Pros and Cons of ReactJS and React Native - XB Software

The Price of Popularity. Strong and Weak Sides of ReactJS and React Native

| |Reading time: 7 minutes

According to the yearly survey made by StackOverflow, ReactJS takes third place among the most popular JavaScript libraries and development tools. Also, React is the JavaScript framework that developers most want to work with if they do not already. Such recognition among professionals makes this technology a pretty decent choice for building web apps.

React_survey

Source: stackoverflow.com

Unfortunately, like any other JavaScript tool, React has its weak sides as well. In this article, we’ll outline the main pros and cons of the ReactJS and React Native technologies to help you understand if react.js development is worthy of your attention.

ReactJS. High Performance for Which You Have to Pay

The creators of ReactJS library have implemented a new way of rendering web pages. As a result, you can get a dynamic and responsive online application with great user experience. After its first release back in 2013, this JavaScript library has become one of the most popular and widely used JavaScript tools. Let’s consider the main reasons for such a state of affairs.

Pros and cons react js and react native

The Main Advantages of ReactJS

Probably, Virtual DOM is the first thing that will come into your mind if you have previously studied the features of this JavaScript library. If not, we’ll briefly explain how it works. DOM contains the description of the hierarchical structure of a web document. Since modern web apps are pretty complex, updating DOM in a “traditional” way may cause lack of performance. The Virtual DOM is a copy of a real DOM that can be used for updating the small parts of a web app without affecting other parts of the UI. As a result, updates are performed very quickly, and developers can create complex applications that work without any lags.

The ability to reuse code written with ReactJS can save tons of time and speed-up the development process. During the work on the project, developers can create isolated ReactJS components that can be changed without affecting the other parts of the app. Such an approach allows making the development process more precise and ergonomic.

Single page applications have become a pretty hot topic during the last years. Instead of loading new pages from the server, such apps dynamically change the represented content during the interaction with a user. SPA’s works fast since the most significant part of resources, such as HTML, CSS, and scripts are loaded only once. After that, the app receives and transmits only the data. Therefore, SPA’s are some kind of JavaScript applications that work in a browser, and search bots can face some issues with indexing such pages properly. The use of isomorphic JavaScript in web development is a feature of React that, among other things, allows solving some SEO issues for SPA’s. A React-based site can automatically detect if JavaScript is running on the client and choose the way of representing content that won’t cause any troubles with SEO.

ReactJS is constantly evolving. Creators continuously add new features and implement cutting-edge features to this JavaScript library. Therefore, if you are afraid to use obsolete technologies during the project development, you can avoid such a situation by relying on ReactJS. It will allow you to ensure that the functionality of your online application fully corresponds to the latest trends. As an example, we can consider the Fiber Architecture that was implemented in React v.16.0. This new feature allows implementing new rendering logic which, in its turn, helps to enable a better approximation of the principles of animation.

Another feature of ReactJS is its great ecosystem. If you check this collection of React components, you’ll see that there are dozens of ready-to-use components covering the needs of almost any type of project. So, a developer can choose a JavaScript component that has the required functionality and adapts it to the needs of a particular project during the development instead of developing the whole thing from scratch.

The Main Disadvantages of ReactJS

We already mentioned the high pace of development as one of the React’s advantages. Unfortunately, this medal has two sides. Since the environment changes so fast, it may be hard for some developers to adapt to all these changes and feel comfortable with all the continuous updates.

Poor documentation is another consequence of the previous issue which is common for constantly updating technologies that can cause some development issues. The integrating new features can become a headache for some JavaScript developers. Another circle of hell is the creation of documentation and instructions for this new functionality. To make the situation less harmless, some JavaScript developers write their own instructions for particular tools used in projects.

React uses JSX, some kind of HTML with JavaScript mixed together. This approach to development provides some benefits. For example, it allows protecting the source code from injections. On the other hand,  according to the opinion of some developers, JSX can become a barrier, especially for new developers.

Use React Superpowers for Mobile Development with React Native

With React Native, all described features of ReactJS can be used for mobile applications development. If it’s not your first day on the Internet, most probably you’ve already used some apps built with React Native. Among the most popular of them such apps like Facebook (obviously), Instagram, Pinterest, Skype, Salesforce, and many others. React Native inherits all main advantages of ReactJS such as reusable components. Therefore, we won’t focus on them twice.

The Main Advantages of React Native

The use of native components of the application allows improving the performance of mobile apps. Let’s take a look at PhoneGap. This popular tool for cross-platform mobile app development uses WebView which results in low performance. But when you work with React Native, you can render components with native APIs directly. The use of a separate thread from UI also has a positive impact on the overall performance.

With React Native, JavaScript developers can use the same language for creating mobile applications. Thus, developers don’t have to learn the language of the native platform. Also, one of the features of React Native is a downward data flow which allows core components to be edited without influencing child elements. Such an approach makes the process of development smooth and positively impacts user experience. The apps made with React Native look and feel native.

The Main Disadvantages of React Native

Poor documentation was mentioned early when we talked about ReactJS. Unfortunately, since React Native uses this library, it inherits this disadvantage and brings the same development issues.

A limited number of third-party components. React Native provides a number of native modules from iOS and Android. But, unfortunately, there are not plenty of them. This JavaScript library can’t provide a broad spectrum of ready-to-use solutions that can be used in mobile applications development.

Sadly, JavaScript developers who work with React Native face instability and compatibility issues from time to time. Specialists usually mention such issues as problems with react-navigation, hot reloading failures, and others.

Conclusions

At the moment, ReactJS and React Native are too big to stay unnoticed. The attention of both JavaScript developers and business eager to extract all possible benefits from the use of this library, expose all its advantages and disadvantages. Like any other JavaScript tool, ReactJS and React Native have their week sides, so you have to weigh the pros and cons before relying on these JavaScript technologies. If you don’t have enough technical background and can’t decide if React is good enough for your business, you can review some react.js case studies. This info will help you to learn what kind of apps developers can build using this library and if it’s suitable for your company.

If you’re still in doubt and not sure fs a React-based app is a good choice for your business, you can always receive a free consultation from our specialists that will be glad to provide you with the most relevant information.

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Aleksandra Dikusar

XB Software content marketing manager. She is passionate about everything related to Marketing&Digital, always open for new, creative and crazy things.