React and React Native are arguably two of the most influential technologies ever built by Facebook, now Meta, in the sphere of web and mobile application development.

While these two are closely related both in terms of origin and by some principles purposes, capabilities, and implementations differ in hefty ways.

React will predominantly focus on dynamic web apps, and React Native on mobile applications in the space of iOS and Android. Knowing how these two frameworks differ and are similar will help a designer pick the right technology for his or her project.

The blog presented below attempts to break them down at the key points so you can know when to use React and where to turn your attention toward React Native in your development work.

A Comparison of React and React Native

React and React Native

Definition and Purpose of React

React Native is yet another brainchild by Facebook, released in 2015. Most of the philosophies it has are similar to those of React, except that it is almost solely for mobile app development.

Being developed by Facebook, it allows developers to use the same design as React and lets them compose a rich mobile UI from declarative components using JavaScript.

Unlike React, that outputs to a web platform, React Native targets mobile platforms such as iOS and Android. Core React Native purposes allow for a seamless, easy cross-platform mobile development experience.

Definition and Purpose of React Native

React Native, also developed by Facebook and released in 2015, shares many principles with React but is designed for building mobile applications.

It enables developers to use the same design as React, allowing them to compose a rich mobile UI from declarative components using JavaScript.

Unlike React, which outputs to web platforms, React Native targets mobile platforms like iOS and Android. The core purpose of React Native is to enable a smooth and easy cross-platform mobile development experience.

Key Differences Between React and React Native


The architecture of React and React Native differ primarily in their rendering targets. React uses a Virtual DOM that efficiently updates web browsers' DOM to render web interfaces.

On the other hand, React Native uses a bridge that communicates between the JavaScript code and the native platform, rendering native app components which allow apps to have a look and feel similar to native applications.

Platform Support

React is focused solely on web development. It’s used for creating interfaces in web applications. React Native, by contrast, supports iOS and Android mobile platforms.

Developers can write a single codebase and deploy it across multiple mobile platforms, reducing development time and maintaining consistency across various devices.


Performance is another critical area of difference. React applications run in a web browser, leveraging web technologies.

React Native apps, however, compile to native code, offering performance that is much closer to that of a native application than typical hybrid technologies.

Native components driven by manual optimization can significantly enhance user experience and fluidity in mobile apps developed with React Native.

This performance benefit is crucial in mobile environments, where responsiveness and speed are key to user satisfaction.

Use Cases for React

React vs React Native

Web Development

React is majorly used for building interactive user interfaces of websites and web applications. Its component-based architecture allows any developer to create reusable UI components, which can maintain their state.

This state management forms the basis of the effective update and rendering of web pages. Dynamic content handling makes React ideal for SPAs, where users can interact with a webpage without having to reload the entire site.

It is widely used at companies like Facebook, Instagram, and Airbnb to provide rich and engaging experiences on the web.

Features and Benefits

React consists of a few features that make the framework quite an attractive choice for the development of the web. These features include:

- JSX: React uses JSX, which is a syntax extension. It provides the ability to write HTML within JavaScript. This makes the code readable and enables easy debugging.

– Virtual DOM: React creates a virtual copy of the real DOM. These changes are then detected by the framework and updates made to the real DOM efficiently. This brings improved performance with a smoother user experience.

– One-way Data Binding: The one-way data flow in React ensures that any changes in the child components never affect the parent components. This makes the code more stable and predictable.

- Rich Ecosystem: React is supported by a huge number of libraries, tools, and extensions, so it infuses a great scope for resources and flexibility into the hands of the developer.

Use Cases for React Native

Mobile App Development

React Native is a framework for native mobile apps designed using JavaScript and React.

It allows any developer to build the same as is done while designing React, hence merging both development experiences on the web and mobile. React Native apps get compiled into native code; therefore, it runs way faster than hybrid apps.

Apps like Instagram, Facebook, and even Skype are built with the use of React Native and provide smooth, seamless mobile experiences without giving up on performance or UI.

Features and Benefits

React Native also comes with a large set of features that are as follows: 

Cross-platform development: This allows the sharing of a single codebase across Android and iOS, reducing development time while making sure consistency between platforms is properly preserved.

Native Components: In React Native, native components are implemented, controlled using JavaScript, which means apps feel like they are using native SDKs of corresponding platforms.

- Live Reloading: Realtime viewing of the latest changes; there is no need to recompile the app. This in turn accelerates development.

- Strong Community Support: As this is an open-source framework, rigorous support from communities is always available; one can always get a number of third-party plugins and libraries that definitely are going to support its power.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between React and React Native

Project Requirements

While choosing between React and React Native, one needs to understand the needs of the project. Basically, React is used in building high-performance and dynamic user interfaces for web applications.

It is good at building complex and responsive web applications. Features such as virtual DOM and server-side rendering make React a strong contender for content-rich applications that require flawless user interactions.

On the other hand, React Native is a framework that helps in developing cross-platform mobile apps; it offers one the possibility of having a single codebase for iOS and Android.

It strongly suits projects with requirements such as native-like performances with platform-specific interfaces and a unified JavaScript codebase.

This means that applications that need mobile-specific functionality, such as push notifications, camera, or location, or projects wherein it's important to develop speed across various mobile platforms, will find React Native useful.

Development Team Expertise

The skills and experience of your development team can also heavily influence the choice between React and React Native.

If your team has expertise in JavaScript and a strong background in web development, adopting React for building web applications is more straightforward.

Teams familiar with modern JavaScript capabilities find React intuitive for crafting rich interactive UIs.

Conversely, for teams that have experience with mobile development or those seeking to develop cross-platform mobile applications, React Native can be a more suitable option.

It leverages traditional web technologies like JavaScript alongside native platform capabilities, allowing developers to produce apps that feel truly native without the need to learn Swift or Kotlin separately.

Case Studies and Examples

Successful Projects using React

Several high-profile digital products owe their success to React. For example, Facebook, which developed React, uses it extensively in its web app, optimizing both performance and scalability.

Airbnb has also adopted React, harnessing its capabilities to render dynamic and complex web pages that handle millions of listings and user interactions smoothly.

These cases illustrate how React's robust ecosystem and scalability make it a top choice for large-scale, dynamic web projects.

Successful Projects using React Native

React Native has been deployed successfully in various commercial apps renowned for their smooth, native-like interfaces.

Instagram and Facebook have integrated React-native into their apps, enhancing user experience with faster app load times and seamless functionality across different platforms.

Uber Eats is another example where React Native has been used to overhaul the customer dining experience, providing an efficient mobile platform that integrates perfectly with various devices and operating systems.

These examples highlight React Native’s effectiveness in developing mobile applications that require a native look and feel coupled with cross-platform compatibility.

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The major difference is related to the requirements of the project and the target platform. React is best for dynamic and high-performance web apps that bake in with a rich ecosystem of libraries and tools web-oriented.

On the way, React Native will help those who need to build mobile applications with a near-native look and feel on both iOS and Android with one codebase.

Each framework has its advantages: high performance and SEO friendliness in React for web projects, and cross-platform and integration with native components in React Native for mobile applications.

Basically, a choice should be made based on the needs and goals of your project to make sure the technology will serve your development purposes and meet your audience's expectations.

Also Read - What is Cucumber Framework? (Benefits of Cucumber Testing)

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