A Comprehensive Comparison of React vs React Native

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React vs React Native

Key Takeaways

  • React is a JavaScript library for building dynamic, single-page web applications.
  • It Simplifies the process of creating complex user interfaces with reusable components.
  • React Native is a framework for building native mobile apps (iOS and Android) using JavaScript and React principles.
  • In React Native, Write your code once and deploy it on both iOS and Android, saving development time.
  • React is designed primarily for web development.
  • React Native extends React’s concepts for building native mobile apps.
  • Consider React if you’re focused on web applications.
  • Consider React Native to develop cross-platform mobile apps with a native feel.

React and React Native are popular tools for building user interfaces. Both are made by Facebook and use JavaScript, but they are used in very different ways.

The framework you choose can significantly impact your project’s success. The field of software development is ever-changing. React vs React Native, created by two of Facebook’s developers, have totally transformed the making of web and mobile apps.

However, despite their similar names and common ancestry, they have rather diverse functions and benefits. The differences between these frameworks must be understood, regardless of development experience level. Let’s look at what makes them alike and different and when to use each.

Table of Contents

  1. Key Takeaways
  2. What is React?
  3. Pros of ReactJS
    1. Component-Based Design
    2. Declarative Nature
    3. Virtual DOM
    4. Robust Community and Ecosystem
  4. Cons of React
    1. High Development Pace
    2. JSX as a Barrier
    3. Complex State Management
    4. Performance Overhead in Large Apps
  5. What is React Native?
  6. Pros of React Native
    1. Cross-Platform Development
    2. Near-Native Performance
    3. Live and Hot Reloading
    4. Robust Community Support
    5. Access to Native Functionality
  7. Cons of React Native
    1. Performance Restrictions
    2. Native Code Requirements
    3. Dependency on Third-Party Libraries
    4. Complicated Debugging Process
  8. Key Differences: React vs React Native
    1. React vs React Native: Purpose
    2. React vs React Native: Platform
    3. React vs React Native: Learning Curve
    4. React vs React Native: Components
    5. React vs React Native: Styling
    6. React vs React Native: DOM
    7. React vs React Native: Performance
    8. React vs React Native: Development Environment
    9. React vs React Native: Code Reuse
    10. React vs React Native: Community and Ecosystem
  9. Which is Better: React vs React Native
    1. Select React if
    2. Select React Native If
  10. Conclusion
  11. FAQs

What is React?

What is React?

Credits: React

The popular JavaScript library React creates user interfaces. It does so for single-page apps. It prioritizes a dynamic and responsive user experience. Facebook developed it, and it was initially made available in 2013. React’s primary goal is to make it possible for developers to build expansive online apps that have data changes without requiring a page reload.

Its primary attributes are simplicity, speed, and scalability. Its reusable component concept enables programmers to construct intricate user interfaces (UIs) out of discrete, little pieces of code known as components.

React is a declarative paradigm. It tries to be flexible and efficient. It makes it easier to reason about your application. It establishes a virtual DOM in memory before making the necessary adjustments to the browser DOM. This procedure speeds up the user interface. It reduces the performance cost of updates without hurting functionality. React is capable and versatile. It can run mobile apps using React Native. It can also be rendered on the server using Node.

Over the years, the React ecosystem has expanded significantly, helped along by a sizable community and a plethora of tools that further augment its functionality. For example, libraries like Redux and React Router enable dynamic routing and state management for applications, while tools like Create React App and Next.js facilitate setup and build procedures. Thanks to this ecosystem, React is now more than just a framework; it’s a complete toolbox for effective front-end development of contemporary online apps.

Pros of ReactJS

Pros of ReactJS

ReactJS is a well-liked option for developers creating web applications because of its many benefits. Here are a few of the main advantages:

Component-Based Design

One of the key features that distinguishes React is its component-based design. According to this paradigm, components are UI building blocks containing UI elements and the logic controlling their behavior. These elements are in charge of maintaining their states and rendering themselves following those states. Because they are self-contained and isolated, components may be designed, tested, and maintained independently. Components can be utilized and reused in many areas of a program or even across separate projects, which improves code reusability.

