Are you struggling to decide which framework is the right choice for your project? Worried that making the wrong decision could cost you valuable time and money? You’re not alone. The choice you need to make around frameworks is a critical one, and a misstep here can limit your application’s scalability and lead to maintenance nightmares down the road. In this fast-paced digital landscape, it’s essential to make the right choice from the start to ensure your project’s success.

At Mallow our clients have approached us many times with the very same dilemma. Our commitment to guiding our clients through this decision-making process and providing them with informed, feasible solutions has become our hallmark. That has led to our clients returning to us, project after project, trusting in our expertise and dedication to their success. 

Though we specialise in the Flutter framework, we recognize that React Native is a great framework for many applications. And in this article, we’re going to do our best to compare them honestly in several categories, so you can make the right choice for you.

By reading this article, you will get a thorough exploration of the pros and cons associated with each framework, along with the knowledge that you need to make an informed decision about which path aligns  best with your specific project requirements. 

When you should and shouldn’t opt for Flutter? And why?

Flutter is a versatile open-source framework for building natively compiled applications. Developed by Google, it has gained rapid popularity in the mobile application development landscape. What sets Flutter apart is its ability to create stunning, high-performance applications for various platforms, including iOS, Android, web, and even desktop, using a single codebase. 

Flutter’s key strength lies in its widget-based architecture, which empowers developers to craft beautiful and consistent user interfaces with ease. The framework’s hot reload feature accelerates the development process, allowing for real-time code changes and instant previews. Flutter is an ideal choice for projects demanding cross-platform compatibility, a polished user experience, and efficient development, making it a top contender in the world of mobile application development.

When you should opt for Flutter?

 

    • Cross-platform development – If you aim to develop an application for both iOS and Android platforms simultaneously, Flutter’s cross-platform capabilities shine. It allows you to write code once and run it on multiple platforms, saving time and effort.

    • Reusable components –  Flutter boasts a robust, reusable component feature, enabling developers to create widgets and UI elements that can be easily shared and utilised across different application parts, promoting code efficiency and consistency.

    • Consistent User Interface – Flutter’s widget-based architecture ensures a consistent and visually appealing user interface across different devices and platforms. This can be crucial if maintaining a uniform brand image is a priority for your application.

    • Complex and Custom UI – When your application requires a complex or highly customised user interface, Flutter provides the flexibility and control you need. Its extensive widget library and customisation options make it a suitable choice for such projects.

    • Performance and Speed – Flutter’s compiled code offers impressive performance, with near-native speeds. If your application demands high performance, especially for graphics-intensive applications or games, Flutter can meet those requirements.

    • Rapid development – Flutter’s hot reload feature allows developers to see the immediate impact of code changes, speeding up the development process. It’s beneficial for iterative development and quick prototyping.

    • Interaction with native components – Flutter provides plugins and packages to access native device features and APIs, ensuring you can integrate hardware-specific functionalities seamlessly into your application.

    • Interaction with Native code -In Flutter, interaction with native code is facilitated through platform channels, enabling developers to seamlessly integrate native functionality by passing messages between Dart and platform-specific code (Java/Kotlin for Android, Objective-C/Swift for iOS). This allows for deep integration with device-specific features while maintaining a unified codebase.

    • Community and Support – Flutter benefits from a growing and active community, which means you’ll find plenty of resources, plugins, and community-driven solutions to common challenges.

When you shouldn’t opt for Flutter?

 

    • Smaller community support – While Flutter has a growing community, it may not be as extensive as some other development frameworks since it is a newly developed framework, leading to potentially fewer resources and solutions available for developers.

    • Availability of the expertise – Since Flutter is a blooming framework the availability of expertise in the framework could slightly be difficult. 

    • Limited availability of Development APIs – Flutter might lack some specialised or platform-specific APIs that are readily available in native development environments, which could limit certain functionality in your applications.

When you should and shouldn’t opt for React Native? And why?

React Native is a popular open-source framework for mobile application development that has gained significant traction in recent years. Developed by Facebook, React Native allows developers to build high-quality, native-like mobile applications using JavaScript and React. What sets React Native apart is its “write once, run anywhere” philosophy, which enables developers to use a single codebase for both iOS and Android platforms. This approach not only streamlines development but also ensures a consistent user experience across different devices. 

React Native boasts a vibrant and active community, offering a wealth of third-party libraries and plugins. They make it a powerful and flexible tool for creating cross-platform mobile applications with speed and efficiency. Its ability to deliver near-native performance and a smooth user interface has made it a top choice for businesses and developers seeking a cost-effective and agile solution for mobile application development.

When you should opt for React Native?

