ReactJS vs React Native: Main Differences, Pros and Cons


React has become one of the most common and widely accepted Javascript libraries in use today. From Netflix to Airbnb, from Walmart to of course Facebook (who maintains the library) React is sought after on nearly every platform on which developers are likely to work. While React Native and ReactJS are similar in many ways, there are key differences between the programming languages that developers need to keep in mind when developing.


We'll first outline each language, its benefits and drawbacks, and when it is appropriate to use. We'll then compare the two languages to help you determine when you should use ReactJS and when you should React Native for the best solution. 


ReactJS: An Overview


ReactJS development is a Javascript library that allows developers to quickly create user interfaces much faster than if each interface had to be manually created. You might also hear this library referred to as React.js or just ReactJS. One of the main factors as to why ReactJS is used for building business-focused web applications and user interfaces is that ReactJS can perform both on the client interfacing end and on the server side, working in tandem to produce one complete language. This has obvious appeal for business-side programs and applications and makes ReactJS perfect for client facing solutions.


There are additional ways ReactJS supports business-based applications as well. Given that out of the box React uses patterns of existing libraries, and its use eliminated direct interaction with the DOM, it's actually somewhat difficult to deviate from the library in a way that would produce poor quality code. 


React can also be injected into most types of pages, regardless of how they currently function. This means that web app developers can migrate their code at their own pace. It should be noted, however, that React needs a runtime library to be most efficient, suggesting that quick migrations and the removal of previous libraries will be better for page weight. 


Code reusability is a substantial benefit of ReactJS and supports developers' efficiency in ensuring their code performs well and each part is able to be reused in future development. This can greatly speed up the development time, especially for widely used components like buttons and even dropdowns. 


Lastly, businesses and marketers alike will be glad to learn that ReactJS provides a completely rendered page from the server to the browser, making it extremely easy for search engines to crawl a page in its entirety and send the appropriate signals for SEO rankings. While other languages do have the ability to provide full page rendering, using a workaround rather than ReactJS generally requires a lot of upkeep from the developer's end, which can slow dev times considerably. 


To summarize, ReactJS provides:


React Native


React Native is an open source mobile framework made up of native mobile app components, allowing developers the ability to build native mobile apps in Javascript compatible with iOS, Windows, and Android mobile devices. When Facebook announced the React Native library in 2015, it was only compatible with iOS devices.


Facebook recently announced React Native's compatibility with Android, meaning that developers can now use the same language to produce apps for both iOS and Android together. This is a win for businesses looking to reach as many people in their target audience as possible with their apps and is also beneficial for developers looking to expand their offerings to both iOS and Android projects. 


Much like ReactJS, reusable elements and components allow for hybrid mobile applications to render natively on a device. Since React Native is comprised of building blocks of reusable 'native' components, it is able to compile an app directly to native. Consistency and efficiency are both approved, as there are reusable components with iOS and Android counterparts for nearly every need that will have the same look and feel through the application. 


Another added benefit of React Native is its ability to be injected into an existing app's code without any rewriting and overhauling required from the developer. This means that businesses and developers with existing apps don't need to completely rewrite the code to incorporate React Native components, they can simply incorporate React Native into the app (or easily add a plugin to reuse Cordova-based code). 


Previously, many developers found native app development to be slower or more inefficient that hybrid apps built on the web. React Native's goal is to combine the speed and agility of web application development with the innate and consistent look and feel of native development. React Native brings hybrid mobile app developers the same app performance, DOM abstraction, and expedited methods they would receive with ReactJS to the hybrid space.


To summarize, React Native can


ReactJS and React Native both are valuable languages that developers can use when creating mobile and web-based applications. Both ReactJS and React Native are widely sought after in the app development game, and it would benefit most developers to learn both and determine which they prefer for the types of solutions they provide to their clients. 


If you're interested in using React Native to speed up both iOS and Android development simultaneously, make sure you know some of the critical difference between developing for Android vs developing for iOS (be warned, this link does play audio automatically. While we love the content, we dislike the autoplay, so we want to make sure you know about it before you embarrass yourself in your office. Lookin out for you, friends!)


Our friend Alexis over at provided a great write-up of his experience as a ReactJS developer who moved to React Native. We found it an interesting read! 


Do you prefer ReactJS or React Native? Share your thoughts and previous experience with either or both at the social links below, we sure would love to hear about it! 



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