and effort that needs to be invested. Those who work with React Native however, might find their work made easier due to a large amount of information they can turn to online.
Updates are vital for any app as they allow it to add/remove functionalities in response to market changes and keep it secure. Flutter wins this one as updates cause very little problems, whereas apps built using React Native can pose unexpected issues.
Flutter’s documentation is very exhaustive and supported by Google codelabs example apps, through which developers can learn how to develop and search for specific solutions.
React Native’s documentation in our opinion is not as good.
Popularity with developers
React Native due to their headstart is more popular than Flutter at the present. Flutter, however, is fast narrowing the gap as we are seeing an increasing number of clients and developers taking it up. You might also want to see the popularity of the two terms on Google Trends overhere.
Support for testing
Testing is an integral part of app development and Flutter offers a wide range of support for such tests and provides rich documentation about it.
React Native does a good job of handling unit tests. The same, however, cannot be said for its capability for handling integration or UI tests.
Cross-platform app developmentis the future, with Flutter and React Native vying for a piece of it. Both platforms in our opinion have their pros and cons, depending on the requirements you expect of the app. What is clear however is that React Native is capable, has more help for troubleshooting issues, whilst Flutter is easier to update and provides richer documentation. We at Mood Up are very curious and excited to see what the future has in hold for cross-platform development frameworks.