 

    • Faster development – If you’re aiming to develop your app quickly and need to meet tight deadlines, React Native’s “write once, run anywhere” approach can save you significant development time. It allows you to use a single codebase for both iOS and Android, reducing the need for separate development teams.

    • Cost-effective – React Native can be a cost-effective solution as it reduces the development and maintenance overhead associated with building separate apps for iOS and Android. You can achieve a native-like experience with a smaller budget.

    • Large community and ecosystem – React Native benefits from a vast and active community of developers. This means you’ll have access to a wealth of open-source libraries, plugins, and resources, speeding up development and troubleshooting.

    • Smooth user interface – React Native offers near-native performance and provides a smooth and responsive user interface. It supports animations and transitions, ensuring that your app feels and behaves like a native one.

    • Reusable components – React Native allows you to reuse components across different parts of your app or in multiple apps. This reusability can further expedite development and improve consistency.

    • Hybrid applications – If the project involves complex requirements for both web and mobile platforms, React Native is a compelling option as it seamlessly integrates web views and existing web code into your mobile application, streamlining development and maintenance.

When you shouldn’t opt for React Native?

 

    • Performance – React Native apps can sometimes experience performance bottlenecks, particularly for complex animations or heavy computational tasks, as they rely on a bridge to communicate with native components, potentially introducing latency.

    • UI and UX – Achieving a truly native look and feel in React Native apps may require additional effort and customization, which can be challenging and time-consuming.

    • Slower support to latest features – React Native applications may experience delays in incorporating the latest platform-specific features or updates, as they depend on the React Native community and core team for implementation.

    • More dependency on third-party or open source libraries –  React Native often relies on third-party libraries to access certain native functionality, which can introduce additional complexities and potential compatibility issues when integrating with these external dependencies.

Choosing between Flutter and React Native 

Comparing the application development process

When faced with the pivotal decision of choosing between two distinct frameworks like Flutter and React Native, it is essential to approach the evaluation process with diligence. The criteria that fall under application development must be assessed thoroughly, as they lay the foundation for the success of your project. Factors such as codebase reusability, platform support, development speed, debugging capabilities, integration with native modules, and cost considerations all play pivotal roles in shaping the outcome of your application. 

Here’s a table comparing Flutter and React Native based on some crucial evaluation criteria:

Evaluation Criteria Flutter React Native
Single-code Base Development Flutter wins. It offers true code-sharing, allowing you to use a single codebase for both iOS and Android, resulting in consistent application behaviour and easier maintenance. React Native also supports code sharing, but it may require more platform-specific code, impacting the level of code reusability.
Platform Support It’s strong on both iOS and Android. Flutter consistently offers timely updates to match the latest native platform features. React Native supports both platforms but might occasionally lag behind in adopting the latest platform features.
Development time Flutter excels in faster development as it contains a lot of built-in features and libraries, allowing you to take your application to the market quickly. In the case of React Native, you have to research a lot to find open source libraries as you won’t find options available built-in.
Tooling and Debugging Flutter’s extensive set of tools like Dart DevTools provides excellent debugging capabilities, making it easier to identify and fix issues. React Native offers decent tooling, but debugging can be more challenging due to the bridge connecting JavaScript and native code.
Integration with Native components Flutter tends to have dedicated plugins to communicate with the native components. React Native offers a vast library of third-party native modules, simplifying integration with native functionality.
Cost and Budget Flutter is cost-effective for businesses as it reduces development and maintenance costs by sharing a single codebase across platforms. React Native is also budget-friendly but might require additional effort in handling platform-specific issues.

Please note: The best-suited framework in each category may vary depending on the specific project requirements and priorities. Flutter generally excels in code sharing, development speed, and tooling, while React Native offers a broader selection of third-party modules and easier integration with native modules. The choice between the two should align with your project’s specific needs and constraints.

Evaluating frameworks based on performance and scalability

 

Flutter React Native
  • Flutter is renowned for delivering exceptional performance, thanks to its use of the Dart programming language and its efficient rendering engine.
  • It compiles with native code, enabling near-native performance, which results in smooth animations and a responsive user interface.
  • Flutter’s “hot reload” feature allows developers to make real-time code changes, significantly improving development speed.
  • When it comes to scalability, Flutter offers excellent support for building scalable applications.
  • Its widget-based architecture makes it easy to create complex and customisable user interfaces, and its single-code-based approach simplifies maintenance and updates.
  • Flutter’s compatibility with popular state management and solutions like Provider and Bloc enables developers to handle complex application states effectively, ensuring scalability as the project grows.
  • Flutter will take Cupertino and material design widgets, so as the UI and UX will be similar to the Native design.
  • Check out this piece of detail from Flutter to know more about what Flutter has stored in for your application in terms of performance.
  • React Native also provides solid performance, offering a native-like experience for users. However, its JavaScript bridge for communication between JavaScript and native code can introduce some performance overhead, especially in applications with complex interactions. Nevertheless, React Native’s performance is generally considered satisfactory for most applications.
  • In terms of scalability, React Native benefits from a vast ecosystem of third-party libraries and plugins, which can simplify the development of scalable features.
  • Its modular architecture allows developers to integrate native modules when necessary, providing flexibility for handling specific performance and scalability requirements. However, as an application grows in complexity, maintaining and optimising performance may require more effort than Flutter.
  • Check out this piece of information from React Native to get an overview about the performance of React native applications.

