Reactjs vs React Native: Key Differences, Features, Advantages & Disadvantages

Pramesh Jain
~ 16 min read
Reactjs vs react native

Summary: 98% of websites use JavaScript on the client side for webpage behaviour incorporating the best third-party libraries. The programming language has evolved, giving the technological era a new perspective on app development. JS is well-known for two of its technological advancements ReactJS and React Native. There is a lot of confusion between these two digital trends. Which one is better? How to reuse it? What are its pros and cons? So, to give answers, our experts have curated a special blog, reactjs vs react native. Dive into the comparison and clear your thoughts for a successful online venture.

Among the server-side languages, JavaScript has upgraded the software development world. Accordingly, survey JS is the most popular programming language bringing the highest site traffic.

server-side languages

It has aced the charts competing with all the other advancements. So, let’s gear it up to the hottest topic, react native and react js, to get a closure of the JS popularity.

React Native vs ReactJS is a fascinating comparison that always forces developers to think hard about the best for developing web apps, mobile apps, mobile responsive apps, and more.

react native vs reactjs

With the growing popularity of both tech stacks over the past five years, developers have considered working with them at some point. These JS popular are now at their peak sharing also the same hype. 

Whenever a new developer or someone without technological background hears about these two trends, they think React is an extension of React Native. 

The truth is, two merely alike-sounding advancements are much apart from each other. Facebook, Walmart, Instagram, Reddit, Dropbox, Discord, and more such behemoths have been using the famous JS advancements to impart great user experience across the globe. Let’s have a look into their history of emergence.

What is React JS? 

History of React or React JS

The ever-changing technological needs for a user-friendly, dynamic, and robust application have given birth to ReactJS. In 2011, when Facebook was expanding and bringing new features, the team of developers faced some major challenges. Content cascading and constant updates were slowing down the progress forcing developers to realign the whole application. 

They needed to revolutionize the user-interface to make the model appealing and addressive, even though it was right. One of the engineers at Facebook, Jordan Walke, created FaxJS, a prototype of ReactJS. It brought together the speed of JavaScript and a responsive, easy-to-use dynamic user input.

Define ReactJS

React, or ReactJS is a JavaScript library responsible for building and rendering UI components. It is a popular frontend and server-side tech advancement. It means to display views of an application.

Benefits of React JS:-

  • Document Object Model (DOM) is a viewing agreement for data input-output. It helps in partially refreshing the parts of a page. It results in fast loading and reduces re-building time for increased performance and programming. 
  • The ReactJS components are reused, saving a lot of time.
  • Rendering every page, server to browser improves the SEO of a web app.
  • Improves debugging speed
  • React is easy-to-read and does not require extensive learning of concepts.
  • A developer can reap the benefits of advancements in JavaScript and its ecosystem.

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What is React Native?

After the advent of ReactJS in 2012, Mark Zuckerberg stated:

“The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML as opposed to native.” 

Here is when React Native came into existence.

In 2013, Jordan Walke found a method of generating UI elements for iOS apps using JS. but to discover more about JavaScript capabilities, they organized a special Hackathon since,2015, Facebook quickly cracked a way to support Android developments with JS advancement- React Native.

In just three years, React Native became the second-biggest project on GitHub. It gained strength in 2019 with 9,100 contributors making it the sixth most popular mobile framework among the developer community.

Benefits of React Native:-

  • Firstly, it is a community-driven framework with a huge catalogue of free available components
  • A React Native developer can use the same code for deployment on iOS and Android
  • The live reload helps in looking at the latest updates done in the application
  • It makes use of a Graphic processing unit and a Central Processing Unit
  • Immersive architecture like ReactJS

Note: Recently, React Native came up with new architecture giving developers new tools for fast and responsive apps. The react native architecture makes significant changes for better performance and fast and responsive application development.

Now, after knowing the definition of these technologies, let’s take you to the major difference between reactjs vs react native.

React Native vs ReactJS Difference

Developers use React as a JavaScript library to build the front end of a website and React Native as a framework to quickly create and launch iOS and Android apps using a set of UI components.

Facebook develops both React and React Native, which uses a combination of JavaScript and JSX. React Native, however, utilizes native mobile user interface elements and has different syntax for rendering elements. Cross-platform development refers to creating apps that run on multiple platforms, such as iOS and Android, with a single codebase.

Here is a coding example from Stack Overflow:-

React JSX renders HTML-like components like <h1>, <p>, etc. [Meanwhile] react-native renders native app view components like <View>, <Text>, <Image>, <ScrollView>, so you can’t directly reuse your UI component code unless you rework/replace all the elements.

