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React-native vs Flutter. What technology is the best for fast mobile MVP in 2022?
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React-native vs Flutter. What technology is the best for fast mobile MVP in 2022?

Native technologies are like dinosaurs; nobody wants to burn a budget and develop in old, unfriendly languages. So what to choose in 2022? In these times, everyone knows Flutter and React Native. In recent years, it could be challenging to make the right decision. Now it’s pretty easy. In this article, I will compare Flutter and React Native as the best cross-platform solutions on the market and indicate what would be better in your case.

What is cross-platform?

A cross-platform solution is a way of using one base code for different platforms. Does it work that we have one application and run on another system? It depends. Originally mobile applications were running from their native code, for iOS – Swift or Objective C and for Android – Kotlin or Java. They have different tools for creating the user interface, also works in different way, etc. Developing apps in native languages is totally fine. They are fast, we have access to any hardware, and we can use 100% performance of devices. This post is about cross-platforms. You will know – is that good or no?

Why cross-platform if we have unlimited possibilities for natives?

On market, we can find many cross-platform solutions. In this article, I will focus on React-Native and Flutter. Why? Because they’re the most popular technologies, f.e. on the chart below, you can see how many „threads” are open on StackOverflow and how their popularity looks in the last few years (It’s a portal where developers can ask technical questions). As you can see, Flutter is winning.

Anyway, when clients ask me about offers for android and ios apps natively, it’s natural that we also present Flutter offers. It’s good to compare that together and present differences in estimates and costs in your own case. Flutter is much cheaper than natives (about 40%), and faster in development with the same effectiveness (yes it’s possible). As a Codigee, we are Flutter Lovers, the young-determined team that wants to achieve the impossible. So when we should choose natives? Well, in my opinion, Flutter is enough for these times and doesn’t have any limitations. You will need native developers if you want to create home widgets or watch applications.

What’s more? – Did you hear about Fuchsia? 

Fuchsia is a modern open-source operating system that’s simple, secure, updatable, and performant.

Google wants to create a new OS for every device, desktop, mobile, headphones, etc. You can find more about Fuchsia here: https://blog.codemagic.io/fuchsia-os-preview/

On the chart above, you can see how diameter natives’ popularity fell down since Flutter and React-Native were released. So, as you can see, it’s a matter of time when cross-platform solutions like Flutter naturally will exclude natives. Why? Because they have outstanding performance, just think and ask yourself – why not choose a cheaper, faster, and more friendly developers solution?

Is Flutter a better choice, even to create a one-platform app?

If you are planning to use „USB-terminal,” camera, and GPS in a complex way and with „custom-solution” just in a single platform (like Android) – then you can choose Android natively. But anyway, in Flutter, we can easily create „native bridges” that provide us with every single API hardware we want to use. Flutter is much easier to develop apps faster, simpler, and more effectively. So we can create particular functionalities in Android and iOS. It’s much easier than in React-Native. Furthermore, it could be easier to create an app for another platform at any time later.

Flutter is much easier to maintain than a native app, so even if you plan just one platform app – Flutter will be cheaper and better in the long-term perspective. 

How does cross-platform work that we have just one code for both platforms?

Well, Flutter uses Dart as the language for programming apps; on both platforms, we run „Canvas engine,” it’s a kind of application. In this engine, Flutter draws every widget, and functionality, in at least 60 frames per second, etc.; what’s essential is Flutter is connected with Native apps via a bridge that, which is why it is so easy to use native hardware from Flutter (It’s like we run native apps, and native apps run Flutter Engine, Tip if someone has an app in Flutter, very often you can see a double splash screen, it’s possible to hide, but sometimes people don’t care of it – cause we run at the first native app, then Flutter app). Flutter Canvas Engine ensures us excellent performance and smooth UI. The UI will always be the same regardless of the operating system’s version and system because we use Flutter’s UI sets there. It could be different on each platform, but it’s customizable and depends on us. 

React native allows programming in JavaScript to produce the app’s UI, enabling it to build an app by a native bridge between mobiles. The bridge is an asynchronous communication between JavaScript and the Native element (it’s essential for RN). ReactNative is based on React. It’s a kind of interpreter; we are programming in React.js, then the react engine is translated to native-OS features. It’s an entirely different technology, but both can communicate. Next to Flutter, ReactNative is the most popular cross-platform solution, and it’s worth considering, especially if you have javascript developers.

