React and React Native are two powerful technologies that are behind some of the most popular web and mobile applications in the world today. You’re probably not even aware, but you likely use at least one of the two every single day. So what’s the difference between React vs React Native?
As you read on, we’ll break down the differences between React vs React Native, define their strengths and weaknesses, and provide some examples of companies that have adopted the two technologies.
Table of Contents
What is React?
React had to be extracted from Facebook’s codebase by developers so that Instagram could use it, which in a sense, means Instagram was the first ‘external’ user of React. This led to the open-sourcing of the technology for the rest of the world.
React is designed in a way that allows a React developer to easily integrate with existing code or other libraries. Its primary purpose is to simplify the process of developing and building web applications that are fast, scalable, and simple.
What is React Native?
React Native is the younger sibling of React. Following the glowing reception of React in 2013, Facebook began working on a cross-platform mobile framework to keep up with the tech giant’s growing mobile needs. In March 2015, Facebook announced that the technology was open and available on Github.
What does that mean? Imagine a builder used one drill to build a house and another to build an apartment. It would be tedious and unnecessary. Before React Native, app developers had to use various tools for different platforms like a builder having a special drill for each type of building he constructs.
The real power lies when it comes to React native development. A React Native developer can create a cross platform mobile app, across multiple platforms (Windows, Android, iOS) smoothly and seamlessly.
Like any siblings, React and React Native share similarities but also have distinct differences, which we’ll elaborate on later.
React Native vs React: How do they work?
Virtual Document Objective Model (DOM) for React
The Document Object Model (DOM) is a vital programming interface that is a representation of a Web document and all of its contents. The ability of libraries and frameworks to handle the DOM dramatically affects how they are ultimately used and viewed.
The groundbreaking feature of React is Virtual DOM. Virtual DOM is a virtual representation of the real DOM, meaning any view changes live inside a memory and not on the screen. For our non-technical readers, it’s important to understand that Virtual DOM is faster, provides higher performance, and better user experience compared to manually handling DOM changes.
Native APIs for React Native
On the other hand, React Native uses native Application Program Interface (API) when rendering UI component. Here’s a definition from Webopedia if you’re unsure about API:
“API is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications . In other words, an API specifies how software components should interact.”
Unlike Cordova, or another cross platform framework like PhoneGap, React Native renders certain code components with native APIs. React Native comes with native modules and components that improve performance.
Check out How to screen React developer skills
What is the difference between React vs React Native?
Most siblings share some commonalities, but most have as many differences as they do things in common. The same applies to React and React Native. There are some pretty clear-cut differences between the two. It’s best to break them down into the following categories:
Functional differences between React and React Native
- React is designed primarily for web applications, whereas React Native was conceived for the intended purpose of cross-platform mobile development.
- React Native was explicitly designed for building responsive mobile UI.
- React has no dependency on a particular platform, meaning it can be executed across all kinds of platforms.
- React Native is platform-dependent (to a degree). While a large percentage of code can be shared to a different platform or across a multiple platform set-up, there is also a percentage of specific code that is adapted to each specific platform i.e. iOS or Android.
- HTML tags are used in React. The technology consists of two parts – Components and HTML Document
- There are no HTML tags used in React Native.
- React Native is slightly more complicated using its own React native library to navigate mobile apps, enabling key mobile performance.
Advantages and disadvantages of React
Advantages of React
Listed below are some of the commonly accepted advantages of React.
Easy to learn/easy to use
A dynamic web application made easy
Previously, creating high-functioning web applications was difficult using HTML because of the complexity of the code, but React solved this problem because less coding is required, providing greater functionality.
An application that is made from React uses multiple components. These components each have their own logic and rendering, which can be reused whenever needed. This reuse enables easy development and maintenance of the application.
As mentioned previously, Virtual DOM is one of the defining features of React. The process of Virtual DOM guarantees a minimum update time to the real DOM, which in turn provides higher performance and better user experience.
Since React was made open-source in 2013, developers from around the world have been able to use and improve it. The React community provides valuable libraries that facilitate the React development process.
Disadvantages of React
Listed below are some of the most widely accepted disadvantages of React:
High paced development
The React environment is constantly changing, making it difficult for developers to stay in touch with constant updates. Most modern web frameworks share this trait, so while it may not be a disadvantage per se, it is still something to contend with for React developers.