ReactJSReact Native
Released in 2013Low security than ReactJS
It is used to develop web appIt is used to develop mobile app
React js is executed on all platformsIt is not independent on all platforms
It uses React-router for navigating pagesA built-in navigator library for navigating mobile applications
Reactjs uses HTML tagsIt does not use HTML tags
React js uses code base componentsReact Native reuses its UI components
It provides high-securityLow security than ReactJS

How does ReactJS Work?

React is primarily used for building web applications but also to build mobile apps using React Native. React focuses on building reusable components that can be easily managed and manipulated in response to changes in the application’s data. It allows developers to build complex user interfaces with high flexibility and control.

React allows developers to build user interfaces by infusing HTML code with JavaScript. It uses a virtual DOM (Document Object Model) to keep track of changes to the user interface and only update the parts that have changed rather than re-rendering the entire app. 

Developers write React code using JSX, a syntax extension for JavaScript that enables HTML-like code in JavaScript files. JSX requires writing element attributes and children in camelCase and enclosing JavaScript expressions with curly brackets. 

React components are reusable and responsive to changes in the application’s data. It allows developers to build complex user interfaces with high flexibility and control.

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Advantages of ReactJS

Efficient update with DOM:

React’s ability to efficiently update the DOM is a key feature that allows for faster performance in web and mobile applications. React uses an in-memory data structure cache to calculate the differences between the current state and the desired state and then updates only the necessary parts of the DOM rather than re-rendering the entire page. It can result in a significant performance boost compared to other platforms, making it a popular choice for developing mobile apps where speed is critical.

Component-based architecture:

React’s component-based architecture enables developers to break down a complex user interface into smaller, reusable components. It allows for more efficient development, as developers can reuse components across different application parts rather than writing the same code multiple times. Additionally, because each component is self-contained, it is easier to make changes to specific parts of the user interface without affecting the rest of the application. React can save significant development time and make it easier to maintain and update the application over time.


React’s ability to do server-side rendering can boost the SEO of a webpage or application. Server-side rendering allows for faster indexing and caching by search engines, improving the website’s visibility in search results. Additionally, because the content is pre-rendered on the server, the page load time is faster for users, which can provide a better user experience. It can be a significant advantage for websites and applications that rely on organic traffic and have a strong SEO strategy. However, it’s worth noting that server-side rendering is not strictly necessary for SEO. There are other ways to improve SEO when using React, such as using proper meta tags and ensuring that the content is crawlable.

A huge community of developers:

React has a large and active community of developers who have created a wide range of tools, libraries, and other resources that improve the development experience and speed up the development process. The availability of these third-party tools and extensions can help developers to be more productive and create more innovative applications. 

The community also provides a wealth of knowledge and resources for developers to learn from. Such an effort improves the quality of the code and the final product. The community also helps to keep the platform up-to-date, with regular updates and new features being added to the library. These advantages make React popular for creating high-performance and innovative web and mobile applications.

How does React Native Work?

How react native works

The key to how React Native works is its bridge feature, which allows for bidirectional communication between the JavaScript-based threads and the native app threads. This bridge allows React Native to access the native features of the device, such as the camera or GPS, while still using the JavaScript code that runs on iOS and Android.

When a developer writes code in React Native, the framework converts the JavaScript and JSX into native code that runs on the device. It happens in real time, so the developer can immediately see the changes they make to the code on the device. 

React Native also uses a virtual DOM (Document Object Model) to optimize the app’s performance. It keeps track of the changes to the user interface and only updates the parts of the app that have changed rather than re-rendering the entire app. The advancement allows for faster and more efficient app rendering on the device. It also helps make an easy shift to a react native app from a native iOS or Android app development.

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Advantages of React Native

There are several advantages to using React Native for mobile app development. 

Platform-specific code: React Native automatically detects the platform it is being run on and generates the appropriate code, making it easy to create apps for multiple platforms with a single codebase. 

Accessibility for front-end developers: Since most of the code in React Native is JavaScript, it is relatively easy for front-end developers to learn and create apps using the framework. 

Faster development time: React Native’s Hot Reloading feature allows developers to reload the app automatically, saving time and making the development process faster. 

Ready-to-use UI libraries: There are several ready-to-use UI libraries available in the React Native ecosystem, such as Shoutem, Expo, and Native Base, which make it easy to create a smooth and polished user interface, saving development time. 

Easier to execute ideas: React Native’s easy usability, and the learning curve enable non-programmers to create apps, making it easier to execute ideas and making it easier for idea generators to turn their ideas into reality.

Reactjs and React Native are both based on React, but they have some key differences: 

  • React js is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces for the web, while React Native is a framework for building cross-platform mobile apps for iOS and Android. 
  • It uses the virtual DOM to render browser code, while React Native uses native APIs to render components on mobile devices. 
  • React js uses HTML and CSS for rendering and styling, while React Native uses JSX and a stylesheet.
  • It has built-in support for CSS animations, while React Native has its animation API. 
  • It is optimized for building high-performing, dynamic, and responsive web interfaces, while React Native is optimized for building mobile apps with a truly native feel. 

