Both React and React Native are developed by Facebook, but they are designed for different purposes:
In this article, we’ll take a look at what are the strengths and weaknesses of React and React Native and their uses.
What is React technology?
Before React became available for multiple users, the biggest challenge of developers at Facebook was to create fast-moving and rich UI. For instance, the developers needed the possibility to enable adding fresh news into the newsfeed at the same time while the client was modifying personal data profiles or talking to friends in chat.
When the solution became public, Facebook developers realized that React is swifter than any of the similar tools of the same profile available on the market.
This solution drastically transformed Facebook’s methodology for web development. Since its initial release as open-source software, React quickly spread among developers, thanks to its extraordinary way of coding the user’s interface.
A couple of years after that, the same team delivered React Native, a combined framework for mobile application creation for iOS and Android operational systems. The core technologies of React and React Native are the same, which was the reason developers, as well as companies, accepted it as the new normal.
Let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of React and React Native and compare these two technologies.
Strengths of React
Improve UX and Coding Experience using Virtual Document Object Models (DOM)
DOM is the file formation in multiple formats such as HTML, XHTML, and XML. It’s a tree-structured arrangement of the data’s ins and outs.
The main issue with the conventional (HTML) DOMs is the need to continually update them throughout the file to provide relevant answers to the customers’ requests. Since HTML DOM trees have become rather expansive and consist of multiple constituents, such updates take too much time and put a strain on the servers.
The group of developers in charge of React managed to increase the velocity of system updates with the help of a virtualized Document Object Model. Therefore, while other frameworks use the good old DOM, React exploits the virtual model. This means ReactJS allows you to easily alter parts of the file, according to the customer’s needs, without having to change everything at the same time. React’s elements and exclusive scheme of data arrangement within the library boundaries are encapsulated, and this results in a velocity increase.
If our updating process is prompt, we can design an extremely fast UI. For example, a user can change one small thing in the personal account, and the newsfeed updates automatically right away.
Furthermore, in the case of React, developers don’t have to connect the DOM with the operational front-end content, since the components have already been associated with it.
In a nutshell, React speeds up the response time for users’ requests and streamlines the development process in terms of UI modules, and enhances productivity.
Reuse the code elements you’ve created
React allows reusing the code components at any stage of development, which means less routine work for the developer (and more time to dedicate to more complex challenges.)
Reusing the available components is a useful practice, which web designers love because it saves them so much time. In terms of programming, the situation is not as straightforward. System updates can be challenging because even a tiny change may affect the correct functioning of the other elements.
Produce substantial code using the single-oriented data stream in React
React ensures direct access to the elements and exploits a descending data associating method to protect the higher-level configurations from being transformed when the lower-level structures are modified. It allows getting the balanced code.
More complicated observation-type arrangements of JS configuration are characterized by real weakness: schemes of data streams. The low-level elements may influence the higher-level ones when being altered in JS view model structures. In the case of React, the vendor has eliminated these negatives by leaving it as just the viewing structure.
As a substitute for applying clear data association, React prefers utilizing a single orientation model – a descending data stream. Thanks to this, the lower-level components don’t affect the higher-level ones. Consequently, the developer simply needs to change the status of the element and add the updated fragments, and only the authorized constituents will be amended.
More progress & improvements: open-source code libraries
Nowadays it is among the TOP 10 most demanded solutions proposed on GitHub with almost 205+ thousand stars. To keep the product up to date, over 1,610 contributors are focusing on the library with a whopping 1.4 million users.
Stars on GitHub
Contributors on GitHub
Users on GitHub
You might also be interested: Which Is Better: React or Vue? Choosing the Technology for 2021
Weaknesses of React
Extreme development velocity
The coding landscape gets altered too fast for many developers. While it means that there are many improvements, the need to constantly re-learn methods and patterns becomes a block for coders in using React more.
The heart of the problem is the continual issuance of upgraded instruments. Various cutting-edge libraries such as Reflux are aimed to facilitate the functioning and advance the whole React environment. However, the coders often have difficulties when implementing new instruments into React.
For instance, some societies of developers believe that React solutions are updated and changed so quickly that there is not enough time to create sufficient working manuals. As a result, the coders have to develop special instructions by themselves for the individual instruments employed in the ongoing projects.
The challenges of JSX
What is the difference between React and React Native?
The chronological gap in the release of React and React Native is two years. However, this is not the biggest issue that makes them different.
React was created to develop a web interface while React Native is a mixed-type framework for developing applications for iOS and Android mobile operating systems.
The excellent news is React Native derives the majority of concepts and patterns from React, and the most substantial variations between the two products are related to the purposes of the platform.
