Google’s Flutter Beefs up Web Support, So How Does It Compare to React Native Now?

Google’s Flutter Beefs up Web Support, So How Does It Compare to React Native Now?

More web support brings Flutter closer to the functionality of other cross-platform development platforms, like React Native and Ionic. Flutter allows developers to create native apps for five operating systems — iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and Linux — as well as a web app for modern browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge.

More web support brings Flutter closer to the functionality of other cross-platform development platforms, like React Native and Ionic.

Earlier this month, Google announced Flutter 2, the latest version of its UI toolkit for building “natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase.” Flutter allows developers to create native apps for five operating systems — iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and Linux — as well as a web app for modern browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge.

Perhaps the biggest news in the Flutter 2 announcement was that its support for the web is now labeled “stable” (prior to this, it was “beta”). Flutter, which initially launched in 2015, has primarily been seen as a mobile-focused Software Development Kit (SDK) for Android and iOS. Up till now, the web part of the framework has been, if not a minor feature, then certainly an experimental one.

The strengthened web support brings Flutter closer to the functionality of other cross-platform development platforms, like React Native and Ionic. So it’s an important step for Google, especially given its Chrome-related strength in the web application market. Flutter needs to show it can cover all bases, including the web.

Flutter was written in a programming language called Dart, which compiles to JavaScript. This is key for Flutter’s growing web ambitions, because of course JavaScript rules everything in this current era. As an aside: back in 2010 Google was talking about creating a new language called Dash, which was being pitched as a replacement for JavaScript. What actually got launched was Dart, in 2011, but it wasn’t until 2015 that Google went all-in on on compiling Dart to JavaScript. Not even the might of Google can kill off JavaScript in the modern web.

The problem with Dart is that not many developers use it — certainly in comparison to JavaScript. So this puts Flutter at a disadvantage compared to React Native in particular, which was launched by Facebook in 2015 to complement its popular React JavaScript library.

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