React Native and Reactjs share many similarities, but they are intended for different use cases and have different performance characteristics. Reactjs is intended for web development, while React Native is intended for mobile app development.

Limitations of ReactJS vs React Native

ReactJS has limitations such as overhead costs and time downloading additional libraries, a steep learning curve for new developers, and a complex data hierarchy. React Native has limitations, such as a lack of native libraries, a loosely held abstraction layer that can cause logic clashes, longer initialization times, and a reliance on native workarounds. Additionally, there are license and patenting issues with React Native as it is controlled by Facebook, which can impact the use of apps developed on the platform.

Before ending the blog, let’s just dig into the roots of both the tech stacks- Cross-platform apps, and the origin of ReactJS & React Native.

What is Cross-Platform App Development?

Software owners are benefited greatly from cross-platform development as it can reduce product development time and costs. Instead of developing separate versions of the software for different platforms, you can use the same codebase.

Additionally, cross-platform app development allows for a wider audience as the software can be used on different platforms. However, it is essential to note that cross-platform development can have limitations, such as performance issues and limited access to native features on certain platforms. And it may require more expertise to ensure high performance, and the code design can be more complex. 

Various frameworks and tools are available for cross-platform development, such as React Native, Flutter, and Xamarin. Choosing the right framework for a project depends on the specific needs and expertise of the development team.

Some characteristics of cross-platform development include:- 

  • Code reuse: The ability to use a single codebase for multiple platforms, reducing the need for separate development teams for each platform. 
  • Platform independence: The ability for the software to run on different platforms without modification. 
  • Cost-effective: Cross-platform development can be more cost-effective than developing separate software versions for each platform. 
  • Time-saving: Cross-platform development can save time as developers only need to write the code once rather than multiple times for different platforms. 
  • Consistency: The user experience is consistent across different platforms, which can improve the overall user experience. 
  • Access to a broader audience: Cross-platform development allows you to reach a wider audience as the software is used on different platforms. 
  • Limitations: Cross-platform development frameworks can have limitations in terms of performance and access to native features on certain platforms. 
  • Hybrid apps: Cross-platform development can also refer to hybrid apps, which are web apps that are wrapped in a native container and can run on different platforms.
  • Hard to design: Since the application is made for various platforms, coding is more complex. A developer must manage every feature functionality to ace and maintain the user experience on each platform.
  • Long feature release time: Presently, the new feature for Android or iOS takes longer to update on both platforms. Native apps provide such updates quicker. 

Some popular cross-platform frameworks.

React Native:

Facebook invented it in the year 2015. React Native allows building apps for both mobile and desktop. A developer can easily develop an application by coding JavaScript without mastering any specific coding language. Overall the major focus of advancement is providing a great user experience for mobile devices. It requires high responsiveness and intuitive use of solutions.

Programming language: JavaScript

Apps developed using React Native e.g. Bloomberg, Shopify, Skype

The cross-platform advancement has become popular among developers so, some salient features like fast reloading, native platform UI components, Flipper debugger, and more. Along with constant updates, it has a strong community supporting mobile apps with the framework.


Google released it in 2017 for faster development, making it perfect for experimenting with new features and fixing small bugs. Flutter helps developers instantly verify the changes made by the most recent updates without restarting the app after editing the source code.

Programming language: Dart

Apps developed using Flutter e.g. eBay, Alibaba, GooglePay

It supports Google’s Material Design, has its rendering engine drawing widgets, and provides hot reloading without recompiling in an application. It has the most active community of users around the world. 


It is an SDK developed by Jet Brains. Kotlin permits you to write platform-specific code only when necessary, such as when creating native UI components or interacting with platform-specific APIs, and to share standard code between the two platforms instead.

Programming language: Kotlin

Apps developed using Kotlin e.g. Philips, Netflix

Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile (KMM) is a relatively new framework, but it has a mature community that is growing quickly. Regular updates keep the framework up to date, and ample documentation and community support make it easy for developers to find answers to their questions.

Let’s Summarize!

Best suited for building high-functional web applications, ReactJS is a JavaScript library. React Native, optimized for building mobile apps with a native feel, is a framework. The choice between the two depends on the project’s requirements and priorities. ReactJS may be better for web development projects requiring complex calculations. While React Native may be a better choice for mobile app development projects that require a native feel. Both have their own set of limitations and strengths. Therefore, it’s essential to evaluate the requirements and goals of the project before making a decision.

react js vs react nativeReact native advantagesreact native vs reactjsReactjs features

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