React vs React Native: Which One to Choose and Why?

Updated 24 Jan 2023
Published 02 Aug 2022
Satyam Chaturvedi 2567 Views
React vs React Native

React JS and React Native are known as two of the most exceptionally popular web development technologies in the market. Both have been developed by Facebook and gained immense popularity since their launch due to some extraordinary capabilities and features that alleviate web and mobile app development.

Despite being sculpted on similar core and technology, both are significantly different products by their properties and use cases.

While it’s quite clear that React is a web development framework and React Native is a mobile application development framework. Still, most people got confused when it comes to evaluating both and choosing the right tools for their development requirements.

If you have an iota of doubt about the differences between React and React Native difference, then you have landed at the right place to unwrap this mystery once and for all.

React vs React Native Overview

React and React Native sharing the same name are not coincident. Facebook introduced both languages, and both have open-source frameworks working with JavaScript. But, developers use each of them to different ends.

So, if you’re planning to build a Web Application, you must go with React JS, and if you want to develop a Mobile Application for your project, React Native would be your best choice.

But that is not enough, right? Before starting your project, you need to know all the details about React and React Native.

Let’s dive deeper into how these two technologies React vs React Native differ and what you should know in detail to make an informed decision. In this article, you will learn:

  • History of React and React Native
  • What is React (React JS)?
  • Features of React (React JS) – What makes it so popular?
  • What is React Native?
  • Features of React Native – What makes it so popular?
  • React and React Native: What’s the difference?
  • Which is better, Reactjs and React Native?

History of React and React Native

React was created by Jordan Walke, a software engineer at Facebook. He was influenced by XHP, an HTML component framework for PHP. It was first deployed on Facebook’s newsfeed in 2011 and later on Instagram in 2012.

React Native, on the other hand, was introduced by Facebook in 2015 as a way to improve mobile app user experience (UX). React Native uses the same design as React, but instead of using web components, it uses native components. This makes React Native apps look and feel more like native apps.

Now that you have a crisp history of React and React Native let’s dive into each technology to see what they can do.

What is React (React JS)?

React (React JS) is an open-source JavaScript library for building user interfaces (UIs). It was created by Facebook in 2011 and is used in some of its products, including Instagram and WhatsApp. Many major companies, such as Netflix, Airbnb, Yahoo Mail, and Dropbox, also use React. 

React is a JavaScript library for building UIs. The primary purpose of React development is to be fast, simple, and scalable. It works only on user interfaces in the application. If you want to use React for a website, you would still need something else like Node.js on the backend.

The secondary purpose of using React is to build large applications with data that changes over time. When the data changes, React will update the component automatically. This makes your web app more responsive and fast.

Features of React (React JS) – What makes it so popular?

As you must be aware of its popularity, we would like to share some of the features that make React so popular:

Features of React

Virtual DOM

React uses a virtual DOM. The virtual DOM is a JavaScript representation of the actual DOM. React will calculate what changes need to be made in the real DOM and make those changes for you. This means your web app will be much faster because React is doing the work behind the scenes.

Component-Based Architecture

React lets you make an app based on small, reusable pieces called components. This makes your code easy to read and maintain because each component has a particular logic written in JS.

JavaScript XML or JSX

JSX is a syntax extension of JavaScript. It lets you write HTML in the same file as your JavaScript code. This makes your code easy to read and understand.

React is Declarative

React is declarative, which means that it makes code easy to read and understand. React will automatically update the component when the data changes. This makes your web app more responsive and fast.

One-Way Data Binding

React uses one-way data binding. This means that the data is passed from parent to child components only. The child component cannot change the data. This makes your code more stable and easy to debug.

React is Open Source

React is open source, meaning anyone can use it for free.

SEO Friendly

React is SEO friendly compared to other JavaScript frameworks. React loads on the server first and then renders components to the browser, making it easy for search engine crawlers to access and index your content.

Now that we know React inside out, let us understand React Native.

Benefits of React for web development

Intuitive

ReactJS is intuitive, and it offers unmatched interactivity to the overall layout of any user interface. React also facilitates accelerated and high-quality app development, that provides promising prospects to developers and clients. 

One-way Data Binding

React supports one-way data binding, which enables developers in tracking all the changes made to a specific segment of the program data. This improves the simplicity and effectiveness of the web development process.

Declarative

ReactJS allows substantial data changes that led to an automatic alteration in a specific segment of the user interface. Owing to this advancing feature, you don’t need any additional function to update your user interface.

