In this article, we’re going to talk about whether you should spend your time learning react native or flutter to support mobile app development services in the IT industry.
I put together a couple of high-level topics to compare and contrast both these mobile frameworks. The two biggest things we’re going to talk about or come the big drivers and differences between the two are,
- The feature set
- The nature of the corporate sponsors
1. The feature set
Let’s talk about the differences and feature set between react native and flutter. Now a quick disclaimer here when I say feature set of React native or feature set of flutter,
I’m talking about what we get with react native and flutter out of the box without any additional third-party dependencies because as soon as we start installing dependencies well that’s something that we’ll get into about in a little bit.
So when we consider just react native by itself, we actually get a fairly limited number of features.
We get the ability to show content on the screen of the device and we also get some very solid access to different pieces of implementation or different features of the physical device itself. So, for example, the ability to access the camera the device, devices location or GPS location.
When we make use of React native. It has a very limited feature set and if we want to do anything advanced here like navigation, testing or anything else like that, we have to start reaching for third-party dependencies.
Now in the world of flutter, flutters really a battery included mobile framework. When you make use of flutter and you install it on your local machine that’s pretty much it.
You have everything you need to make a complete mobile application. There’s no need to reach out to some dependency management, install some number of additional packages that are going to give you access to navigation, testing or state management.
You just install flutter and generate the application and that’s it.
You really got everything you need. Now general, this is kind of falls in favor of flutter because it means that we don’t have to rely upon these third-party libraries that are authored by other developers who kind of might be maintaining this library as a side project or just something.
I kind of trust flutters, an ability for navigation over some third-party dependency for navigation with React native. For the feature set, I personally think that flutter wins.
2. Corporate sponsors
Now the big question here is, why did Facebook and Google open source both these mobile frameworks. That’s the big question. I’ve got a couple of ideas here.
So I think in the case of Facebook, they open sourced react native because I want to get more developers testing to react native, writing code for it developing tests, making sure that it works the way they expect and I think that’s probably the case of flutter as well.
Secondly, I think that in the case of Facebook with React native, I very much believe that they open source react native to kind of generate interest and buzz over their engineering department, make you think ohh! wow!.
“They authored react native well that’s a great solution! that’s a great mobile framework! I think the engineering team at Facebook is really strong and top-notch and I would want to work there!”
By open sourcing react native, they’re kind of generating a little bit of buzz and marketing for the company itself. Now, this is not something that I’m guessing on a story here.
A couple of years ago my friend went to a react native Meetup. He met some of the core developers of react native and this was a question he very directly asked them,
“Why did you open source react native?”
The answer that he got back very directly was, it increases the visibility of Facebook and in the development community. So honestly, that’s what was communicated to him and even though it’s a couple of years old, I still believe it to that day.
Now let’s definitely true if Google as well by open sourcing flutter, they get the ability for people to think wow.
“Google engineers are top-notch! They made something as awesome as flutter! That’s just terrific”
However, In the case of flutter, There’s one very big additional thing that kind of goes in favor of flutter. When Google made flutter they didn’t do it. Just open source the mobile framework and say “hey if you want to build a mobile app here you go!”
In reality, they built flutter because Google owns Android and they have a huge financial stake in Android. They want you as a developer to build applications for Android.
It is Google’s interest to make sure that developing applications for Android are as easy and straightforward as possible.
So personally, I believe that’s a big reason why Google open-source flutter and why they created it in the first place. They want to make applications to be very easy and very straightforward.
This is something that kind of falls in favor of Google.
Google wants you to have a very easy time to make applications and that’s a point in favor of Google and they want it to be easy, write their documentation, make the tools that are gonna make everything they can as easy as possible for you to learn flutter and get started with it.
Not quite so much the case with Facebook and react native. If you use react native that’s great but at the end of the day if you decide not to use it, well that’s kind of all the same to them. That’s kind of my take on the corporate sponsors behind.
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