React Native and React Js are popular frameworks for building user interfaces in the JavaScript ecosystem. Both frameworks are based on Facebook's React library and offer developers powerful tools for creating performant and interactive applications. In this article, we will explore the differences between React Native and React Js, analyse their advantages and disadvantages, and determine when to use each framework best.

Read: "React Native vs. Flutter".

Understanding React Native and React Js

React Native and React Js are powerful tools that allow developers to build JavaScript applications. While they share the same core principles, they have distinct purposes and use cases.

What is React Native?

React Native is a framework that revolutionised mobile application development. It allows developers to build cross-platform mobile applications using JavaScript. This means that instead of writing separate codebases for iOS and Android, developers can write code once and deploy it on both platforms.

One of the key advantages of React Native is its use of native components. These components are rendered to the target platform's native API, resulting in a truly native look and feel. This enhances the user experience and provides access to platform-specific features and capabilities.

React Native also offers a hot-reloading feature, which allows developers to see the changes they make in real-time without the need to rebuild the entire application. This significantly speeds up the development process and enables developers to iterate quickly.

Furthermore, React Native has a vast ecosystem of community-driven libraries and packages, making integrating additional functionality into your application easier. Whether you need to add maps, push notifications, or even augmented reality features, chances are there's a React Native package available to help you.


To learn more about React Native, see our introduction to React Native or download our CTO's Guide to React Native.

What is React Js?

React Js, also known as React or React.js, is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces. It is primarily used for web applications but can also be used for mobile and desktop applications. React Js follows a component-based architecture, which allows developers to create reusable UI components.

One of the key features of React Js is its virtual DOM (Document Object Model). The virtual DOM is a lightweight representation of the actual DOM, which allows React to efficiently update only the necessary parts of the user interface when the underlying data changes. This results in better performance and a smoother user experience.

React Js also promotes a declarative programming style, where developers describe how the UI should look based on the current state of the application. This makes it easier to understand and reason about the code and facilitates collaboration among team members.

Furthermore, React Js has a vibrant ecosystem with a wide range of libraries and tools that complement its functionality. Whether you need state management, routing, or form validation, there's a React Js library available to help you streamline your development process.

In conclusion, React Native and React Js are powerful tools enabling developers to build JavaScript applications. React Native is ideal for building cross-platform mobile applications, while React Js is primarily used for web applications. Both frameworks have unique features and advantages, making them popular choices among developers worldwide.

Read: "React Native vs Swift".

Key Differences Between React Native and React Js

When choosing between React Native and React Js for your development needs, it's essential to understand their key differences. Let's dive deeper into some of these differences to help you make an informed decision.

Development Environment

One of the key differences between React Native and React Js is the development environment. React Native requires installing additional tools, such as Xcode for iOS development and Android Studio for Android development. This means that developers working with React Native need to have these tools set up on their machines to start building mobile applications.

On the other hand, React Js only requires a web browser to run the application locally. This makes React Js more accessible for developers who are primarily focused on web development. With React Js, developers can quickly get started without additional installations or configurations.


Performance

Performance is another important factor to consider when choosing between React Native and React Js. React Native is often seen as the superior choice for developing mobile applications in terms of performance. This is because React Native applications are compiled into native code, which allows them to achieve near-native performance.

React Js, on the other hand, runs in the browser and relies on the Document Object Model (DOM) for rendering. While React Js has made significant performance improvements over the years, it still may not match the performance of React Native for mobile development. However, it's worth noting that React Js is highly optimised for web-based applications and can deliver excellent performance in that context.


User Interface

When it comes to user interface (UI) development, React Native excels in providing a consistent and native-like experience across platforms. With React Native, developers can write UI code once and have it render natively on both iOS and Android devices. This makes maintaining a consistent look and feel easier across different platforms.

On the other hand, React Js focuses on web-based UI development. While React Js can be used to build user interfaces for various devices and browsers, it may require additional libraries or frameworks to achieve a native-like experience. This means that developers working with React Js may need to invest more time and effort in customising the UI for different platforms.