Adequate Components Support

ReactJS offers a unique combination of HTML tags and JavaScript, which enables it to work with a wide range of data sets comprising the document object model. ReactJS exemplifies the DOM and helps developers to determine what components they must change to avail the intended outcomes.

SEO-Friendly

Facebook did immense research and upgrades before introducing ReactJS. It comes with an exceptional SEO capability, which makes it stands out from the crowd and enables developers to develop SEO-friendly UI across the engines and browsers.

Reusable Components

It allows developers to reuse the existing components to develop a new application. Reusability comes as a big boon for the developers, and they can reuse the codes instead of writing them the scratch. It improves the code quality and performance while reducing the development efforts

JavaScript Library

React JS offers a robust blend of HTML syntax and JavaScript, which simplifies the entire web development project. The JavaScript library provides various built-in functions to convert the HTML components into intended functions and transforms the entire project.

What is React Native?

React Native is a framework for building native mobile apps using React. It was created by Facebook in 2015 and is used by large companies such as Skype, Tesla, and Walmart.

React Native is also a JavaScript framework for writing real, natively rendering mobile applications for iOS and Android. It’s based on React but targets mobile platforms instead of the browser.

In other words, with React Native, you can write code once and ship it to both iOS and Android devices. Mobile Applications built using React Native will have 100% native UI and will not suffer from limitations associated with other frameworks. 

Features of React Native – What makes it so popular?

Everyone prefers React Native because of its faster approach to mobile app development and flexibility towards code sharing. The apps made with React Native are high-quality and have a better look and feel. The features of React Native are as follows:

Features of React Native

Write the code once and use it anywhere:

The code written using React Native can be used for both iOS and Android platforms. This is because React Native uses compatible JavaScript code with both platforms.

Faster Mobile App Development:

React Native uses the JavaScript bridge to communicate with native UI components. This helps in faster development as there is no need to recompile the code. The changes can be instantly seen on the screen, saving time.

UI Focused:

React Native is UI-focused. Mobile app developers can easily create a high-quality and attractive user interface using React Native.

High Performance:

The apps made with React Native are high performing. They use the native components of the platforms to work smoothly on all types of devices.

Support from React Native Community: 

React Native has a large community of developers who are always ready to help. The community is active and supports React Native through various channels.

react native development

Hot Reloading:

This feature allows you to save time by reloading the app automatically every time the code is changed. This means you do not have to recompile the code every time there is a change.

3rd Party Plugin support:

React Native supports the use of third-party plugins. This helps in adding native functionality to the app quickly and easily.

Tried & Tested:

React Native has been used by big companies like Facebook, Skype, Walmart, etc., to build their mobile apps. This proves that React Native is a reliable and trusted framework.

Now that we know the features of React Native let us see how it compares to ReactJS.

Benefits of React Native for mobile development

Code Reusability

It allows developers to use the existing codebase instead of writing code for Android and iOS platforms separately. Approximately 90% of the code can be reused while building cross-platform apps, which accelerates the development process and code efficiency as well. As an outcome, you need lesser maintenance efforts and faster time-to-market.

Native Look and Feel

React Native maps its components with other native development components. It blends the building blocks of native UI with JavaScript, which provides a native-like appearance to your mobile app. Moreover, as the basic components are almost similar for iOS and Android, the look and feel of the app for both platforms will remain similar.

Live Reload

This feature of React Native enables developers to view the code changes in real time. You can fix the app code while the app is launching and it is immediately reflected in the app with an automatic reload. It also allows the developer to reload a specific change area to conserve the compilation time.

Focused on UI

React Native utilizes the React JavaScript library to develop captivating app interfaces that are responsive and fast. It follows a component-based approach and offers exceptional rendering capabilities, which makes it very easy to build simple and complex user interfaces.

Cost-Efficiency

As React Native uses reusable code, it helps the development company in saving application development cost up to 40%. Also, you are not required to hire separate developers for iOS and Android platforms. On top of it, it comes with numerous built-in components, that further accelerate the mobile app development process.

Third-Party Plugins 

React Native offers a large number of third-party tools and plugins, including native and JavaScript-based modules, which helps you in building an app without coding the modules from the scratch. The third-party plugins improve the app performance and functionality as it eradicates the need for specific web view functions.

Wider Community Support

React Native follows a community-driven approach with the contribution of more than 50,000 active contributors. The Facebook development team keeps on tweaking the product and platform, while the developer community offers documentation and support for community members.

What is the difference between React and React Native?

