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There is usually a widespread confusion on what are the difference between React.js and React Native, especially among novice developers.
The reason is, React and React Native share the same parents, even similar names, as well as a common technology backbone. But, that doesn’t mean that there are no differences. However, to understand them, we first need to have the basic knowledge about both the framework.
React.js was an initiative by the Facebook team from 2011, to create a dynamic UI which is highly responsive and has high performance. React Native was found 4 years later to address a cross-platform application that can code more efficiently and faster than native applications.
In simple words, React.js is for web development and React Native is for mobile application development. But, let’s take a detailed analysis.
Some important terms associated with React.js is states, props, functional programming, and component hierarchy.
There are different features for React.js. Some of them are,
Components − React is all about components. Everything inside a react is a component. The concept of components will help you code more easily when working on larger scale projects.
Unidirectional data flow and Flux − React is easier because it implements one-way data flow. Flux is a pattern that helps to keep your data unidirectional.
React Native has influenced the mobile development industry very much. Applications like Facebook, Instagram, Skype, etc was built using React Native. We can see the rich UI and smooth animation support of React Native in each of these apps.
Found and backed by Facebook, React Native has very large communities that provide support for this framework.
Coding with React Native is so simple. There are many UI libraries available today that has every component of React native libraries customized. Also, many code editors like the premium Visual Studio Code now supports React Native extension making it more code friendly.
The deployment of Android apps should be done via Android Studio and iOS via Xcode just as in case of native apps. Also, React Native gives us the freedom to code natively too. Facebook App is built on such a method.
When we start a new project in React Native, we will get a few developer tools from React without installing anything. With this, we can set up a basic project without struggling more. Hot Reloading is an option, which helps you to see small UI changes in our app. For bigger changes, there is a Live Reload option which reloads the entire application on saving.
React Native has an efficient library called Animated which provides smooth animations. It also provides LayoutAnimation which is now supported by iOS only. By applying it to a View you enable the touch handler on it. Touch handler can be enabled on React native by applying it to a view.
Another important feature of React Native is the Chrome dev tools, which inspects network request and display consoles and helps us to do debugging.
React.js and React Native are almost the same in every manner. React Native is built on React.js. Hence, developers can find more of React in React Native.
React Native gets all the advantages of React.js. React.js and React Native both follow the component-based architecture. Both of them use the same React components.
Both React.js and React Native uses Redux for common state management. Redux is a standalone library that can be used with any UI application. The official React binding library used to combine React or React Native with Redux is “React Redux”. React Redux helps React components read data from a Redux store, and dispatch actions to the store to update data.
The life cycle of React.js and React Native are the same. Life cycle methods are as follows:
Initialization is the phase where the developer has to define the initial states and props of the React component. This is generally done in the constructors.
Mounting is the phase where the initialization of the component is completed. The component is mounted on the DOM and rendered for the first time on the webpage. The two mounting methods of React are “componentWillMount()” and “componentDidMount()”.
Updation is a JS library that helps create Active web pages easily. Active web pages are those specific pages which behave according to its user. It reflects changes in the value of state or props according to the user's behavior. The main Updation methods are “componentWillReceiveProps()”,“componentWillUpdate()”,“componentDidUpdate()”, and “setState()”.
Unmounting is the phase of the lifecycle of the component where unmounting from component happens. “componentWillUnmount()” is the method used in Unmounting.
React Native consist of native libraries for creating mobile applications. React.js, on the other hand, is used for creating user-interface for large web applications.
React Native uses Native API for rendering components on mobile, while the browser code in react is rendered through virtual DOM.
React uses Stylesheets for building UI and do not use CSS. Meanwhile, React.js uses CSS components.
React Native has inbuilt features, and hence the result of React Native will be far better than React.js. Meanwhile, React.js web applications mainly rely on CSS.
React Native uses a third-party library for react-navigation whereas React.js uses React-Router for navigation.
React Native is compatible with all platforms (iOS, windows, android) and hence it requires some platform-specific codes for designs. But, React.js is a single piece of code that runs everywhere.
React Native does not require any third party library tools for its development process. But, React.js is not a framework. Therefore, it requires third-party library tools for the development process.
React Native doesn't use HTML.
React is best for building high performing, dynamic, responsive UI for web interfaces, while React Native is meant to give mobile apps a truly native feel. React.js is the soul of React Native.
React was developed to render web UI components more quickly and efficiently. Its popularity among industry leads a way to develop a highly user-friendly mobile framework. Hence, React Native was developed. Both of them met user expectations and is still growing with the flow.