React and React Native: What’s the Difference?
React and React Native are behind some of the most popular web and mobile applications. They represent different aspects of the React ecosystem and serve different purposes. So, let’s take a dive deep to understand when it’s better to opt for React.js vs React Native.
Introduction to React.js and Its Features
What is React.js?
Types of Projects React.js is Best Suited For
What are React’s most widespread usages? Its purpose is to allow building high-performing interfaces. React plays an important role in:
First used for the newsfeed, React is used extensively for the web version of Facebook.com.
React was implemented to roll out the web version of Instagram. API requests with Google Maps, geolocation services, search functionality, and tagging are supported through the framework.
Asana, a leading project management tool, employed React to address client-side performance problems. The front-end was rewritten in React.
Netflix React enabled them to build a tremendous foundation. React was adopted because of its startup speed, runtime performance, and modularity.
Further afield, Airbnb, WhatsApp, Dropbox, Yahoo Mail, Medium, Udemy, Codecademy, and New York Times all use React.
Notable Features of React.js
React is a popular choice for web projects due to its mild learning curve, relatively fast development and notable performance, which allows building web applications of various scope and complexity.
Virtual DOM is one of the defining features of React. It guarantees a minimum update time to the real DOM, provides higher performance and a better user experience.
The component-based architecture in React eliminates the need for frequent debugging. If you edit one part of the app, it doesn’t affect other parts.
How does React.js Differ from Its Rivals?
Today, Facebook’s technology enjoys huge rates of growing popularity. React is the most widely used JS library — it has become a go-to choice for most front-end developers.
The groundbreaking feature of React is Virtual DOM. It doesn’t require a response from a browser, which is why the code is rendered faster. Virtual DOM provides higher performance, and a better user experience compared to manually handling DOM changes.
Another prominent feature is the ability to reuse components — developers don’t need to write different codes for similar app components. React introduced the concept of component-based architecture, which enforces the reusability of components as per your requirement. It can save an enormous amount of time.
Since React is capable of server-side rendering, it gives a power boost to SEO (with the use of extra tools like Next.js, for example).
Community-powered innovation makes React one of the most popular options for creating innovative apps.
Before React Native was invented, developers had to use various tools for different platforms. React Native allows mobile app developers to save a lot of time — your team won’t dissipate efforts on creating one app for iOS, one for Android, one for Windows, etc. Most of the JS code could be reused and enhanced with native modules or code.
In 2012 Mark Zuckerberg commented, “The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML as opposed to native.” He promised that Facebook would deliver a better mobile experience. React Native was developed after React to meet the growing need in high-quality cross-platform development. It was open-sourced in March 2015.
According to the Stack Overflow survey 2020, React Native is one of the most popular technologies — 58% of the respondents said they used React Native for mobile app development.
The shining achievement of React Native is that developers don’t need to write separate codes for iOS and Android platforms. Also, they can partially share the code for the web, which allows for better teamwork.
As there is only one code base for all platforms, React Native can be used to build applications that are compatible with Android and iOS. This means that the team will save on the development, maintenance, and administrative costs. The other cost-saving comes from the fact that React Native is completely license-free.
React Native is capable of providing users with native-like experience as it utilizes native UI in developing responsible mobile apps. If you are on a budget but need a cost-effective and quality solution that would run on several platforms, React Native is your choice.
Hot & Live Reloading
If the business logic needs to be modified, you can tweak the user interface without any loss of your app’s code.
The idea behind this feature is pretty simple — it renders content by returning some JSX. Mobile UI is based on a declarative programming paradigm — engineers can focus on what is needed to be implemented rather than how to do this.
React Native was conceived through a Facebook run hackathon, and since then, it has been extensively supported by its community. If you face any issue during the development process, it will be easily solved. A large global developer community continuously contributes with their knowledge, solutions, tools, etc.
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