A genius approach to developing user interfaces gave birth to one of the most popular web development tools of today — ReactJs. It was followed by the mobile app development framework React Native that promises a dynamic user experience with high performance. Let’s dig deeper into the origins of the two technologies.
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ReactJs and React Native: An Overview
Reactjs and React Native are the technologies behind some of the most powerful mobile applications and websites.
At a time when the biggest names in the software development domain were betting on HTML, several crucial parameters were being overlooked. In their bid to revolutionise web development, and amidst rigorous expansions, Facebook realised that they were falling back on speed and performance. Engineering teams were faced with an unavoidable problem and concluded that the trouble lay in their user interface. It was slowing down the progress of news feed updates, thereby, hampering Facebook’s performance.
Eventually, Facebook decided that they would have to optimize the entire development process. That’s where Jordan Walke stepped in with XHP in 2011 and the rest is history.
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Although React Native uses the same foundational principles as ReactJS, the two technologies are constantly set against each other which gives way to an animated comparison of the two.
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In this article, we will take a close look at the ongoing Reactjs vs React Native debate and conduct a feature-by-feature comparison of the two. We will begin with understanding the two technologies individually, and exploring their respective pros and cons before we move on to find out the differences between React Native and ReactJs.
What is React?
What is React Native?
React Native is an open-source, cross-platform, hybrid app-development framework that is compatible with iOS, Windows and Android operating systems. It supports upto 95 percent of code reusability.
More about React Native and ReactJS: Features, Key Differences and Disadvantages
- Access to a large, active community of developers
Since React is an open-source platform, it is constantly upgraded with useful features and undergoes innovative tool inventions. Batching and Pruning are two important features that were created by off-company developers on GitHub.
- Supports SEO to attract organic traffic
Reactjs allows ample organic traffic, thanks to its server-side rendering. This makes a Google bot’s job easier when it can index content and images that already exist on a server. ReactJs, thus, contributes to pages loading faster which in turn makes way for a greater user experience.
- Document Object Model for better speed and UX
Most app development frameworks work with DOM, or Document Object Model which comprises a documentation structure in HTML, XHTML, or XML formats. Layout engines are used to convert these formats to DOM which then processes user inputs, queries, etc. ReactJs uses the abstract copy of DOM that results in faster development, quick updates and a dynamic user experience. This also enables Hot Reloading which enhances the performance of a website by allowing simultaneous updates.
- React Components Reusability for saving time
ReactJs contributes to efficiency by allowing users to reuse assets through its component-based architecture. Apart from saving enormous amounts of time, it is advantageous for another reason which is that changes in one component do not affect any others. This component isolation and one direction flow of data with downward data binding not only promotes efficiency but also improves code stability.
- React Hooks to share and reuse state logic
With Hooks API, React provides a better way for state logic management. It allows you logic reusability between components through which state logic can be shared. You don’t have to change the architecture of the entire code block to do so or write classes for every component. This is a great time-saving exercise.
Check Out: Node Js Vs. React Js
React Native Features
- React Native supports built-in debugging. As of March 2020, Flipper, a debugging tool, was added to React Native that allows default debugging of the framework. Using this feature, app developers can view crash reports, network requests, edit device databases, and perform several other debugging actions. Flippers also supports integration with custom plugins.
- The ability to write platform-specific code using React Native is a huge plus for most developers in building apps and websites. This is extremely time-saving as well since React Native can instantly detect the platform an app is being built on to generate code accordingly.
- Hot Reloading is a huge hit with React Native users as it gives them the opportunity to provide a faster and much more dynamic user experience than other frameworks.
- React Native is shipped with plenty of ready-to-use UI libraries that enable a better user experience and save time in development. This means more time for developers to spend on conceptualisation and execution.
React vs React Native: Key Differences
The most important differences between React Native and ReactJS are as follows:
- Possibly the main point of distinction between the two js that ReactJS works with Virtual DOM. React Native, on the other hand, works with native APIs for rendering purposes.