Advantages of React Native
Below are some widely accepted advantages of React Native:
The shining achievement of React Native is that it enables cross-platform functionality. This is, in part, is achieved through reusable code that can be deployed on both iOS and Android.
There is less debugging and optimization required with React Native because it is deployed on multiple platforms. One app to build means monitoring only one backlog, unified version updates, and one set of bugs to fix.
React Native was initially conceived through a Facebook run hackathon back in 2013, and since then, the technology has been driven by its community. This is a huge advantage because a large community that’s willing to share their knowledge and expertise, catalogs, and openly available components will drive the development of the technology.
The benefits mentioned above all boil down to one overall advantage of React Native – reduced cost. A React Native application needs to be built once with the added benefit of using a single codebase (most of the time). This means one team which saves on payroll and administrative costs. The other cost-saving comes from the MIT license under which React Native is distributed. Users do not need to publish the source of the code, anyone can modify the software, and changes to the code do not need to be reported. The framework is completely license-free, so there is no need to pay or share for anything done within the framework.
Disadvantages of React Native
Listed below are the most widely considered disadvantages of React Native:
React Native is continually updating and that comes with bug fixes, new ported native components, performance improvements, and improved custom components. Updates aren’t necessarily a disadvantage, but something that React Native developers have to consider as opposed to a more developed framework.
Lacks Custom Modules
React Native still lacks certain components, while others are yet to be fully developed. Most React Native developers would not encounter this issue; however, those who do have to find ways around it by building a solution from scratch or hacking an existing one. Creating a custom module may also result in three separate codebases (Android, iOS, RN) instead of only one.
React vs React Native Examples
You’ve made it this far as we’ve defined React and React Native, outlined their differences, and went through each technology’s advantages and disadvantages.
Now you’re probably wondering, where are the two even used? Or better yet, have I already been using an app written in React or React Native without knowing it? Unless you live on an island or deep in a cave with no access to technology, then the answer is almost certainly yes.
Here are some real-world examples of both React and React Native:
Facebook Web Version
React was first conceived at Facebook back in 2011 when a software engineer named Jordan Walke led the creation of the library. First used for the newsfeed, React is used extensively (along with other technologies) for the web version of Facebook.com.
Instagram Web Version
Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 and, at the time, didn’t have a web version of the app. After acquiring the popular social media platform, React was quickly implemented to roll out the web version of Instagram. Since then, the web version has been 100% based on the React library.
Asana is a leading project management tool used by companies all over the world. The tool has over 30,000 paying customers, including Spotify, Uber, Autodesk, and Trivago. Initially, based on Luna, the tool grew quickly, and with that came issues – mostly related to scaling. Following this, the decision was made to rewrite the front end, and React was chosen to do that.
Netflix is another big player that uses React. The streaming giant uses React on its platform called Gibbon, which is used for low-performance TV devices. The React library has also helped with startup speed, runtime, performance, modularity, and various other advantages, as written on the Netflix blog.
Facebook AppAfter the success of React, Facebook sought to deliver all of its benefits – such as fast iterations and having a single team to build the whole product – to mobile. The end result was React Native, which was leveraged in mobile app development for iOS and Android apps.
After the success of React, Facebook sought to deliver all of its benefits – such as fast iterations and having a single team to build the whole product – to mobile. The end result was React Native, which was leveraged in mobile app development for iOS and Android apps.
After Facebook acquired Instagram, React Native was integrated into Instagram’s native app, starting from the push notification view, which was initially implemented as the WebView. There were a few hiccups along the way, but the Instagram dev team substantially improved velocity. Between 85% and 99% of code was shared between Android and iOS apps, which resulted in a must faster development of the app.
In 2017, Skype announced that it’s working on an entirely new app to be written in React Native. The result was an app completely revamped, including the layout, icons, and even some cool new features. Microsoft even decided to use React Native not only for the mobile platforms but also on the Windows desktop app.
The electric car company developed its mobile application with React Native. The app is designed to diagnose and locate a vehicle, as well as partially control it with the help of a smartphone.
The famous website builder’s mobile application is entirely written in React Native. Tal Kol, former head of mobile engineering at Wix, spoke at ReactNext 2016 about how React Native is a game-changing technology for Wix.
React and React Native are technologies that are only becoming more popular within the developer community. Perhaps before reading this, you weren’t aware that many of your favorite mobile or web applications use one or the other. Hopefully, now you’ve got a better understanding of React vs React Native, their similarities, differences, and drawbacks. As their popularity continues to grow, we can expect to see them even more widely used by developers worldwide.
