Flutter vs React Native vs Ionic – the best tool for cross-platform apps

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Today, millions of users are using smartphones of different platforms such as Android or iOS. Once you’ve made up your mind to create an application for these smartphones, you will need particular frameworks. Smartphones usually run on different platforms and if you want to create applications for these platforms, you might look for tools which support cross-platform app development. There are plenty of options available and choosing an appropriate tool will help you to create an application which is better than the rest.

As most widely used frameworks are Flutter, React Native or Ionic that will surely help you to create a cross-platform app. But, the question is how will you choose the right one among them? How can you make a clear decision and decide whether which tool you are going to use for app development? To help you with that decision we will compare these frameworks, and based on the comparison you can choose the right framework for yourself.

Flutter
Flutter is an open source Google’s mobile UI framework which has shown the right way for developers to build mobile applications for iOS and Android. The building of apps and interfaces has been made possible by using a single codebase that is compiled directly to native arm code which makes it easier to access platforms APIs and services. Flutter allows the developer to make their mobile app in no time and also it uses Stateful Hot Reload feature that allows developers to change the code of the application without losing its state. Flutter is also embedded with a rich set of customizable widgets and allows the framework to integrate with some of the popular tools. That means you can easily start with the editor or IDE you are already familiar with.

Flutter also allows you to have complete control on every pixel on the screen by moving the widgets or adding gestures, animations or rendering into the framework which gives you the flexibility to build custom designs. Flutter framework also allows you to add platform conventions and interface details such as navigation, icons, fonts, scrolling and more. This framework is also great for both new and experienced developers.

React Native
React Native is a JavaScript framework for creating native mobile applications for iOS and Android. It is built upon the Facebook’s JavaScript library and allows the user to create user interfaces for mobile platforms instead of targeting browsers. In other words, it simply allows web developer to write codes using JavaScript library and create mobile applications that look native. As most of the code can be shared among different platforms React Native makes it easy to simultaneously develop a mobile application for both iOS and Android.

Thus, the applications which are built using React Native are usually written in a mixture of JavaScript and XML-esque markup languages known as JSX. React Native renders native APIs in Objective-C for iOS and Java for Android. Using React Native will not give you the feel of web views instead native applications will give you the look and feel similar to other mobile applications. The application which is built with React Native can access platforms features such as phone’s camera or location. This is possible because React Native also exposes JavaScript interfaces for platform APIs. Currently, it supports both Android and iOS platforms and still has the potential to expand its capacity with future platforms.

Ionic
Ionic is an open source and developer-friendly framework which lets the user create cross-platform mobile applications. Ionic has a different approach to developing the mobile application as compared to the other two. Ionic is a framework with which you can create hybrid mobile applications for cross-platforms like iOS, Android or Windows by utilizing mobile-friendly HTML, CSS and JavaScript language. The main focus of the Ionic framework is centered on the look, feel and UI interaction of a mobile application. It features UI components and a rich library of front-end building blocks that allow the user to create and develop a beautiful design, high-performance and progressive mobile applications using scripting languages like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

It is simple to create an application using web technologies which can be featured later in native app stores for the cross-platform devices. To host operating systems features such as camera, location or audio, etc., Ionic uses Cordova plugins which allows access to these features. Also, using the Angular package in Ionic will help the user in providing components and methods to interact with these features such as navigation or scrolling. Ionic is pretty easy for the users who are already familiar with web development.

Choosing the right framework
Reusable code – How these frameworks can help you to reuse your written code. Do they have the re-usability feature that can make your work easy?

Flutter: Flutter ensures to use the written code over again. If you want to re-style your specific platform, Flutter can be the right option to choose for reusability.
React Native: It also allows the user to re-use code but it only provides basic components to start with re-styling. It would require more work to achieve the proper styles for different platforms.
Ionic: The web app concept provides excellent re-usability to the user. It has a great library of adaptive components which simply helps the user to re-use their code for restyling and underlying platforms.
Third party libraries – Are there any third party libraries which you can use to add one specific feature which your application needs? Or any other external plugins which you can integrate into your framework to perform a particular function

Flutter: Although Flutter is new to the mobile app development it is still trending. There are various third-party packages available and you can find a lot of discussions regarding this framework.
React Native: React Native is popular and has more third-party packages which will help you to add on missing features onto your mobile app.
Ionic: It also includes various third-party packages but they might not compete with the usability which React Native can offer.
Popularity & Coverage – How many developers use and recommend these frameworks in an industry?

Flutter: Flutter has 30k Github stars and is becoming extremely trending now. As it is built by Google, it clearly wants to make this framework known to every developer.
React Native: React Native has 65k Github stars and is currently more popular than both the framework. It uses important web development language JavaScript with library React which makes it more popular.
Ionic: Ionic has a slight upper hand than Flutter in popularity as it has 35k Github stars. It is also popular among the web developers as it provides the possibility to create a mobile app using web technologies.
Rich Community – Does the framework have a rich community or online support?

Flutter: Although Flutter is new, there are plenty of tutorials and guides available online which can help you to start and develop your first mobile app.
React Native: React Native has a rich community and online support. There are plenty of skilled developers who are expert in JavaScript language that can provide solutions to any problems you are seeking.
Ionic: If you are a web developer and want to create a mobile app using support and guide, Ionic can be the right tool for you to start.

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