What Is the Difference Between React and React Native?

Want to know more about React, and how it differentiates from React Native? Read on!

Mobile apps are becoming the most popular and efficient way to navigate and use our favorite websites on our mobile devices. Apps make using your mobile device, whether it be a phone, tablet, or desktop, easier and faster to enjoy your favorite sites and services.

More businesses are adding an app version of their sites to optimize the user experience. The trick is to create cross-platform apps that iOS and Android users alike can enjoy.

Knowing the difference between React and React Native will make designing and developing your app easier. Each one has its advantages that will benefit some sites more than others.

Are you thinking about developing an app version of your website? Here’s what you need to know about the difference between Reach and React Native.

What is React?

React, also known as ReactJS, is an open-source JavaScript library developed by Facebook. It launched in 2013 intending to improve and render UI (user interface) hierarchy and UI components. Many consider React to be the V part in an MVC (model-view-controller) framework.

The first difference between React and React Native is that React targets the browser rather than mobile platforms. You can use React for the web and mobile apps. Developing with React can boost an app’s or website’s SEO.


React offers a faster DOM (document object model) because it only refreshes part of a page. This makes developing and programming a much faster process.

The React framework is easy to read, making the learning and editing process faster for those who are new to React. You can reuse code pieces to speed up the developing process. React allows you to enjoy the benefits of the advanced JavaScript language and environment.

React and React Native are both forms of JavaScript. Both help app developers create mobile applications with great UI across multiple platforms.

What is React Native?

Based on the React JavaScript library, React Native is a framework that allows you to build apps using JavaScript. Unlike React, React Native focuses on mobile platforms.

This allows developers to create apps that feel and look natural on multiple platforms. These platforms include iOS, Android, Smart TVs, and other gadgets.

Mobile and desktop App

React and React Native use an XML markup known as JSX in addition to JavaScript. React Native goes an extra step to render some code components with native APIs (application programming interface) rather than using WebView. Since React Native bases its framework on React, you can continue to create better UI components.

Anyone who knows JavaScript can easily work with React Native. Even front-end developers can design and develop an app. There are many native development tools to make the developing process easier and more efficient for developers.

If you want to edit existing apps with React Native, you can do so without having to redo the entire app. Simply add React Native UI components to the app’s existing code, and you’ll be ready to start.

Both React and React Native can make programming certain apps easier and faster. Knowing the difference between React and React Native will help you decide which one is best for your needs. If you’re looking to develop a mobile app with React Native, it’s essential to hire a skilled React Native developer who can leverage the framework’s capabilities to create a seamless and cross-platform application.

The Difference Between React and React Native

The main difference between React and React Native is that React is a JavaScript library, while React Native is a framework.

With React, you’ll need a bundler, and you’ll have to decide which modules in the bundle you need. React Native is ready to go as is and doesn’t need a bundler or other software for you to use it.

Styling with React & React Native

React Native doesn’t use any HTML to create apps. Instead, it uses native components that work like HTML. This means you can’t reuse any ReactJS libraries that have any Canvas, HTML, or SVG.

However, the React Native components create the map for the real native parts of iOS and Android when rendered in the app. You’ll have to use JavaScript stylesheets to style your components.

Since React Native isn’t based on web elements, you can’t style it like you would with web elements. If you need to create a page or app for web-use, React will be the better option. You can add web languages like HTML and SVG in your React library.

Animations with React & React Native

React Native offers you the ability to create the same kind of animation that you can do on the web. However, it requires you to learn a whole new way to animate using JavaScript.

Create Animations

To make animating components a little easier, React Native provides you with Animated API. It’s comparable to Velocity.js, a part of the JavaScript Library.

You can create many types of animations, base animations on time, and easing. The LayoutAnimation is a simple option available for iOS and limited us with Android.

Specific Platform Code

While designing a multi-platform app with one set of code is convenient, the code will start to get ugly as you add more to it.

With React Native, you can create a universal design for your app, so it will look and act the same on Android and iOS platforms. Or, create code for each platform with different stylesheets, DOM, and logic that maintain UI and UX guidelines.

Both methods will make your code look better and optimize your app for each platform. React Native can load the right code by recognizing the platform that is running the code.

The Developer Experience

Learning React is easy for most developers and allows you to target the web, Android, and iOS platforms. React Native is even easier to learn and improves the iteration process of the app’s development. Developers can efficiently share knowledge and app resources.

website creating

You can reuse most code across multiple platforms with React Native. Native app development used to be slow and inefficient. But with React and React Native, it’s all about speed, responsiveness, and web app development agility.

Use React and React Native For Your Next Project

The main difference between React and React Native is that React is a JavaScript library and the backbone of React Native. React Native is a framework and platform that allows you to create multi-platform apps efficiently. Both use JavaScript and make the app development process much more manageable.

If you’re looking to optimize your app development process, then developing with React and React Native is for you. Check out our latest articles to learn how to improve your app and web designs.

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Published on January 27, 2020 by Peter Hughes; modified on July 24, 2023. Filed under: .

Peter Hughes is a digital marketing consultant and author. Peter has more than 10 years of experience in SEO and Internet marketing.

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