Declarative Nature

React’s declarative programming model makes the development process more straightforward. React components allow developers to define the user interface’s (UI) state simply. React ensures that the DOM matches these declarations instead of imperative programming, which instructs the browser every step of the way. Developers can eliminate boilerplate code and the likelihood of defects by switching from imperative to declarative writing, as it concentrates more on the “what” than the “how.” The codebase is more accessible and understandable because of this distinct division between the logic of state management and the rendering process, which speeds up development and improves software maintainability.

Virtual DOM

A crucial component of React’s speed, the Virtual DOM is a condensed replica of the real DOM. It enables React to carry out optimizations in the background and reduce expensive, performance-consuming direct DOM manipulations. React is the first to update this virtual representation when the state of a component changes. Next, in a procedure called “diffing,” contrasts the updated virtual DOM with a snapshot of the virtual DOM taken immediately before the update. React batches several changes in one run to determine the most effective way to apply these adjustments to the actual DOM.

Robust Community and Ecosystem

A sizable developer community surrounds React, which Facebook manages. This active community makes many resources possible, including tutorials, forums, third-party tools, and copious documentation. In addition, an extensive range of frameworks and libraries, such as state management libraries and routing tools, are part of the React ecosystem and can be used with React to increase its functionality.

Cons of React

Cons of React

Credits: Freepik

React has many benefits for web developers but drawbacks and difficulties that programmers could encounter. The following are some noteworthy drawbacks of utilizing React:

High Development Pace

The ecosystem around React is renowned for its regular upgrades and quick development. This keeps the library current and valuable, but it can also be difficult for developers to keep up with. Because of the rapid pace, developers must frequently pick up new skills and even make big project changes to stay current. This may result in longer development times and the need for constant learning and adjustment.

JSX as a Barrier

React uses JSX, a syntax extension that lets you write JavaScript code that looks like HTML. Although JSX is an effective tool for making codebases more clear and expressive, it may also be intimidating to inexperienced developers. Individuals unfamiliar with React may find JSX perplexing and challenging to comprehend, particularly if they have not had much experience with JavaScript. This learning curve may slow down the initial development process until developers gain comfort with the syntax.

Complex State Management

Managing the state can become increasingly challenging as React apps grow more extensive and more complicated. For small to medium-sized apps, React’s built-in state management features are enough, but for larger projects, developers frequently need to use third-party libraries like Redux or MobX. These libraries offer more robust state management solutions. Still, they also come with extra boilerplate code and layers of complexity, which can make application structures more difficult and raise the learning curve.

Performance Overhead in Large Apps

React can still experience performance bottlenecks, particularly in very large and complicated apps, even if the virtual DOM minimizes actual DOM changes, improving performance. Even if the different approach is practical, more work must be done to figure out how to update the DOM optimally. Applications requiring frequent state updates may experience performance problems, especially if the components are poorly designed or handled optimally.

What is React Native?

What is React Native?

Credits: ReactNative

Facebook developed the open-source React Native technology, made available in 2015. It lets developers make mobile apps for iOS and Android from one codebase. They do this by using React with native platform features. Developers can use declarative components. They can use them to make advanced mobile interfaces. They do this by using JavaScript and React. React Native combines the ease of online programming with the performance and user experience of native mobile app development.

React Native’s key tenet is “learn once, write anywhere.” It allows for cross-platform code sharing while simultaneously honoring their differences. To access deeper features like cameras, GPS, or alerts, developers can’t use JavaScript. They need to write platform-specific code and use native modules. This method allows for big code reuse between iOS and Android. It does this without hurting the native app’s usual speed and user experience.

In React Native, the UI rendering uses fully native components. JavaScript manages the app’s logic and state. It uses a batched, asynchronous serialization bridge to interface with the native thread. This keeps the app fast without cutting features. The JavaScript code runs on a different thread from the UI.

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Pros of React Native

Pros of React Native

Credits: Freepik

React Native is popular. It’s for developers who want to make cross-platform mobile apps with a native feel. It has many appealing advantages for mobile app development. Here are a few of the main advantages:

Cross-Platform Development

React Native makes cross-platform development easier. It does this by streamlining deployment and iterative development. It allows for common codebases. Without changing each platform, developers may add features or fix bugs. Their changes will appear on both iOS and Android. This consistency makes products more dependable. It also makes adding new features quicker. It does this by ensuring a consistent user experience on many devices. Using a single JavaScript codebase also removes the need for specialized teams. This cuts labor costs and aids communication between development teams.

