What is the difference between react and react native ?

by SWHabitation
Feb 29, 2024

Are you new to web or mobile app development? Maybe you’ve heard of React or React Native but aren’t sure what’s the difference? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

In today’s ever-changing web and mobile development landscape, two frameworks stand out: React and React Native. Both of these frameworks have become hugely popular in recent years because of their efficiency, scalability, and performance.

But while they share the same name and foundation, the two frameworks serve different purposes and have distinct features. Let’s explore the key differences between them, along with their pros and cons.


React is a JavaScript library that is open-source. It was created by Facebook and is mainly used to create dynamic user interfaces (UDIs) for web apps. React is built on a component-oriented architecture, meaning that user interfaces are reusable components that maintain their state.


  • Declarative syntax: React’s declarative syntax makes code easier to read and maintain because developers don’t have to worry about DOM manipulation as long as they can describe the desired UI state.
  • Virtual dom: React’s virtual DOM reduces DOM manipulation by reducing the number of DOM manipulations, leading to faster updates and rendering.
  • Replaceable components: React encourages the reuse of components, resulting in a modular and expandable codebase.
  • JSX: JSX simplifies the creation of UI components by allowing developers to write HTML-like code within JavaScript files, enhancing code readability and maintainability.

As per Statista, In 2023, React ranked as the second most utilised technology globally among developers.


  • Learning Curve: The learning curve for React is very steep, especially for those who are new to the component-oriented architecture and the JSX syntax.
  • Tooling Complexity: Installing and configuring a React development environment can be a complicated process that requires additional tools, build setups, and tooling complexity.
  • State management: React has built-in mechanisms for controlling component state, but in more complicated state management situations, you may need to rely on additional libraries and patterns.

React Native

React Native is a native mobile app development framework created by Facebook. It uses JavaScript and React to build native mobile applications. React Native enables developers to write one piece of code and deploy it to multiple platforms (i.e. iOS and Android) while still providing a native user experience.


  • Cross-Platform Development: React Native allows you to write one piece of code and deploy it to both iOS and Android, saving you time and effort.
  • Native Components: React Native uses native platform APIs to render UI components, making the UI more responsive and native.
  • Hot Reloading: React Native supports hot reloading, which allows you to view the changes you have made in real-time, without rebuilding your entire application, thus reducing the development time.
  • Native API Access: With React Native, you can use JavaScript to access native APIs and native modules. This allows you to easily add platform-specific functionality to your applications.

As per Statista, React Native holds the second position as the most favored cross-platform framework among developers worldwide.


  • Platform Limitations: While React Native provides native APIs, you may need to write platform-specific code for some features or performance improvements.
  • Third-Party Dependencies: 3rd party Dependencies: React Native depends on third-party libraries for some of its features, which can lead to compatibility problems or server-side overhead.
  • Performance Overhead: React Native provides native-level performance, but if you have a complex animation or interaction, you may experience performance overhead as compared to native solutions.

Key Differences

  • Platform: The biggest difference between React and Native is the platforms they focus on. React is mainly used in web development, while React Native is primarily used in mobile app development.
  • UI Components: React and React Native both use the same concepts to build UI components, but they are different in that React components are built for web browsers, and React Native is built for mobile.
  • Rendering: React uses virtual DOM to render UI components in web browsers. React Native, on the other hand, uses native components that are native to iOS and Android, which gives mobile apps a more native appearance and feel.
  • Development Environment: Since React is primarily designed for web development, the development environment for it is relatively easy to set up. React Native, however, needs to be set up for mobile application development, including tools and dependencies specific to the platform.
  • Performance: Both React and React Native have great performance, but React Native apps usually have a better user experience because of their native rendering.

Comparison Table

AspectReactReact Native
PurposeJavaScript library for web developmentFramework for building native mobile applications
RenderingVirtual DOMNative components using platform-specific APIs
CodebaseJavaScript and JSXJavaScript with React Native's native components
Declarative SyntaxYesYes
Component ReusabilityYesYes
Hot ReloadingNoYes
Access to Native APIsNoYes

Which One Should You Choose?

The answer to this question depends on what you’re building. If you’re creating a website, you’ll want to go with React because it’s great for building interactive and responsive web applications. But if you’re developing a mobile app, React Native is the way to go. It allows you to leverage your JavaScript skills to quickly and easily build apps for iOS and Android. So, for a website, go with React. For a mobile app, go with React native. It’s all about what works best for your project.

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Both React and React Native are powerful frameworks for creating modern user interfaces. However, each has its strengths and weaknesses. It is important to understand the differences between the two frameworks to choose the right one for your project needs.

Whether you are building a web application using React or a native mobile app using React Native, they both provide powerful solutions for building dynamic and interactive user experiences.

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