Reactjs vs React Native: Key Differences, Pros, and Cons

Krunal Shah

Feb 06, 2021 | 9 min read

ReactJS vs React Native

Reactjs and React Native - the two incredibly popular technologies in the app development industry. Both these tools have similar names, are launched by Facebook, and have maintained their fan bases since their launch. However, many in the ecosystem are still not clear about the clear differences between Reactjs and React Native. Of course, it’s clear that one is a web framework while the other is a mobile framework. But apart from that, how are they different? In this article, I take a bird’s eye view of the business advantages and limitations of both platforms and outline the key differences when it comes to choosing between Reactjs vs React Native.

Table of Content

Reactjs vs React Native - A Quick Overview

Before getting into the details of Reactjs vs React Native, let us have a quick overview of both technologies.

What is Reactjs?

React JS

Reactjs is a JavaScript library specifically designed for developing the view layer of web and mobile apps. It uses reusable components to create a stronger structure for its applications.

Facebook made the library publicly available in 2011. Since then, its popularity has grown by leaps and bounds.

What is React Native?

React Native

React Native is an open-source framework developed by Facebook to meet its growing mobile needs. React Native is super useful to develop native mobile applications with reusable components.

Notably, React Native uses Reactjs for base abstraction, only the library components are different.

Despite being similar at the core, the difference between Reactjs and React Native is significant. However, both the tools are a leader in their respective genre.

Business Benefits of Using Reactjs For Web Development

Features of React JS

Faster development with reusable components

One of the more prominent Reactjs’ advantages is its ability to reuse components. With reusable codes, developers don’t need to write different codes for similar app components. This facilitates faster development with lower costs.

Moreover, the component-based architecture in Reactjs eliminates the need for frequent debugging. If you edit one part of the app, it doesn’t affect other parts. Thus, Reactjs saves a lot of testing and debugging time as well.

High performance because of virtual DOM

You need something more than just HTML when you receive only data from the server. Reactjs uses Javascript to generate HTML. The advantages of this approach are way stronger than its disadvantages.

With prominent Reactjs’ features for front-end development, developers can use Javascript to write HTML. Reactjs uses the tree reconciliation process to render HTML virtually.

This process makes the web application function faster as there is no need to update the entries of the whole DOM time and again.

Code stability with unidirectional data flow

Reactjs uses one-way data binding to ensure that the changes made in the child components do not have any impact on the parent components. So each component becomes self-contained. Changes in smaller parts only require updates in the data model, not the entire state.

This leaves a huge part of the app unchanged whenever a new edit is introduced. As a result, Reactjs applications are much easier to maintain as their code is highly stable.

SEO boost to the web pages

SEO boost to the web pages

Reactjs facilitates faster rendering of the web pages. Thanks to it, the page loading time in Reactjs app is quite low. As a result, the bounce rate of Reactjs web pages is lower too.

These factors have a significant bearing on the SEP performance of a web application. So to conclude, Reactjs makes web apps SEO-friendly.

Moreover, developers can use tools like React Helmet and React Router to develop SEO friendly websites easily.

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Business Benefits of React Native

Business benefits of React Native

More than 25000 apps across the globe use React Native and reap rich benefits from it. So let’s dive deep and understand the business benefits of the React Native framework.

Ideal enterprise mobility solution

React Native is a free and open-source. So a large community of developers is always working to improve the framework.

Moreover, Facebook has promised to maintain the React Native platform to ensure the best experience to the developers.

React Native has all the ingredients to ensure an excellent start if you incorporate it into your mobile app. React Native’s features are one of the prominent reasons why it is the top choice for enterprise mobility solutions.

Extensive community support

React Native is one of the most loved technology according to Stack Overflow survey 2020. 58% of the respondents chose React Native over any other platform.

Over 60% developers root for its usability, the internet is full of queries and their solutions provided by the large React Native developer community.

Since the community is so large, the developers can stay updated to the changing trends through React Native’s official channels. So, one of the biggest React Native advantages is that if during the development process the developers face any challenge, it can be easily solved with the help of the global developer community.

JavaScript as the scripting language

Because of the advanced Javascript V8 Engine, the developers don’t have to work on compiling the code to the browser. Moreover, Javascript is a simple scripting language, thus its learning curve is not steep and it is easy to work with as well.

Javascript is one of the most commonly used scripting languages. Therefore, even if the developers have an issue while working with it, they can switch to the large developer community for further guidance.