Near-Native Performance

React Native overcomes the performance gap in hybrid frameworks. It does this by using fundamental native components. Hybrid frameworks use simulated graphics or web views. Smoother animations and transitions are essential for a good user experience. This method delivers them. Due to its direct manipulation of native components, React Native can perform more sophisticated UI actions and higher graphics demands, which is crucial for intense applications. Furthermore, as native activities are typically more efficient than their web-based counterparts, this may result in longer battery life and improved overall resource utilization.

Live and Hot Reloading

React Native’s features come in handy when working in a fast-paced, agile development environment where teams make rapid changes. Live and hot reloading lets developers keep their application in its current form while making UI adjustments or problem fixes, significantly shortening the development cycle. This is especially helpful for fine-tuning when making quick changes; seeing the results instantly is necessary. It encourages a more experimental and iterative approach to user interface design.

Robust Community Support

React Native’s robust community helps address issues and stimulates innovation. Many community-driven projects are now considered de facto standards in the React Native community. For instance, with community support, libraries like Expo offer services and tools that make it easier to develop, launch, and iterate on React Native apps. Encouraged by a group of forward-thinking developers, this ecosystem aims to push the limits of what mobile apps can accomplish in addition to solving current problems.

Access to Native Functionality

React Native’s integration powers go beyond the rudimentary functionalities of devices; instead, they let developers create complex features that take advantage of more profound characteristics of the native platforms. Native modules, for example, can be used to integrate with advanced APIs for augmented reality, deep linking, and background operations. Because of their adaptability, React Native apps can carry out intricate tasks that are usually exclusive to native apps.

Cons of React Native

Cons of React Native

Credits: Freepik

Despite its strength and versatility, React Native has several disadvantages that can compromise the quality of the final mobile application and the development process. The following is a list of specific drawbacks of utilizing React Native:

Performance Restrictions

Although React Native performs almost as well as native apps, it can still fall short in demanding situations like intricate animations, high-frame-rate games, or massive data operations. Since every contact with the device’s native components entails crossing this bridge, the bridge mechanism that React Native uses to communicate between the JavaScript code and the native environment might become a bottleneck. Performance overheads may result from this, especially when there is a lot of communication.

Native Code Requirements

Although React Native greatly facilitates cross-platform code reuse, there are still a lot of situations in which platform-specific native code is required. For teams lacking in-house development experience, this requirement may be a barrier that results in higher development costs and time if more resources or training are needed. Moreover, several benefits of utilizing React Native, like having a single codebase for both iOS and Android, are eliminated when native code is used.

Dependency on Third-Party Libraries

React Native frequently depends on third-party libraries to accomplish specific features and integrations. These libraries can differ in duration and quality, and they might not always be up to speed with React Native’s most recent changes. This may result in circumstances where developers must wait for library updates or change the libraries themselves to address problems. This could impede development and cause stability problems.

Complicated Debugging Process

Compared to typical native programming, React Native debugging can be more complicated. Bug identification may become more complex when a bridge is used when native code and JavaScript are combined. Developers may encounter challenges such as inconsistent platform behaviors, which can be challenging to identify and fix. Although they are constantly becoming better, debugging tools have never been as feature-rich as those for native development environments.

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Pros and Cons of React Native

Key Differences: React vs React Native

This section will discuss the core part of our blog, namely, the 10 key differences in the React vs. React Native debate.

React vs React Native: Purpose

React builds web interfaces, while React Native crafts cross-platform mobile apps.


Facebook created the React JavaScript library with the express purpose of enabling web developers to create user interfaces. Its primary goal is to make creating reusable, stateful, and interactive user interface components for web applications easier. Because React automatically manages the rendering cycle and updates the DOM when the data changes, developers may describe their interfaces in terms of the state of their data.

React Native

React Native is a web application development framework that expands on the principles of React. Facebook shares its main goal, which is to enable developers to create native mobile applications for the iOS and Android platforms using React’s design and capabilities. Using the same design as React, React Native enables developers to utilize JavaScript to create a sophisticated mobile user interface using declarative components.

React vs React Native: Platform

React powers websites on browsers, and React Native drives iOS and Android apps.


React is mainly used to create web platform user interfaces. It works with the web browser ecosystem, modifying web pages via the Document Object Model (DOM). It is perfect for creating single-page applications (SPAs), where components must be updated regularly and effectively without requiring a page reload.