Find the right developer with DevSkiller React Coding Tests & React Native Coding Tests
React vs React Native: What's the difference? - DevSkiller? ›
React is designed primarily for web applications, whereas React Native was conceived for the intended purpose of cross-platform mobile development.What is the difference between React developer and React Native developer? ›
Here's the main difference between ReactJS and React Native: React JS is used to build the user interface of web applications (that is, apps that run on a web browser) React Native is used to build applications that run on both iOS and Android devices (that is, cross-platform mobile applications)What's the difference React vs React Native? ›
React is used to build the user interface for web applications, whereas React Native is used for developing a mobile applications for Android, iOS and Windows. React. js used a virtual DOM to render browser code in React, whereas React Native uses Native API to render components for mobile applications.Which is better ReactJS or React Native? ›
ReactJS is considered more efficient than React Native when displaying dynamic content. It is because ReactJS uses a virtual DOM (Document Object Model) that allows faster rendering times. Conversely, React Native uses a real DOM, which can slow down performance when rendering complex pages.Should I be React Native developer or ReactJS developer? ›
|Comparison Factor||ReactJS||React Native|
|Syntax||React uses HTML and its syntax flow||React Native uses the React Native syntax|
|Support for CSS||ReactJS works well with CSS for styling and animation||React Native uses the animated API to animate components of an app|
React is most suited for UI-focused frontends, where the end-user experience is paramount.Which is harder React or React Native? ›
Both Flutter and React Native are among the best cross-platform development frameworks available today. They both use native widgets to deliver a highly customizable, responsive UI while sharing code across different platforms.
Is React Native still in demand? ›
Popularity. React Native: React Native is widely adopted and is a more popular app development framework than Flutter. React developers can quickly develop react native mobile apps, which encourages more developers to use this framework.Which language is best for React Native? ›
If you are looking for building a mobile app with multiple screen transitions, interactions and animations, React Native is probably not the best bet for your mobile app development project. Generally, mobile apps with need of complex gestures are not built with React Native.
Many believe, in the future, React native is going to be the top choice for building cross-platform mobile applications. So if you are planning to learn React native in 2023, you should definitely go for it.Are React Native developers in demand? ›
Companies are actively looking for excellent React Native developers to complete their projects. This is because React is the most popular framework for developing interactive mobile applications. With high demand, companies find it challenging to onboard React Native engineers.Is React Native enough to build an app? ›
As an established “hybrid” framework for mobile app development, React Native is proven efficient at cross-platform duties, attractive, popular among devs, and saves time and money. Perhaps the only other multi-platform app development framework to give React Native a good run for its money is Google's Flutter.What is the salary of React Native developer? ›
React Native Developer salary in India ranges between ₹ 1.2 Lakhs to ₹ 11.0 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 4.0 Lakhs.Does React Native require coding? ›
You've built a successful React web app, and now you want to convert that web app to native mobile apps on iOS/Android. To do so, you've got several options. First, you can rebuild your web app from the ground up for mobile using React Native. Another method is to convert it to a Progressive Web Application, or PWA.Does Facebook use React or React Native? ›
Is Facebook coded in React Native? ›
When you buy Fullstack React Native, you're not buying just a book, but dozens of code examples. Every chapter in the book comes with a complete project that uses the concepts in the chapter and provides support for both iOS (including iPhone X screens) & Android.Why use React over React Native? ›
In such cases, Redux comes in handy because the primary use of Redux is that we can use one application state as a global state and interact with the state from any react component very easily whether they are siblings or parent-child.Is React harder than Python? ›
Rather than building two separate mobile game versions from scratch, it's way better to simultaneously enter both iOS and Android markets. React Native game development is a way to achieve this goal — the framework allows to create a mobile app game of the highest possible quality.Can I develop React Native in VS Code? ›
Contrary to the belief that React Native is becoming obsolete, market trends indicate it is still being used for native mobile app development. As much as industry leaders like to invest in cross-platform apps, native apps still make a large chunk of the market share.