Cost-effective MVP with React Native

Code reusability is one of the important features of React Native as it a cross-platform app development framework. Thus, if you are building your MVP with React Native, you can save a lot of development time as the developers don’t need to write separate codes for iOS and Android platforms.

Apart from saving time, the cost of app maintenance is also reduced as there is only one code base for both platforms.

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Where Reactjs Lags Behind

After looking at the Reactjs’ advantages, let us have a look at the junctions where Reactjs lags behind.

Quickly evolving

If the pace of development is high, it has its own sets of benefits and shortcomings. As far as the disadvantages are concerned, the changes take place at a rapid rate at a high pace of development environment, so some developers might not find it easier to relearn newer ways of doing things regularly.

They might find it difficult to adapt to all the changes taking place and might not be able to update their skills as per requirement.

Library support

Although external libraries can enable the developers to use both CSS and HTML to the core and build it into JSX, it has its own set of complexities.

Despite Reactjs supporting a plethora of third-party libraries or external libraries, native libraries for Reactjs are numbered. It becomes very difficult to understand the complexities of CSS and HTML because the learning curve for Reactjs is more.

Feeble documentation

Due to the high pace of development, there is less time to make proper documentation of the updates done in Reactjs. Thus, developers are forced to create their own documentation which eventually results in poor execution. The own documentation done by the developers is for specific tools.

Increased cost and time overheads

One of the major shortcomings of Reactjs is that it becomes necessary to down unwanted react-enabled library which shoots up the cost and the time overheads. For example, the developer has to download Carbon components with React in order to use the Carbon framework for UI experience.

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Where React Native Lags Behind

Some of the significant places where React Native lags behind are:

Haphazard abstraction layer

The framework in which programmers can find stylesheets like CSS and tags like HTML along with code from Javascript are pretty loosely held. While this gives freedom to developers, it poses challenges like it doesn’t enforce any rules or parameters unlike Java and Swift Languages.

There are high chances of occurrence of a clash of the logic situation which will not be the case with either Java or Swift.

Compatibility issues

React Native is still in its beta version despite being used by top tech players. The developers might come across various debugging and compatibility issues.

Therefore, if the developers are not skilled enough in working with React Native, it can hamper the overall development process as much time will get wasted in troubleshooting.

Patenting and licensing

One should always keep in mind that Facebook controls React Native. So if there are any issues related to patenting or licensing, they aren’t getting solved soon.

Although React Native now has version 2 with a grant from Facebook for patent right, in 2017, when Facebook updated its open-source licensing for React Native it stated it if Facebook doesn’t like your method, it has the right to stop the developer from working on the platform.

Limited native libraries

Since React Native has limited native libraries, it might be difficult to run the app in case of heavy functionalities. For making more complex calculations simultaneously, Java, Objective-C, and Swift are preferred over React Native.

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Reactjs vs React Native: Key Differences

Reactjs vs React Native: Key Differences

Reactjs vs React Native is no less than the clash of the titans when it comes to leading frameworks going around in the tech realm. We will now look at some of the key differences below.

1. One of the key differences between Reactjs and React Native is that Reactjs can be executed on all platforms while React Native is not platform-independent. The developer typically has to put in more efforts in order to execute React Native on all platforms

2. With Reactjs, the developer has the facility to create high performing and engaging UI layer as it is a Javascript library. On the other hand, the entire framework of React Native is built for cross-platform apps be it iOS, Android or web.

3. Reactjs provides higher levels of security. The security standards are low in React Native.

4. High levels of animations are possible in Reactjs by using CSS just like the developers do in web development. On the other side, you have to use an API in React Native for animation.

Reactjs vs React Native: Conclusion

After going through every nook and corner of the frameworks in detail, a question must be striking in your mind, Reactjs or React Native, which is better?

One must first understand the fact that both Reactjs and React Native are significant focal points for both web and app development. Moreover, due to their flexible functionalities, both platforms are gaining momentum with each passing day.

Every framework or technology has its set of merits and shortcomings. For example, React Native is optimal to give a native feel to the mobile apps. When we look at Reactjs, it can be used to develop apps used for complex calculations and high functionality.

Another question that might strike your mind-  can you reuse Reactjs code in React Native?

The answer to this is, yes it is possible as React Native under a horizon uses the same codes which are used for the web.

Thus, it is advisable for the business to do thorough research and map the pros and cons of the framework they are willing to use in the future. Once, they know what they can expect from the framework, they can set their priorities accordingly.

TRT

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