React Native

Conversely, React Native is optimized for mobile systems, particularly iOS and Android. Using native mobile UI components rather than rendering components to the online DOM enables developers to create mobile applications with JavaScript and React. This method guarantees that React Native applications have the appearance, feel, and functionality of native mobile apps.

React vs React Native: Learning Curve

React Native inherits React basics, but mobile development adds complexity.


Acquiring knowledge Understanding React necessitates grasping its foundational ideas—components, state, and props—and its more complex ideas, such as hooks and lifecycle functions. There can be a big learning curve for people unfamiliar with contemporary JavaScript frameworks, especially when learning JSX (JavaScript XML), which is required to create HTML-like code directly in JavaScript files.

React Native

Because it builds on React’s fundamental ideas, it has a higher learning curve for developers unfamiliar with React. Nonetheless, as many of the same concepts hold, the shift can be very easy for developers with prior expertise with React.

React vs React Native: Components

React uses HTML-like JSX, and React Native employs platform-specific native components.


The user interface’s fundamental elements are called components in React. Most of these components are developed in JSX, enabling programmers to write JavaScript that looks like HTML. React components fall into two categories: class components and functional components. The functional component category gained popularity when Hooks were introduced, allowing functional components to manage state and side effects.

Also Read HTML vs HTML5: What Should You Know

React Native

React Native components, much like React, are the core elements for building the UI, but they map directly to native platform-specific views instead of HTML elements. For example, where you might use a <div> in a React web application, you would use a <View> in React Native, which corresponds to a native container view on both iOS and Android. Other standard native components include <Text>, <Image>, <ScrollView>, and <Button>, each rendering native equivalents in the mobile environment.

React vs React Native: Styling

React relies on CSS-in-JS or traditional CSS; React Native uses stylesheets similar to CSS.


Selectors, pseudo-classes, media queries, animations, and other CSS capabilities are all available to developers because React uses traditional CSS for styling. Additionally, developers can leverage CSS-in-JS frameworks like Styled Components or Emotion, which encapsulate styles within components to improve modularity and scope styles to particular components. By combining CSS and JavaScript, this method allows for dynamic styling depending on props or component state.

React Native

React Native, however, approaches styling differently. Traditional CSS is not used in this. Instead, it uses an object structure in JavaScript to describe styles, which is essentially an abstraction mapping to native styling code and looks a lot like the syntax of CSS. Web developers are also aware of the Flexbox layout used in this approach but modified for mobile devices. For example, in React Native, styles are frequently declared objects in JavaScript and supplied to components through a style prop.

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React vs React Native: DOM

React manipulates a virtual DOM, and React Native interacts with the native device UI directly.


React works mostly with the Document Object Model (DOM) on the web, an interface for HTML and XML documents written in programming languages. Programs can alter the document’s structure, design, and content by using it to represent the page. React communicates with this DOM using a virtual DOM mechanism—an in-memory copy of the actual DOM elements.

React Native

React Native does not use HTML or the web’s DOM. Instead, it engages directly with the original view hierarchy. Components like <View>, <Text>, and <Image> are provided by React Native and serve as abstractions over native platform components. This maps straight to similar native iOS and Android components, like UIView, instead of converting to HTML elements. Observe on an Android device.

React vs React Native: Performance

React’s virtual DOM updates are usually snappier, but React Native can tap into native power for potential optimization.


Web environments are the main focus of React’s performance optimization. It uses a virtual DOM to reduce the number of performance-consuming direct DOM changes. React uses a diffing mechanism to reconcile changes made to the virtual DOM with the actual browser DOM when user interactions or data changes occur.

React Native

The primary goal of React Native’s performance is to deliver near-native user experiences on mobile devices. React Native leverages fundamental native components, as opposed to conventional hybrid frameworks that render web technologies inside a mobile WebView. Performance from this method is typically superior to hybrid solutions and is frequently on par with native mobile applications.

React vs React Native: Development Environment

React leans on web development tools, React Native needs Expo or React Native CLI.


Usually centered around the web, the React development environment offers various tools to optimize developer efficiency. Creating a React App is a popular tool developers use to bootstrap a new React project. It provides a rich feature set for development debugging, including source maps and error overlays, and supports hot module substitution. It also optimizes production builds.

React Native

Because it must support mobile platforms, React Native offers a more complicated development environment. Developers commonly use Expo or the React Native CLI for project creation and management. Expo is a managed app development environment that simplifies React Native development, especially for novices or those looking to quickly prototype apps using a suite of tools and services.

