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React vs React Native: What's the Difference?
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Understanding the difference between ReactJS and React Native rests on knowing their functionality and critical purposes. They are both Facebook natives that offer unmatched power to mobile app and web development.
The conversation examining ReactJS vs. React Native is a common one in the app development field. However, even seasoned developers don't understand the significant differences underlying the "React vs React Native" argument.
The easy way to explain the major differences is: ReactJS is more web-based, while React Native contributes to the mobile framework. But the differences are more in-depth than that.
History on React Native vs ReactJS
Today, the stark difference between React Native and ReactJS is noticeable all over the world. These two powerful technologies are the foundation of many popular websites and mobile applications.
ReactJS came first around 2011 when Facebook engineers noticed that frequent updates to their system were clogging productivity. Before that, Facebook users had trouble switching between their timelines and chats. One wise Facebook engineer, Jordan Walke, came to Facebook's rescue. He utilized XHP to develop the prototype called FaxJS, which would soon become ReactJS. The application was all Facebook needed to have one of the most intuitive User Interfaces (UIs).
Other applications acquired by Facebook later utilized React JS in their programming, including Instagram, a giant leap from relying on HTML programming only. What’s fascinating about the React Native vs. The ReactJS topic is that while ReactJS offers great benefits, React Native is often favored as it can simply do more. (More about this later.)
Let’s dive in to see how to React and React Native stack against each other:
Technical Overview: React vs React Native
What is React JS
As we’ve already highlighted, ReactJS makes it pretty easy for developers to create interactive UIs. By simply using React JS, you are 100% sure that your users will view each state of your application. Why? Because ReactJS is one of the few tools that can update and render components when your data changes, if not the only one. What’s more, ReactJS gives coders a declarative view, which means it will be painless for you to make your code more predictable and easy to debug.
ReactJS's key features include the following:
- Speed is a unique selling point with ReactJS: Thanks to its virtual Document Object Model (DOM) feature, ReactJS will enhance the performance of your application in a blink of an eye. ReactJS will first develop an in-memory data cache that configures differences that are then updated in the DOM seamlessly.
- ReactJS allows you to create dynamic applications: If you want to create a user-friendly web application with less coding, this is the best tool for you.
- ReactJS comes with a one-way binding data functionality: This feature keeps you in control and enables you to eliminate errors instantly. For instance, the entire parent component does not need to be redone when making a minor change. This offers unique code stability that had not been seen before the implementation of ReactJS. The kind of stability that will make maintenance to ReactJS applications effortless.
- It has a component-based framework: Perhaps one of the most exciting features of ReactJS is that you can divide it into multiple components. Or use it to pass data throughout the application without affecting your DOM.
- You can still use HTML: The good news is that ReactJS gives you access to libraries while allowing you to use HTML. Programming has never been this user-friendly!
- Since its inception, ReactJS has always been a trusted hub for seasoned developers who have enhanced it through additional libraries and extensions that can be used worldwide. It has improved the means to save time and human resources on the app and web development.
- Your job as an engineer is to write the language as efficiently as possible: Something that you can do with ReactJS easily. It gives you a real-time view of all the changes while allowing you to spend less time coding. You may ask, “how is that even possible?” With ReactJS, you can use the same code for different components, which ultimately saves both time and money for developers.
- The saving grace is the SEO-boosting functionality of ReactJS: ReactJS supports SEO optimization by allowing indexing of a site to occur faster. In return, SEO optimization contributes to the success of the website in question, with the content being indexed at the server level. For business owners and web developers, that means more leads.
- You will get a faster loading time on your web page: ReactJS guarantees you one thing: a lower bounce rate from the user. Web page analytics is a crucial feature that could sway developers when examining React vs React Native differences. When a web page takes longer to load, the user heads to a page that will render faster. That's where ReactJS offers the advantage.
What is React Native?
React Native is an entirely different development framework. It is technically an open-source model that Facebook launched to improve its mobile applications or any other applications.
Today React Native offers a myriad of features and reusable components. At its base, React Native uses ReactJS but with totally different libraries. With React Native, developers can expand the reach of ReactJS to platforms that include Windows, Android, and iOS.
When comparing React with React Native closely, the main difference we can pick is that ReactJS builds elements under React Native. In contrast, React Native uses ReactJS to develop frameworks with reusable components. Since its inception in 2015, there have been over 25,000 apps in the world using React Native.
- React Native is accessible to any mobile app: That simply means a team of developers can use its API to improve its performance or integrate it with any mobile application. Many business owners prefer it, including Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg.
- You get excellent architecture: It comes with a flexible architecture that would make coding easy for any developer.
- React Native has a flexible CocoaPods support feature, which means you can associate it with your iOS coding project.
- It is UI-focused: If you are looking for a framework that allows you to customize and make it interactive, you should consider React Native.
- React Native saves you time and money: With this solution, you can reduce your code density to allow it to support cross-platform developments. This way, you will save time as your codes will not need to be re-written for every mobile application. Plus, you can reuse your codes across a broad spectrum of mobile platforms, including iOS and Android. It leads to a reduction in in-app maintenance costs as well.
- It is one of the most user-friendly platforms right now: Reactive Native's usability is the key marker of its success.
- Excellent support: Moreover, it allows those within the React Native community to frequently answer internet queries. This community works together with the knowledge that when they solve a problem for one, they solve it for all. When one React Native developer community member answers a question for another developer or user, React Native improves. The community support with this platform is incredible.
