With web and mobile apps now critical for most businesses, choosing the right frameworks for UI development has become crucial. ReactJS and React Native have quickly emerged as two leading options.
ReactJS offers a lightweight yet powerful way to create an interactive UI that feels snappy and responsive when building a web application. For mobile development, React Native brings the convenience of React while still providing the performance and native look-and-feel mobile users expect.
ReactJS is explicitly designed for building user interfaces for web applications and websites. It renders using HTML and browser APIs and is optimized for cross-browser compatibility. React Native, on the other hand, builds native mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms using native components and APIs.
For UI components, ReactJS defines HTML-like component interfaces, while React Native components directly compile to fully native UI elements like View and Text. This results in UIs that feel ideally native on each mobile OS.
A critical architectural difference is that ReactJS uses a virtual DOM model for efficient updates and minimal re-rendering. React Native skips the virtual DOM and interacts directly with platform rendering APIs for maximum performance.
Due to the typical React architecture, React Native enables even greater code reuse across iOS, Android and the web than ReactJS. Over 90 percent of code can be shared between platforms.
Performance and Capabilities
Regarding performance, React Native can offer a more native user experience on mobile with smoother animations and faster load times. However, ReactJS provides excellent speed and interactivity for complex web apps.
React Native provides direct access to mobile hardware and OS capabilities like the camera, geolocation and local storage through built-in bridges to the native platforms. This allows React Native apps to provide a truly native experience. ReactJS does not have direct access to these device APIs and requires web APIs as middleware.