Home Blog React vs React Native: An In-depth Tabular Comparison
React vs React Native: An In-depth Tabular Comparison

React vs React Native: An in-depth Tabular Comparison

Since their release in 2013 and 2015, the two Javascript application development programs have caused a few ripples concerning their different functionalities. No thanks to the similarity in their names, React vs React Native are the most popular app development software available. 

Simply put, React is a collection of pre-written Javascript code snippets and is best used to develop web apps with seamless interfaces. While React Native is a Javascript framework that is best used to develop native and cross-platform apps. 

Also Read:Class Components vs. Functional Components in React: Everything You Need To Know


Below are the differences between React and React native in tabular form.

FactorsReactReact Native
Year of Release
2013
2015
Definition
It is a collection of pre-written Javascript code snippets used to create an effective user interface for web apps
It is an app development framework used to develop apps on multiple platforms
Animations
Offers more animations by implementing CSS animations
Offers only two complementary animations; Animated and Layout Animation.
Styling
Uses CSS in styling
Uses stylesheets in styling
Security
It provides high security
Its security is comparatively less than that of React
Code Rendering
Uses VDOM to render web codes
Uses platform-specific API for code rendering
UI Rendering
HTML is used to render UI
JSX is used to render UI
Platform Dependency
Can be used on any platform
Can only be used on specific platforms.
Base Derivative
Can be used as a base derivative of ReactDOM.
It is a base derivative itself.
Suitable for
Developing web applications with high performance and responsiveness.
Developing mobile applications with high performance on native and cross-platform.
Navigation
Uses React router for web page navigation.
Uses an in-built Navigator Library for navigation.

React vs React Native: Similarities

If you’re asking the question: Do I need to React for React native? The answer is Not Necessarily. This is because developers can use React Native framework to expand React on all operating systems.

Now that we’ve satisfied your curiosity on how these two terms are related, read on to get a more in-depth discussion on their history, features, advantages, and disadvantages.

History of React vs React Native

Facebook, the owners of both React and React Native, stumbled upon these two Javascript deliverables when they sought to prevent the clogging of their app’s productivity.

Note that this productivity clog was caused by frequent app updates. At that time, Facebook had the perfect app model but its user interface had trouble switching between user feed and chats.  

history of react native vs react

And so Jordan Walke, an engineer at Facebook, came to their rescue. He used XHP to create the prototype of React -named FaxJS at that time.

Due to the smooth flow of functionality and app interface that came with this discovery, Facebook deployed React to its timeline in 2011.

React Native on the other hand was birthed during one of Facebook’s internal hackathons in 2013. Its easy framework for the creation of native and web applications made it very popular during its first public review in January 2015. And its fanbase has been skyrocketing since it was open-sourced in March 2015.

Also Read: How to Develop Web Applications: Everything You Need to Know

What is React?

Simply put, React is a Javascript library that is used to build responsive interfaces using UI components. One of its major goals is to simplify Javascript development to build extensive web apps. 

Since React is used to develop the view layer of apps, developers can create interactive UIs that will allow users to easily view every state of an application.

Because of the presence of pre-written code snippets in this Javascript Library, developers can have access to pre-tested codes. This will, in turn, speed up the coding process.

what is react

Meanwhile, you can choose to have a one-on-one call with our expert app developers to know if React is best suited for developing your app. 

Moreover, React helps create a strong app structure by allowing components to be reused. This, in turn, allows for a reduction in the total cost of developing a web application.

Not only this, React can automatically render and update components in the case of a data change, which gives predictability to the code and helps the developer to concentrate on debugging.

Features of React

Virtual Document Object Model (VDOM): this is arguably the most innovative feature of React. The VDOM is featured in React’s reconciliation process, where a virtual user interface is synced with the real DOM by the ReactDOM library.

