Nov 16, 2022
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Because of similar names, many think React Native is a newer version of React. Well, it’s not. Even though these technologies share some things in common, they have different uses. While React is a library for creating web user interfaces and components, React Native is a framework for cross-platform mobile development.
This article looks closely at React.js and React Native to clarify their differences and capabilities in simple words.
Both React and React Native originate from Facebook (now Meta). In 2011, while working on new functionality for Facebook Ads, the engineering team realized that continuous updates were too inconvenient. The changes slowed the progress and forced the engineers to realign the entire product for each upgrade. Scaling was another problem.
It nudged Facebook engineer Jordan Walke to create the prototype of React.js using XHP. The company first deployed it in News Feed in 2011 and made open-source at JSConf US in May 2013.
React Native appeared a little later as a result of Facebook’s 2013 hackathon. The goal was to create a React-based framework enabling developers to build mobile apps for iOS and Android more efficiently. Facebook released Native in 2015 as a framework that could render native UI on both mobile platforms. React Native still relies on React for base abstraction, but its components are different and resemble iOS and Android user interfaces.
Read Angular vs. React: Which is Better for Your Web App?
React Native allows you to launch apps that run across all core platforms with a native-like user experience. You can use it to create apps for Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Web, Windows, tvOS, and UWP.
React.js uses Virtual DOM, a virtual representation of the real DOM. VDOM is a programming approach where a library syncs a virtual representation of a UI kept in memory with the real DOM. Such reconciliation enables the declarative API of React. It means that engineers specify what state of UI they need, and the DOM matches that state.
Leobit provides consulting and custom software development services for all core technologies, including React.
The primary difference is that React.js is a web UI library, while React Native is a cross-platform mobile development framework. React renders browser code with Virtual DOM, and React Native uses native APIs as bridges for app component rendering.
Besides, React Native doesn’t use CSS and HTML. Its syntax differs. If you have previously worked with React.js, you will need time to learn the React Native syntax.
|Used for||Web app development||Mobile development|
|Platform support||Executed on all platforms||Not platform independent. Takes effort to run across platforms|
|Installation process||Integration of the React library in an HTML page||Requires a development environment like Android Studio and Xcode|
|Efficiency||Executes apps on the client side being rendered on the server-side||Can integrate native codes with Swift, Java, and Objective-C|
|Navigation||Uses React router for web page navigation||Has a built-in Navigator library for mobile app navigation|
|Animation||Uses CSS and a JS library for animations||Has built-in animation libraries|
|Rendering||Virtual DOM for rendering browser code||Native API for mobile code rendering|
|Components||Component-based library||Has Native UI components and modules|
|Storage||Local storage||AsyncStorage by default|
|HTML tags||Uses HTML tags||Does not use HTML tags|
Discover 9 Reasons to Use React.js for Web Development
Each of these solutions is among the top choices in its domain. Here’s what makes them so good:
Choosing these technologies for app development, you must also mind their limitations. In some cases, React and React Native may fail to meet your needs.
Even though React and React Native are often confused, these are different solutions with different uses. React.js is a library for web apps, whereas Native facilitates mobile app development. If you need to figure out what tech stack can bring your idea to life, ask Leobit.
We provide consulting and custom software development services for all core technologies, including React.
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