React vs React Native: Code Reuse

Let’s break down the nuances of code reuse regarding React vs React Native.


React prioritizes code reuse inside the web domain. The ability to encapsulate particular operations, styles, and behaviors in reusable components allows developers to share them between several web projects or even between different sections of an application. This architecture, based on components, allows teams to create a library of reusable user interface elements, significantly increasing development productivity.

React Native

React Native allows developers to manage a single codebase that functions on both iOS and Android by expanding the idea of code reuse to mobile platforms. This is a significant benefit for projects that want a consistent user experience without requiring extra work on different mobile devices.

React vs React Native: Community and Ecosystem

Both have vast communities, though React’s is larger due to its web dominance.


React’s popularity in web development means it has one of the largest and most well-established developer communities in the frontend world. This translates to a constant flow of support, tutorials, and discussions. The ecosystem surrounding React is vast. You’ll easily find well-maintained libraries, UI component kits, state management solutions, and tons of learning material. React’s ecosystem is mature and battle-tested, with popular tools and libraries having undergone a lot of refinement and real-world use.

React Native

While not as big as React’s, React Native has a dedicated, vibrant community. You’ll find plenty of help, forums dedicated to React Native development, and ongoing innovation. The ecosystem of libraries and solutions specific to React Native is constantly growing. While it might not be as extensive as pure web React, you’ll find essential tools for navigation, device-specific features, and UI components. A major advantage is that many React developers easily transition to React Native, further strengthening their community and knowledge base.

Let’s summarize it in a tabular format.

Key Differences: React vs React Native

Which is Better: React vs React Native

Which is Better: React vs React Native

Credits: Freepik

After discussing the react vs react native debate, we will learn what to choose and when.

Select React if

  • You are creating an online application. React is made for making web interfaces that are dynamic and interactive. It offers the ecosystem and tools necessary to develop a scalable and practical online application or website.
  • You need precise command over the online platform. You can use any online API. You can also combine React with other libraries and frameworks. React provides full control over the DOM and works well with web standards.

Select React Native If

  • If you’re constructing a mobile application, React Native is the recommended option. It allows you to create apps with a single JavaScript codebase that compiles into native code for iOS and Android, giving them a high-performance native appearance and feel.
  • You want near-native performance and user experience on both major mobile platforms. Still, you also want cross-platform compatibility: React Native lets you write once and deploy everywhere, saving you time and money if your project needs to run on both.


While contemplating react vs native react, both have different functions. But they are related to creating modern apps. For developers wishing to create intricate and dynamic web apps using a wide range of web-specific tools and frameworks, React is the best option. React Native, on the other hand, applies React’s development techniques to the creation of mobile apps, enabling cross-platform applications that need a native touch without requiring the duplication of maintaining separate codebases for iOS and Android. The platform focus of your project—web or mobile—will ultimately determine which of React vs React Native to use.

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Q. Which is better, React or React Native?

Depending on your project’s requirements, you should use React or React Native. React is best suited for web applications, while React Native is excellent for creating mobile apps with native performance.

Q. What is the difference between React Native and modern React?

The diff between react and react native is that While current React is used for generating dynamic and interactive online interfaces, React Native enables the development of native mobile apps based on React’s concepts.

Q. Is React Native frontend or backend?

A frontend framework called React Native is used to create and build mobile application user interfaces.

Q. Can React Native be used for developing web applications?

React Native is primarily used for developing mobile applications, but it can also be used to build web applications with tools like React Native Web.

Q. How does React Native differ from ReactJS?

ReactJS (or React) is used for building web applications, while React Native is focused on building mobile applications for iOS and Android platforms.

Q. What are some native features that React Native provides?

React Native provides access to native APIs and allows developers to work with native UI components to create a truly native mobile app experience.

Q. What are the benefits of using React for web development?

React is known for its performance optimization, reusable components, virtual DOM, and one-way data binding, making it an efficient library for web development.

Q. How does React Native work across different platforms?

React Native is a cross-platform framework, which means developers can write code once and run it on both iOS and Android platforms, saving time and effort in development.

Q. Is it possible to use both React and React Native in the same project?

Yes, it is possible to use React for building web components and React Native for developing mobile app components within the same project, offering a seamless user experience across platforms.

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