How to ensure your app runs across multiple platforms with the least effort?
The global online e-learning space received its biggest trigger in 2020, with the pandemic forcing closures of schools and colleges worldwide. The already buoyant market is forecasted to grow even further to a massive $374 billion by 2026, averaging a compounded growth rate of 14.6%.
If you are building an education or learning app, you probably want to know your development framework options. This article attempts to capture the essence of what stands out for each prospect, especially in developing a learning or educational app.
Flutter vs React Native: Mindshare
When it comes to cross-platform development frameworks, Flutter with 42% and React Native with 38% together controlled about 80% developer mindshare in 2021. This is as per the data drawn from the JetBrains Statista 2021 study with 31.7k developers surveyed worldwide. Essentially this means that you are in good hands between these two frameworks from a development stack perspective.
Impressive Deployed base
React Native wins hands down when it comes to popular consumer apps with a large volume user base: For example, Pinterest with over 250 million MAUs (monthly active users) and with 82% mobile users, FB Ads with over 5.4 million advertisers and 18 billion ad variations market to over 1 billion users, Instagram with over 500 mil daily active users (DAUs) and with 1 billion searches per day, are all built using React Native.
Examples of popular applications built using Flutter are Google Ads, the world’s most busy e-com marketplace – Xianyu by Alibaba, PostMuse (Instagram photo editor), Groupon (discount coupon and group deals marketplace), and eBay Motors. These apps also have significant scale, seamlessly work across platforms, and provide a superior user experience.
Flutter is an open-source UI SDK (software development kit) from stables of Google (2017) that helps develop cross-platform apps for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows, Google Fuchsia, and Web platform. The first version was code-named SKY and ran on Android. By September 2021, Dart SDK and Flutter version 2.5 were released. The update was targeted at improving Android, iOS full-screen mode, and other enhancements.
React Native is an open-source UI software framework created by Meta Platforms, Inc. (formerly Facebook) in 2013 and is used to develop applications for Android, iOS, macOS, Web, and Windows.
How Flutter Works
Flutter components: Flutter consists of the following parts briefly summarized here with their core functions.
Dart Platform Flutter runs in Dart VM with a JIT (Just in Time engine allowing stateful hot reload while the app is running, thus avoiding a restart or loss of state.
Flutter engine: C++ code is a portable runtime software for hosting Flutter applications and implements Flutter core libraries, file, and network I/O, plugin architecture.
Foundation Library: written in Dart, provides basic classes and functions used to construct Flutter apps and design specific widgets of 3 types: stateful, stateless, and inherited widgets. These are widely used for most Flutter applications.
How React Native Works
React Native runs in a background process, interprets Java Script directly on the end-device, and communicates with the native platform via serialized data over an asynchronous or batched bridge.
Syntax of React Native is like CSS, but it does not use HTML or CSS. The messages from JS threads are used to manipulate native views instead. React Native allows developers to write native code in Java, Kotlin for Android, Objective -C for iOS, C++, or C# for Win 10, making it even more flexible.
Ease of Start
Kickstarting Flutter development is simple. All you need to do is download the file for the OS you need, and you are ready to go with all documentation built into the official site.
React Native is also easy to use. Since the framework uses the UI library developed by Facebook, code creation is further simplified.
Learning Apps throw unique challenges based on specific use cases: a substantial volume of simultaneous users for test prep, online class streaming lessons, or gamified lessons with animations.
Both React Native and Flutter have several examples of holding forth in such challenging environments.
Cross-platform framework capabilities
Flutter: A single code base allows programmers to quickly adapt to a new platform avoiding detailed system study and planning, saving time and energy.
Flutter comes with high-performance widget ergonomics allowing low data exchange between the app and mobile platform. It also comes with the ability to compile into native code for Android and iOS.
A React Native project contains an iOS directory and an Android directory. These directories act as entry points into each platform. They include the code specific to each platform, and this is where the JS code is bridged for each platform.
Flutter’s components are all in-built, allowing cross-platform development from the get-go. Apps on Flutter are widget-based with customization allowing native-app look and feel. Code reusability in Flutter is about 80%.
With React Native, there are reports of large chunks of code base reuse – in many cases up to 80-85%.
Hot reload is a term used to describe a framework’s ability to insert code changes live on a running app without bringing it down and restarting. It is a powerful feature as it completely avoids restart and saves time in educational/learning environments.
React Native also supports the ‘Hot Reload’ feature allowing users to see code changes without compilation.
Google’s strong global support makes the developer community comfortable taking the plunge into Flutter.
Facebook has an enviable record of some of the largest software talent pools to support you on your development journey. On this front, too, there is not much difference between the two approaches, and either way, you will safely reach your goal.
The amazing thing about React Native apps is that they render an on-par experience to Native apps. Whether the context is text-heavy or fast transactions with rapid-load requirements, React Native has delivered at scale. This is what you see on Instagram and Pinterest with hundreds of millions of simultaneous users.
However, some users believe that React Native adds unnecessary complexity and is not best suited for CPU-intensive applications, typically leading to performance issues or degraded end-user experience.
Flutter or React Native?
Both Flutter and React Native are powerful platforms running large-scale businesses with widely available global developer support. The key parameters that will determine the choice of the platform are app requirements, use cases, user experience, and budget. Sage wisdom recommends – bringing in the experts.
Work with a suitably talented, experienced partner who can take a consultative position and advise you based on the need.
Build your cross-platform app with Trigent
That partner could be Trigent: a software development partner who can bring in expert opinion on multiple frameworks such as Xamarin, Flutter, Angular UI, JQuery, Appium, Cordova, and React Native and deliver to your exact requirements.