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Understanding the Difference Between React JS and React Native

Marek Majdak

Mar 08, 202312 min read

Digital productsDigital transformationReact Native

Table of Content

  • React JS: A Snapshot

  • React Native: An Overview

  • Comparing User Interfaces: React JS vs React Native

  • Understanding the Development Process

  • The Role of Native Components

  • Frequently Asked Questions

When stepping into the universe of JavaScript frameworks, two standout names often spark curiosity: React JS and React Native. Both were developed by Facebook and have gained immense popularity for developing web and mobile applications, respectively. However, there's a common question that developers often face: what's the difference between React JS and React Native?

React JS: A Snapshot

React JS is a JavaScript library for building dynamic and interactive user interfaces for web applications. It simplifies the process of creating complex user interfaces from small, reusable components. It provides a high performing UI layer for web apps by leveraging the Virtual DOM (Document Object Model), which allows efficient updating and rendering of components.

React Native: An Overview

React Native, on the other hand, serves a completely different purpose. It is a framework for building real, native mobile applications using JavaScript and React. It employs native components instead of web components to compile to native mobile app components, enabling a truly native feeling and performance.

Comparing User Interfaces: React JS vs React Native

One crucial difference between React JS and React Native lies in the realm of the user interface.

React JS: It is used to develop dynamic and interactive user interfaces for web applications. These are run on a web browser, using the browser's JavaScript engine. It uses HTML and the virtual DOM to render browser code and display web pages.

React Native: This framework translates your markup to real, native UI elements and leverages existing means of rendering views on whatever platform you are working with. This provides a significant performance boost compared to other JavaScript-based mobile development frameworks that run JavaScript code in WebViews.

Moreover, React Native allows you to write some components in Swift, Objective-C, or Java when the app requires specific platform features. This facility of using platform-specific code makes it an excellent choice for cross-platform mobile app development.

Understanding the Development Process

In terms of the development process, React JS and React Native also differ.

React JS: It uses the traditional CSS to style your apps.

React Native: This framework has a bit of a steep learning curve as it requires learning new, platform-specific stylesheets and components.

It also differs in how it interacts with the DOM. While React JS creates a virtual DOM and manipulates the web browser's DOM, React Native handles rendering using native APIs.

The Role of Native Components

The utilization of native components is another significant difference.

React JS: It develops web components.

React Native: It uses native components, native APIs, and has access to native modules which greatly speeds up the process of mobile app development.

Despite these differences, both React JS and React Native have a shared philosophy - 'Learn once, write anywhere'. With React JS, you build web components. In React Native, you build native app components. This philosophy allows developers to reuse code components between the web and mobile applications. They share a common syntax and workflow, reducing the learning curve when switching from one to the other.

React Native apps offer a more 'native' feel, with access to device-specific features and a more responsive user interface. They allow developers to create mobile apps that are indistinguishable from an app built using Objective-C or Java. React JS, on the other hand, is excellent for web development but may not provide the native feel when used to create mobile apps.

Both React JS and React Native have carved their unique spaces in web and mobile app development. Your choice between React JS and React Native should depend on what you need to achieve. If you're looking to develop a high-performing, dynamic web application, React JS would be the way to go. For mobile app development with a truly native feel, React Native would be

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is React Native?

React Native is a JavaScript framework for building native mobile applications. It provides a truly native user experience by using native UI components and interfaces.

2. What is the purpose of Native UI Components in React Native?

Native UI components in React Native serve to provide a more seamless and performant user experience, similar to applications built in the platform's native language.

3. Is React Native a JavaScript library?

React Native is not just a JavaScript library, but a complete framework that allows developers to build cross-platform mobile apps using JavaScript and native platform capabilities.

4. How does React Native fit into the web platform?

While React Native is primarily used for mobile app development, its JavaScript base allows for integration with the web platform through various libraries and tools, creating cross-platform applications.

5. What does it mean that React Native compiles to Native APIs?

This means that React Native directly interacts with the platform's native APIs, allowing JavaScript code to be executed on the device, providing a more performant, native-like experience.

6. What are UI Components in the context of React Native and React JS?

UI Components are the building blocks of both React Native and React JS applications. They can be reused across different parts of an application, improving code efficiency and maintainability.

7. How does React Native rely on Native APIs?

React Native uses Native APIs to render the UI components, bypassing the need for a WebView which is used by other hybrid mobile app frameworks. This leads to better performance.

8. How does the Native Code fit into React Native?

Native code can be utilized in React Native to write some components when the app requires specific platform features, enabling a truly native feeling and performance.

9. What is Cross-Platform Development in the context of React Native?

Cross-platform development refers to building applications that can run on multiple operating systems with minimal code changes. React Native is a popular choice for such development due to its 'write once, run anywhere' philosophy.

10. How does one build mobile apps using React Native?

Developers write code in JavaScript which gets compiled to native code, allowing the app to run directly on a mobile device. React Native provides access to native platform features, offering an experience similar to native apps.

11. What is React's Virtual DOM?

React's Virtual DOM is a programming concept where an ideal, or “virtual”, representation of a UI is kept in memory and synced with the 'real' DOM. It allows React to make updates efficiently and provides a smooth user experience.

12. What are Mobile User Interfaces in React Native?

Mobile User Interfaces in React Native refer to the visual elements of an app that users interact with. These can be built using the native UI components provided by React Native.

13. What is the Animated API in the context of React Native?

The Animated API in React Native provides a powerful and easy-to-use way for building complex animations. It is widely used to create interactive user interfaces in mobile apps.

14. How does React Native facilitate building Cross-Platform Apps?

React Native allows developers to write code once and run it on multiple platforms (like iOS and Android), greatly reducing development time and effort. It also provides access to native platform features, offering an experience similar to native apps.

15. How does React JS differ from React Native in terms of Web Interfaces?

React JS is used to build web interfaces that run in a web browser. React Native, on the other hand, is used to build mobile apps that have native capabilities and offer a native-like experience.

 
Understanding the Difference Between React JS and React Native

Published on March 08, 2023

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Marek Majdak Head of Development

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