React vs. React Native: Trap the Dispute

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This discussion packs some truth around web and mobile app development, closely tied with prevalent approaches: React vs. React Native!

Undoubtedly, Android or iOS app development is the kind of runaway smash hit that techies spend their careers dreaming about. When we unbox an Android device, we need to sign-up to some nine accounts with different vendors to get the experience iOS comes with. As witty as it sounds, iOS development has many useful resources and tools like iOS SDK integrated with Cocoa Touch UI framework, Swift Playgrounds (a learning platform for Swift developers), XCode (the official IDE for iOS development) and likewise that eases out working with OS. It can be true to quite some extent as Android is very, very fragmented, and is even becoming more fragmented by the day. Deliberately, Apple is striving for an integrated mode, so that end-user isn’t forced to be the systems integrator.

With the availability of varied development options like web apps, mobile apps (hybrid or native) or website development, you might face an epiphany! As we discuss two widely prevalent terms in development here – React (Library) and React Native (Hybrid Development Framework), we strive to clarify the hype that surrounds the web development and mobile app development thus covering the major features, advantages and disadvantages required to build cross-platform mobile applications.

What is JavaScript-React-ReactJS?

JavaScript or JS is a high-level interpreted programming language that is characterized as dynamic, weekly typed, prototype-based and multi-paradigm. Then what is ReactJS? It is just another way to use React. The learning curve from JavaScript to React to React.JS and finally to React Native is smooth, especially in case one likes to learn new JavaScript frameworks.

Features and Advantages of React:

  • React is a library and React Native is a framework based on it.
  • React is developed with a major aim to create UI in web apps with dynamic data.
  • It resembles with the view layer of the MVC architecture pattern.
  • React makes use of components to make the view more modular. Each component is a structural element of the user interface. These components can be reused to allow you to build a custom UI library for the project.
  • React is leveraged for creating single-page applications. It can, however, work well for multi-page apps, like Facebook.
  • Netflix, WhatsApp, Dropbox are some examples of apps created with React.
  • React leverages Virtual DOM, syncing the real DOM via a highly efficient reconciliation algorithm based on smart heuristics.
  • The flow of data is in one direction and therefore the app does not require frequent updates every-time state changes. It remains the same and re-renders itself to reflect only the relevant state changes.
  • The use of JSX (JSX = HTML + JS) is helpful in giving versatility to otherwise complex UI’s.
  • This library is easy to learn.
  • Virtual DOM makes it possible to program fast and achieve high performance.
  • It facilitates code reuse to enhance efficiency. The flexible coupling of components ensures that the changes made to one component will not affect others.
  • React comes with an easy error handling process.
  • This library provides seamless SEO integration due to fast page load and server-side rendering.
  • The presence of JavaScript and a bunch of tools gives developers many more reasons to be happy about.

Points to be wary about:

  • React is over-dependent on any third-party libraries which can sometimes become a hassle for the developers.
  • There is a need to revise the documentation.

Why is React preferred?

React is preferred due to the virtual representation of HTML in memory, reusable and composable components, reactive updates of the state changes, etc. It is a useful and substantial solution pre-packed with various auxiliary tools.

What is React Native?

React Native (RN) as a valuable technology for cross-platform app development, is a mobile framework for writing native apps in JavaScript. It was implemented as a solution to integrate seamlessly with the mobile OS. RN removes the gap between JavaScript and Objective C or JavaScript and Swift or JavaScript and Kotlin as it facilitates the creation of mobile apps across platforms. React Native can reduce the redundancy of code, thus saving a lot of time and effort. It has numerous open-source libraries of pre-built components which can help speed up the development process. React Native makes use of JavaScript and React frameworks to build Native-like applications. Overall, React Native draws inspiration from React, which is often treated as the elder brother.

A popular application of React Native includes Facebook, Instagram, Skype, Tesla, Walmart, Discord, Bloomberg, etc. If you already know anyone technology from JS, SQL, Java, C#, Python, PHP, C++, C, TypeScript, Ruby, Objective C or Swift – there are chances that developers will require to have less specialized knowledge before starting.

The view hierarchy is rendered using native components. Therefore, React Native apps provide the real native UX in most cases. And developers are not necessary to be experts in Kotlin/Java/Objective-C/Swift unless there is an aim to max out the framework’s potential and mix JS with the native code.

Features and Advantages of React Native:

  • High performance
  • Code reusability
  • Responsive UI
  • Ability to customize native ready to use UI components
  • Hot and live reloading
  • Declarative UI

Points to be wary about:

  • All the API’s are not supported.
  • JS cannot alone utilize all the available native modules like camera, push notifications, battery, etc., and need expertise in the platform-specific language.
  • RN app might suffer from designing issues as placement of graphical elements is carried out automatically for each OS.

Why React Native app development is preferred?

React Native has become an unquestioned leader in cross-platform app development due to its high efficiency. It is now being adopted by major companies like Instagram and overcome major hybrid frameworks like PhoneGap, Ionic, Adobe PhoneGap, Xamarin, Ionic, Tabaris.js, Appcelerator and Mobincube and many more.

Comparison React vs. React Native Development

Differences

React

React Native

Type JS Library – A JavaScript library you use for constructing a high performing UI layer. Framework – An entire platform allowing you to build native, cross-platform mobile apps.
Focus Area Web Mobile
Set-Up One command to setup:

(1)   npx create-react-app my-app
or
(2)   npm init react-app my-app
or
(3)   npm init react-app my-app

Very fast; requires one command line
to run the framework
Syntax Both work on the same syntax: ECMAScript 6, JSX
Development Model Open-Source
Navigation React Router React Native Tools
Animations Can do animation with the CSS like normal web development – CSS Animations consisting of Styled components, React FLIP animation library, Animated, React Move Have to use the animated API and Layout Animation which comes with React Native to animate different components of your application.
Component Styling CSS Stylesheets, CSS Modules, Inline Styling, Styled component library No CSS (Stylesheet API, Styled components library)
UI Rendering DOM – React is the base abstraction of React DOM for the web platform Platform-specific API’s – The syntax and workflow remain similar, but the components are different.
Virtual DOM/API’s Browser code in React is rendered through Virtual DOM Native APIs to render components on mobile.
UI Components HTML for UI. JSX components for UI.
Styling CSS for Styling. The stylesheet for Styling.
Applications Ideal for building dynamic, high performing, responsive UI for your web interfaces It is meant to give your mobile apps (across platforms) a truly native feel.

Compendium

In the end, the React Native app’s great look and feel depends on the abilities of the developers. The approach for mobile application development should be quick, responsive and reliable. It is important to track user behavior, demands, and expectations. To ensure this, it is important to remember the following points before building cross-platform mobile applications or native app development:

  • The API infrastructure should have reliable and easy access to content and services.
  • A mobile application must be an extension to the brand and not simply the replication of the existing website.
  • It must be a reflection of an understanding of your user’s expectations and behaviors and must be adapted well to changes in the market.

It is subsequently important to work with and mobile app and web application Development Company that specializes in platform-specific design and development. We are one of the early adopters of Android and iOS app development technologies and have seen it evolve over a while. So if you’re looking for boosting the brand, increasing the sales and reinforcing the client base, we’re here to help. Contact us now!

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About Author

Manish Jain

Manish Jain is the co-founder and Managing Director at Konstant Infosolutions. He is responsible for the overall operations of the company and has played a major role in bringing Konstant up from its humble beginnings and, with his immense energy and drive, transforming it into a globally trusted name in IT solutions.

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