ReactJS and React Native – Important Pros and the Cons

React Native and ReactJS are the latest technologies for mobile and web development presented by Facebook. This project was started by a Facebook software engineer, Jordan Walke, in 2011. To develop a more convenient user experience and simplify the entire development process, he decided to build a library that would support developing a web interface with JavaScript.

Although React Native and React JS have the same parents, even related names, and a common technology backbone. However, they have some differences too. So, to understand both of these frameworks and their pros and cons, we first need to have basic knowledge about both these frameworks.

Pros and the Cons of ReactJS and React Native infographic

What is React JS?

ReactJS is a JavaScript library that merges the speed of JavaScript and utilizes a new way of rendering webpages, making them exceptionally dynamic, powerful, and responsive to user input. This product significantly modified the Facebook approach to development. When this library was released, it instantly became popular because of its revolutionary approach to programming user interfaces initiating the long-going competition between Angular (another modern web development tool) and React. This library has become a widely used JavaScript tool.

ReactJS – Pros 

1) Virtual DOM

When talking about React JS, Virtual DOM is the primary thing that will come into your mind, it makes the user experience better and developers can work faster. DOM is the logical hierarchical structure of a web documents in XHTML, HTML, or XML formats. It is a viewing agreement in a tree form, on data inputs and outputs. As new web apps are pretty complex, and updating DOM in a “regular” way may create a lack of performance. So, a copy of real DOM i.e. Virtual DOM is used for updating the small parts of a web app without changing other parts of the UI.

2) Support to Reuse React Components Saves Time

Another benefit that Facebook included with React is the capability to reuse code components of a distinct level anytime, this is a significant time-saving effect. Managing updates becomes easy for developers as all React components are separated and change in one doesn’t influence others. This allows reusing components that do not cause changes in themselves to get programming more accurate, comfortable, and ergonomic for developers.

3) ReactJS is Constantly Evolving and Open to the Community

Creators continuously add new and latest features plus execute cutting-edge innovations to this JavaScript library. This ReactJS was the first JavaScript-connected project released by Facebook as open-source. That indicates that ReactJS utilizes all benefits of free access – a lot of additional tools and useful applications from off-company developers.

Hence, if you are scared to practice obsolete technologies during project development, you can avoid such a situation by relying on ReactJS. As it allows you to assure that the functionality of your online application completely corresponds to the most modern trends.

4) Stable Code with One-Direction Data Flow in ReactJS 

React supports direct work with components and utilizes downward data binding to assure that adjustments in child structures don’t influence their parents. This makes the code stable. Rather than using explicit data binding, ReactJS employs one direction – downward – data flow, where child elements cannot change parent data. To modify an object, developers need to change its state and implement updates. Correspondingly, only the allowed components get updated.

 5) Great Ecosystem

Great Ecosystem is another feature of ReactJS. If you check the collection of React components, you’ll notice that there are plenty of ready-to-use components that cover the requirements of nearly any type of project. So, the developers can pick a JavaScript component that has the needed functionality and modifies it to the requirements of a particular project during the development rather than developing the entire thing from scratch.

ReactJS – Cons

1) Speed of Development

The environment is constantly changing, and developers must constantly relearn innovative ways of executing things. Everything is growing, and it becomes uncomfortable for some developers to keep up with such a pace. At the same time, we also understand that React’s core API has grown to be more stable and rarely changeable. Modifications now often relate to library updates, appending new improvements and enhancement features.

2) Poor Documentation

The trouble with documentation tracks backward to continuous releases of new tools. Several new libraries such as Reflux and Redux are ensuring to expedite the work of a library or upgrade the whole React ecosystem. As a result, developers struggle while integrating these tools with ReactJS. Some members of the community think that React technologies are updating and accelerating so fast that there is no time to write proper instruction.

So, this poor documentation is another outcome of the past issue which is common for continually updating technologies that create some development issues. To resolve this, developers write their instructions for particular tools used in current projects.

3) React Uses JSX

React utilizes JSX, some kind of HTML mixed with JavaScript to provides some development benefits. For example, it allows protecting the source code from injections. On the other hand, as per the opinion of some developers, JSX can become a barrier and they complain about JSX’s complexity, saying that it is a serious disadvantage as it looks like old spaghetti code, particularly for new developers.

