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Under the Lens - React Native vs Flutter vs Angular

Aug 28, 2020

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Written by Sudeepa Bose

The building of cross-platform mobile apps is trending in the digital era. However, choosing the best frameworks for your web development project is still one of the most vexing tasks ever.

This article puts three of the top development frameworks—Angular, React Native, and Flutter—under the lens of comparison. These are the three most popular cross-platform mobile development frameworks that are being used to build thousands of mobile apps today.

Throughout most of the decade, Angular was the ruler of the industry as a framework. Its name was the most used term in the IT landscape. As a framework for JavaScript, Angular was as popular as frameworks used for other programming languages, like Java and C#.

On the other hand, both React Native and Flutter are relatively new and come with a lot of similar advantages, awesome tooling, and native features. However, all three do have their differences.

Let’s compare React Native, Flutter, and Angular based on several factors:

  • Language
  • Unit Testing
  • Performance
  • User Interface (UI/UX)
  • Community Support

In the end of this article you’ll find a list of companies using React Native, Flutter and Angular.

Language

  • React: React is based on the JavaScript ES6+ language along with JSX, which is an extension to JavaScript’s syntax that makes the JavaScript code mirror code written in HTML. Developers find coding in JavaScript easy, and in turn, learning React is very easy for any JavaScript developer.

  • Flutter: Flutter apps are written in a language called Dart, which is comparatively easy to learn and understand and is a promising programming language for cross-platform development. However, it does not have the same popularity as JavaScript. A developer getting on the Flutter boat would have to learn Dart first. Typically, developers who hail from a C++/Java background can relate to Dart better than JavaScript developers.

  • Angular: Angular employs TypeScript, which is a superset of JS built for more extensive projects. TypeScript is relatively compact compared with JavaScript. This assists in easy navigation and makes the code refactoring process simpler and faster. Angular is a rewrite of AngularJS—a JavaScript framework—that has been improved for more user-friendly TypeScript usage.

Unit Testing

  • React: Developers using React have all the JavaScript frameworks available for testing at a unit level. However, when it comes to UI and automation testing, conditions are not as sunny. Although you may find plenty of third-party libraries that are available, there is no clear panorama there.

  • Flutter: Flutter is the new kid in the block when it comes to frameworks. Testing a new framework can be challenging, but Flutter employs Dart, which provides an outstanding unit testing framework. Flutter also provides you with an excellent choice for testing widgets on a headless runtime at unit test speeds.

  • Angular: In Angular, testing and debugging for a complete project is achievable with a single tool, like Protractor, Jasmine, or Karma. Another great tool that debugs the app in development mode is the browser extension Augury.

Performance

  • React Native: You will ideally need a bridge in React to call Swift, Windows, Android, or Mac APIs. Developers face issues while creating hybrid apps but seldom encounter performance-related issues for native apps. React offers seamless performance in all typical cases and is highly reliable.

  • Flutter: Flutter uses Dart, which keeps Flutter ahead of the race. Moreover, there is no JavaScript bridge in Flutter to initiate interactions with native components of the device, which accelerates the running time and speed of development drastically. The animation standard of Flutter has been set at 60fps, which indicates its high performance. Lastly, since Flutter is compiled into the native ARM code for both iOS and Android, it never faces any performance issues.

  • Angular: AngularJS is recognized for its moderate performance while dealing with complex and dynamic applications. React and Flutter apps perform quicker than Angular apps of the same size. However, some new versions of Angular are somewhat faster compared with React.

User Interface (UI/UX)

  • React: React App Development uses third-party libraries since it does not have its own UI components library. React Native Material Design and Shoutem are two examples of UI libraries that are accessible to users. React Native is similar to employing HTML without a CSS framework. Compared with Flutter, React Native’s UI is based more on the native components for both iOS and Android. It also provides a more agreeable user experience (UX) when a user accesses the operating system.

  • Flutter: Flutter incorporates elegant, built-in Material Design and Cupertino, like rich motion APIs, iOS-flavor widgets, smooth uniform scrolling, and platform awareness. Flutter has its own individual UI components, adaptable widget sets, and material design along with an engine that helps to render them on iOS and Android.

  • Angular: Angular has an inbuilt Material tech stack. It comes with a lot of pre-built material design components. This makes the UI configuration extremely agile and simple.

Community Support

  • React: React was released as open source on GitHub in 2015 and is the most popular framework on Stack Overflow. It is backed by a massive community, with over 89k stars on GitHub, 58.4k users on its subreddit, and a great deal of support on Stack Overflow. This is why they have more third-party libraries/plugins than Flutter.

  • Flutter: The Flutter community support can be seen in its 98k stars on GitHub, 47.6k-user subreddit as well as on Stack Overflow. Even though Dart did not receive much admiration in the Stack Overflow developer survey, early blog posts have given positive feedback about the use of Flutter. Moreover, their documentation is very thorough and addresses all the questions posted within an acceptable time frame.

  • Angular: Angular is constantly and actively supported by Google, which keeps advancing the Angular ecosystem. Since 2018, it also provides a framework with LTS (Long-Term Support). According to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey, the number of developers working with Angular is higher than those working with React and Flutter.

Companies using React/Flutter/Angular

React

  • Netflix
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Airbnb
  • Cloudflare
  • Dropbox

Flutter

  • Alibaba
  • Reflecting
  • Hamilton Musical
  • JD Finance
  • Abbey Road Studios app

Angular

  • Google
  • Microsoft Office
  • Upwork
  • HBO
  • General Motors
  • YouTube

Conclusion

There is no right answer to the question of which is the best among React, Flutter, and Angular. The answer to this question always depends on several factors, including your business needs and use-cases. Even though this article lists out all the major differences between all three, they are all powerful contenders as frameworks and have their own sets of pros and cons.

And that’s a wrap!


Sudeepa Bose is a freelance writer from India. She’s a writer throughout the day and a reader by the night. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature and has experience spans over 7 years into IT, Tech, and content writing in diverse fields. You can reach her on LinkedIn.

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