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What is the Difference between React and React Native?

What is the Difference between React and React Native?

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 differences between React vs React Native 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.

Features of React

React has various features that make it easier for developers to build complex applications. Here are some of React’s most essential parts:

  • Virtual DOM: React uses a virtual DOM to optimize updates to the user interface. As mentioned, it helps improve React applications’ performance by reducing the number of DOM manipulation operations needed.
  • JSX: JSX is a syntax extension that allows developers to write HTML-like code in their JavaScript files. This can make it easier to create complex user interfaces. In fact, it allows developers to use the full power of JavaScript while still writing code that looks familiar to HTML developers.
  • Reusable Components: One of the best things about React is that it lets you make components to use more than once. Developers can write code used in multiple places within an application. This can help to make code more modular and easier to maintain.
  • Server-side Rendering: React renders components on the server side as well as the client side. This speeds up applications that have to render much data on the server side. It can make applications that run both on the server and the client.
react vs react native

Benefits of Using React

There are several benefits to using React for building user interfaces. Here are some of the key benefits of using React:

  1. Improved Performance: One of the main benefits of React is its ability to efficiently update the user interface. By using a virtual DOM to calculate the minimal set of changes that need to be made to the actual DOM, React can significantly improve the performance of an application.
  2. Server-side Rendering: React can be used to render components on the server side as well as the client side, which can help improve the performance of applications that need to render large amounts of data on the server side or for creating isomorphic applications that can run on both the server and the client.
  3. Strong Community: React has a large and active community of developers, which means there is a wealth of knowledge and resources available to help developers learn and work with React.

React is a powerful and popular tool for building user interfaces. Its range of benefits makes it well-suited for various applications.

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.

react vs react native

Features of React Native

  • One of the key features of React Native is its ability to build applications that feel and look native to each platform. This is achieved through platform-specific components, which allow developers to build UI elements consistent with the native look and feel of each platform.
  • Another notable feature of React Native is its use of a virtual DOM (Document Object Model). This allows the framework to optimize updates to the UI by only rendering the parts of the UI that have changed rather than rendering the entire UI from scratch each time an update is made. This results in faster and smoother updates to the UI, which is particularly useful for applications with complex or frequently updating UI.
  • React Native also includes a powerful debugging tool called “React Native Debugger”, which allows developers to quickly inspect and debug their code in real-time. This tool includes a built-in JavaScript debugger and a live reload feature that allows developers to see changes to their code immediately in the app.
  • One of the most useful features of React Native is its ability to build cross-platform applications. This means developers can use a single codebase to build and deploy their app on Android and iOS platforms, saving time and resources.

Benefits of Using React Native

React Native enables developers to create natively rendered apps for both Android and iOS using a single codebase and JavaScript. Here are some advantages of using React Native:

  1. Improved performance: React Native uses native components, which means it accesses the device’s native UI elements and renders them in the app. This results in a more fluid and responsive user experience than web view-based frameworks like Cordova or Ionic.
  2. Shared codebase: As mentioned above, React Native allows developers to write a single codebase that can be shared between Android and iOS apps. This saves time and effort and ensures both app versions have the same features and functionality.
  3. Strong community: React Native has a large and active community of developers, which means numerous resources are available to help you learn and troubleshoot issues. Many third-party libraries and plugins are also available to extend your app’s functionality.
  4. Easy to learn: If you’re familiar with JavaScript and web development, learning React Native is relatively straightforward. Its syntax and concepts resemble React, a popular JavaScript library for building web applications.
  5. Future-proof: As mobile devices become more powerful and capable, the demand for high-performance apps will only increase. By using React Native, you can build apps optimized for today’s devices and ready for future demands.

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

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 vs 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!

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