VDOM was created to simplify the complexities that arise with increased data mutations. And it does this by allowing developers to create declarative content and make minute and precise changes to the DOM.

features of react

Unlike the real DOM, VDOM lacks the authority to change any code, UI, or functionality on the screen. And so it is easier for developers to manipulate the VDOM. Not only this, VDOM occupies less memory space as only a single change in the data model stands as evidence of a virtual UI trigger. 

Moreover, VDOM made React to be widely loved because it speeds up code rendering and provides a better user interface for mobile apps. 

Component-based Architecture: with the component-based architecture, React breaks down a design into single but logical components. These components then show explicit interfaces that may include events, properties, etc. With the component-based architecture, developers can skip rewriting the same or different codes for similar app components or functionalities. 

Now, not only does this React feature save time, but it also lowers maintenance costs and gives the developer more control of his code. In general, component-based architecture increases the overall reliability of the system being developed 

One-way Data-binding Functionality: with the one-way data-binding functionality, code changes in React occur in one direction. This is to say that changes made by a developer to a child component will not affect its parent component. 

Because of this, changes in smaller parts of the code don’t require that the entire state be changed. This, in turn, reduces error and makes the code easy to debug and maintain.

Benefits of React

It speeds up the app development process: thanks to its VDOM and component-based architecture, React is one of the fastest Javascript libraries that any developer can use to create an effective web application. It offers less coding time by providing a display of code changes in real time and allows programmers to re-use different components.

benefits of react

It allows for effortless debugging: it is easy and less frequent to debug codes in React due to the presence of the component-based architecture and the one-way data-binding functionality.

It is easy to learn: because of the availability of proper documentation and readily available training materials,  any developer that has basic knowledge of the Javascript programming language can learn how to develop web apps using React within a short time. 

It makes it easy for web apps to rank on search engines: it's no secret that search engine bots find it hard to index and rank Javascript web pages. But React web development makes it easy for these bots to crawl, index, and rank these Javascript web pages by using the Next.js framework and server-side rendering. Now this faster web page rendering shortens the page's loading time which will in turn, lead to a low bounce rate. 

It allows developers to reuse components: React provides components that developers can reuse when creating a new application. This helps to reduce coding time. Now, this reduction in development time and process also reduces the amount of money needed to develop an app using React.  

It comes with an informative developers' community: Since its release, React has had a large community of developers that are always eager to help solve problems and exchange ideas. This community of React developers has developed a lot of tools, IDEs, third-party libraries, extensions, and other resources to further simplify the use of React.

Disadvantages of React

It can increase the overhead costs and time required to build an app: it’s often necessary to download multiple React libraries while developing an app. This, in turn, increases overhead costs and time.

There are chances of a lack of library support: agreeably, the availability of third-party libraries provides developers with pre-tested codes and saves coding time. However, it can sometimes serve as a hindrance. 

One of such hindrances is the possibility of one’s code heavily depending on a library. Another such hindrance is the catastrophe that may occur if the owner of a library abandons it; this is usually the case for fast-evolving Javascript libraries such as React.

It evolves at a fast pace: React is being updated at a very high speed. Whilst this puts it at the top of the list of best Javascript libraries for developing web apps, it serves as a drawback as new developers might find it hard to keep up with the trend.

There’s no time for proper documentation: in this React vs React native discussion, we'll notice that, unlike in the case of the former, React has a high evolution pace. And so there's little time to professionally document its updates. And because of this, developers settle for manual and personal documentation, which is not always accurate and leads to poor execution.

What is React Native?

React Native is a flexible app development framework that allows for the development of native and cross-platform apps. 

Before web development with React Native framework, developers had to use different tools to enable their apps to run on different operating systems.

But this open-source app development software allows developers to save a lot of time by providing a multitude of reusable components and features. 

Odoo CMS - a big picture

Kanak Infosystem further explains how to develop with React Native by accentuating its superior features in a comparison between Flutter and React Native.

