In this article, we will go through various topics which would help us understand the difference between React and React Native. Let us first have a look at the history of both.
React.js and React Native are currently the most popular and widely used libraries for Mobile and websites. Both these libraries are built by Facebook and have an interesting history as well.
In 2011 at Facebook, the engineering team realized that the expansion of Facebook ads and adding new features was slowing down the progress made. Content cascading changes and updates forced the developers to realign the entire app. As there were move developers working, the problem also grew in the same proportion.
FaxJS created by Jordan Walke, used XHP an HTML component library for PHP which was basically the first prototype of Reactjs. This was like a revolution to the user interface. In 2011, Reactjs was deployed for Facebook’s timeline, and it was a huge success. Later when Facebook acquired Instagram, Reactjs was also used for Instagram’s timeline as well.
In the same year Facebook acquired Instagram, Mark Zuckerberg quoted that
“The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML as opposed to native”.
This denoted the development of React Native as a framework.
This is all that led to the development of React and React Native, now let’s try to understand the features that make React and React Native unique from the other frameworks in the market.
The comparison that makes React and React Native unique
React is a library meant for rendering your views or just the V part of the MVC framework.
Advantages of ReactJS
ReactJS improves performance due to virtual DOM. DOM (document object model) is a viewing agreement on data inputs and outputs. React’s virtual DOM is faster than the conventional full refresh model since the virtual DOM refreshes only parts of the page.
Let us understand how virtual DOM works in React, Virtual DOM in React creates an in-memory data structure cache that computes the resulting differences and then updates the browser’s displayed DOM seamlessly. The programmer writes the code as if the entire page is rendered on each change, wherein in reality, only those sub-components which are changed are rendered.
Due to this, when we write a React component, we did not write directly to the DOM. Instead, we are writing virtual components that react will turn into the DOM, leading to smoother and faster performance.
React being so popular and backed by a huge community of developers, a wide range of third-party tools and extensions give a new dimension of innovation while saving time and resources at the same time when working with React.
React follows component-based architecture. A component-based architecture takes individual pieces of a larger user interface and converts them into an independent, self-sustaining micro-system.
A component-based architecture enforces the reusability of components, and thus, saves an enormous amount of time.
SEO optimization contributes to the success of the website in question, with the content being indexed at the server level. ReactJS supports SEO optimization by allowing the indexing of a site to occur faster. As React supports server-side rendering, React gives a boost to boost the SEO of a webpage/app and attracts more organic traffic.
Unidirectional data flow
Reactjs uses a unidirectional data flow that ensures that the changes made in the child components do not have any impact on the parent components. Thus making the components self-contained. Changes in smaller parts only require updates in the data model, not the entire state.
Making the react code more stable, a huge part of the app needs not to be changed whenever a new edit is introduced. As a result, Reactjs applications are much easier to maintain as their code is highly stable.
The syntax and workflow remain similar, but the components are different for React and React Native.
Advantages of React Native
React Native provides the facility “Learn once write everywhere”. When you use React Native to build an app, the framework automatically detects the platform it’s being run on. This way, it generates the right code for the right platform. You don’t have to build the same application for iOS and Android, separately as React Native allows your developers to reuse the common logic layer.
As we know that React Native combines all the advantages that React.js which also includes the Hot Reload feature. The hot Reloading feature of React gives developers the liberty to reload a mobile app automatically which makes the process of development fast and saves time. Making a few changes in the code of your app will be immediately visible during development. If the business logic is changed, its reflection is live-reloaded on screen.
UI libraries for a smoother UI experience
There are a lot of component UI libraries in the React Native Ecosystem which makes it smooth for developers to use. Having a huge ecosystem of components saves the time required to build the components from scratch, and we can focus more on innovation and ideas, rather than focusing more on creating libraries from scratch.
Comparing React and React Native
|A cross-platform mobile framework used for developing native mobile applications.
|Initially released in 2013
|Initially released in 2015
|Majorly used for developing web applications
|Majorly used for developing mobile applications
|Can be executed on all platforms
|Takes a sufficient amount of developer effort to be customized and executed on all platforms.
|Uses Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for styling
|Uses React-router for navigating web pages
|Has a built-in Navigator library for navigating mobile applications
|Uses VirtualDOM for easy interaction with DOM elements
|Widely uses native APIs
|Examples: Facebook, Netflix, Medium, Udemy
|Examples: Uber Eats, Tesla