React Native and Flutter are two most frequently used technologies to develop hybrid or cross-platform applications for mobile phones. As mobile Apps are becoming more and more prevalent, App companies have started preferring hybrid app development technologies over the native ones. Like native apps, hybrid Apps too need to be tested before deployment. Now, before we explain how testing occurs on the two, we will briefly cover more about the technologies in consideration.
What are Cross Platform Apps & Hybrid and how are they different from Native Apps?
Cross-platform Apps are mobile apps built to function smoothly on all popular mobile operating systems (OS) such as Android, iOS, and Windows by using a single uniform codebase. Hybrid apps are similar to Cross Platform in that they work on the same codebase as that of the latter but hybrid apps go on to include elements of mobile and web-apps so as to deliver a uniform experience across platforms. In comparison, Native Apps are those that are built in accordance to a given OS, using the underlying execution engine and the libraries that the OS offers.
Both Cross-platform and Hybrid apps are the choice of every business today as they significantly reduce the coding hours your team would spend building apps. If you develop hybrid apps, only a small part of the code needs to be changed for a new OS while Native Apps need to be built from scratch, more or less. Although, hybrid apps have one con that is that the App payload is increased and that the overall user experience is not as rich as that of a native App. Having said that, the highly reduced time to market and low resource requirement makes it the clear winner.
What is React Native?
What is Flutter?
Flutter is a Software Development Kit (SDK) that’s developed by Google and used to build cross-platform mobile apps. It’s based on Dart, an object-oriented programming language developed again by Google.
Testing Apps built using React Native and Flutter
While both Flutter and React Native are high performing and easy to use technologies when it comes to deploying apps, testing mobile apps that are built using any one of the two technologies varies. We compared both and evaluated which one is easier to test on. And the comparisons show that testing Apps built using Flutter is easier.
The following sections offer a more detailed comparison of the two.
Comparison of Getting Started on React Native with Flutter:
|Created By||Facebook (2015)||Google (2017)|
|Adoption||Larger as it was released earlier||Lesser as compared to React Native’s but growing rapidly|
|Community||Huge active community||Small but growing|
|Libraries support (Components)||Third party libraries||In built libraries|
|Documentation Support||Very less, often requiring community support. Difficult to start a project from scratch.||Very thoroughly documented, enabling newcomers to get started quickly.|
|Architecture||Transferred to UI thread via the React Native bridge.||Uses its own widget library to display Flutter UI.|
Download and install the latest NodeJS windows machine installer software package from nodejs.org
npm install -g react-native-cli
On Mac OS:
|Windows and MacOS:
Download stable Flutter SDK from https://flutter.dev/docs/development/tools/sdk/releases
unzip the downloaded file
|Project Setup||react-native init MyProject
|flutter create my_project
Comparison of Testing on React Native with Flutter:
|Testing Support||No official support from React Native. Requires usage of third party frameworks such as Appium.||Officially supports unit test, widget test, and integration test.|
|Performance||Medium||Excellent performance – it is designed to achieve a constant 60fps.|
(Allows seeing UI changes in real-time without updating the page)
|APIs for Testing||Offer only third party libraries and support for APIs that need to be invoked for testing, device access, and navigation.||Has in-built rendering components that makes testing on scale and accessing devices easier.|
|App Payload||Because it’s a hybrid app development framework, the resultant app is large in size. This may throw up in UX test cases.||Apps built using Flutter are larger than native but smaller as compared to those made using React Native.|
|CI/CD support||Doesn’t have a CI/CD solution for App Store or Google Play delivery. Apps can be deployed using 3rd party solutions, which are tough to find at times.||Has a well-documented guide for building and deploying on both Android and iOS.|
In conclusion, we’d remark that testing on Flutter and React Native is very different with the former having in-built libraries to enable testing and easy deployment while the latter needing support of 3rd party tools to complete testing. Both technologies are useful in developing hybrid mobile applications and the choice of technology should be based not only on a comparison of how the two work but also on the testing strategy post development because testing is an integral part of launching an App successfully.
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