React Native vs Flutter: What to choose in 2020

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@eugenia-kuzmenkoEugenia Kuzmenko

Marketing Manager @ KitRUM

React Native with JavaScript and Flutter with “dark” Dart are both highly successful, multi-platform application development techs forming talks and news. In this study, we will make a detailed cross-review from both developers’ and clients’ perspectives.
Companies and firms are seeking a chance to create mobile apps for both iOS and Android, with quicker development and fewer resources. Of course, Apple and Google have both created unique technologies to build apps. Android engineers apply Kotlin/Java while iOS engineers work with Xcode and Swift. However, this requires coders to discover two completely different technologies. As a consequence, companies have begun to use cross-platform solutions to design apps for both iOS and Android using one particular, universal language.
Here at KitRUM, our customers and partners asked us which framework to choose for application development. Which tech stack provides the quickest time-to-market? What do we prefer - ReactNative or Flutter - to develop an app?

REACT NATIVE DEVELOPMENT: Advantages

HOT RELOAD
Hot Reload stimulates the development process by giving an engineer recording the initial code directly inside a working application. So, a programmer can identify modifications directly, without renewing the app. Hot Reload also holds the application’s state, avoiding the warning of losing it through a full update (a significant improvement in the meaning of state-based frameworks) – ensuring fast-monitoring app development.
MATURITY
The React Native release was in 2014, so Facebook has had a lot of time to support the API, along with fix defects and clarify challenges. More than this, React Native is a part of the “React community,” which means they all work over both web and mobile platforms.
A STRONG COMMUNITY
React Native has an enormous developers community, hence there are countless education tutorials, libraries, frames and blocks available that make it easy to learn the tech – and just as fast and transparent to develop. If we come across repositories on GitHub concerning exact technologies, React Native is far-reaching than Xamarin or Flutter.
EASY TO LEARN
The prevailing profit on our report is intensely converged on React developers. If you have knowledge of web development and operations with the latest React stack, you can effortlessly deal with React Native without the requirement to learn new libraries.

REACT NATIVE DEVELOPMENT: downsides

NOT REALLY NATIVE
Alike to all cross-platform stack, not the UI, not UX, nor achievement will be comparable to native apps – only similar to them. But still, it is more uncomplicated to achieve a “native sense” with React Native than with Flutter.
LIMITED COMPONENTS
React Native includes only significant components outside the edges. However, there are outside repositories with many other elements for React Native. A programmer is allowed to use it but needs more effort and time.
Source: Google Trends

FLUTTER NATIVE DEVELOPMENT: Advantages

ONE CODE FOR TWO APPS
Flutter is a cross-platform stack that operates flawlessly with the constituted widget kits for tailoring UI design. And, now Google is engaged in creating Flutter for Web.
PERFECT UI
Flutter doesn’t rely on native design components; it has its own set of custom widgets rendered and sustained by the frame’s visuals engine. Apps built with Flutter have an exceptionally user-friendly UI: a vital benefit for Flutter above React Native is the incredibly detailed attention to the visual aspects. Flutter allows you to easily create your personal widgets, or adjust a current widget with ease.
PERFORMANCE
Developers face some issues while running the React Native hybrid application structure, whereas Flutter performs more simple for developers as they can reuse their current code.
DOCUMENTS AND TOOLKIT
Documentation composition is extremely involved and long-lasting, however, Flutter is even more excellent at aiding the app developer’s work and allowing them to certify their applications. The documentation method with React Native is not as combat-ready.

FLUTTER DEVELOPMENT: downsides

APPLICATION LARGENESS
Applications developed in Flutter are larger than Native ones. Overall, it’s 20% more heavy than, for instance, the React Native-built app.
INNOVATION
Flutter is still pretty new. This means you probably couldn’t always get the features you need in current libraries, so engineers may need to develop special functionality, which can generate impediments.

Comparison of Flutter and React Native


Installation
Flutter and React Native need installation with original package managers for a particular operating system, however, Flutter installation needs additional actions for uniting the binary to PATH and unloading it from Github, which could be helpful for the not JavaScript engineers. React Native can be installed by just using the Node Package Manager (NPM). So, in this case, Flutter should change the installation process by maintaining package managers so that developers wouldn’t oblige to make more processes.
UI components and API
Flutter is clustered with UI elements, widget API access, testing, server-side management and quantities of libraries. This large amount of elements allows you to forget third-party libraries. In its turn React Native is too reliant on third-party libraries. So in case, you need more native modules - Flutter is the better choice. 
Setup and documentation
The guide for beginners of the React Native pretends that the coder already has all the necessary setup for engineering iOS and Android versions. The documentation immediately shifts to the stage of building a new app. The guide for Flutter has comprehensive data on the Integrated Development Environment setup and Android/IOS setup. You can learn all the essential steps and settings on Flutter set up for Windows, macOS, and Linux here. Moreover, my personal love is flutter doctor - command-line-interface which can lead engineers throughout the install. So in case of installation and configuration, it’s obvious that Flutter allows more useful documentation and support.

IDE and text editors
If the software engineer is experienced in JavaScript it has to be easy to use those skills for cross-platform app development. Also, engineers are able to use any text editor or integrated development environment of their decision. With Flutter we have a little bit different thing. As far as Dart is a nontraditional and quite new language, there is always a shortage of maintenance for it in various text editors IDEs.
Testing
With React Native there are several system-level testing frames accessible in JavaScript. But when we're talking about UI testing, There are external tools like Cavy and Detox that can be used for testing React Native apps but they are not formally approved. Flutter has great documentation on testing Flutter apps and it gives a strong collection of testing features. Also, Flutter has a wonderful widget testing

To draw the conclusion

React Native and Flutter have advantages and disadvantages, but Flutter seems to be a winner from our point of view. Actually, our CTO wrote a post on Medium and have foretold that Flutter is the tomorrow of mobile app development. Regarding the observation above, it’s obvious that Flutter has joined the cross-platform mobile development community pretty fast. 
Here at KitRUM, we have both React Native and Flutter developers, and there is always friendly competition over which platform is better. You should always define and specify your project for a proficient team of developers: professionals able to analyze several approaches, each with a different experience when it comes to cross-platform development. KitRUM builds business applications for clients applying the tech that is most beneficial – whether it be Flutter, React Native or Native IOS and Android.

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