As long as React exploits Virtualized Document Object Model (DOM) for rendering the code of a browser, React Native takes advantage of original Application Programming Interfaces that serve as an adapter for rendering the elements in the portable format. For instance, React Native embraces the Application Programming Interfaces of Java and actuates Objective-C API’s module to shift to iOS.
There is no HTML involved in React Native. Therefore, it may take some time and effort for you to get adjusted to React Native patterns if you’ve only dealt with React before.
As long as React Native avoids utilizing CSS, the CSS-based elements can be launched only with the help of special Application Programming Interfaces.
React Native Strengths
These days React Native is acknowledged to be one of the fastest and most productive spaces for creating mobile applications. In layperson’s terms, it is very similar to React, but in a mobile format.
Sometimes the follow-up updating can be even accelerated, e.g., iOS ensures the functionality of the JS-related transformations of the apps in an online regime without the necessity to observe the circuit.
Original monitoring features and elements in React Native: the productivity reinforcement factor
React Native transfers the range of code elements using native Application Programming Interfaces as contrasted with other frameworks, for example, PhoneGap which shifts the code elements through WebView. Since WebView negatively impacts the throughput, React Native accesses the required modules of iOS and Android, transferring the data straight to the original API. This method also includes the individual fiber connecting UI that improves the results too.
Original modules also are important. React supplies the developers with a kit of native modules on Java as well as in Objective-C. It is impossible to utilize them throughout two OSs repeatedly. However, they are useful for increasing productivity when dealing with complex solutions such as photo or video processing.
What is important, you are able to operate with the available modules or to create specific individual modules by yourself. The expansion of React developers’ societies positively influences the availability of public features when the remaining part of the code can’t be reused repeatedly. For example, Facebook Ads Manager distributes almost 90% of the code in the iOS and Android environments.
Furthermore, React Native ensures easy bug elimination and error notification instrument availability. Therefore, the developers are able to employ the development facilities of the most popular and well-known browsers, for example, Safari or Chrome.
React Native inherits all React features that make UI better
As React Native derived multiple features from React and the JS library, it also takes over the primary benefits from it. In order to design a cross-platform application using React Native, an understanding of the original stage language is not required. The only thing they have to know is the basic patterns of JS and React. If necessary, it is always possible to supplement the code with native elements.
In React Native, the descending data stream model is reproduced. Thus, the high-level elements are modified without changing low-level ones. This approach helps to polish the procedure of UI development so that the applications seem to be more native.
Weaknesses of React Native
Lack of technical documentation
Sadly, React Native has the same problem as React. Society is at the early stage of its development, so the quality and availability of the necessary manuals are low, in particular, what concerns associating React Native with supplementary instruments.
Low proficiency in native modules
Undoubtedly, the native modules play a positive role in coding by providing a framework with extra variability and helping out the system in case of lacking some performance. The developers often exploit the original modules when dealing with complicated objects.
Yet, at the same time, it may negatively impact the multiple-platforms development stage because the team will require additional engineers focused on native modules just in case.
In-House and Outside Elements Possible Clashes
The vendor declares that it possesses the range of original modules for Android as well as for iOS, taken from the outside environment; however, the quantity of such elements is insufficient. At the same time, there is no guarantee that in-house created modules will remain valid in further updates of the framework.
Leaving off SDK amendments
It is a well-known fact that React Native often back-pedals when SDK is upgraded by Android or iOS. The thing is the React Native development group has to associate the library with the latest software. Although these processes are conducted quickly, they are not able to amend each segment of the Application Programming Interface simultaneously. This is the reason why the complete integration of React Native with the latest versions of SDK is so slow.
Successful projects with React and React Native
Obviously, in terms of world-known projects, React JS is a leader being a key technology for such distinguished startups like Instagram, which aimed to make both web and mobile apps to get more users, Netflix, that is utilizing it along with Gibbon, and Airbnb, that shifted to React due to code reorganization simplicity and the possibility of its elements repeatable use.
In turn, React Native was integrated by Bloomberg when creating the mobile application for a web magazine, and it stands to mention that Bloomberg seems to be excited about having this technology.
In the context of productivity, React is a sky-rocketing technology, taking into account its progressing popularity in the developers’ societies and among the businesses that start using it.
As long as most of the other frameworks enhance user interface by increasing software effectiveness, “green as grass” and sometimes puzzle-headed React Native thrives on the transformation of the method for associating the application with the software as well as hardware. At the same time, React proposes outstanding possibilities in front-end web development improvement and upgrading.
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