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Facebook vs Google and the Future of App Development

Flutter and React Native are next-level opportunities.

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Google's recent launch of Flutter and Facebook's React Native are helping to narrow the gaps between building hybrid and native apps. Both are changing the game but offer key differences worth considering.

Volkan Furuncu | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

It's critical to understand what each framework brings to the table so you can decide the best solution for what you want to achieve. Here are seven critical ways Google and Facebook are offering next-level app development opportunities with Flutter and React.

Related: Are Native Apps the Future of the Programming World?

1. Tool and IDE choice.

Being able to work in the development environment of your preference is crucial, as is ensuring it facilitates the tools you need across the different platforms and devices that your audience will use your app on. That is the reason it's important to leverage a framework where you can build your app using a wide selection of tools and integrated development environments or IDEs. When it comes to tool selection and IDE versatility between Flutter and React, React trumps Flutter.

Since React has been around longer than Flutter, it offers a wide variety of tools and IDEs developers can use. Developers have been able to test and use popular IDEs, such as Sublime Text and Atom, more than they have with Flutter.

Since its initial release in 2017, Flutter is only supported by three IDEs -- Android Studio, VS Code and Intelli IJDEA. However, Flutter offers a more streamlined approach to configuration and set up. 

2. Development time.

The time it takes for you to create an app is crucial, especially when you're working on a short timeline. It's important to determine the best framework to use when time is of the essence. Flutter is known for its fast development thanks to its hot reloading capabilities and customization via widgets. This helps you build native interfaces for your mobile apps in minutes. Still, React offers components that are built-in and ready to use. This helps make development even faster.

Related: App Development and The Healthcare Industry: The Eight Important Factors

3. Documentation.

If you don't have adequate support or know how to find the information you need to develop your hybrid or native app, you'll face roadblocks and learning curves. Flutter's documentation is structured and straightforward. It's simple to read due to its clear format and style.It's also simple to find information you need when using the documentation provided within Flutter. React's documentation differs greatly because it is much less structured and dependent on external development kits.

4. Client use.

If you want to make money in app development, you have to develop apps in environments and frameworks your clients use. When it comes to client adoption, React and Flutter have vast differences. React is more widely adopted by developers because more clients use this framework. The framework has been out since 2015 and is used to build and develop popular apps by large corporations, such as Skype, Uber, Wal-Mart, Pinterest and Tesla. This makes it easy to develop and build supporting apps for a wide variety of clients.

5. Language.

To create a mobile app effectively in a development framework, you have to know or familiarize yourself with the programming language. When it's time to develop and build mobile apps that work across different platforms, using a language that is easy to understand and is widely used among developers can prove crucial.

React and Flutter differ in this key development area because of the languages they support. Flutter uses Google's Dart programming language. With React, Developers can build apps using the popular programming language of JavaScript.

According to an IEEE Spectrum report, Javascript is among the top 50 mobile programming languages of 2018. Placing 8th, Javascript is used by 82.6 percent of developers, according to the report. That means React may provide a better solution for developing mobile apps. Plus, it's easier to debug compared to Dart.

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6. Performance.

If performance is important, then you may want to consider the capabilities of Flutter. Flutter offers higher app performance than React, thanks to its standard of 60 frames per second (fps). While React offers this capability, it's performance may fall short in comparison to Flutter due to its need to bridge interfaces with Javascript.

7. User interface.

The user interface of both React and Flutter differ greatly and can make a difference when you're planning which framework to use. If customization is crucial to designing a user interface that is unique to your app, then Flutter offers a variety of options. Flutter's UI is flexible thanks to its customizable widgets. It also offers smooth, natural scrolling and rich motion APIs and animations.

React offers a seamless experience with animation implementation in comparison to Flutter. This is due to its extensive options for external developer kits for UI. For example, you can use one of the many external UI kits React offers to create a compelling user interface, such as the React Native Material Kit.

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