These days, everyone appears to be developing mobile applications for their Chat Application. And rightly so. Because if you don’t target mobile app users today, you’ll be missing out on nearly 5 billion potential clients. As a result, software companies make every effort to integrate mobile applications development into their offerings, with many opting for a mobile-first strategy.
People prefer to use a mobile app to a mobile website, which is understandable.
You already know you need to have a mobile app if you want to develop a chat application. The next step is to figure out how to make it rapidly and affordably.
And what’s the answer? It’s done with the help of a cross-platform framework like Flutter or React Native. These frameworks enable you to target the two most popular mobile platforms (iOS & Android) with a single codebase, saving both time and money.
In this blog, we’ll compare Flutter with React Native in the context of creating a chat application.
Flutter vs React Native – Overview
Before we get into the intricacies of cross-platform app development with them, let’s take a look at the fundamental characteristics of Flutter & React Native
Both frameworks were designed to focus on mobile app development like Chat Application and have matured into tools that support online and desktop apps as well. They both employ a single programming language & are open-source. There are, nevertheless, some distinctions.
Both React Native & Flutter, as previously mentioned, are frameworks that allow developers to create cross-platform (often known as hybrid) mobile apps with a single codebase created in a single programming language.
If you didn’t use one of these frameworks, you’d have to write two separate apps in 2 different languages with 2 distinct codebases if you wanted to develop a native app for both iOS as well as Android. For smaller development teams, this may be a major burden because it entails more time and money. Even large firms with loads of resources, such as Pinterest or Skype, have decided to create their mobile apps using a cross-platform framework.
Flutter vs. React Native – Ecosystem and Compatibility for Chat Application
React Native began as an internal Facebook project and was formally published as an open-source framework in 2015.
Flutter is a Google open-source project that was launched in 2017.
As open-source projects, Flutter and React Native have a significant benefit in that both the corporation and the community contribute to the project with bug fixes and improvements.
Flutter is compatible with iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Linux, to name a few. You may ship apps on these OSs using the same codebase. The following operating platforms are supported by React Native: Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and tvOS. Web applications are supported by both frameworks. There isn’t much of a difference between the two, as you can see.
Pub, on the other hand, is a Dart and Flutter package repository with only 26,000 products.
If you’re making a chat application, you’ll probably want to know if your chat SDK works with React Native or Flutter. At the moment, CometChat only supports React Native. If you don’t want to utilize Flutter, you’ll need to find another chat solution or start from scratch.
Flutter vs. React Native – How do they work?
Flutter – Rather than using web view or the device’s OEM widgets, Flutter draws each view component with its own high-performance rendering engine. This enables the development of apps with native-like performance features. On Android, the engine’s C/C++ code is compiled with NDK, whereas on iOS, it is produced with LLVM. During compilation, any Dart code is AOT-compiled to native code.Widgets are the building blocks of the Flutter app (Stateless or Stateful). These Widgets get rendered and provided to the platform on a Skia canvas. The platform displays the canvas and responds with events.
Flutter vs. React Native – Features
Let’s see the features of these two and understand the concepts of React Native and Flutter better.
React Native to Build Chat Application
Features of React Native
The features of React Native are as follows:
- Platforms React Native is compatible with the iOS and Android operating systems.
Flutter is a simple & high-performance framework based on the Dart programming language that enables great speed by presenting the user interface directly in the operating system’s canvas instead of through a native framework.
Flutter also provides a plethora of ready-to-use widgets (UI) for building a contemporary application. These widgets are intended for mobile environments, and creating an application with them is as straightforward as creating HTML.
Features of Flutter to build Chat Application
The features of Flutter are as follows:
- Framework that is modern and reactive.
- Uses Dart as a programming language which is fairly simple to learn.
- User interfaces that are both attractive and smooth.
- A massive widget catalog.
- The same UI is used across many platforms.
Dart offers a huge software package repository that allows you to increase the functionality of your application. Developers just need to build one code base for both apps (both Android & iOS platforms). Flutter might be expanded to additional platforms in the future. Moreover, flutter requires less testing. Because of its single code base, you only need to develop automated tests once for both systems.
React Native vs. Flutter – Performance
To understand why they have varying performance levels, we must examine two factors: how each framework is built & how each framework communicates with native modules.
- Flutter converts its whole software into native ARM C/C++ libraries that are extremely near to the machine language. This offers Flutter near-native speed and makes it quicker than React Native.
Flutter vs. React Native – Difficulty level
Understanding a framework’s complexity level is important because it helps you to estimate how quickly a developer unfamiliar with the framework might build your chat application.
React Native is easier than Flutter in terms of installation and setup. To install React Native, first, obtain NodeJS & Yarn, then use the command line to install the framework itself.
To use Flutter, you must first download the mobile platform binary and afterward add it to the PATH variable. Flutter installation necessitates more settings and, as a result, takes longer.
Each framework has its own set of complications and subtleties. You’ll need to understand how each framework handles issues like state management & bridging to native modules, for example. When it comes to complexity, though, there isn’t really much of a difference between React Native & Flutter. If you’re starting from scratch, learning each framework will take approximately the same amount of time.
Any possible benefits of adopting Flutter are outweighed by the advantages of using a known framework.
React Native and Flutter – Learning Curve
When comparing documentation, however, the exact opposite is true: Flutter’s official documentation is straightforward and extensive, and it starts with the fundamentals. The documentation for React Native, on the other hand, is geared toward more experienced developers & presumes that they already know how the environment’s set up works.
