React native vs Kotlin: Which one to choose?

In the course of recent years, React Native has gotten a popular choice for Android and iOS application development. The cross-platform code sharing promise is the most tempting feature of this technology. Regardless of being a very popular choice, React Native isn’t a Holy Grail and has its limitations. There are companies which already decided to change their mobile tech stack radically and switch to platform-native development for their existing applications.

There is another solution available which aims to permit implementing scalable, multi platform projects and promises to eliminate React Native’s issues. Kotlin Multi Platform allows focusing on iOS, Android and  also backend, web frontend, and desktop platform simultaneously, allowing you to compile the shared codebase into platform specific executable code without any bridges.

Here we will thoroughly analyze the capabilities of the well- adopted and well developed React Native technology with the new trial Kotlin language  feature called Kotlin Multi Platform so as to discover what use cases each one of them is better suited for.

React Native-

Being already steady for a couple of years now React Native- a framework created by Facebook, is a popular choice for mobile applications development. It permits building mobile applications for Android and iOS in JavaScript. Respond Native let us make UI components in JS code which are then translated into the native platform-specific components. The big benefit of React Native is the huge community and great adoption in the mobile community. There are a lot of external libraries and custom, open source components available around. This makes it a helpful decision for rapid prototyping and quick MVPs. What’s the fundamental downside of this JavaScript-powered framework? Probably the JavaScript itself which restrictions make React Native projects fairly harder to scale and less flexible compared with different technologies.

Main features

  • UI code shared between iOS and Android
  • Powered by JavaScript
  • Live reload of the app’s UI

Pros of React Native-

1. Faster to build

The important point of React Native is shorter development time. So you could state React 1 and Kotlin 0. How is it faster? There are various ready-to-apply components that beat having to create such functionality from scratch BUT they are limited . Some solutions are missing in React Native, so you would be back to square one – building them without any preparation. So it fundamentally comes down to two things:

  1. If you locate your desired components in React Native, then you are all good for fast build.
  2. In the event that you don’t, it would mean equivalent to developing in Kotlin.

2. Same app quality-

This probably won’t mean anything to some of you, yet applications developed in React Native vs. applications developed in Kotlin feel the same. That is so because React Native renders using native components. So you get a similar look and feel of the application.

3. Shoot two platforms with one framework

The undeniable ace-  you get the chance to focus on various platforms with one Framework, basically iOS and Android. Not all features will be available in apt packages, you should be write your own versions for the ones missing, however you will have two applications with the effort for making one.

4. Hot reloading-

Perhaps the best thing about React Native – The hot reloading feature. You get a ‘LIVE’ feedback of whatever changes you make to the application, WHILE the application is running. That eliminates many pain points in having to work with UI. TEST AND SEE TEST AND SEE, That’s how it works and it works perfectly. Saves time in compilation, concentration and productivity.

5. Smaller teams

Native development requires two separate teams for Android and iOS. It can keep down communication between developers and, hence, slow down the development. If you choose React Native, you will at most need a good JavaScript developer who can write the code for both platforms. Clearly, applications with more native features will require help from native developers also. Not denying this reality, in many cases, the group will be smaller in size, and therefore, easier to manage. One developer can code for both iOS and Android. Reducing team size, expenses and for the most part decreasing the time it takes to develop. This is a major benefit  since there is no need to learn two distinct languages and platforms, it is sufficient to know just one.

6. A web-full taste-

The JavaScript edge at last pays off here. If you are ever thinking of transitioning to mobile development, React Native could make the move simpler. JavaScript is generally common in web development and React Native is a JavaScript Library. It will cause Mobile development to appear to be somewhat familiar and simple to adapt to.

Cons

  • Low security and memory management issues due to JavaScript based libraries
  • Bridged communication between JS code and native platform
  • Performance issues
  • Limited to iOS and Android platforms

Kotlin Multiplatform-

Since Kotlin began to be formally supported by Google as a language for Android applications it is continuously growing. Kotlin is getting extremely well known among developers because of its cleanness and development speed. It was even chosen as the second most preferred programming language in the Stack Overflow Developer Survey in 2018. Despite the fact that this new language itself is right now more popular among Android developers it can be used also on the backend and frontend sides. Additionally, it can be compiled and run natively on iOS, MacOS, Linux, Windows, WebAssembly, and even embedded systems like STM32.

Starting with Kotlin 1.2 JetBrains released an experimental language feature called Kotlin Multiplatform. Its promise is to write the business logic  components once and reuse on all platforms it can be compiled to including JVM, Android, JavaScript, iOS, Linux, Windows, Mac, and embedded systems. The greatest benefit over other multi platform solutions like React Native is that Kotlin code can flawlessly cooperate with other native components like UI layer or platform specific code. Besides, it’s possible to share the logic to a backend or whatever different applications you may have.

Kotlin Pros

1. Maintainability-

Kotlin is backed by a great organization which is responsible for creating some of the very best IDE tools brought to light. There is no possibility JetBrains will neglect to give tool support for Kotlin. As of now, Kotlin has support on different Development environments including Android Studio. So if you are choosing Kotlin, know you are choosing a potential giant that could be used over numerous tools and IDEs.

2. Less code-

Consider coding. It is simply writing and with any writing, one brilliant principle consistently applies: “The less you write, the less mistakes you make.” Kotlin code isn’t just concise however it has a clear codebase. That leaves less space for mistakes and more space for stable code in production. You need to write less number of lines of code to achieve a similar functionality.

3. Reliability

Kotlin is a well developed language which first appeared in 2011, it has experienced numerous testing stages before the final release. It is a programming language made by programmers and they took into account many issues with a developer’s point of view. One of which is they made the most recent release compatible with the previous versions too. Working on Android and managing various versions is one of the greatest pain points. So, Kotlin’s dependability is a gift.

Cons

  • Still in the experimental state
  • A limited amount of available libraries
  • Usually requires a bigger team of devs working together
  • Less suitable for fast MVPs and prototypes

What the future will look like?

React Native will in general lose its control in the mobile area which is most likely brought about by the most recent arrival of Flutter. The future of both is as yet unknown, in spite of the fact that it appears the hype for Flutter has just begun.

Is there a place for Kotlin Multiplatform then?

It appears to be so. It turns out it could be a great technology to be integrated into the mobile applications alongside Flutter. That is because Flutter allows separating the UI layer from the business logic effectively and Kotlin Multiplatform provides an especially good way of the business logic code sharing among numerous platforms.

You can also compare React native with Ionic at- React Native vs Ionic: Which one is best for you?

Final Words-

Choosing the best technology stack for development is crucial act as it leads your development to the success. Knowing the Pros and cons of a technology stack before development will be more beneficial. Here you have gone through React Native vs Kotlin. You can choose the best one for development as per your requirement.

If you are still confused to choose the best one between react native and Kotlin, Solace experts team is here to help you. Team is well proficient in new technology trends to give you the best solution which helps to achieve the success you deserves. Consult with solace team for effective development solution. We will be happy to help you.