Ionic vs React Native: Best Choice for Mobile App Development

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Ionic and React Native (RN) are the two frameworks on the basis of which it is possible to create unified software solutions for all mobile platforms. In this article, we will examine the opposition between Ionic vs React Native based on the key parameters for a developer. As a result of this analysis, you will understand which one will be the most optimal for development of your particular project and how to make the right choice.

Ionic vs React Native: key parameters comparison

So, let’s compare the key features of the Ionic vs React Native pair.

The type of application being created. To begin with, we will denote what is the main and the most fundamental difference between Ionic and RN. To this end, we recall that Ionic is about, first of all, hybrid development. Using it, you create a website with JS (using CSS and HTML) and then integrate it with a mobile application. In this case, the created software is displayed identically regardless of the platform you have selected. In addition, you can also bring into play a specific functionality of smartphones (for example, a camera, GPS sensors, a list of contacts, etc.), creating separate functions with the help of PhoneGap or Cordova. As for React Native, application development with this framework is also carried out with JavaScript, and this, again, demonstrates its compatibility with any selected mobile platform.

The difference from Ionic here lies in the fact that the visualization of the created functionality in the case with RN occurs through the native components built into it. Thus, everything a user sees in your application that was created with the help of RN will be displayed in a manner as close as possible to the native application for each individual mobile platform. In the vast majority of cases, exactly this approach to mobile software production gives higher performance and responsiveness in practice (in comparison with hybrid applications). In addition, during the last few months, RN has been replenished with some very promising tools which allow pushing the performance of applications created on its basis as close as possible to native ones (here we are talking about the algorithm React Fiber, released in the second half of 2017).

Code universality. What cannot be taken away from applications created in Ionic, is their universality. It does not matter on which platform you will run them – they will work equally well. It will be reasonable to note that, none the less, some elements of the UI are adapted to the rules dictated by a particular platform (for example, it may be the arrangement of buttons or page turning). In turn, React is about the maximum adaptability to the native view of the application rather than about the versatility of the frontend. That’s why developers dealing with RN have to adjust the individual components of the application to the chosen platform. For example, you can easily develop your own graphical control panel for the Android version. The iOS version, in its turn, requires you to create something else that will not contradict the concept of the operating system. That is to say, as a result, developers will need to spend much more time and put more effort into the creation of an application based on RN. On the other hand, this approach will be completely justified by the maximum proximity of the received software to any of the selected platforms.

react vs ionicProgramming languages being used. Ionic is based on one of the most popular and advanced MVC frameworks of today based on the AngularJS. This structure allows you to use the same data at different levels of application development, thereby making the process of teamwork easier. React Native is a framework based on the React library and it uses an XML-like JavaScript syntax. In contrast to Ionic, RN does not separate business data from their logical representation, which can somewhat complicate the development process when different departments of the same IT company interact. Therefore, if you have not previously had working experience with the React library, be prepared for the fact that at first, the teamwork on RN will not be easy for you. Moreover, the use of JSX moves the developers away from the rules that they used to be guided by when writing HTML code. Concerning the given criterion, in the pair of Ionic Framework vs React Native the former clearly wins because you will immediately get a very familiar and easy-to-use development environment (which, however, does not derogate from other advantages of RN).

Nuances of the debugging process. If you have created large-scale and multicomponent software projects at least once in your life, you certainly understand how annoying and tiresome the wait for the launch of the program during its debugging can be. Fortunately, you will not have to deal with this, neither in the case with Ionic nor with React Native. In the first case, the application will be updated on a real-time basis right in the browser and all the changes you have made can be evaluated instantly. In the case with React Native, you will get something more – when updating with Hot reload, you will not even lose the state of the application (that is, you will not have to perform all the operations to test the behavior of a certain function again).

right choice for mobile appInput threshold. It is very important for new IT companies to find a framework with a minimal input threshold. It enables you to spend minimum time on training and make the most out of your future projects. So, working with Ionic, you find yourself in the development framework that is almost completely identical to CSS frameworks. Even the smallest components of the application are already available in Ionic: starting from the standard forms and ending with windows for sliders loading. In turn, React Native gives you complete freedom of action. If you think that you know the best way to implement this or that component – please, create it! On the one hand, this is why RN seems largely inaccessible for beginners. On the other hand, you can come to the conclusion that RN is a set of incredibly advanced tools that, in the hands of an experienced and skilled developer, will help them create something extremely effective and “tailored” just to their specific purpose. As a result, our vote in comparing the React vs Ionic pair goes to the second framework.

Technical support and integration with external solutions. It doesn’t matter what you are going to work with – Ionic, which is greatly adapted for beginners, or React Native, known as more difficult to master. Anyway, you may have some questions and problems in the code composition. That’s why, before proceeding to develop software with this or that framework, you need to assess how great the Internet community is for each of them. Surely, you do not want to wait for weeks for an answer left on one and only forum of technical support? Of course, no. And, in this respect, neither in the first nor in the second case you will be disappointed. Both these development frameworks have several tens of thousands of stars on Github and have tremendous communities of Internet users. Therefore, regarding this comparison criterion in the opposition React Native vs Ionic, there are no winners.

solutions for app developmentSupported platforms. Both frameworks discussed in this article are compatible with the two most popular mobile platforms of today – Android and iOS. But that is not all. If you draw parallels in comparison of the almost identical pair Ionic 2 vs React Native, then it will not be inappropriate to note their compatibility with Windows Universal Platform (we note that in the case with RN you will need to install the special plug-in after all).

ionic vs react native


Ionic vs React Native: Summing Up So, which framework is it better to choose from the Ionic vs React Native pair?As you can see, it is very difficult to say what will be better exactly for you, because each of us has different experience and the style of programming. Nevertheless, we are absolutely sure that the above-stated analysis will definitely help you make the right choice before you try your hands at both these developmental frameworks.
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