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Flutter vs React Native vs Kotlin: what is better for your app?

Nowadays, people can't go a day without checking their phones for updates and notifications. We all know that mobile app development is now one of the fastest-growing industries globally.

25 January, 2022
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Nowadays, people can't go a day without checking their phones for updates and notifications. The popularity of social media has only accelerated this trend. We all know that mobile app development is now one of the fastest-growing industries globally, with many new technologies emerging every day. With over one billion people using smartphones worldwide, it's important that developers know which framework to use when developing their next app.

Flutter, React Native, and Kotlin (Next.js vs ExpressJS as well) are all competing for what is seen as the best to create apps with. Get an overview of the three frameworks before diving into choosing between them.

Flutter: advantages and disadvantages

The most popular competitor to React Native today is Flutter from Google, released in 2017. It might be a little young compared to other native-development platforms, but it indeed is full of functionalities and surprises.

Why use Flutter?

Well, if you're an app developer looking for a cross-platform solution for app development services that's easy to learn and has a growing community of developers, Flutter might be the perfect option. It means that developers are able to build apps for both platforms without having to work on two separate projects. It can be used to build apps for Android and iOS and desktop operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux.

The development language for Flutter is Dart which has a fast compile time, excellent tooling support, and a modern programming language. It integrates well with existing codebases as it can be used on top of Objective-C or Java code. Flutter also has a special UI framework built on Google's Dart language, making it easy to create rich animations with an intuitive API (application programming interface).

Flutter vs React Native vs Kotlin languages

Flutter can be used with any IDE or text editor, meaning that developers are not tied down to using only one specific tool while building their apps. It provides a set of tools for creating a development environment, integrating with the platform, building packages, and testing and deploying apps. The hot reload allows you to deploy fast and check results in real-time, saving a lot of work for developers. Increased development speed thus results in better performance of the native apps across all platforms.

Why don't use Flutter?

  • many tools and frameworks are needed to develop an application
  • poor documentation with no examples
  • limited support from third-party libraries
  • does not support older versions of Android

React Native: advantages and disadvantages

React Native is a JavaScript framework from Facebook that allows developers to create cross-platform mobile apps. It is an open-source framework, so developers can use it without paying any licensing fee or royalty to Facebook.

Why use React Native?

The main advantages of React Native are its UI flexibility, cross-platform compatibility (iOS and Android), and reduced time-to-market. These make it a popular choice amongst startups who want to create a prototype quickly without hiring a dedicated team of engineers.

React Native offers the ability to share code between platforms. This framework uses an approach called "learn once, write anywhere," which means that developers only need to learn one set of tools in order to create native mobile apps across different platforms. The time required for building an application using this framework is significantly lower than other frameworks like Phone Gap or Xamarin because of its well-established library of components.

The main advantage of React Native is its ability to reuse most of the business logic code across different platforms and reduce the need for multiple development teams to maintain an application separately for each platform.

It has been around for a few years now, but it remains one of the most popular frameworks among startups because it helps them save time and money. It is now used not only by Facebook but also by many other companies, including Airbnb, Uber, Discord, Skype, and Walmart.

Apps developed in Flutter, React Native, Kotlin

Why don't use React Native?

  • difficult to debug
  • limited native UI components
  • native developers needed
  • App performance lacks

Kotlin: advantages and disadvantages

Kotlin Multiplatform is a new cross-platform framework for building mobile applications. It can be used to create Android, iOS, and Web apps. It's also possible to use the same code base in all three platforms with minor changes.

Why use Kotlin?

This framework has many benefits when compared to other frameworks like React Native or Flutter. The main benefit of Kotlin Multiplatform is that it requires less code than other frameworks since Kotlin is concise, whereas languages like Java are verbose. This means that you would have more time to focus on the application logic rather than focusing on boilerplate code, which could lead to better quality software.

​​The advantage of Kotlin Multiplatform is that it doesn't require you to use JavaScript as the bridge between your application and the native platform, so there are no performance issues with running your app on both platforms at the same time. It can be used for developing both web and mobile apps simultaneously, so you don't need to use different languages or frameworks for each of them.

Another significant advantage of Kotlin Multiplatform is its easy learning curve for developers who already know Java or C# from using those languages in their day-to-day work. It also offers more flexibility than other frameworks in terms of UI design (be sure to check our dashboard design for mobile applications blog post) due to its use of XML layouts rather than JavaScript-based UIs, which native APIs limit.

Why don't use Kotlin?

  • limited library availability
  • lacks some features like hot reloading
  • smaller community
  • more development resources needed

Which one of these three frameworks should you choose?

Two major factors will influence which development tool you should use: your skill level and the type of app you want to create. Keep in mind that while both React Native and Flutter allow developers to write their code once for mobile development, Kotlin Multiplatform also supports web-based applications with JavaScript rendering abilities.

Another thing you need to consider is that if you have coding experience but don't know any mobile languages, then React Native would be a good choice since it's written in JS. If you're an expert with web technologies but want to create a rich user interface on iOS or Android, then Flutter would be best for your needs.


CEO and Founder of Merge

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

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