React Native vs Native App Development

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Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

React Native is a popular open-source development JavaScript framework that helps to develop near-native mobile apps. It is created by Facebook and can be used for Android, iOS, and web apps. 

Although being relatively new, React Native has been gaining a lot of popularity because of the advantages it offers – optimal performance, cross-platform development, UI design, 3rd party plugins, and vibrant community being some of these. 

But can you build a native app with React Native? And what are the similarities between using React Native and native mobile development? 

Read on to find out how native is React Native compared to native Android and iOS development. 

Similarities between React Native and native Android development

For the development of a native Android app, you need to use Java or Kotlin programming languages, and Android Studio – the IDE for native Android development. 

Some of the similarities React Native has, including building blocks, similar UI, and almost the same speed and responsiveness as a native app.

Similarities between React Native and native iOS development

For the development of a native iOS app, you need to use programming languages like Objective-C or Swift, and use Xcode – the IDE for native iOS apps. 

React Native is quite similar to native iOS development – it uses the preferred UI toolkit, the tools for even dispatch, and can deliver similar responsiveness and speed as a native app.

Differences between React Native and native development

React Native might be very similar to native app development but there are several differences, for example:

  • React Native can access native APIs, but not as much as native development
  • The UI of native apps provides a more natural feel and look than React Native apps
  • React Native is based on dynamically-typed JavaScript, which means that the chance of making coding errors is higher 
  • Since React Native uses JavaScript, any bugs can lead to security vulnerabilities
  • The native development programing languages work better with the native operating systems and provide better speed
  • Native development can better handle complex modern technologies like VR, AR, and IoT 
  • Native apps interact better with other native apps 
  • App stores prefer native apps rather than React Native apps 

React Native or native development – which one to use? 

Knowing the main similarities and differences between React Native and native app development, you are probably wondering which one to choose. 

Use native app development if you need to provide: 

  • Great UI and speed
  • More security and strict privacy regulations 
  • Frequent interaction with native apps 
  • Complex features that use specific hardware for the device
  • Features that involve modern tech like VR, AR, IoT 
  • Frequent updates

Use React Native when you need to:

  • Quickly launch an app on both iOS and Android 
  • Find developers easier
  • Launch an app that does not require heavy security or process sensitive information
  • Provide medium complexity  
  • Stay within your budget 

In conclusion, React Native will provide cost and speed advantages but there are features that it can not provide. It is a popular choice for cross-platform mobile development but consider its limitations and whether using React Native or native app development will benefit your project more and fit within your requirements.