Overview of React Native: Features

react native features

Hot reloading: this feature only reads and reloads the specific changes made by a developer, where they are made, and without reloading the app from the start. This feature generally allows a developer to insert new file versions and other changes while the app is running. In hot reloading, you don't need to recompile the app as the state of the app is maintained. Because hot reloading allows you to see the changes you made to your app after you save the said changes, it saves developers time. 

 Hot Reloading in React Native

 
 

  Example:

 We will change the state by clicking on the increase button and then will change the style of the text. We will then save our code and will see the hot reloading, Only the changed component will be affected.

However, if you're deep in the app's navigation, hot reloading will not work. You should also be careful about using the hot loading feature consecutively, as it might mess up the app's output.

Live reloading: React Native also allows for live reloading to refresh the whole app. This React Native feature doesn't retain the current app state, instead, it implements changes, and refreshes the entire app. This feature helps with app compilation and debugging. Nonetheless, with live reloading, you need to refresh the entire app to view the changes you make. 

Live Reloading in React Native

 
 

   Example: 

 We will change the state by clicking on the increase button and then will change the style of the text. We will then save our code and reload the app will see the live reloading, the state of the app will get refreshed and we will get the initial default value.

Declarative UI: this React Native feature allows for the rebuild of a user interface from the scratch. This UI rebuild is triggered by a change in the state using default and contexts. This feature generally reduces the amount of code that a developer is supposed to write in React Native. 

Advantages of React Native

It generates platform-specific React Native code: this is one advantage that made the React Native framework to be popular. Its ability to automatically generate codes specific to many operating systems helps save developers’ time

It saves time and Money: because React Native allows developers to build apps that can run on cross-platforms, the developer doesn’t have to purchase any other tools or write platform-specific codes. This, in turn, reduces the cost of developing mobile apps. It is also license-free. Not only this, its hot loading feature allows developers to view changes during runtime instead of wasting time waiting for a full-app refresh.

React Native apps are fast: because React Native uses native API to render some code components, its apps tend to load faster than web view apps. Also, because of the native API, React Native apps have access to more system resources. Therefore, they have greater functionality, are safer, and can work offline

It has an easy learning curve: since React Native is written in Javascript, a front-end developer with more than basic knowledge of this programming language will not find it difficult to create an app on the framework. Moreover, this is not restricted to front-end developers as new developers can also learn how to develop apps with React Native in little time.

It provides ready-to-use UI libraries: because of the availability of UI libraries in React Native, developers can create apps that have seamless user interfaces. The availability of these libraries also helps to save the time required to build them from scratch.

Extensive community support: since React Native is one of the most popular app development software, it has a rich community of developers that are always ready to help solve problems. This tightly knit global community also keeps all React Native developers updated on changes and updates in the software.

Disadvantages of React Native

It may have compatibility issues: because React Native is still in the beta stage, it is not always compatible with a device and is oftentimes difficult to set up and debug.

Patenting and licensing issues: yes, React Native is open-sourced, however, its 2017 updated patent rights permit Facebook to stop a developer from using the framework if they don’t like his methods.

It has limited native libraries: React Native relies on third-party libraries because it has limited native libraries. This lack usually hinders the effectiveness of apps with complex functionalities and slows down the app development process. Because of this, programming languages like Objective-C and Swift are favored when developing apps with complex functionalities. 

Conclusion

Remember that React is best for developing high-performance and responsive web applications, while React Native is best for developing cross-platform mobile apps. 

If you’re asking: should I use react or react-native, remember that the decision depends on what the developer prefers, the time and money factor, and the features that will smoothen the development of your app.

However, if you need more clarity on the topic of React vs React Native, you can consult an expert app development company for advice. 

Kanak Infosystems have expert Android and iPhone developers that help develop quality web and mobile apps for clients.

We have successfully created and delivered apps of different types, including that for e-commerce and finance, travel and booking, social media and chat messenger, educational and gaming apps, etc.

We understand that every customer has unique demands for their apps, so our expert developers take out time to develop apps that meet every customer's specific requirement. You can never go wrong with Kanak Infosystems developers.

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