- ReactJs uses HTML while React Native does not. So, you might have to spend some time getting familiar with React Native syntax.
- To be able to run standard CSS-features on React Native, you need the help of special APIs. This is not so in ReactJs.
What are the Disadvantages of using React?
The three most common disadvantages of ReactJs include:
- The most common complaint from developers is that constant changes in the React environment disrupts the pace of development. However, on the bright side, updates in React are now mostly reserved to libraries and other improvements, so the framework is more or less stable.
- React’s documentation is not up to the mark. Since new tools get released all the time, the React ecosystem must find ways to update its libraries to make integration easy. Constant and excessive work in this department has led to poor documentation where developers don’t have proper instructions to enable easy integration.
- The syntax extension JSX that React uses is frequently under backlash from developers due to complexity and extremely steep learning curve.
What are the Disadvantages of using React Native?
React Native inherits some drawbacks from ReactJs and has some disadvantages of it’s own. Here’s looking at a few common ones:
- Like ReactJs, React Native is also a victim of poor documentation. This has proved to be problematic for developers looking to integrate tools with the framework.
- To be able to work with native modules, there is a requirement of native developers with an expertise in Java, C, etc. So much for React Native being a cross-platform development framework, huh?
- React Native’s compatibility with third-party components still suffers and there is no telling that this situation will change anytime soon.
- Developers on React Native frequently into Hot reloading failures, face emulator problems and compatibility issues. However, React Native is relatively new and there is ample scope for improvements, so we might as well just wait out the disadvantages of React Native.
Difference Between React Native and React JS:
It is important to consider the advantages of the two when talking about the major difference between React JS and React Native.
Advantages of React JS
ReactJS has various advantages, making it a great choice for web application development. Some of the major advantages include:
- Building dynamic web applications: ReactJs has solved the problem of lengthy, complex codes when creating web apps using HTML. Instead, ReactJs requires less coding and offers more functionality to make it much easier to build dynamic web applications.
- Enhanced performance: ReactJs has significantly improved its performance with the help of Virtual DOM. The virtual DOM is a representation of the web browser’s DOM that exists in memory. Rather than manipulating the DOM directly when creating a React component, developers can create virtual components that are efficiently transformed by React Js into the actual DOM. This results in faster and smoother performance.
- Handy tools: The work of a developer has become much smoother by using the handy set of tools supported by ReactJs. The tools allow developers to select a particular component and edit their pre-existing Props and State.
- Reusable components: Each web application has numerous components. ReactJs allows the reuse of all those components as and when needed, making developing and maintaining apps effortless.
- SEO optimization: Developers can make their web applications SEO-friendly by using dynamic rendering and server-side rendering, as well as incorporating meta tags.
Advantages of React Native
The main difference between React and React JS can be seen in the following advantages of React Native when building mobile apps.
- Cross-platform compatibility: Whenever a mobile application is created on React Native, it offers the facility of ‘Learn once, write everywhere,’ making them work on both iOS and Android devices.
- Consistent functionality: Native code compiles all codes written in React Native, allowing it to function on both operating systems and with the same level of functionality.
- Vast community: The community of React Native users is far and wide, which helps developers get answers to all their queries easily.
- Overtime improvement: There are a few features of Android and iOS that React Native does not support. However, the vast developer community continuously works to improve the best practices.
- Live Reload: It is one of the most popular features of React Native, which allows the smallest of changes made to the app code to be reflected immediately during development.
- Reusing codes: Developers can reuse codes for both operating systems, allowing the team to cut down on development costs by a whopping 40%.
Third-party integration: Building an app from scratch can be costly, and it is important to incorporate a device’s hardware capabilities into the app. React Native allows users to add built-in features of the device, such as GPS, Bluetooth, and more, to the app itself to fix the issue of slow loading and massive memory consumption.
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This brings us to the end of the article and our job here is done. Now, it’s up to you to study both the frameworks and figure out how you can use React JS and React Native in your next project based on all the details we’ve provided.
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