As you can see, both React Native and React Js have their strengths and weaknesses. The choice between the two ultimately depends on your specific requirements and preferences. If you're primarily focused on mobile development and need a high-performance solution, React Native may be the way to go. However, if you're more focused on web development and want a more accessible and versatile solution, React Js could be the better choice.

See "Should you outsource app development?".

Advantages and Disadvantages of React Native

React Native is a popular framework for building mobile applications that allows developers to write code once and deploy it on both iOS and Android platforms. It offers a range of advantages and disadvantages, which we will explore in detail below.

Pros of Using React Native

One of the key benefits of React Native is code reusability. Developers can write and use a single codebase across multiple platforms, saving time and effort. This reduces development costs and allows for faster iteration and updates.

In addition to code reusability, React Native enables developers to create near-native user experiences. By leveraging native components, React Native apps can achieve performance and functionality similar to those of native apps. This means that users will have a seamless and intuitive experience, regardless of their platform.

React Native also provides access to a vast ecosystem of pre-built components. This means that developers can take advantage of existing libraries and modules to add complex functionality to their apps without having to build everything from scratch. This speeds up development and ensures that the app is built on a solid foundation of well-tested and reliable components.

Furthermore, React Native offers high-performance animations and smooth transitions. Developers can easily create visually appealing and interactive user interfaces with its built-in animation library. This allows for a more engaging and immersive user experience, enhancing the app's overall quality.


Cons of Using React Native

While React Native has many advantages, it also has some limitations that developers should be aware of. One of the main drawbacks is that platform-specific components may require additional customisation. Although React Native provides a set of cross-platform components, there are cases where developers need to write platform-specific code to achieve the desired functionality. This can complicate the development process and require additional time and effort.

Another disadvantage of React Native is its less mature ecosystem compared to other frameworks. While React Native has gained significant popularity in recent years, it still lags behind more established frameworks in terms of community support and available resources. This can make it more challenging for developers to find solutions to specific problems or get help when facing difficulties.

Integrating certain native features or libraries can be challenging in React Native. While React Native provides a bridge to access native APIs, there may be cases where developers need to integrate specific native features or libraries that are not readily available. This can require additional effort and expertise, especially when dealing with complex or niche requirements.

React Native offers a range of advantages, such as code reusability, near-native user experiences, access to pre-built components, and high-performance animations. However, it has some limitations, including the need to customise platform-specific components, a less mature ecosystem, performance bottlenecks in complex UIs, and difficulties integrating certain native features or libraries. Despite these drawbacks, React Native remains a popular choice for mobile app development, especially for projects prioritising cross-platform compatibility and rapid development.


Advantages and Disadvantages of React Js

Pros of Using React Js

  • Efficient and reusable component-based architecture
  • Seamless integration with existing web applications
  • Large community support and extensive documentation
  • Fast rendering and virtual DOM diffing for optimal performance

Cons of Using React Js

  • Limited support for native mobile app development
  • Initial setup and learning curve for beginners
  • Performance degradation with complex UIs and large-scale applications
  • Dependency on third-party libraries for additional functionality

When to Use React Native and React Js

Ideal Scenarios for React Native

React Native is an excellent choice when developing cross-platform mobile applications with consistent UI and performance. It is suitable for projects where code reusability across iOS and Android platforms is crucial, and a native-like user experience is desired. Companies or developers looking to build applications rapidly while minimising platform-specific development efforts will benefit from using React Native.

Ideal Scenarios for React Js

React Js shines in web application development scenarios. It is an ideal choice when building complex, interactive, and reusable user interfaces for web browsers. React Js is widely adopted in single-page applications, content-driven websites, and web applications where real-time data updates are required. Developers familiar with JavaScript and web development will find React Js to be a powerful toolset for creating dynamic web experiences.


In conclusion, both React Native and React Js offer unique advantages and cater to different development scenarios. While React Native excels in creating cross-platform mobile applications with native-like performance, React Js is best suited for web-based UI development. Deciding which framework to use ultimately depends on the specific project requirements, development team expertise, and target platforms. By carefully evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of both frameworks, developers can make an informed decision and build successful applications.

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