Both are much easier to maintain, ensure we build MVP with better performance faster, and furthermore… We have one code for any platform, not only for mobiles but Desktops, Web too. (More about it in future articles)

Do cross-platforms cost two times less?

It’s a myth; sometimes, we must adopt some „hardware” features to each platform separately. So it’s also double-cost, but in most cases, we will write a simple user interface and handle logic and server communication which is typical for every platform, so cost is divided twice. 

Conclusions: Yes, it depends on the application; in most cases, it’s cheaper by 40%. If we use a lot of hardware and implement UI separately for each platform, the most significant advantage is that we don’t have to hire different developers; anyway, it will be cheaper by 10-30%.

Why is Flutter/React Native Development faster than native development?

1.  Hot Reload / Fast Refresh

Flutter and ReactNatives have some perfect tools like Hot Reload (In RN – Fast Refresh). Developers have to test their work, too; building applications from scratch consumes a lot of time. Hot reload ensures us that the effects of development will be shown immediately. That’s saving us a tremendous amount of time that we can use to consider developing new features and refactoring code. 

2. Up to 50% less testing of UI parts.

We have to test UI and logic on a single platform, apart from hardware features. So testing with camera/hardware should always be independent. It saves so much QA time too. 

3. Scalable, fast and modern MVP

In Codigee, we can develop the first working prototype in two weeks. MVP takes up to two months, depending on complexity. Cross-platform solutions are perfect for MVP; you can create it quickly for two platforms and don’t burn the budget on both platforms separately. A better choice is to develop more features but cross-platform or save money for marketing.

Do they have any cons? Yes, the size is a little bit bigger; the size has increased by ~50MB. What is not so much in these times

Comparison Flutter vs React-Native in 2022

NameFlutterReactNactive
What is it?Canvas engine (UI toolkit) to build native apps for mobile, web, and desktop from a one codebaseFrame for building native apps with React.js
Official releaseDecember 2018, Google I/OMarch 2015, F8 Conference
Owned/Created byGoogleFacebook
Programming languageDartJavaScript
PerformanceGreatGreat
Stars on Github143K in August 2022104k in August 2022
UI difference


Flutter doesn’t depend on the OS version, because it has its own “UI toolkit”. To save time we can use one of the Flutter widgets, or to achieve a native effect we can use both of them Cupertino and Materials. We can adjust the UI to iOS Cupertino (imitate Apple’s iOS design), or Android Materials (Android Material design), but don’t need it. It’s much faster than, aligning one UI for two platforms also we can less worry about maintenance because with all OS versions Flutter will render exactly the same UI.So this means that the Flutter app will look pretty the same as Android/iOS if you want to, without problems depends on version OS (updates etc.). 
ReactNative uses native components, so if they change with the OS version. Then will update your UI too, it’s a little bit more complicated to maintain at all.
Time-to-marketFlutter depends on its own widgets (UI toolkit) so it’s much faster than native development, and react native. Easier to maintain.Depends on native components that’s why, it requires separate adjustment/optimization for each platform which takes more time, a bit longer than Flutter.
Competitive advantage
Flutter vs ReactNative
– younger, more friendly, and adapted to new developers’ design patterns
– really good optimization,
– really fast-growing community, and popularity (still increasing)
– Flutter it’s relatively easy to start, with great documentation, and support.
– easier to maintain,
– native bridges work perfectly (we use any hardware that we want very easily)
– older
– javascript (it’s the most popular programming language), so if you have a lot of JS programmers, you definitely should consider RN,

Conclusions:

As a Developer and Co-Founder of Codigee, I cooperated with many CEOs of startups. No one regretted that they chose Flutter. In Codigee, we also developed many applications of different kinds, f.e. that streams live videos, e-commerce, and performance was perfect. We designed an app with a Bluetooth connection for external devices – it’s also working very well, and we created one banking app from scratch, and we are participating in developing two of the five biggest banks in Poland – everything’s safe. So, in the end, I think Flutter is the future, and for me, it’s a matter of time when Flutter will be more popular than natives. If you have any doubts after reading this article, feel free to ask me anything.

Eryk Kruk
Eryk KrukCo-CEO, co-founder, Flutter developer

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