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.

React vs. React Native: The Story Behind

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.

What is React.js?

React.js is an open-source JavaScript library that provides components for building user interfaces. You can use it to develop the frontend for web apps. With React.js, engineers can automate the designing process and considerably speed up the development using external plugins. It’s an excellent choice for progressive web app development, SPAs, and static websites.

Read Angular vs. React: Which is Better for Your Web App?

What is React Native?

React Native is a JavaScript framework for cross-platform mobile app development. It relies on React for building user interfaces, but instead of using Virtual DOM for rendering code, it acts as a bridge to run real mobile UI components.

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.

How Do React.js vs. React Native Work


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.

React Native

React components wrap native code and communicate with native APIs through JavaScript and React’s declarative UI paradigm. The framework provides a set of platform-agnostic native components like Text, View, and Image. These capabilities enable rapid native app development and help engineering teams work faster.

Difference Between React.js vs. React Native

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.

React.js vs. React Native Comparison Table

React.js React Native
Type Library Framework
Release year 2013 2015
Used for Web app development Mobile development
Platform support Executed on all platforms Not platform independent. Takes effort to run across platforms
Security High Comparatively low
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
Tech skills required Javascript Java, C++, Objective-C, and Objective-C++

Discover 9 Reasons to Use React.js for Web Development

Pros of React.js And React Native

Each of these solutions is among the top choices in its domain. Here’s what makes them so good:


  • Easy development of dynamic web apps. Using React for web development makes things easier and faster than HTML, which requires complex coding.
  • Reusability. Engineers can reuse the React.js components of a web app to optimize further development and maintenance.
  • Enhanced performance. The Virtual DOM of React entirely exists in memory and doesn’t overload the app. It ensures smoother and faster performance.

React Native

  • Cross-platform use. React Native makes coding, deploying, and testing mobile apps much faster. You can hire one team to build native apps for iOS and Android without managing separate codebases. Besides time, it also saves your budget.
  • Allows building native-like user interfaces. Thanks to platform-specific JS stylesheets, React Native enables you to build interfaces that look and feel native.
  • Thriving community. You will find lots of helpful information and bug fixes on the web to develop apps more efficiently.

Cons of React.js And React Native

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.


  • Incomplete tooling. React JS covers only the UI layer of an app, so you need to combine it with other technologies for full-scale development.
  • Development speed is too fast. Frequent changes in the React library make it difficult for developers to keep up.
  • Lack of proper documentation. React boasts many tools and libraries, as well as frequent updates. Yet, they are often late with complete documentation for every innovation.

React Native

  • Slow performance. Despite ensuring a native-like user experience, React Native apps are still slower than native Android and iOS solutions.
  • Not suitable for complex interfaces. React Native capabilities won’t allow you to develop sophisticated custom interfaces. In this case, native development is preferable.
  • Insufficient security. Being an open-source framework, React Native may not be secure enough to design apps that process confidential information.

Conclusion: What to Use

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.