Key Takeaway

Well, both Flutter and React Native offer good performance, with Flutter having a slight edge due to its use of Dart and native compilation. For scalability, Flutter’s widget-based architecture and state management options and provide a robust foundation for building scalable applications. At the same time, React Native’s extensive library of third-party modules can aid in handling scalability and requirements but may require additional optimisation efforts as the project scales. The choice between the two should align with your specific performance and scalability needs.

Evaluating both frameworks from a security standpoint

The table below will give you an overview of how Flutter and React Native frameworks weigh in terms of security:

Flutter React Native
  • Flutter excels in security, primarily due to its compilation process. When you build a Flutter app, it compiles the code into native machine code, making it extremely difficult to reverse-engineer.
  • This inherent security feature is a significant advantage for projects that require a high level of security, such as those dealing with sensitive user data or proprietary algorithms.
  • Flutter offers built-in security features like secure storage, encryption, and sandboxing. These features provide an extra layer of protection for user data and application resources.
  • Flutter’s security stance benefits from Google’s involvement, which ensures ongoing vigilance and prompt response to security vulnerabilities.Checkout this article from talent500.co for more details about best security-related practices that you need to follow if you are planning for an application from Flutter.
  • React Native, while a powerful framework, has different security considerations.
  • Since it relies on JavaScript, an interpreted language, there’s a potential for common web-based security vulnerabilities like Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) or injection attacks if developers don’t follow secure coding practices rigorously.
  • React Native’s security largely depends on the developer community’s efforts and the usage of third-party libraries.
  • While libraries are available for addressing security concerns, their effectiveness can vary, leading to inconsistency and compatibility issues across different versions of React Native and the libraries used.Check out this piece of content from React Native themselves for more details on the security features of React Native.

How do the frameworks compare by their communities?

Here’s a comparative analysis of Flutter and React Native based on the evaluation criteria of Community and Third-Party Support and Long-Term Maintenance and Support, with a focus on famous applications built with each framework:

Evaluating Criteria Flutter React Native
Community and third-party support

Flutter has a rapidly growing and enthusiastic community of developers.

It benefits from Google’s backing, which ensures continuous support and updates.

The community has contributed a variety of open-source packages and plugins to extend Flutter’s functionality.

It’s worth noting that the number of third-party packages in Flutter’s ecosystem is still smaller compared to React Native’s.

React Native boasts one of the largest and most active communities in the mobile application development world.

It has a vast repository of third-party libraries and plugins, thanks to its long-standing presence and support from Facebook.

The extensive community support means you can often find solutions to common problems and access a wide range of pre-built components.

Long-Term maintenance and support

Flutter offers a robust and well-documented framework, and Google’s ongoing commitment ensures long-term support.

The clear versioning and upgrade path provides confidence in the framework’s stability. Notable applications built with Flutter include Alibaba, Google Ads, and Tencent Now.Check out this piece of detail from Github on how the road map of flutter looks like.

React Native has been around for a longer time, and it has been used in numerous high-profile applications. Facebook, Instagram, and Airbnb are among the famous applications built with React Native.
 This longevity suggests a strong commitment to maintaining the framework over the long term.

Check out this detail from github to know more details about how the roadmap for React native looks like.

Key Takeaway:

Both Flutter and React Native have thriving communities and third-party support, but React Native’s longer presence in the market has resulted in a more extensive ecosystem of third-party packages. When it comes to long-term maintenance and support, both frameworks have a track record of commitment, with famous applications vouching for their reliability. Ultimately, the choice between Flutter and React Native should consider your project’s specific needs and priorities.

Comparing the frameworks based on their roadmap plans

Flutter and React Native have distinct approaches to their roadmap planning. Flutter, backed by Google, is known for its transparent and well-documented roadmap. Google actively maintains and updates Flutter, and they provides a clear timeline for upcoming features and improvements. This transparency and commitment to the framework’s development make Flutter a reliable choice for long-term projects.

