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For cross-platform software development, ‘Flutter’ and ‘React Native’ are the two best solutions available in the market. Their popularity has been on the rise for a few years and for all the right reasons. Both of these technologies allow the users to develop apps with a single code base.

Whether the system being used is iOS or Android, the development using these apps is very fast and smooth. These technologies have revolutionized the app development landscape as the apps can be released quicker than ever with a small price to pay.

But in terms of user experience and speed, users prefer Flutter over React Native.

This blog will dive into the detail of why users might prefer Flutter over React Native for modern app development.

Flutter:

Flutter is a UI toolkit created by Google that can enable developers to come up with apps for mobile, web, desktop, and embedded devices using a single codebase. A single codebase requires the developer to write the code only once that will work on all platforms.

Flutter uses an object-oriented programming language called Dart. It has built-in support for highly customizable UI widgets. Apps built with this toolkit are very fast in performance as the Flutter SDK compiles the code written in Dart into native platform-specific code. Flutter also offers a very handy feature for developers called ‘Hot Reload.’

React Native:

Another popular alternative to hybrid mobile app development is React Native. It is a JavaScript library for building UI, created by Facebook. The code is written in JavaScript but the final UI on the device is native and specific to that device. It also offers single codebase and Hot Reload.

Flutter Vs. React Native: A Comparison:

Although both of them offer more or less same features, there is a huge difference in how both frameworks work behind the scene and their overall impact on performance.

Mechanism of React Native:

The language used to develop apps in React Native is JavaScript. On the other hand, language used to develop native apps in Android is Java, and for iOS it is Objective-C. React Native claims that the code written in JavaScript is rendered with native code. It means that there is some mechanism in place that allows JavaScript code to run in Android and iOS environments.

React native uses JavaScriptCore (JavaScript engine that powers Safari) to execute the code written in JavaScript. JavaScriptCore is already available in iOS platform. In case of Android, React Native bundles it along with the application. Hence the application size also increases in case of Android.

The next question is how the JavaScript code in execution communicates with the native code. For example, when you write code in JavaScript to open camera, it needs to tell iOS/Android native code to do the job. For this communication between JavaScript and device native code, a bridge is used.

React native vs javascript
Bridge used by React Native b/w JavaScript & Native code

When a React Native app is first loaded, the main or native thread is executed. The main thread executes the JavaScript Virtual Machine (JavaScriptCore) thread which executes the JavaScript code. The JavaScript code has all the business logic of the app being developed. The native thread sends a message via bridge to start the JavaScript application.

Once the application starts, it starts sending messages/instructions back to the native thread, and this way, a bi-directional communication starts. Unfortunately, the bridge acting as a broker between JavaScript and native code communication is an extra step which slows down the communication process and often creates a bottle-neck in React Native apps.

It not only slows down the app, but also uses extra hardware resources. To address this issue, React Native uses Virtual DOM, which minimizes the amount of data exchange via bridge.

Mechanism of Flutter:

Flutter, which was created two years after React Native, took a totally different approach and avoided the bridge altogether. Flutter compiles dart code into platform specific native code (which means there is no bridge for two different languages to communicate, just pure native code).

Flutter has its own widgets and a powerful rendering/graphics engine called Skia. It only uses the canvas of the relevant platform (iOS/Android) to draw widgets on screen. It means that Flutter has full control over screen and everything is highly customizable since it doesn’t depend on the native widgets.

A button drawn on screen using Flutter will look the same in Android, iOS, or any other environment (regardless of old or new OS version), unless you configure it to look different in each environment. In case of React Native, it will look different in Android, and different in iOS.

It can also look different in different versions of the same OS because when you get updates on your mobile phone, some UI elements also change with those updates.

Conclusion:

In comparison, Flutter is much faster than React Native. It is also less expensive, offers better performance, and has better compatibility with both iOS and Android than React Native.

Xavor has spent 25 years served industries from startups to fortune 500 brands that include but not limited to life sciences, healthcare, social networking, banking, IoT, multimedia, entertainment, and education. Our team of highly qualified UI/UX designers and skilled software engineers create AI-enabled adaptive and autonomous user experience following industry guidelines and trends to bring life to your great idea. If you are looking for superior app development services, reach out to our experts today!

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