Talk to us
Talk to us

React and React Native: What’s the Difference?

React and React Native: What’s the Difference?

In the dynamic world of application development, React and React Native stand out as key players in web and mobile platforms, respectively. Developed by Facebook, these technologies, while related, serve distinct purposes and environments. Understanding the React vs React Native comparison is essential for developers looking to leverage the right tool for their project needs, whether for creating interactive web interfaces or building native mobile applications.

What is React?

React is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces, particularly for single-page and mobile applications. It allows developers to create reusable UI components and uses a virtual DOM to optimize updates and minimize DOM manipulation. Additionally, it includes JSX, a syntax extension that allows developers to write HTML-like code in their JavaScript files. React is widely used and highly popular among developers due to its efficiency and flexibility.

React was first released in 2013 and has become one of the most popular JavaScript libraries for building user interfaces. Facebook has developed it and is used by many major companies. Among them Netflix, Airbnb, and Dropbox.

One of the main benefits of React is its ability to efficiently update the user interface. React uses a virtual DOM to determine the minimal changes needed when a component’s state changes. This means React can make targeted updates to specific user interface parts rather than the entire DOM tree. This can significantly improve the performance of an application.

What is React Native?

React Native is a framework that allows developers to build native mobile applications using React. It allows developers to write code that can run on both iOS and Android platforms. It provides a set of components designed to work with native UI elements.

React Native uses the same design principles as React, meaning developers can build reusable UI components that can be shared between different platforms. Developers can easily build cross-platform mobile applications by writing a single codebase that can be used on iOS and Android.

One of the key benefits of React Native is its performance. Because React Native applications are compiled to native code, they can run natively on mobile devices, which means they can be as fast and responsive as native applications built using platforms like Swift or Java.

Overall, React Native is a powerful tool for building cross-platform mobile applications and is widely used by developers worldwide. It allows developers to build applications that have the performance and feel of native applications while still using a single codebase that can be shared across multiple platforms.

ReactJS vs React Native: How Do They Work?

React Native and ReactJS are both popular frameworks developed by Facebook, designed for building user interfaces, but they cater to different platforms and have distinct operational approaches.

ReactJS is a JavaScript library used for building dynamic and interactive user interfaces for web applications. Here’s a simple ReactJS component:

import React, { useState } from 'react';

function Counter() {
const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

return (
<h1>Counter: {count}</h1>
<button onClick={() => setCount(count + 1)}>

ReactJS operates on a virtual DOM to optimize updates by re-rendering only the components that have changed, leading to high performance in web browsers.

React Native extends React, allowing developers to build native mobile applications for iOS and Android. Here’s a React Native example:

import React, { useState } from 'react';
import { View, Text, Button, StyleSheet } from 'react-native';

const Counter = () => {
const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

return (
<View style={styles.container}>
<Text style={styles.counterText}>Counter: {count}</Text>
onPress={() => setCount(count + 1)}

const styles = StyleSheet.create({
container: {
flex: 1,
justifyContent: 'center',
alignItems: 'center',
counterText: {
fontSize: 20,
marginBottom: 20,

While both use JSX and a similar design philosophy, ReactJS is for dynamic web applications and React Native for cross-platform mobile apps with a native feel.

Difference between ReactJS and React Native

React.js and React Native are related but distinct technologies used for building user interfaces, each catering to different platforms and use cases:

React is a JavaScript library for building web-based user interfaces. Facebook launched it in 2013 and has since become one of the most popular libraries for building web-based user interfaces. React is based on a concept called “reactive programming,” meaning the UI is automatically updated whenever the underlying data changes. This makes building interactive and dynamic applications accessible, and it’s why React is so popular for building modern web apps.

React Native, on the other hand, is a JavaScript-based framework for developing native mobile apps. It was created by Facebook in 2015 and allows developers to create native iOS and Android apps using the same codebase. React Native uses the same concepts as React but renders native user interface components instead of web-based ones. This means that apps built with React Native have a more native feel and can often perform better than those built with other frameworks.

