Choosing between Flutter and React Native for your next mobile project? Discover the definitive guide for 2024 on which framework delivers a faster, cost-effective mobile MVP
Native technologies are like dinosaurs – nobody wants to burn a budget and develop in old, unfriendly languages. But these days, it’s much easier to decide which cross-platform solution is right for you. React Native and Flutter are two of the most popular platforms, so let’s dive into what makes each unique and learn more about why Flutter and React Native are the best options for your budget and development needs.
What is cross-platform?
A cross-platform solution is a way of using one base code for different platforms. But if we have an application that runs on one system, can it also work on another? Well, that depends. Mobile applications were initially coded in native languages such as Swift or Objective C for iOS and Kotlin or Java for Android. These languages have different tools for creating user interfaces, such as refreshing the app. Developing apps in native languages is completely fine – not only are they fast, but you’ll have access to any hardware, everything works properly, and you can use 100% full power of the device. But srsly? Who wants to pay twice for the same thing? Ok, what about flutter vs react native performance – crossplatforms, is it effective?
Why use cross-platform if we have unlimited possibilities for natives?
Many cross-platform solutions exist, so why do we focus on React Native and Flutter? The graph below illustrates the number of open threads on StackOverflow in these languages. It’s clear that both Flutter and React Native have seen an upturn in popularity in the last few years, with Flutter taking the lead as the most popular technology on this portal.
When clients come to me with questions about creating apps for Android and iOS, I always explain the great benefits of using Flutter! Not only is it around 40% cheaper than other native development methods, but it also offers faster development with equal effectiveness. Here at Codigee, we’re a young, passionate team that loves working with Flutter and is committed to achieving the seemingly impossible, and now we’re officially listed by Google as an official Flutter devs consultant!
What you can see from this graph?
Just like cars, the newer they are, the better they work and the easier they are to use. It’s the same with software frameworks. The latest ones are designed for the new way we program, making them easier and more effective to use. Look at Flutter, for example. You can see from the chart how quickly it became popular with developers. This is more than luck. It’s because Flutter is a new framework supported by Google. It’s easy to use, performs well, and is easy to learn. Now, it’s not just new – it’s mature, having been around for almost five years.
What’s more? Let’s take a closer look at the chart above. You’ll notice a significant decline in native app popularity when Flutter and React Native were released. It’s only a matter of time before cross-platform solutions like Flutter eclipse natives. They’re superior – cheaper, faster, and more developer-friendly. What more could you want?
Flutter is the better choice, even for a one-platform app
If you plan to implement complex custom solutions, like USB-terminal cameras or GPSs, on a single platform (e.g. Android), native code is your best bet. In Flutter, we can create the so-called „native bridges” that provide us with every API hardware we want to use, making it easier to develop apps faster, simpler, and more effectively. You can create functions for both Android and iOS, and it’s much easier than React Native. Plus, if you ever want to create an app for another platform in the future, Flutter makes that much easier too. Long term, Flutter is much easier to maintain than native apps, so even if you’re focusing on one platform, you’ll ultimately save time and money by sticking with Flutter.
Just one code for both platforms?
In this article, I explored both Flutter and React Native. Flutter uses Dart as the language for programming apps, while both platforms use the Canvas engine to display every widget and function. Furthermore, Flutter is connected to native apps for iOS and Android via a bridge, making it easy to use native hardware from Flutter. As a tip, if you’re using Flutter apps, a double splash screen can appear. To hide it, simply run the native splash screen as a full-color background, with the Flutter animation running on top to leave you with a beautiful splash screen you can be happy with. Lastly, Flutter’s Canvas Engine guarantees excellent performance and a smooth UI. Due to Flutter’s UI sets, the UI will always be the same regardless of the operating system version. Customizing the UI differently for each platform is possible – it just depends on us!
Both are much easier to maintain than full-native apps, provided we build MVP with better performance faster. We have one code for any platform for mobiles, desktops, and the web. You can read more about this topic in future articles. You can also read how to launch a Mobile app product MVP in another article in Codigee’s blog here.
Are cross-platforms two times less costly?
It’s a common misconception that we have to use different hardware features for each platform, which would lead to double the costs. However, we can often write a simple user interface and sort out the application logic and server communication, which is typically the same for all platforms, resulting in half the cost.
To sum up, the cost depends on the application. In most cases, it’s as much as 40% cheaper. Plus, if you need to use a lot of hardware and implement UI separately for each platform, you don’t need to hire different developers, making it a win-win!
Why is Flutter and React Native development faster than native development?
1. Hot Reload / Fast Refresh
Flutter and React Native have perfect tools, including Hot Reload (In RN – Fast Refresh). Developers must constantly test their work to build applications from scratch, which can be very time-consuming. Luckily, with Hot Reload, developers can see the effects of their development immediately, saving a huge amount of time that can be used to develop new features and refactoring codes.
2. Up to 50% less testing of UI parts.
We must test UI and Logic on a single platform besides hardware features. Testing hardware such as a camera should always be done independently to save time with quality assurance.
3. Scalable, fast and modern MVP
At Codigee, we can develop the first working prototype in just 2 weeks. MVP takes up to 6 months, depending on the complexity (We have done some in 2 months, e.g. look at FishPro). Cross-platform solutions are perfect for MVPs; you can create it quickly for two platforms instead of burning through your budget by developing it separately for each. It’s a better choice to develop more features with cross-platform and save money for marketing.
Do they have any cons? Yes, the size is slightly bigger; the size has increased by ~50MB. But is that a lot these days?
Comparison: Flutter vs React Native in 2024
Both frameworks stand out in the cross-platform development landscape, but the choice between them is complex. For developers and companies, it’s less about asking, 'Is Flutter really better than React Native?’ and more about evaluating which framework best aligns with their project goals and resources. As we continue to witness advancements in Flutter and React Native, staying informed about their evolving capabilities is key to making the best decision for mobile app development needs.
As a developer and co-founder of Codigee, I have worked with plenty of start-up CEOs, and none of them has ever regretted choosing Flutter. We’ve developed many applications here at Codigee for live-streaming videos, e-commerce, and Bluetooth connection for external devices. Each of our apps has been incredibly successful, so much so that we’ve even built an entire banking app from scratch and now support two of the five biggest banks in Poland! I am confident that Flutter is the future and that it’s only a matter of time before it becomes bigger, more popular, and surpasses native languages.
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