React JS vs React Native: Key Differences Overview

10 min read
May 19, 2021
React JS vs React Native: Key Differences Overview
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Are you thinking about using React Native or React JS for your next project, but don’t know which is right for you? What to choose if you want to make a transportation app, make a delivery app, or create a music streaming app for instance? We’ll walk you through what you need to know before you start.

If you’re thinking about using React as a sleek, JavaScript base for your next project, you may be wondering which one of its many offshoots you should consider. There’s React JS, and React Native, among the most popular, plus all the associated plug ins and widgets that work with them. So, if you’re asking yourself, is React Native different from React JS, the answer is yes. Significantly.

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In fact, the two technologies do completely different things, both of which could be key to the smooth operations of your mobile app. Here at ProCoders, we use both React JS vs. React Native quite frequently for our client projects. We can help you sort out which technology is best for you. Let’s take a look at what differentiates React Native versus React JS, and what you need to know, before you start coding with them.

React Native vs React JS: Intro

First, let’s start with what makes React Native and React JS similar. They were both initially developed by Facebook, which was looking for open-source tools for creating high-performance mobile apps. They also have JavaScript, one of the world’s most popular and easy-to-use programming languages, at their base. But the similarities between React Native versus React JS stop there.

So now let’s examine what separates React JS and React Native. React JS is a JavaScript library that makes your development go more smoothly, and deliver UIs that are light, quick, and responsive. Its emphasis is on front-end performance.

Meanwhile, React Native is a mobile application development framework. It’s designed to help you program cross-platform apps that work equally well on iOS and Android. It’s also designed to help your mobile app seamlessly link into your backend data systems. Use them separately, or use them simultaneously, but they both can have tremendous potential for your next app design.

Is it even productive to compare React Native with React JS? We prefer to think of it as not an either/or, this or that scenario. But it is important that you understand the differences between React JS versus React Native, so you can understand what these very powerful JavaScript-powered resources can do for you.

React Native

Is React Native different from React JS? Yes, in very important ways. Let’s take a closer look.

Brief Overview

React Native gained its name because it was designed as an open-source JavaScript framework that allows you to build cross platform apps that appear “native.” Since its launch, it’s become one of the world’s most popular frameworks, powering behind apps that have become household names the world over, such as Facebook, Instagram, Skype, and more. And there’s reasons why developers love it.

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Besides the rich user community and support of Facebook, it enables rich UI experiences with smooth animation support. Most coders find it easy to use, and now more libraries than ever are becoming compatible with React Native.

In a match up between React JS or React Native, React Native does well, every time.

Benefits and Limitations

While it is very much beloved by the developer community, in a comparison of React Native and React JS, Native does have its pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between React JS and React Native, by looking at what makes React Native a good or bad choice.

Benefits

We’ve already mentioned two of its biggest benefits: cross-platform performance, and the fact that it’s powered by JavaScript. But in a discussion of difference between React JS and React Native, versatility wins versus popularity. Here’s some of the key benefits:

  • Its Online Community — Now featuring tens of thousands of developers around the world, there’s not too many questions you can’t get answered on the site. It’s also a thriving marketplace for patches, upgrades, widgets and libraries, all designed to work specifically with this technology. There’s no need for comparison between React Native vs. React JS here. Both have a great online user base.
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  • Hot Reloading — A key difference between React JS vs. React Native, the hot reloading feature means that changes you make appear as you make them. It saves enormous amounts of cycling time for developers! A major advantage when you compare React JS and React Native.
  • Native modules — This framework comes with native components that speed up run times. And best of all, it doesn’t render code using WebView like other frameworks, such as PhoneGap, or Cordova.
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  • Easy to Learn — Its base in JavaScript means it’s intuitive to pick up for most developers. UI
  • Components — Need to upgrade your app? No worries. Simply add its UI components to your existing app’s code. In a discussion about what is the difference between React JS and React Native, this is a key point in Native’s favor.
  • Speed — Native development usually is slow and labor intensive, but Native makes the process streamlined. Once developed, Native apps are built for high speed and agility. In a comparison of React Native with React JS, it will always do well in this regard.

Limitations

In a comparison between React Native vs. React JS, Native isn’t always going to come out on top. The framework does have its limitations to consider, namely:

  • Hot reloading — This was named as a benefit, but in certain situations, it’s a limitation, too. If you’re working on the business logic or there’s a root code change, the updates will go live almost immediately. It’s definitely something to consider with React Native vs. React JS.
  • A work in progress — Native isn’t all that old. So many features in IOS and Android have yet to be supported by Native. The community has weighed in with new best practices, patches and plugins, but this is one area where in a comparison of React Native with React JS, the difference is telling between older versus newer technologies.
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  • Facebook — This is one area where Facebook’s market might could go either way. As long as they lend their support to the community, Native will do well. But Facebook has the power to throw it in the dustbin any time they choose, which can be a vulnerability to the companies who rely on it. Whether you’re working with React JS or React Native, Facebook looms large over your future with the tech.

