When talking about ReactJS and React Native, there are several things that should be noted. Even though they share a similar name, they are actually very different.

Actually, ReactJS and React Native are absolutely different by nature – they might be similar because they are both technologies that share some common principles but they serve totally different purposes and in no terms they are interchangeable.

Read on to find out more about why you should not try to compare ReactJS and React Native.

What exactly are ReactJS and React Native?

Here is some more information about what are ReactJS and React Native in order to be able to understand their purpose and nature better.

ReactJS is a JavaScript library meaning that it is a reusable building block defining specific operations. You can use this block when you need to call the relevant function without having to write code all over again. ReactJS is used for the development of high-performing UI for web applications and webpages created with it are highly responsive. The UI of these webpages is interactive and dynamic because updates happen instantly without the need to reload a page.

On the other side, React Native is a framework which means that it defines the whole architecture of a project. You can fill out the pre-defined blanks and follow the already determined control flow. React Native is generally used to develop native mobile applications for Android and iOS.

How does React Native work?

Actually, React Native uses ReactJS to create mobile apps. ReactJS uses Virtual DOM which allows users to make changes that do not affect the other parts of the interface. When the user changes a component, it changes only the abstract copy of the real DOM – which is the main reason why you can build highly dynamic user interfaces with ReactJS.

So when building native apps with React Native, ReactJS is used in the development process. But React Native invokes Java or Objective C interfaces to render to Android or iOS components, rather than making updates in the Virtual DOM of the browser. That is why the user interface elements in mobile applications that are created with React Native look very much like elements in native applications.

Are there any downsides to React Native?

When React Native was introduced in 2015, it was greeted with much hope and enthusiasm by the developer community. The reason being that React Native allowed for cross-platform development – really convenient since you only need to know JavaScript to build a mobile app.

But with all the benefits of React Native, there are some downsides as well. It does not have enough navigation components, which means that apps built with this technology can suffer from navigation issues. As a result, they might not provide the same level of UX as native apps. Also, some custom modules are still underdeveloped or completely absent, meaning that you might have to develop some solutions completely from scratch. And keep in mind that when creating mobile apps with React Native, you will need a native developer for interactions with some functions such as push notification or access to the camera.

Overall, React Native might allow for the quick and easy creation of mobile apps, but you will still need to consider other options if you want your mobile app to work perfectly and to provide high performance and a great user experience.