React and React Native: What’s the Difference?

React vs React Native are the technologies that have been proven to be effective in developing scalable web and mobile solutions. Both of them were developed by Facebook to accelerate the creation of web and mobile user interfaces using one of the most widely used programming languages – JavaScript.

React is an open-source JavaScript library for building user interfaces. It was created by Jordan Walke, a software engineer at Facebook. There was a goal of quickly building scalable interfaces, and React.js came into existence to simplify JavaScript development. Following the success of React.js, Facebook sought to deliver all of its benefits to mobile and developed React Native – a framework for creating cross-platform mobile apps on iOS, Android, Windows and other platforms. 

React and React Native are behind some of the most popular web and mobile applications. They represent different aspects of the React ecosystem and serve different purposes. So, let’s take a dive deep to understand when it’s better to opt for React.js vs React Native.

Introduction to React.js and Its Features

What is React.js?

React (aka React.js or ReactJS) is a JavaScript library for building responsive user interfaces. It was open-sourced at JSConf US in May 2013. According to Google Trends, React has been gathering steam since 2017, and it shows no signs of stopping. React is widely used in web development to build comprehensive apps and software. 

The library is based on JavaScript, which means developers can get access to a vivid society of contributors who have created a massive ecosystem of tools to make an engineer’s life easier, including React Developer Tools (inspection of the hierarchies of components in the vDOM), React Sight (visualization of component hierarchy tree). You can stay updated on the trends through React’s official channels.

Notable Features of React.js 

React is a popular choice for web projects due to its mild learning curve, relatively fast development and notable performance, which allows building web applications of various scope and complexity. 

  • Optimized Performance

Virtual DOM is one of the defining features of React. It guarantees a minimum update time to the real DOM, provides higher performance and a better user experience. 

  • Convenient Debugging

The component-based architecture in React eliminates the need for frequent debugging. If you edit one part of the app, it doesn’t affect other parts.

  • Huge Community

Being one of the first JavaScript libraries, React.js has gathered quite a crowd of followers. It enjoys the support of both Facebook and is blessed to have a huge community of software developers that provides valuable solutions that facilitate the development of the technology. 

React.js Advantages | LITSLINK Blog

Types of Projects React.js is Best Suited For

What are React’s most widespread usages? Its purpose is to allow building high-performing interfaces. React plays an important role in:

Facebook

First used for the newsfeed, React is used extensively for the web version of Facebook.com.

Instagram

React was implemented to roll out the web version of Instagram. API requests with Google Maps, geolocation services, search functionality, and tagging are supported through the framework.

Asana

Asana, a leading project management tool, employed React to address client-side performance problems. The front-end was rewritten in React.

Netflix

As written on the Netflix blog, React enabled them to build a tremendous foundation. React was adopted because of its startup speed, runtime performance, and modularity.

Further afield, Airbnb, WhatsApp, Dropbox, Yahoo Mail, Medium, Udemy, Codecademy, and New York Times all use React.

How does React.js Differ from Its Rivals?

Today, Facebook’s technology enjoys huge rates of growing popularity. React is the most widely used JS library – it has become a go-to choice for most front-end developers.

  • The groundbreaking feature of React is Virtual DOM. It doesn’t require a response from a browser, which is why the code is rendered faster. Virtual DOM provides higher performance, and a better user experience compared to manually handling DOM changes.
  • Another prominent feature is the ability to reuse components – developers don’t need to write different codes for similar app components. React introduced the concept of component-based architecture, which enforces the reusability of components as per your requirement. It can save an enormous amount of time. 
  • Since React is capable of server-side rendering, it gives a power boost to SEO (with the use of extra tools like Next.js, for example).
  • Community-powered innovation makes React one of the most popular options for creating innovative apps.

Introduction to React Native and Its Features

What is React Native?

React Native enables building native-like mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and other platforms. In 2012 Mark Zuckerberg commented, “The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML as opposed to native.” He promised that Facebook would deliver a better mobile experience. React Native was developed after React to meet the growing need in high-quality cross-platform development. It was open-sourced in March 2015.

Before React Native was invented, developers had to use various tools for different platforms. React Native allows mobile app developers to save a lot of time – your team won’t dissipate efforts on creating one app for iOS, one for Android, one for Windows, etc. Most of the JS code could be reused and enhanced with native modules or code. 

According to the Stack Overflow survey 2020, React Native is one of the most popular technologies – 58% of the respondents said they used React Native for mobile app development.