Difference Between React and React Native
The main difference between React vs React Native is that ReactJS can be used on every platform, while React Native can not.
Many features set ReactJS and React Native apart. For starters, when using ReactJS, developers and programmers can develop a high-performance UI as their own JS library. While with React Native, you can build the entire framework, regardless of iOS or Android.
When comparing ReactJS with React Native, ReactJS is known to offer optimum security. On the other hand, security within React Native can be low, given its mobile nature.
Another key difference between React vs React Native is that React JS offers more animation at higher levels than React Native. It is done primarily by implementing CSS with ReactJS, whereas React Native relies on API to produce animation.
Still, both are used in web development and mobile apps, as they are both flexible and have the advantage of offering reusable components, which improves functionality simultaneously.
Mobile apps versus computations
Furthermore, React Native works better for mobile apps and standard calculations and computations. ReactJS, on the other hand, works better with more complex computations and can be used with more applications.
What about components?
The components between React vs React Native differ as well. ReactJS is a base of the DOM for the web, whereas React Native functions as a derivative itself. In other words, components are different. While the flow might seem similar, there are some differences in functionality.
ReactJS also has a wide range of limitations, as it is just a library at its base. It offers the advantages of developing a high-performance user interface. React Native, on the other hand, is the framework and not just a language library.
How is code rendered?
How you render code is also a key difference between the two. For ReactJS, you can render code from the DOM, while with React Native, you can use APIs in mobile applications. Styling approaches are also different. For instance, you can pair CSS with ReactJS, stylesheets with React Native, and it also contributes to how you use animation. Meanwhile, ReactJS will provide more secure and more available options for developers looking to create an animation that performs well.
React and React Native: Head to Head Comparison
|When using ReactJS, developers and programmers can develop a high-performance User Interface (UI) as their own JS library.||With React Native, entire frameworks need to be built regardless of iOS or Android.|
|It offers optimum security.||Offers low security.|
|React JS offers more animation at higher levels.||It offers less animation functionality.|
|ReactJS is a base of the DOM for the web.||Whereas React Native functions as a derivative itself.|
|For ReactJS, code is rendered from the DOM.||While with React Native, APIs are used in mobile applications.|
|ReactJS has a library at its base. It means you can use it to develop a high-performance user interface.||React Native is the framework and has no language library.|
That said, both ReactJS and React Native have their own unique set of disadvantages.
Disadvantages of ReactJS
The evolution of ReactJS is moving at a rapid speed and to many, this is a drawback. For rookie developers, or programmers seeking to enhance skills, a higher speed in a development setting may not be beneficial. It would mean thinking on your feet or being flexible to adapt to rapid changes, which may not even be possible at the human level.
Realistically speaking, it may be time-consuming and people-intensive; or require using resources that could be used to grow a business.
Library support is another area that works against developers. External libraries permit developers to expand on what they can and can't use. ReactJS has a seemingly infinite set of third-party libraries and external libraries as well. However, that is not the same case for the native libraries of ReactJS.
Inability to develop updates and documentation
The speed that serves as a significant advantage to ReactJS can also be cumbersome in other areas. Besides, it isn't always easy to develop updates or documentation to ReactJS because of this. A predicament that forces developers to write updates or documentation themselves as well to ensure a seamless delivery.
Costs are invariably high.
Cost overheads are also typically higher with ReactJS than they are with React Native applications. That is because developers may sometimes need to download additional components to use a specific UI, which adds to their overall project time and resource consumption.
Disadvantages of React Native
React Native has some disadvantages as well.
Developers often encounter compatibility problems, even when used by the most skilled developer. Compounding this is an inability to debug, which is still an issue. However, developers familiar with React Native and these issues are less likely to encounter this and less likely to waste time troubleshooting.
Patenting and licensing issues
Patenting and licensing issues may also come up when examining the differences between React vs React Native. Facebook still maintains full control of React Native, and these patent issues are not going away. Meanwhile, React Native is still offered as an open-source license, but if Facebook has a developer problem, the developer will know about it.
Choose How You React Better?
Which one is better between React Native and React? Typically, there is no perfect answer to this question. Whatever framework you choose must have all the necessary features.
Also, the final decision will all depend on what developers prefer or what they deem capable of saving organizations’ time and money. Both factors are critical in deciding which of the two solutions to go. We can’t ignore that both frameworks come with unique features and offer great support from the development community.
If you are a rookie developer and decide for yourself, some more heavy lifting is awaiting you, especially if you choose a solution with fewer features. So use these two facts as a guideline:
- ReactJS is a component, while React Native functions as a framework. ReactJS functions to complement and work with React Native, which was why React Native was developed.
- ReactJS offers a high level of functionality to separate calculations, while React Native provides the overall native sense to mobile applications. Still, neither are without their limitations and disadvantages. Before choosing what technology will best serve you, understand the different advantages and disadvantages of each.
When it comes to front-end development, speed and ease of use are key determinants that developers use to decide on the right tool to use. If those two are met, the next consideration is improved SEO, which should be one of your ultimate goals. That's where ReactJS comes in handy.
Meanwhile, if you are looking for a solid framework, React Native is the one. Plus, you can use its API to improve performance or integrate it.
At the same time, some developers are likely to answer the React JS vs. React Native question with: "They both work together very well, so why do you have to choose at all?"
While the two can complement each other well, each is ideal for certain projects. It's essential to pick the right framework, especially to build a dynamic and responsive UI.
As you review the features of each framework, think about the development project you want to work on. Then highlight the features that will make your project a success.
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