ReactJS vs React Native: Which one  to choose?


Being extremely popular in the IT landscape, both ReactJS and React Native technologies are utilized in mobile and web development. According to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2020, React Native remains the most wanted technology and takes the 3rd spot in the ranking with 14.0% of votes while React.js has become an incredibly popular web framework and ranks 2nd with 36.8% of professional developers’ votes. Moreover, it is also considered to be the most loved by 68.9% of the respondents. But what are these technologies used for? 

Generally, React.js is used by software engineers to develop web apps and produce complex User Interfaces (UIs). React Native is designed specifically as a cross-platform framework to help development teams to create applications for mobile devices functioning like ‘native’ apps. Sounds interesting, right? Let’s take a closer look at how these two technologies differ and what you should know before making a decision. 

What exactly is ReactJS?

Being an open-source JavaScript library, React.js is utilized to create front-end elements in web applications with regularly changeable data. Created by Facebook with reusable UI elements in mind, this technology allows development teams to create the essential skeletons for their applications quickly and easily. Traditionally, React is a good fit for building single-page applications. However,  it can be leveraged to create multi-page applications. Companies such as Instagram, Asana, BBC, Netflix, Twitter, Uber decide on ReactJS.

Key features of React.js technology

Here we are going to overview some of the features that you can find in the library. Let’s dive into the details below:

  • JSX: Being an extension of javascript syntax, this feature allows developers to create identical HTML components known as the building blocks of UI elements. Not only does it help teams write concise HTML/XML-like structures, but it also makes the process of writing components more effortless.
  • Virtual DOM: With this feature, you can make every modification in the web application by re-rendering the entire user interface. However, not all the components are updated – just ones that have actually changed. Not only does the virtual DOM feature make your UI elements incredibly responsive, but it also helps development teams speed up the application development and increase app performance.
  • One-way data flow: The idea is that data is passed from the parent component to the child component through read-only props without being sent back to the parent component. Thanks to this feature, you can keep control over the data as it flows only in one direction. 
  • Component-based approach: Basically, the web page is broken down into small components used to create visual elements and define interactions in the applications. Each component has a logic written in JavaScript that allows data to easily pass through the app.

Pros and Cons of React.js

It’s no secret that any technology brings along certain advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at them below!

Advantages of ReactJSDisadvantages of ReactJS
– Easy to learn and use
– Gives a significant  boost to SEO
– Has no rendering issues
– Easy to debug
– Provides higher levels of security.
– Improves performance due to virtual DOM feature
– Powered with a massive ecosystem of tools, component libraries, IDEs, extensions for code editors, web browsers, etc.
– Code stability with one-way data binding feature
– In terms of increasingly fast technology popularity and usage, there are some difficulties to keep documentation up to date 
– Сomplicated and complex вata navigation – it doesn’t support parallel data handling
– Implementing all the JS-based modules and components requires some practice and proper skills
– Developers have to use additional technologies to get a complete tooling set for development as React.js covers only the visual part of the app

What are the benefits of React.js technology?

  • Not only does it offer ample opportunities for SEO, but it also significantly reduces the page load time and helps attract more organic traffic.
  • It provides better code stability contributing to the smooth and high performance of the application.
  • With component-based architecture, it takes less time to develop and implement a project.
  • It helps software engineers to build easily testable rich user interfaces.
  • With a rich set of tools, developers’ productivity can be significantly increased.

What exactly is React Native?

Being a combination of native and JS-based approaches, React Native was designed specifically to help development teams develop close-to-native mobile applications (iOS/Android). At the core of technology, the same fundamental UI building blocks are applied as regular iOS and Android apps, but the library’s components are different. In addition to that, React Native’s components are analogous to widgets in Flutter. The main benefit of Flutter over React Native is that it doesn’t use the platform UI and renders everything by itself. This simplifies the development process and allows development teams to build the best UX without compromise. With that in mind, to facilitate and accelerate development based on React Native, you can use ready-made libraries and UI components. NativeBase, UI Kitten, React Native Elements, Extra, React Native Starter are the best UI Kit for React Native technology. 

Key features of React Native technology

Let’s overview some of the main features of React Native technology. 

  • UI focused: With a hierarchy of UI elements, developers can put building blocks together using JavaScript to create Android/iOS apps with interfaces that look like native ones.
  • Auto-linked modules: With this feature, development teams can avoid the complicated process of using React Native and opt for the former procedure.
  • Upgrade helper: Thanks to this feature, developers can identify the differences between new scripts or vintage codes,  review the changes displayed and apply them to your project.
  • Live reload: This feature allows developers to make changes in the code and quickly observe them. Once a developer modifies the code on one screen, the result is immediately visible on the other one.

Pros and Cons of React Native

Here we are going to overview some advantages and disadvantages you should take into consideration. Keep on reading!

Advantages of React NativeDisadvantages of React Native
– Easy to learn for JavaScript developers.
– Plenty of tutorials and libraries provides quick and easy development.
– Code can be easily reused for both web app and desktop app development.
– Takes less time to develop an app in terms of hot reloading.
– Lacks some of the custom, platform-specific modules, so you may end up needing a native developer who can create them for your project. 
– Includes compatibility issues
– Limited native libraries
– Takes more time to initialize the runtime for gadgets and devices
– Has low-security standards

What are the benefits of React Native technology?

  • In terms of the code reuse feature, development teams can save up to 40% of the total development cost.
  • Not only does React Native provide faster performance, but it also reduces the load time and presents a much more responsive UIs.
  • Provides a flexible environment so that both developers and software testers can work on the project and easily understand code logic to create any testing scenarios.
  • With third-party plugins, development teams can provide their clients with any features they need to be implemented.
  • Software engineers can easily upgrade an app and speed up time to market due to intuitive modular architecture.

Bottom line: Who wins the battle?

Reactjs and React Native technologies are considered to be crucial pillars when it comes to the development of web and mobile solutions. Powered with flexible functionalities and a rich set of tools and libraries, they can help you turn any idea to life. That’s why if you’re looking to create a dynamic user interface with a focus on web applications, React.js will work for you. However, if you opt for a native mobile solution with the same results but at a faster development across both iOS and Android, React Native development services is a good fit for you.