React Native vs Ionic: Which one is best for you?

Mobile development doesn’t mean simply native iOS development using Swift or native Android development using Java anymore. We are in the generation of hybrid, cross- platform and progressive web applications. In this article, you will look at two popular mobile frameworks, React Native and Ionic. We will initially see how they are similar and and then compare React Native vs ionic. This guide can assist you with choosing which framework is right for you.

React Native-

React Native is a cross-platform solution for building mobile applications natively on both iOS and Android. It is coded in JavaScript with the use of React. It was publicly released in 2015 by Facebook and has increased popularity ever since. React Native is used to build native mobile applications using JavaScript and React on both iOS and Android. Know the reasons to use react native at- Why you should build your app with react native?

Ionic-

Ionic is a hybrid solution to build your mobile applications. It allows you to use standard web technologies like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS to build high-quality, cross-platform applications. Ionic Framework has released a free eBook that clarifies the differences between a hybrid application versus a native application. The thought is that you code once, and that code can be deployed cross-platform on iOS, Android, Web, and desktop. A similar code-base is shared over all the platforms.

Similarities between React Native and Ionic-

If you are simply learning about both React Native and Ionic, they probably sound fundamentally the same as from the description above. Ionic allows you to build mobile, desktop and web applications using traditional web technologies like JavaScript/CSS/HTML. Similarly, React Native lets you build native mobile applications using JavaScript and the popular JavaScript framework, React. This implies you don’t need to know native iOS or Android development to use Ionic or React Native.

React Native vs Ionic-

React Native vs Ionic

1. Native vs hybrid-

React Native is native-

React Native is used to build genuinely native cross-platform applications. A native application is a software application built in a specific programming language, for the specific device platform, either iOS or Android. Native iOS applications are written in Swift or Objective- C and native Android applications are written in Java. With React Native the underlying widgets are all native components, giving the user a seamless experience. It is built using JavaScript and React however the components are all native components of iOS and Android. The excellence of React Native, is that it builds native applications on the iOS and Android, with a single code base. It is extremely amazing since you are coding in Javascript, and rendering components that are native to the platform. This is one reason that applications built by using React Native have a better user experience in comparison to frameworks that use Web Views.

Ionic is hybrid

Ionic is a hybrid application. It uses HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build applications that can be utilized on web, desktop, and mobile. Hybrid applications basically use what is called a Web View to build mobile applications. Ionic applications are built using web technologies and are rendered using Web Views. Ionic applications are built using web technologies and are rendered using Web Views, which are a full screen and full-powered web browser. The thought here is to reuse code over various platforms. So hybrid applications won’t have access to native features of the mobile device out of the box.

Native features like camera, GPS, contacts, etc. Ionic uses Cordova plugins to incorporate native features to your application. Ionic renders its graphics elements by means of a browser, which takes several steps to start indicating the component on the screen. This could cause a performance hit on larger applications. Yet, when you are building web applications, using hybrid technologies like Ionic, it is simple to change over them to Progressive Web Apps that can be downloaded simply like some other mobile application.

Winner: React Native

If your product is completely a mobile application that needs to work cross-platform on iOS and Android and needs to look and feel a native application, you should pick React Native. If you are searching for an elegant UI that matches your website as a mobile application, you could consider Ionic.

2. Technology stack-

React Native-

React Native is written in JavaScript using the well known framework React. The UI pieces are written in JSX, rather than HTML. JSX resembles some other template language however comes with all of the powers of JavaScript. The reason React Native uses React is because both the frameworks were developed and open-sourced by Facebook and it makes sense that they picked React to build React Native.

Ionic-

You could use Angular, Vue, or even React to build Ionic applications. Ionic’s tech stack is more flexible compared to React Native. With the most latest release of Ionic 4, you can use Ionic with any web development framework.

Winner: Ionic

Until a year ago, React Native could have been considered a winner in this class because Ionic applications were built utilizing only Angular. But, with the recent updates to Ionic, it opens up a huge amount of flexibility in building Ionic applications. Any web developer, on any modern web framework, can develop Ionic applications. This is an immense advantage for Ionic, making it a champ in this class.

