Can cross-platform tools surpass native development? — An in-depth comparison

Marc Slavec
Apr 15, 2019 · 3 min read

In recent years, I have attended a couple of mobile development conferences where cross-platform development was always present. With every new conference, the topic got even more exciting, so we at Parkside decided to re-evaluate the latest available options. Many clients are asking for a cross-platform approach to cut costs and still serve their product to a vast amount of users.

Let’s see if the assumption ‘Code once — serve all‘ can be proven as correct.

What is Flutter?

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Image Credit: Flutter

Flutter is Google’s open-source development kit to create 2D cross-platform apps. It’s based on the programming language Dart, also developed by Google. The application is compiled ahead-of-time into native ARM code which results in a better performance. Flutter is not supposed to be a wrapper on top of iOS/Android but draws the UI from scratch using a C++ Library called Skia (https://skia.org). The Flutter team promotes it as an efficient tool for prototyping because of its hot-reload functionality. If you are already familiar with object-oriented concepts, you can quickly adapt to Dart/Flutter without much mobile experience.

What is React Native?

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Image Credit: ReactNative

React Native is based on Facebook’s React JavaScript Library targeting mobile platforms. The framework was released in 2015 and allows developers to write native mobile applications using JavaScript. Many companies, among them Airbnb and Facebook, are using or have used it in production. The React Native bridge invokes native rendering APIs for iOS & Android, so it uses the platforms’ real UI components. Similar to Flutter, it also provides a hot-reload feature.

Comparison

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Photo by Dietmar Becker on Unsplash

From an outside perspective, cross-platform (mobile) development sounds like a great solution to lower development costs by saving time. In the case of iOS & Android, you could theoretically be twice as fast and cut the budget in half. Let’s see how these frameworks…

Curious about mobile development? Continue reading on parkside-interactive.com.

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