Do any big companies use React Native? ›
Not only does Facebook itself use the framework, but so does Instagram, AirBnB, and Uber Eats. There are many other React Native examples too and you'll learn more about the companies using React Native in a moment.Is Netflix using React Native? ›
Netflix runs React native on all devices.Why Flutter is better than React Native? ›
React Native is restricted to the use of native components that may need further customization by hand. A Flutter app can jump into the desktop environment immediately, while a React app must use a web interface as an intermediary for that situation.Which top companies use React Native? ›
Microsoft. Microsoft is a multinational company in the field of computer technology and is the world's biggest software company. It currently has over 181,000 workers across more than 102 countries. The company employs React Native in its 38 Android and iOS applications, like Word, Excel, Outlook, OneDrive, and Edge.What backend to use with React Native? ›
Supabase and Firebase are two of the most famous backend as a service (BaaS) products. Firebase, now owned by Google, provides the tools for developers to build and ship their applications on the web and mobile.Does Microsoft use React Native? ›
Microsoft Office leverages React Native in several experiences across the suite of Office apps including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Some examples include the modern commenting experience, privacy dialog, and unity canvas. These experiences ship across both mobile and desktop, including on macOS and Windows.Which backend language is best for React? ›
We recommend using Express Js with NodeJS as they have proven to be the best and most appropriate backend framework for React.What is the major drawback of React Native? ›
- Issues regarding compatibility and debugging. ...
- You cannot do the job without Native developers. ...
- It is dependent on Facebook. ...
- The memory management here is not excellent. ...
- The Licenses and Patent controversy. ...
- React Native is slow at adding the latest features.
You probably heard that some time ago Airbnb decided to drop React Native, because it did not meet their expectations. The main reason was the cumbersome process of maintaining the language, as Airbnb created their own fork of React Native (they interfered directly with the framework's code).What are the disadvantages of React Native over native? ›
- If you need a mobile app that requires complex gestures, React Native probably isn't the right choice for your project. ...
- If you are confident that your mobile app will be used only on a single OS platform, then building it with React Native does not make sense. ...
- Working with 3D graphics has several limitations in RN.
How many months does it take to learn React Native? ›
Learning React can take anywhere between a couple weeks and a few months. Besides the amount of time you put in regularly, your prior experience with coding will greatly affect how long learning React takes you.How many days are required to learn React Native? ›
If you are a beginner or already have some programming experience, it will take you one to four weeks to completely master the basics.Does React Native have a future? ›
React Developer salary in India ranges between ₹ 1.2 Lakhs to ₹ 10.0 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 4.0 Lakhs.What is the salary of ReactJS or React Native? ›
The average React developer salary in India is ₹557,208/yr. On the other hand, the average salary for Angular developers is ₹596,391/yr.What is the salary of Android vs React Native? ›
An Entry Level android and React Native Developer with less than three years of experience earns an average salary of ₹4.6 Lakhs per year.Is React overkill for small apps? ›
Among the top 500 apps in the US, 14.85% of installed apps are built with React Native.Is React Native a good career? ›
Working as a React Native developer can offer many benefits, such as competitive pay and a very positive job outlook. If you have a background or interest in computer programming and want to specialize in a particular type of software development, you might consider becoming a React Native developer.What does a React Native developer do? ›
What is a React Native developer called? ›
What is a React Native developer? A React Native developer is a software developer or engineer who uses a specific framework to create applications. The React Native framework is available online, and these developers use it because the program allows them to create applications quickly and share code efficiently.What is meant by React Native developer? ›
React Native is an open-source UI software framework created by Meta Platforms, Inc. It is used to develop applications for Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, tvOS, Web, Windows and UWP by enabling developers to use the React framework along with native platform capabilities.Is React Native developer front end developer? ›
Great React Native developers can build apps that feel truly native while using web technologies that are familiar to a wide range of developers. They usually focus on the front end of the product, but they are also adept at understanding the API services and infrastructure with which the app needs to integrate.What are the two types of React Native? ›
In React Native, there are two main types of components that make up an application: functional components and class components.What skills do you need to be a React Native developer? ›
- Attention to detail. ...
- Analytical skills. ...
- Problem-solving skills. ...
- Communication skills. ...
- Adaptability. ...
- Time management skills. ...
If you are a beginner or already have some programming experience, it will take you one to four weeks to completely master the basics.Is React Native a framework or SDK? ›
React Native is a cross-platform framework that allows software engineers to build native-like applications for both Android and iOS platforms using the same codebase. React Native was created in 2015 by Facebook and it managed to become strongly supported by the vast community of followers very fast.Can I mix React and React Native? ›
React and React Native help bring web and mobile development closer together to improve both user and developer experiences. Some teams go as far as building a full cross-platform Design System with React and React Native (video tutorial).