Differences between React and React Native can be summarized in the following points:

difference between react and react native

Advantages Between React and React Native

Advantages of React (React JS)

  1. It is a JavaScript library used for making User Interfaces
  2. Web Development
  3. It uses HTML tags like <div>,<h1>, etc., for making the UI
  4. It uses virtual DOM to render browser code, making it faster by avoiding extra memory consumption.
  5. CSS is used for creating styling
  6. CSS can enable possibilities of animations
  7. It is very easy to implement, and no hardcore experience is required
  8. The advantages of the device hardware or features are less
  9. High-performing, dynamic, and responsive UI for web interfaces
  10. Highly cost-effective

React Native

  1. It is a whole framework used for mobile app development
  2. Mobile App Development
  3. It uses an in-built tag. like <View>, <Text>,<image>,etc., for making the UI
  4. It uses native APIs to render components on mobile.
  5. A stylesheet is used for creating styling 
  6. Animated API is used to enable animation across different components
  7. It is quite a complex programming language, and good experience is required to implement it.
  8. The advantages of device hardware or feature are huge
  9. Give mobile apps a truly native feeling
  10. Quite costly

Disadvantages Between React and React Native

As we say, every coin has two faces. So, React and React Native also has some disadvantages that we should know before using them.

React (React JS)

  • The browser support is low as it uses modern JavaScript concepts.
  • The HTML syntax makes the code look cluttered and messy.
  • JSX extension needs to be configured while working.
  • Team extension may bring extra expenditures to project owners.
  • Fast development may not be suitable for large projects.
  • Lack of proper documentation.

React Native

  • It has a low-performance rate on older devices as it uses the native components of the device.
  • It has a steep learning curve as it is quite a complex programming language.
  • The hot reloading feature does not work well with iOS devices.
  • External libraries have to be used due to the lack of native components in React Native.
  • Facebook can suspend some developers if they somehow violate the patent (Facebook has a unique patent for the technology)

Read Also:-  Angular vs React – Best JavaScript Development Framework?

Which is better, React vs React Native?

As we can see, both React and React Native have their own set of pros and cons. So, it all comes down to what you want to achieve with your project.

When to use React JS?

Most web developers familiar with React JS recommend using it for projects where you want to achieve:

  • High performance on the web interface
  • A dynamic and responsive user interface
  • An easy-to-implement programming language
  • If your existing code base is getting out of hand

When to use React Native?

If you want to create a mobile app, then React Native is your best choice. It will give your app a truly native feeling. React Native is recommended when you want to achieve:

  • A truly native app for Android and iOS
  • High performance on mobile devices
  • A custom design that looks like on both platforms
  • A complex programming language

Technologies in the developer world are changing rapidly. It can be challenging to keep up with new trends and advancements. But, as a developer, it is also essential to have a formal overview and technical skill set of the changes in the industry.

Hire React Developer

Conclusion:

Until now, it must be clear why React is the preferred front-end UI development tool, right? Now you have to decide whether you want to work on React and React Native. You can make informed decisions depending on the business demand and the project requirements. 

If you are looking for someone who can help you develop a high-quality app using React Native or a heavily loaded web app using React. We have a team of skilled React developers who can make your dream project a reality.

FAQs – React vs React Native

  • Which is better, React or React Native?

    Well, neither is explicitly better than the other, as both have a different set of capabilities and use cases. Selecting React or React Native will vary on the explicit project you are developing. If you are aiming to develop a dynamic, responsive, and high-performing UI for web interfaces, then you must opt to React JS. On the other hand, if you want to give a true native touch to your mobile applications, then go for React Native.

  • When to use React Native?

    React Native works wonders for mobile app development. It offers a smooth, slick, and responsive UI, while significantly improving the app’s performance. It’s a cost-effective method to build native-like apps without compromising functionality and quality.
    It is a perfect solution for building customer-facing apps for platforms such as Android, Android TV, macOS, iOS, tvOS, Windows, UWP, and Web by enabling developers to utilize the native platform capabilities along with React framework. You can also develop virtual reality applications using React Native

  • When to use React?

    If you are developing an app that may use different libraries, packages, and other components, then you must choose React. It offers a massive ecosystem for web development frameworks, with various valuable libraries such as React Spring and Material UI.
    It offers more than 75,000 packages on NPM, which is almost three times its competitor framework, Vue JS. React enjoys the support of a wide developer community, which ensures adequate documents, tutorials, and technical support for app developers.

Satyam Chaturvedi

Satyam Chaturvedi is a Digital Marketing Manager at Arka Softwares, a leading app development company dealing in modern and futuristic solutions. He loves to spend his time studying the latest market insights.

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