React JS

As we’ve mentioned before in this article, there really is no good way to directly compare the difference between React JS and React Native. The two programs simply do different things.

But in any debate of the what is the difference between React JS and React Native, React JS will always come out well. The library is elegant, easy to use, and compatible with your cross-platform development plans. All of these advantages developers have used to make the best React JS websites.

A brief introduction

In a comparison of React Native versus React JS, which provides the right services for your enterprise? That depends on what you need to get done. While React Native is the framework for development, React JS is a Java Script library that works with it. To put it simply, React JS is a library that allows you to develop reusable user interface components and server-side integrations with ease.

react js is all about components

It was developed by Facebook in 2011, and maintains a large user community. Like React Native, it is open source, so many widgets and components are available for download, and that can save considerable time. React JS is all about components — short code units that work together to complete a single task.

Developers like it for many reasons, namely, that is easy to use. Working with JavaScript, React JS is built around a uni-directional syntax that allows for one-way data flow. This makes it easy to develop in easily managed blocks and speed development along, especially when using JSX extensions. All things you need to consider when weighing React JS vs. React Native.

Benefits and Limitations

Is React Native different from React JS? The answer to that question is yes. Let’s discuss how by looking at React JS’ pros and cons, and how it compares, React Native versus React JS.

Benefits

  • Partial Page Refresh — How does the DOM for React Native and React JS differ? React JS has a virtual DOM, and that means it is lighter and faster than the conventional model. Why? Because it only refreshes parts of the page. It reduces rebuild time and speeds up development considerably.
  • Reusability — Because it’s built on this “block” type construct, its components in be used, reused, and moved around with ease. When developers get asked what is the difference between React JS and React Native, this is one of the key reasons they give.
  • Easy to test — It offers a debugging tool that allows you to work on your code in native programming.
  • Page rendering — It renders your pages fully, whether you’re working server side or user side, and that helps push up SEO for your web application.
  • Faster debugging — The lightness and speed of React JS makes your debugging your systems go faster, too. And that’s important to remember when you’re comparing React JS or React Native.
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  • Easy to Use, Easy to Read — Many libraries require you to learn complex concepts just to use them. React JStook a different way, instead striving to make it as universally easy for coders to code, and coders to read. Thanks to its use of JavaScript, even coders not familiar with it can usually figure it out fairly quickly. In a comparison with React Native with React JS, this is one time when they both offer the same benefit—JavaScript.
  • Continuous JavaScript improvements — As one of the world’s most widely used and widely loved programming languages, JavaScript is in a continuous state of open-source improvements. When JavaScript upgrades, so do your possibilities!
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  • SEO Friendly — If you’re wondering is React Native different from React JS, this is one point you can’t overlook. Many JS frameworks can make layering SEO into your app difficult and time-consuming. Enter React JS, which creates easy to navigate architecture for search engines to follow. How does it do it? Its applications run on your server, while the virtual DOM renders to the browser, just like it would as a regular web page. This is why many developers choose to use both React Native and React JS, together.

Limitations

Should you choose, React JS or React Native, or should you choose both? No library is perfect for every solution, and React JS is no exception to this. In any comparison of React JS vs. React Native, you should understand its limitations, including:

  • Fast changing platform — For many, the blistering pace of improvement for this library is a big advantage. After all, who doesn’t love code that’s cutting edge? However, for others, constantly having to learn new protocols can be tiring. Consider what camp you fall into before you choose.
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  • Documentation can be a challenge — When you have a library that’s changing fast, keeping track of the documentation can be really tough, especially if you don’t have a deep development organization who can make constant notations of the changes. It’s best to write up your own instructions every time new releases come out, if you can.
  • Not a complete solution — React JS is great for the UI facets of your app, and also for making those layers interact properly to your backend server functions. But if you need to do anything else with the app, you’ll need to find another library or additional code solutions. When you’re using React JS and React Native together, this is important to remember.

React JS vs React Native: Technical and Business Comparison

What is the difference between React JS and React Native? The answer is really very simple. Do you want to build a fast, accurate, user-friendly user experience for a web interface? Use React JS. Do you want to give your mobile, cross-platform app the feeling of a native designed app? React Native can do that for you.

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Both of these cross-platform development tools have their advantages and disadvantages, and for some projects, you may need to use both. Either way, when you’re comparing React Native vs. React JS, they are different, but both are world-class, open-source tool that has the potential to deliver for your development project.

Here at ProCoders, we use both React JS and React Native very often for our clients, and we can help evaluate whether they’re right for your project. Want to see how it has played out for our other clients? Check out our case study for Roth River, Inc. here.

Conclusion

Are you looking for a development partner to bring your project to life? We’d love to work with you! Our staffers stand ready to work with you, and can usually be onboarded in less than a week. Just fill out the form, and we can put together a free consultation immediately. Let’s work together!

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