FeatureReact.jsReact Native
PlatformWebMobile (iOS and Android)
Primary UseBuilding dynamic and interactive user interfaces for web applications.Building native mobile apps using JavaScript and React.
Execution EnvironmentWeb browsersNative mobile platform
Development OutputWeb applicationsNative mobile applications
Codebase ReusabilityPrimarily for web developmentCan share codebase between iOS and Android apps
Core TechnologyReact (JavaScript library)React (Framework for native mobile app development)
UI ComponentsRenders using HTML elementsCompiles to native app components
PerformanceRuns in the browser, performance dependent on web technologiesDirect access to native platform capabilities, high-performance
Community and EcosystemLarge, active community with extensive libraries and toolsShares the React community, with mobile-specific libraries and tools

The Advantages: React Native vs. ReactJS

React Native and ReactJS are both powerful frameworks from Facebook, designed to simplify the development of user interfaces but aimed at different platforms. Here’s a look at the advantages of each:

ReactJS Advantages:

  1. High Performance: ReactJS enhances performance through its virtual DOM, where it updates subcomponents without reloading the entire view. This leads to faster and more efficient web app performance.
  2. Reusable Components: ReactJS promotes reusability with components that can be used across different parts of the application, improving development speed and reducing the likelihood of bugs.
  3. Strong Ecosystem: With a vast ecosystem, ReactJS offers a wide variety of libraries and tools, such as Redux for state management and Next.js for server-side rendering, making development quicker and more robust.
  4. SEO-Friendly: Unlike many JavaScript single-page app frameworks, ReactJS can be rendered on the server side, which helps improve the SEO of web apps by allowing them to be indexed better by search engines.
  5. Strong Community Support: Being one of the most popular JavaScript libraries, ReactJS has robust community support, with plenty of resources, tutorials, and third-party plugins available to help solve almost any problem you might encounter.

React Native Advantages:

  1. Cross-Platform Development: React Native allows developers to use the same codebase for developing both iOS and Android apps. This significantly reduces the time and cost associated with building mobile apps compared to native development.
  2. Near-Native Performance: React Native converts components into native equivalents, providing a user experience that closely mimics native apps, unlike other frameworks that use web views for rendering.
  3. Instant Live Updates: With features like live reloading and hot reloading, React Native enhances the development experience by allowing developers to immediately see the result of the latest changes without needing to recompile the mobile app.
  4. Access to Native Capabilities: React Native can integrate with native modules, giving it access to the full spectrum of device functionality and performance that can be critical for certain types of mobile apps.
  5. Vibrant Ecosystem and Community: React Native benefits from a strong ecosystem with libraries, tools, and frameworks that support mobile development. Its community provides a wealth of knowledge and third-party solutions to common issues.

The Disadvantages: ReactJS vs React Native

While React Native and ReactJS are powerful frameworks, each has its own set of challenges and limitations. Understanding these can help developers make informed decisions about which framework suits their needs.

ReactJS Disadvantages:

  1. Learning Curve: ReactJS has a steep learning curve, especially for beginners. Understanding concepts like JSX, component lifecycle, and state management can be challenging at first.
  2. Rapid Pace of Development: The React ecosystem evolves quickly, which means developers need to continuously learn and adapt to new ways of doing things, which can be overwhelming.
  3. JSX as a Barrier: JSX combines HTML and JavaScript, which some developers find confusing and hard to understand, especially those accustomed to more traditional separation of concerns.
  4. SEO Challenges: While server-side rendering can help, single-page applications (SPAs) in ReactJS can still face SEO hurdles compared to multi-page applications, as search engines may not effectively index dynamic content.
  5. Boilerplate Code: To achieve high functionality, ReactJS applications can require writing more boilerplate code compared to other frameworks, which can slow down development.

React Native Disadvantages:

  1. Performance Overheads: While React Native performance is generally close to native, complex animations and transitions can still lag behind pure native apps, especially on older devices or lower-end smartphones.
  2. Native Knowledge Required: Sometimes, to optimize an app or add certain features, developers need to understand native iOS and Android development, which contradicts the initial promise of using a single technology stack.
  3. Debugging Issues: Debugging a React Native app can be more complex compared to a native app because you may need to debug through multiple layers of code, including JavaScript and native code.
  4. Fewer Native Libraries: While growing, the number of native libraries available for React Native is fewer than those available for native development, which can limit functionality or increase the time to implement certain features.
  5. Longer Build and Update Cycles: React Native’s reliance on bridging can lead to longer build times and slower updates in response to OS-level changes compared to native apps.