3. Popularity-

Prior to starting your quest to learn React Native or Ionic, let’s take a gander at which one is more popular. To get more insight into their popularity factors, let’s take a look at the State of JavaScript survey of 2018. It released data on both React Native and Ionic popularity over the most recent three years among developers. From this survey results underneath, we can conclude that React Native is definitely more popular as a mobile framework when compared with Ionic.

Winner: React Native

React Native’s popularity is because of its ability to build genuinely “native” applications using JavaScript and React. The concept of a hybrid application using WebViews is great, however it doesn’t approach the look and feel of a local application. Ionic being a hybrid application does not have the looks and feel of a truly native application. Whereas, React Native applications are native and it is great that the components are all native to iOS and Android. The end-user won’t be able to distinguish between a native application and a React Native application. This is the most significant factor contributing to React Native’s popularity.

4. Learning curve

React Native-

If you are a React developer, then learning React Native is incredibly simple. The concepts are the same, and you code in React. The main difference is that React uses web components like <div>, <p>, while React Native uses components that are wrappers around native iOS and Android components like <View>. It shouldn’t require more time for a React developer to become a React Native developer. 

That being stated, what about beginners who don’t know React? Learning React Native means, you need to learn JavaScript and React. You also need to start thinking like a mobile developer, since you are going to build mobile applications and not web applications. The learning curve could be viewed as steep for someone with no React knowledge.

Ionic

We already observed that Ionic’s tech stack is flexible. You are going to use JavaScript, CSS, and HTML alongside your choice of web framework. It could be Angular, React, Knockout, Vue or some other modern web framework. This implies developers who adopt Ionic framework, are going to pick the framework that they are already comfortable in to develop applications. Henceforth, the learning curve here isn’t as much as React Native.

With Ionic, you are basically building web applications, that can become mobile applications. This hybrid approach is different in comparison to React Native’s native approach. This is simpler for developers to get a handle on.

Winner: Ionic

Ionic has a lesser degree of a learning curve in comparison with React Native. This is because Ionic allows you to pick a framework of your choice that you are comfortable in. It could be Angular, React, Vue or even plain JavaScript. Whereas with React Native, you need to code in React, and there is no flexibility with the tech stack. For a non-React developer, the learning curve is higher with React Native.

5. Performance-

If you genuinely need the best performance, your most logical option is to code native applications independently on iOS and Android. This is because native coding gives access to native features straightforwardly when you code. There is no layer of abstraction, and the direct interaction with native iOS and Android modules prompts enhanced performance. Both React Native and Ionic can’t coordinate the native performance. In any case, we should take a gander at which one is better.

React Native-

React Native is closer to native performance than Ionic. It is basically building native applications, using JavaScript. It has the look and feel of a native application and uses a similar building blocks that native applications use. The only difference is that it is cross-platform and uses JavaScript to wrap around these native building blocks. React Native provides great execution and responsiveness to your mobile applications.

Ionic-

Ionic is a hybrid approach. It doesn’t build native applications, and you could experience execution issues. There are many callbacks to the native code, which could cause lag. Ionic also requires the Cordova plugin, in case you need to access native features. Although Ionic is an incredible solution for building rich UI and faster development, it comes with some performance issues when compared with frameworks like React Native.

Winner: React Native-

Respond Native provides better performance than Ionic. The extra layer in Ionic, which includes Cordova plugins adds to the gradualness since it is building a WebView and not a native application. React Native wraps around native components, henceforth giving better performance.

6. Developer community-

While assessing a technology for your team, it is a smart thought to explore the community involvement for that technology. Let’s look at how React Native and Ionic compare with respect with the developer community and open-source contributions.

The GitHub stats is a good indication of community involvement for both the frameworks. React Native has about 78k stars with more than 1900 supporters of the system. This demonstrates it is tremendously popular in the community.

Ionic has about 38k stars with just around 330 contributors to the framework. This is less than one-fifth the contributors when compared with React Native.

Winner: React Native-

React Native has a substantially more active and engaged developer community when compared with Ionic. This could be owing to the reason that, it builds native mobile applications and not web applications. And also the way that it utilizes React to build them.

Conclusion-

On the basis of these points you can compare React native and Ionic. There can be few points too. Selecting the best one in crucial act as it leads to the success of a project. Go through these points to choose the best one for your development.

If you are still confused, consult with Solace experts team for better solution. Solace experts are here to help you for selecting the right one between React Native and ionic. They are well proficient in new technologies and trends. We will be happy to help you.