Which Is Easier To Learn?
React Native vs. Flutter – Developer’s Experience
The interactions and thoughts that a developer experiences while working with technology, or in this example, a framework, to achieve a certain goal are referred to as the developer’s experience. The more pleasant it is to work with technology, the better the development experience is. Here, factors like simplicity of use, performance, documentation, and tooling all play a role.
Setup and Project Configuration
Installing the framework and creating a new project should be simple and uncomplicated in order to deliver a positive experience.
Flutter, on the other hand, must be installed as a binary and added to the PATH variable. Here’s how to get started.
Both frameworks need the installation and use of Xcode and command-line tools. While both frameworks provide extensive documentation, we discovered that using NPM to build up a React Native project from scratch is a little faster and easier.
Good documentation is one of the most critical features of a developer-friendly framework. Developers must be able to get answers to their concerns and fix any issues that develop fast.
The documentation for both React Native and Flutter is fantastic. The documentation for React Native contains changeable code examples including outputs. While Flutter’s documentation lacks editable code examples, it compensates for this by providing a wealth of information. You won’t need to go further for information; Flutter’s docs will suffice.
This one is a tie because both frameworks have outstanding documentation.
React Native is heavily reliant on third-party libraries for UI development, as its basic functionality is limited to UI rendering & APIs for device access. The Flutter framework, on the other hand, includes a user interface rendering engine, testing, stateful management, navigation, Flutter widgets, and several libraries.
Both frameworks offer a feature called Hot Reload that allows developers to rapidly assess their changes without having to recompile their code. The development process is substantially accelerated by using Hot Reload.
React Native vs. Flutter – Developer Tooling
Tooling is another important aspect of the development experience. When tools are provided to speed up the development process, a framework or technology is more fun to use.
Hot reloading & debugging are two of the most significant tools choices for mobile app development.
Instead of needing to manually recompile after every code change, hot reloading allows you to make a code change and observe the effect on the client right away. Hot reloading is available in both Flutter and React Native.
Debugging is the most time-consuming and unpleasant component of programming, as any developer will tell you. For a favorable development experience, a competent debugger is crucial. Flutter comes with DevTools, which lets you inspect and change the layout, troubleshoot memory concerns, measure app size, and more. There’s also a debugging tool in React Native. React Developer Tools is the name of their product. They also have Flipper, an expandable desktop program that provides the same capabilities as Flutter’s DevTools.
The built-in CI/CD feature in Flutter allows you to launch your mobile apps to the App Store & Google Play, albeit the App Store can be a little more challenging. The procedure is well-documented and enables command-line deployment, making it quick and uncomplicated.
Because there is no integrated CI/CD support for React Native apps, manual deployment is the only option. You may, however, deploy your apps using a third-party CI/CD platform.
IDE & Code Editor Support
While developing with a framework, using your chosen code editor or IDE greatly improves the speed and simplicity of adoption.
However, because Dart is a lesser-known language, many IDEs and code editors do not provide Dart syntax highlighting out of the box. Flutter programming is best done with one of the following IDEs: Android Studio, IntelliJ, VS Code, or Emacs, according to the Flutter maintenance team. This is due to the fact that they have created dedicated Dart plugins for certain IDEs.
You’ll have to learn a new IDE if you select Flutter and aren’t familiar with one of the Flutter-approved IDEs. If you use React Native, on the other hand, you may continue to use and enjoy any IDE or code editor you like.
Flutter vs. React Native – Developer Community
A strong community is important for open-source projects such as Flutter and React Native. The greater the community, the more likely somebody will produce a useful open-source library, the most Stack Overflow questions will be answered, and project defects will be resolved more quickly. The developer community is a strong litmus test for an open-source project’s health and predicted sustainability.
There are a number of factors that can help us determine how robust an open-source project’s development community is, including:
- Stack Overflow tag analytics track how many questions regarding a given framework are asked on the site each month. When comparing Flutter and React, we can observe that Flutter surpassed React Native in terms of the amount of queries asked in early 2020. Since then, Flutter has remained on top.
- The stars in the project’s Github repository are another indicator of its popularity. React Native has 99.6k stars as of December 2021. Flutter has a total of 133k stars.
- The popularity of a search phrase is measured by Google Trends. When we compare Flutter with React Native, we can observe that Flutter has higher monthly searches.
- The frequency with which developers submit articles regarding the framework on Medium is the last metric of popularity. There are 16.1k posts about React Native authored by 8.4k distinct writers as of December 2021. Flutter, on the other hand, has 18.2k tales written by 7.2k distinct authors.
React Native or Flutter – Which one to choose for your project?
Both frameworks have shown their performance and efficiency in cross-platform programming. Their differences, on the other hand, define the kind of apps that React Native or Flutter are best suited for.
You should choose React Native if –
- For functionality, you must rely on a large number of open-source modules.
- You have to rely on the development community for advice and information.
- You wish to make use of native OS features.
You should choose Flutter if –
- Dart is a programming language that your development team is comfortable with.
- Your project’s performance optimization is important.
- Outside of the conventional native UI elements, you must deliver a personalized experience.
Are you ready to dive right in? To get started on your chat application development, contact our team
If you have any lingering questions, feel free to contact our experts to get answers before you begin.