Notable Features of React Native

React Native inherited most of the benefits from its elder brother.But in contrast to React.js, React Native is used for developing mobile apps that can be run on several platforms. In addition to that, it has platform-specific APIs, design patterns, and other differences. React Native has proven its capability to offer an environment where you can successfully build your mobile apps. 

Code Reusability

The shining achievement of React Native is that developers don’t need to write separate codes for iOS and Android platforms. Also, they can partially share the code for the web, which allows for better teamwork.  

Reduced Costs

As there is only one code base for all platforms, React Native can be used to build applications that are compatible with Android and iOS. This means that the team will save on the development, maintenance, and administrative costs. The other cost-saving comes from the fact that React Native is completely license-free.

Responsive UI

React Native is capable of providing users with native-like experience as it utilizes native UI in developing responsible mobile papps.. If you are on a budget but need a cost-effective and quality solution that would run on several platforms, React Native is your choice. 

Hot & Live Reloading

If the business logic needs to be modified, you can tweak the user interface without any loss of your app’s code.

Declarative UI

The idea behind this feature is pretty simple — it renders content by returning some JSX. Mobile UI is based on a declarative programming paradigm – engineers can focus on what is needed to be implemented rather than how to do this.

Rich Community 

React Native was conceived through a Facebook run hackathon, and since then, it has been extensively supported by its community. If you face any issue during the development process, it will be easily solved. A large global developer community continuously contributes with their knowledge, solutions, tools, etc. 

React Native Advantages | LITSLINK Blog

How Does React Native Differ From Its Rivals? 

If you need to build an app that you can easily launch on several platforms, there is nothing better than React Native. Today, it is an undisputed leader in the niche. These pros give React Native the edge over other cross-platform frameworks: 

  • One of the major advantages of React Native is that it lets you develop native-like apps but doesn’t compromise on user experience or code quality. 
  • React Native lets you significantly cut your product’s time to market. Instead of building two separate apps, you can build one code base and launch it, which reduces the development time. 
  • It uses JavaScript, which makes transition from web to mobile development easier. What does it mean for you? Finding React Native developers is often easier, which also contributes to faster mobile development. 
  • Unlike Cordova, PhoneGap, and other cross-platform frameworks that render code via WebView, React Native renders certain code components with native API’s.
  • The component-based structure allows developers to build apps with a more agile approach than most hybrid frameworks.
  • React Native provides a module that detects the platform in which the app is running and loads the right code for the right platform.

Types of Projects React Native is Best Suited For

React Native is powering some of the most popular mobile apps, including:

Facebook’s Mobile Applications

The main app and Facebook Ads are built on React Native for Android.

Instagram App

After Facebook acquired Instagram, React Native was integrated into Instagram’s native app.

Skype

In 2017, Skype announced that the app will be completely rewritten in React Native. It was used not only for the mobile platforms but also on the Windows desktop app.

Tesla

Tesla uses React Native for apps that support their Powerwall battery and smart car products.

 WIX

The mobile application of WIX, a famous website builder, is entirely written in React Native. Tal Kol, former head of mobile engineering at Wix, said that React Native was a game-changing technology for Wix.

React and React Native Features

The difference between React and React Native is significant. React is designed for web development whereas React Native is used for cross-platform mobile development. Let’s sum up the difference between React and React Native in a brief checklist. Below is an overview of both – it should give you a fair idea of what makes them different to make an informed decision based on your priorities and expected outcome.

Name React React Native
Type JavaScript library used for making User Interface. Framework used for mobile app development.
Developed By Facebook Facebook
Release 2013 2015
Open-source Yes Yes
Usage React is used for developing web-based applications. React Native is used in mobile app development.
UI Rendering The Virtual DOM renders the browser code. Uses platform-specific APIs to render code for mobile applications.
Platform Dependency React has no dependency on a particular platform. React Native is platform-dependent (to a degree).
Navigation React Navigation React Native Navigation
Animation CSS Animation React Native offers its custom tools (Animated API, Reanimated).
Security Security issues shared by all other JS frameworks Along with the built-in libraries used for the UI specifically, it offers comparatively low-security features.
Cost Cost-effective Cost-effective

React.js is an optimal solution for creating high-performing web apps with complex functionality and complex calculations, and React Native is ideal to give a native touch to your cross-platform mobile apps. Instead of making a leap of faith, rely on our professional team to create a software solution tailored to your business needs and goals. We provide top-notch React and React Native development services that will make your project stand out. 

 

Scale Your Business With LITSLINK!

Reach out to us for high-quality software development services, and our software experts will help you outpace you develop a relevant solution to outpace your competitors.