React vs React Native: Which One to Choose?

When deciding between React.js and React Native, consider the platform you are targeting, the user experience you aim to provide, and the specific capabilities you need from the device. React.js is ideal for developing high-performance, accessible web applications, while React Native is suited for creating native mobile apps that leverage device capabilities and offer a seamless user experience.

CriteriaReact.jsReact Native
Project TypeWeb applicationsMobile applications (iOS and Android)
Development FocusCreating dynamic, responsive user interfaces for websites and web applications.Developing native mobile apps with a single JavaScript codebase.
Performance NeedsHigh performance in web browsers, leveraging web technologies.High performance on mobile devices, accessing native APIs and hardware capabilities.
Target AudienceSlower than the web due to the compilation for different platforms, but allows the sharing of a significant portion of the code between iOS and Android.Users who download and use apps on mobile devices.
Development SpeedSlower than the web due to the compilation for different platforms, but allows the sharing a significant portion of the code between iOS and Android.Rapid development and deployment to the web with immediate accessibility via browsers.
UI/UX RequirementsFlexible, responsive designs that adapt to various browser sizes and devices.Native look and feel, adhering to platform-specific design guidelines.
Access to Native FeaturesLimited access, usually requires third-party libraries or workarounds.Direct access to native functionalities like camera, GPS, etc.
Maintenance and UpdatesEasier to update and maintain through web standards.Requires updates through app stores, but shared codebase can simplify maintenance.

Select ZEGOCLOUD API with React and React Native

React and React Native are popular JavaScript libraries for building user interfaces, and the ZEGOCLOUD API offers tools for integrating real-time communication functionality into React and React Native applications.

The SDK is available on various platforms, including web, iOS, and Android, and can be easily integrated into popular frameworks like React and React Native. With the ZEGOCLOUD SDK, adding sophisticated real-time audio and video functionality to your app has never been easier.


  • Ease of use. With a simple API and clear documentation, developers can quickly and easily add real-time communication features to their React or React Native app. This includes audio and video calling, in-app messaging, and data transfer features.
  • Scalability. The API is built to handle large volumes of traffic, making it suitable for use in high-traffic apps or for hosting live events. This is particularly useful for React and React Native developers building apps for large audiences or for use in mission-critical scenarios.
  • Customization. Developers can use the API to build communication features that fit their app’s specific needs and branding. This includes options for customizing the user interface and integrating it with other services and platforms.

Pricing: Begins at $0.99 per 1000 minutes. A free trial is available as well.


React vs React Native, while they share some similarities, have different capabilities and are used in different contexts. Understanding the differences between React JS and React native can help you choose the right tool for your project and achieve your development goals.

Integrate real-time audio and video into your app with ZEGOCLOUD and either React or React Native. Sign up for free now!

zegocloud sdk

Read More:


Q1: Can React and React Native share the same codebase?

While both use similar design principles, they cannot share a complete codebase due to platform-specific differences. However, some logic and architecture can be shared, but the rendering components and styles will differ as React uses HTML/CSS and React Native uses native components.

Q2: Which is easier to learn, React or React Native

ReactJS is generally considered easier to learn if you have a background in web development since it deals primarily with web technologies like HTML and CSS. React Native requires additional understanding of mobile-specific elements and, occasionally, native coding for iOS and Android, making it slightly more complex.

Q3: Should I choose React or React Native for my project?

The choice depends on your project requirements: choose React if you are developing a web application and prefer a rich ecosystem with robust web-specific functionalities. Opt for React Native if your goal is to develop a cross-platform mobile application that combines the flexibility of web app development with the performance and look of a native app.

Let’s Build APP Together

Start building with real-time video, voice & chat SDK for apps today!

Talk to us

Take your apps to the next level with our voice, video and chat APIs

Free Trial
  • 10,000 minutes for free
  • 4,000+ corporate clients
  • 3 Billion daily call minutes

Stay updated with us by signing up for our newsletter!

Don't miss out on important news and updates from ZEGOCLOUD!

* You may unsubscribe at any time using the unsubscribe link in the digest email. See our privacy policy for more information.