ReactJS and React Native: a Comparison of Strengths and Weaknesses

Published: August 31, 2018Updated: May 11, 2022
3 min to read
ReactJS and React Native: a Comparison of Strengths and Weaknesses

This article will look at the comparative strengths and weaknesses of ReactJS and React Native, allowing you to make a decision as to which will be most effective for your needs.

ReactJS — the Advantages

Since 2013, ReactJS has been the number one choice for developers because it is extremely responsive and easy to use, mainly due to the way in which it renders web pages. So what are the main advantages?

  • Virtual DOM — Updating DOM (web page structure) can cause slow performance if done traditionally and this virtual DOM is a way to update parts of the web app without impacting the user interface meaning updates are done quickly with no drop in performance for the app.
  • Reuse of Code — this feature helps developers speed up development.
  • SPAs — A single plage application works dynamically with the user to ensure that new content is constantly presented, cutting out the need to load new pages from a server.
  • ReactJS is evolving — new features are constantly being added meaning that a developer can avoid the use of obsolete technologies, ensuring that the app is completely up-to-date.
  • The Ecosystem — there are plenty of ready-to-use components available. Development time is reduced by adapting these rather than starting again from scratch.

ReactJS — the Disadvantages

  • Rapid Development — although this is also advantages it can make it hard to keep up with the continual updates.
  • Documentation Issues — this is a fact of life when technology rapidly updates. Developers then have to develop documentation and instructions.
  • JSX — This language is a compilation of JavaScript with HTML. There are benefits to this but it does mean that, especially for new developers, learning JSX can be a barrier to using React.

What About React Native?

React Native is used for many apps including social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and others. It shares a lot of advantages in common with ReactJS which we have already mentioned, but here are the specifics for React Native.

React Native — the Advantages

  • Improved Performance for Mobile Apps — React uses an app’s native components To increase performance. It uses the same language when creating the apps, removing the need to learn a new one.
  • Downward Data Flow — this allows a parent component to be changed without impacting on the child components making development smooth, seamless and undetectable for the user.
  • The Look and Feel — React Native makes all apps look and feel like the native app.

React Native — the Disadvantages

  • Poor Documentation — Native JS shares the same library as React JS so it inherits the documentation problems.
  • Lack of Third Party Components — there are only a few native iOS and Android modules provided meaning less ready-made solutions for mobile development.
  • Instability/Compatibility — issues have been reported by developers including react-navigation and reloading failures among others.

Both ReactJS and React Native are strongly trending right now and developers and businesses are keen to benefit from the tools available. Weaknesses are a consideration and there are case studies available to showcase these, however, it may be worthwhile seeking an expert opinion before making a choice.

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