React-native came and React-native conquered. Initially launched in 2015, React-native has revitalized mobile development and made it cheaper for businesses to create their own apps. The web-based framework offers extensive code reusability and allows us to build cross-platform mobile apps at a fraction of the cost.
React Native vs. ReactJS: Differences You Should Know
ReactJS and React Native are similar in many ways. They both have the same syntax and methodologies. However, they also have several differences. The following are some of the most prominent ones:
Setup and Bundling
Right off the bat, ReactJS and React Native differ in how they are constructed. We access ReactJS as a library, whereas React-Native is available as a framework. Like React native and ReactJS, libraries and frameworks are often interchanged with each other when, in reality, they are different.
ReactJS, as a library, gives developers greater freedom, allowing them to choose bundles independently. You can use bundlers like Webpack to organize bundles according to your needs. However, it requires a little extra effort on your part as configuring the library will take more time whenever you start a new project.
In contrast, React-Native has everything you need. It’s fast and easy to set up; writing a single command line will help you start. With a mixture of ES6 and ES7 features at your disposal, you can start coding your first native app immediately. That said, you will still need to install Android Studio and Xcode to run native applications for Android and iOS respectively.
Access to the Virtual DOM
ReactJS is well-renowned for its efficient use of the Document Object Model (DOM) and access to the virtual DOM, giving it a significant edge over other libraries and frameworks, especially in terms of speed.
ReactJS seamlessly updates your browser’s DOM by creating an in-memory data structure cache. The cache computes the differences caused by user inputs and internal events on the DOM, making it easier to update it. You will feel that the entire page is being rendered with every change when in reality only sub-components directly being affected are rendered.
Native APIs for React Native
Additionally, React Native has a range of Native components and Native Modules that improve performance. The framework also differs from traditional cross-platform development frameworks like PhoneGap and Cordova. Instead of rendering code through WebView, React Native leverages native APIs to render code components.
Ease of Use
Even developers with little programming experience can start building apps on React Native. In contrast, the learning curve for ReactJS is steeper compared to React Native. ReactJS supports several external libraries but lacks native libraries. Third-party libraries allow you to build into JSX and utilize both HTML and CSS, but makes development complex simultaneously. Therefore, mastering the ReactJS will naturally take more time.
Instead, native app developers can define sets of code for iOS and Android separately. Doing so allows developers to leverage different DOM, stylesheets, as well as various animations and logic builds to make the UI experience smoother for applications. This technique is called platform-specific.
React Native is one of the few platforms where developers can utilize platform-specific codes. While using React Native for your app, the framework will automatically detect which platform your application is using, helping you generate the right code for the platform.