On the other hand, React Native, developed and maintained by Facebook, also offers a roadmap but may not be as detailed or as frequently updated as Flutter’s. React Native’s roadmap tends to focus on broader goals, and specific features and timelines might be less explicit. However, React Native benefits from a vast community of contributors who continually work on enhancing the framework, ensuring its continued evolution.

Aspect Flutter React Native
Development team Google provides a clear and transparent roadmap, outlining upcoming features and improvements. Facebook and the React Native community offer a roadmap, but it may be less detailed and frequently updated.
Maintenance Google’s commitment to Flutter ensures long-term maintenance and support. React Native’s longevity and strong community of contributors contribute to its long-term viability.
Updates Frequent updates and feature releases are common in Flutter, aligning with the roadmap. Updates are released regularly, but the roadmap may focus on broader goals rather than specific features.
Transparency Flutter’s roadmap is known for its transparency and accessibility to developers. React Native’s roadmap might be less explicit, with a stronger emphasis on community contributions.

Key Takeaway:

Flutter’s roadmap planning is characterised by transparency, frequent updates, and strong support from Google, making it a reliable choice for projects requiring clear direction. React Native benefits from a robust community and continuous development but might have a roadmap that is less detailed and more community-driven. The choice between the two should consider the project’s long-term needs and the level of detail required in the roadmap.

Flutter vs. React Native: choosing the right framework for your application

Here’s a table comparing Flutter and React Native based on the specified criteria:

Criteria Flutter React Native Winner
Performance Excellent Good Flutter
Adaptability to the ecosystem Limited Seamless React Native
Community support Growing Vast and Established React Native
Architecture Widget-based Component-based Tie
Installation Relatively simple Can be complex Flutter
UI and UX Customisable widgets Native components Flutter
Availability of Development APIs Limited Rich ecosystem React Native
Development time In-built widgets More dependent on open-source libraries Flutter (for some)
Code reusability High Moderate Flutter
Quality assurance Strong debugging Can be challenging Flutter
Release Frequent updates Frequent updates Tie
Application development rates Cost-effective Less cost-effective comparatively Flutter

It’s important to note that the “winner” may vary depending on the specific project requirements and priorities. Both Flutter and React Native have their strengths and weaknesses, and the choice should align with your project’s unique needs.

Key factors to consider when selecting a framework

✅ Define your application’s objectives and requirements. Consider the complexity of your application and its intended audience.

✅Determine if your application needs to run on both iOS and Android platforms.

✅Consider the performance requirements of your application, especially if it involves resource-intensive tasks or high graphics.

✅ Determine whether you require a highly customised UI (Flutter) or can work with native components (React Native).

✅ List any third-party integrations or specific native modules you need for your application.

✅ Determine the importance of code reusability in your project.

✅ Assess the availability of third-party libraries, plugins, and community support for both Flutter and React Native.

✅ Consider your plans for long-term app maintenance and updates.

✅ Think about your testing strategy and the ease of testing in both frameworks.

✅ Analyse your budget constraints and which framework aligns better with your financial resources.

✅Research famous applications built with both Flutter and React Native to see if they align with your project’s goals.

✅Consider the framework’s roadmap and whether it aligns with your app’s future needs.

How to hire an application development team?

After finalising your choice of framework for your application, the next critical step is selecting the ideal team for its development. Handling the hiring process for your application development team is a critical endeavor. To ensure success, start by defining clear job roles and responsibilities, considering the specific skills and expertise required for your project. 

Create detailed job descriptions and conduct thorough interviews to assess candidates’ technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and cultural fit within your organisation. Don’t underestimate the importance of checking references and verifying past work experiences. Consider practical assessments or coding tests to gauge candidates’ practical skills.

Check out this article on how to hire the right application development team to get more insights on how you can handle the hiring process of your application development team efficiently.

Still, confused about your next step? Feel free to reach out to our team

Author

Yogesh Murugesh

Yogesh is an accomplished Senior Technical Lead at Mallow, boasting over 11 years of invaluable expertise in the realm of application development. With an extensive background spanning diverse domains, he has consistently delivered applications of the highest calibre. Yogesh's commitment to quality and excellence shines through in every project he undertakes. His career journey is marked by a proven track record of successfully crafting applications that not only meet but often exceed industry standards. His ability to navigate through various domains showcases his adaptability and keen problem-solving skills. Yogesh's contributions have consistently played a pivotal role in driving technological innovation and advancement within his field. Beyond his professional pursuits, Yogesh finds solace and joy in various activities. An ardent cricket enthusiast, he embraces the team spirit and strategic thinking that the sport demands. During leisure moments, he indulges in watching movies, allowing himself to be captivated by different narratives and genres. Moreover, Yogesh cherishes quality time with his child, relishing the role of a devoted parent.