hero image of blog post - Xamarin vs. Flutter vs. React Native
Authors
Stanislav Naborshchikov
Stanislav Naborshchikov

Solutions Specialist

Irek Róg
Irek Róg

Frontend & Mobile Tech

Xamarin vs. Flutter vs. React Native

What is the best choice for the fast and cost-effective development of a cross-platform mobile application in 2021? We have compared three technologies — Xamarin, Flutter, and React Native — so that you can determine which cross-platform framework for your application will be the best.

Flutter

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a cross-platform open SDK developed by Google for mobile applications using the Dart language. With its help, you can build applications for iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, Mac, and Google Fuchsia from a single source code, as well as web applications. Flutter is suitable for developing both MVP and large applications.

Flutter scored 121 thousand stars on Github and, according to a Stackoverflow survey, entered the top three most popular frameworks, libraries, and tools in 2020.

Examples of applications on Flutter:

  • Google Ads

  • Alibaba

  • Square

  • eBay

  • Hamilton Musical

  • Reflect

  • Groupon

  • Cryptomaniac

  • SpaceX Go

  • Realtor.com

Advantages of Flutter

Flutter has many advantages, including:

  • a rich selection of widgets with which applications look great;

  • an active, growing community;

  • excellent documentation and support from the development team make it easier to learn and use;

  • the ability to build versions of the application for different platforms from the same source code;

  • quick product launch on the market.

Thanks to Flutter for Web, you can develop Android and iOS apps as well as web apps using the same codebase. Flutter for Web is well suited for developing progressive web applications (PWA), single-page applications (SPA), and creating web versions of existing mobile applications.

React Native

What is React Native?

React Native is a free, open-source framework released by Facebook in 2015. It allows you to develop cross-platform applications for iOS, Android, Windows, and mac OS. Since React Native uses JavaScript and React architecture, it is easy to create web versions of these applications.

React Native is a popular framework with an active community. He has almost 96 thousand stars on Github.

Examples of applications on React Native:

  • Instagram

  • Facebook

  • Skype

  • Pinterest

  • Afterparty

Advantages of React Native

React Native has many advantages, including:

  • the durability of applications;

  • large professional community;

  • the framework is easy to learn, it offers a lot of high-quality manuals and libraries;

  • common code for developing web and PC applications.

  • React Native is well suited for creating mobile applications in JavaScript and cross-platform development using a single code base.

Xamarin

What is Xamarin?

Xamarin is a free, open-source mobile app development platform with over 60,000 contributors. Xamarin is a natural solution for C# developers seeking to solve the problem of the separation of technological resources when developing applications. This is an extension of the development platform .NET, which allows you to create applications for OS, Android, and Windows. 

Examples of applications on Xamarin:

  • Novarum 

  • Crédito Agrícola

  • Caption

  • Turkish Airlines

Advantages of Xamarin

Xamarin has many advantages, including:

  • Single Technological Stack

  • Native User Experience

  • Shareable Code

  • Time and Costs Saving

Comparison of Dart, JavaScript, and C#

All Flutter React Native and Xamarin are excellent frameworks for developing cross-platform mobile applications, they have a lot in common. The main difference is in the programming language: React Native uses JavaScript, while Flutter uses Dart and Xamarin - C#.

On the one hand, JavaScript has already proven itself and played a key role in dynamic web development. On the other hand, Dart, a modern language that appeared in 2011, thanks to ahead-of-time and just-in-time compilers, can double the performance compared to JavaScript.

If speed is the main thing for you, then Flutter/Dart is a clear leader.

The similarity between React Native, Flutter & Xamarin

All frameworks are free and open source. All of them allow you to develop cross-platform applications and can boast:

Constant support — Google and Facebook continuously support React Native and Flutter, and quickly fix bugs, so both frameworks are reliable;

  • Customizability — since both platforms are open source, they have more customization options than other solutions;

  • Excellent user interface — although Flutter uses widgets and React Native UI components, both platforms allow you to create wonderful user interfaces;

  • Hot reload — developers see user interface changes in real-time without having to manually refresh the page;

  • Fast cost-effective development - creating cross-platform applications from a single code base speeds up development while saving resources.

Creating a user interface (UI)

And now let's take a closer look at the differences between React Native and Flutter. One of them concerns the creation of a user interface.

React Native uses native components of the iOS and Android user interface. Therefore, the components of the React Native application look the same as the components of the corresponding platform. If the OS update changes the appearance or functions of these components, they will be updated in your application in the same way. The plus is that you may have to release new releases less often, and the minus is that OS updates can disrupt the operation of your application.

Flutter, instead of using native UI elements, offers customizable widgets that are drawn from scratch. UI development using Flutter involves extensive customization. You can use the Cupertino widget library to make the interface look native, or you can create something completely individual. You have the option to use and adapt any widget in the Flutter library or develop your own widgets.

From the business point of view

Both platforms separate the user interface from the business logic, but Flutter uses the block method for this, and React Native uses the Flux pattern. To avoid performance degradation, the block pattern uses asynchronous methods, structuring, and threads, so scrolling and animation work smoothly even when loading data.

React Native allows you to reuse the business logic of the application on different platforms. This not only speeds up development but also helps to reduce the number of errors. In addition, using React Native, you get access to a huge ecosystem of JavaScript libraries.

Documentation

As for documentation, Flutter comes first here. Thanks to the excellent documentation, beginners simply choose this framework and start using it. The React Native documentation is much more complex and assumes that the user already has experience with JavaScript.

Community support and popularity of Flutter vs React Native vs Xamarin

Statistics of Flutter and React Native communities as of May 2022

Github: Flutter has 121 thousand stars, and React Native has 95.6 thousand.

Reddit: subreddit Flutter has 71.3 thousand users, and subreddit React Native has 75.9 thousand users.

StackOverflow: 88,563 questions were asked about Flutter and 99,856 questions about React Native.

Facebook: 137.7 thousand developers on Flutter versus 131.4 thousand developers on React Native.

Twitter: 143.9 thousand Flutter subscribers and 110.9 thousand React Native subscribers.

The size of the communities is about the same. However, the Flutter community is more active and constantly growing. It is expected that the future of cross-platform application development lies with Flutter.

Efficiency

Performance is an extremely important aspect when choosing a framework, and in this area, Flutter wins again. It speeds up code writing, and the C++ engine and the Skia graphics library allow you to create high-performance applications for all platforms.

React Native uses a bridge for the relationship between JavaScript and native code. Sometimes this delays the rendering of the user interface and leads to other performance issues. Since Flutter connects to native elements through built-in libraries and frameworks, it does not need such mechanics.

Conclusion

Other hybrid frameworks for mobile application development cannot compare with these leading technologies. There are few alternatives for Flutter and React Native, so they are the best candidates for developing cross-platform applications. However, Flutter is more modern than React Native, with higher performance, better documentation, and customization options. Flutter is able to provide you with faster, scalable, and high-performance applications compatible with numerous platforms.

If you want to develop your cross-platform application using Flutter, fill out the form below, we will contact you soon and discuss everything.

Matt Sadowski / CEO of Mobile Reality
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