4) SEO Hassle

There have always been concerns that Google and other search engines cannot index or badly index dynamic web pages with client-side rendering. These affairs have not been completely proven and there are exposing materials throughout. Google itself confirmed in 2014 that their crawlers can read dynamic content. Therefore, we are not going to state that the ReactJS app won’t be indexed by Google. But, you still have to execute some testing to assure that your app makes a companion out of Google as there were challenges and problems described by some users.

What is React Native?

Two years after the 2015 release of ReactJS, Facebook designed React Native. ReactJS library was created for building web interfaces, while React Native is a hybrid app-development framework for Android and iOS that enables you to reuse up to 95 percent of code while leaving the remaining one for designing platform-specific interfaces. With React Native, all defined features of ReactJS can be utilized for the development of mobile applications. React Native acquires all the major advantages of ReactJS like the reusable components.

React Native – Pros

1) React Native Uses JavaScript, Which a Fast and Popular Programming Language

JavaScript prevails as one of the quickest and widely-used programming languages. The maturity of the JS community provides professionals to instantly learn the language and regularly improve working with it. Therefore, you should be able to immediately discover a React Native developer for your project.

Additionally, React Native leverages and merges the main benefits of ReactJS and JavaScript. Designers can now work faster and more efficiently as they don’t need to restart a developed app after every update to view changes; they can easily refresh the viewing page.

2) Improved Performance with Native Modules and Native Controls in React Native 

Unlike other cross-platform frameworks such as PhoneGap, which renders code through WebView, a mobile engine, but React Native renders code components with native APIs. React provides a set of native modules written in Java and Objective-C.

Since the WebView method considerably decreases performance, React Native communicates with targeted components for Android or iOS and renders code to native APIs directly and independently. Accomplishing that, React Native utilizes a separate thread from UI, which also improves the performance score.  

3) In-built Debugging 

React Native is officially debugged by default. The latest 0.62 version of React Native added built-in support for Flipper, mobile apps debugging tool for developers, popular in both iOS and Android communities. React Native now has default Flipper support with its latest release, for React Native apps.

This Flipper tool has several options to work with. Flipper presents a marketplace that draws plugins from NPM, which allows developers to publish and install custom plugins as per their particular workflows.

4) React Native Includes all ReactJS features, Aimed at Enhancing UI

React Native utilizes ReactJS as its JavaScript library, therefore it has all its benefits. So, developers don’t need to understand the language of the native platform to build a React Native app across platforms. They must be familiar with the React syntax and just be skilled in JavaScript. As explained, they can quickly add native components to code as well.

5) Developers Don’t Require to Learn the Language of the Native Platform

JavaScript developers can use the same language for designing mobile applications, with React Native Therefore, developers don’t have to learn the language of this native platform. Also, React Native has a feature of a downward data flow which enables core components to be altered without affecting child elements. Such a method makes the development process smooth and positively impacts the user experience.

React Native – Cons

1) Poor Documentation

Poor documentation as stated earlier when we discussed ReactJS. Unluckily, as React Native utilizes this library, it acquires this disadvantage and produces the same development issues, especially while integration with additional tools.

2) Native Modules

Native modules bring adaptability to the framework by filling the lacking performance links. If you require to manage computationally large operations, you can add native modules and get a native feel from your app. But, to some degree, it could deny the point of cross-platform development as you still require some native engineers like Java, Objective-C, or both.

3) Third-Party Components

React Native has several native modules for Android and iOS, but the number of third-party components is still insufficient. And we cannot be sure that community-built modules will be supported by the next releases of this framework. React Native doesn’t offer a broad spectrum of possible features which remains a disadvantage, that developers may want to implement in their apps.

4) Lagging SDK Updates

React Native does not work well when iOS or Android updates their SDKs. A code library is integrated with the latest software by React Native’s team. They work pretty fast, still, they cannot at once update every part of the APIs. That’s why the complete synchronization between new SDKs and React Native usually takes longer. 


Final Verdict

Like any other JavaScript tool, React Native and ReactJS have their week sides, so you have to consider the benefits and drawbacks before relying on any of these JavaScript technologies. If you are not from a technical background, you can go through some case studies. This can help you to determine what kind of apps developers can produce using these libraries and which one is suitable for your business.

ReactJS and React Native have been verified to be effective for designing interactive UIs. This is the reason why they are widely used by a broad range of popular websites. There are various pros of ReactJS and React Native that you can get benefited from, as well as a few cons you need to keep in mind while building a web application to expand your business.