Cordova vs. React Native | Secrets Unlocked

With the advancement of mobile technology, many changes are happening in the cross-platform app development sector. Cordova and React Native – both of them are cross-platform application development frameworks.

While both of them stand firm in their rights, comparisons are a part of the process. They have pros and cons to look into. We will discuss these two cross-platform app development frameworks and leave it to the audience to decide the better of the two. Reading this article you will learn:

  • Cordova | Overview, Pros, and Cons
  • React Native | Overview, Pros, and Cons
  • Cordova vs. React Native | Comparison Table
  • Conclusion

Ready to move on? Keep reading…

Cordova overview

Cordova is a cross-platform, open-source framework used for the creation of hybrid applications. Previously, Cordova was referred to as PhoneGap. It comes from tech server giants Apache. Cordova uses certain web technologies like JavaScript, CSS3, and HTML5 for developing hybrid applications. Several 3rd party plugins are available to work with the Cordova framework, thus helping immensely in developing feature-rich apps.   

Cordova Advantages

The major benefit of using Cordova is its simplicity in the coding structure. However, here is a list of advantages associated with this framework:

  • Easy to grasp

Cordova is not complicated. As already mentioned, the coding structure is simple, and Cordova is easy to learn. Also, this framework supports most of the browsers.

  • Can be used for developing powerful mobile apps

Using Cordova, it is possible to develop robust and high-quality mobile apps. The user experience will be top-rated, and apps featuring geo-location tagging, accelerometer, camera, compass, notifications, messages, etc., can be integrated during the development phase.

  • Cross-platform compatibility

Cordova is compatible with different platforms. It makes it easy enough to adapt to any platform without hampering the feel. Cordova is consistent with other JScript toolkits like DOJOX, JQuery, and Sencha.

  • Plugin architecture support

This is one of the major features of Apache Cordova. The plugin architecture model supported by Cordova provides developers the chance to implement the broadest range of functionalities to applications. The native features can be utilized, as well as, and cloud services can be accessed.

  • Affordable for startups

Cordova from Apache can be described as the perfect open-source platform for startups with a minimal budget. Yes, it is cost-effective, but there is hardly any compromise on the quality factor. Build once, use everywhere is what makes Cordova a highly cost-effective option.   

Cordova Disadvantages

  • Slow for hybrid apps

While cross-platform compatibility is a great advantage, on the one hand, it can act as a negative point for hybrid apps in regards to speed. Yes, the working of hybrid apps may be slightly on the slower side because of Cordova’s cross-compilation capability.

  • Compatibility issues 

Some of the plugins from different platforms may face compatibility issues with Cordova. 

  • Modification of plugins required

As mentioned in the above point, there can be some compatibility issues with specific plugins. However, to manage these plugins function correctly, they need to be modified accordingly. It will result in additional time involvement and effort.

React Native overview

React Native comes from the house of Facebook. It is another open-source framework used exclusively to create native mobile apps (cross-platform). React has an excellent design pattern that plays a significant way for developers concentrating on building apps in this framework. The auto conversion of components during complications makes the project development tasks a lot easier. React Native is relatively new to the industry, only five years into existence.

React Native Advantages

  • Simple and easy

React Native is easy for developers to work with. The simple interface and robust tools, and uncluttered error messages make React Native a great platform to work with.

  • Ever-changing preview

With React Native, you will not have to rebuild an app repeatedly to witness the changes. Instead, the preview section manages it effectively while you are modifying anything in the app. It helps in saving time and effort. The application can be refreshed using the “Command+R”.

  • Fast iteration cycles 

It helps in value addition to the entire application development process. 

  • Highly efficient debugging tools

The debugging tools used with React Native are extremely effective in reporting errors. So naturally, it offers developers to focus on the productivity factor. Flipper is used, by default, for debugging purposes.

  • Minimalistic approach

With Reach Native, you need not have to work with complicated apps. Things are kept minimal yet effective for app development purposes.

  • Large community

This platform comes with a big community, crowded with developers, testers, and coders to make things happen 365 days a year.  

  • Code reusability 

Nearly 90% of the code being used for an app can be reused to make it compatible with other platforms. This code reusability factor makes it a lot easier to develop apps while saving a big amount of money and time.

  • A vast number of open-sourced libraries

Since there are a vast number of open-sourced libraries available, accessing pre-developed components becomes easier. 

  • Live Reloading

This is an excellent feature of React Native. It allows the framework to compile as well as read the areas of the coding where changes are being made. Once done, the stimulator is offered a new file that starts to read from the entire thing from the beginning automatically.  

  • 3rd party plugin compatibility

React Native is compatible with different 3rd party plugins. The framework does not need any particular web views function or even high memory for processing of the tasks. The native modules are simply attached to the plugin through this React Native framework. The compatibility ensures fast loading and smooth running.   

React Disadvantages

  • Performance hit

Although the performance of React Native is entirely satisfactory, in some cases, lags have been noticed. React Native works with different languages. As long the work is done on JavaScript, performance hindrance is not observed. The problem happens when it works with Objective C, Swift, and Java.

To communicate with the JavaScript areas of the modules, certain bridges need to be created. Passing through the bridges may lower the performance of the app by a fractional margin. For an app with a high number of bridges, the performance may degrade noticeably.

  • Native developer

When it comes to managing Native modules, there can be situations when you may require professionals with expertise in Objective C, Java, and Swift. For companies with minimal budget allocation, affording such expert native developers may be a problem. 

  • Minimum 3rd party components

React Native is relatively new to the market, and the platform is smaller compared to iOS and Android. So, the community for React Native is also smaller, and therefore, not many 3rd party components are available to work with it.

  • Some lags in feature updates  

React Native, having a smaller community, is unable to introduce new features and functionalities frequently. Integrating fancy and useful features in a React Native app will require some effort to get it done, maybe through the construction of native bridges or waiting for some community members to create one.    

  • Heavily dependent on Facebook

This may be the biggest strength, as well as a significant weakness for React Native. If Facebook stops offering support to React Native, the entire platform will crash. This, in any case, seems to be unlikely since there are other competitors eager to grab React Native.

Cordova vs. React Native | Comparison Table

CordovaReact-Native
When to use?Webview, Web App, Plugins etc.Development team with prior familiarity with JavaScript
Parent OrganizationAdobeFacebook
Launch Date20092015
Cross-PlatformYesYes
PopularityLess PopularMore Popular
Popular use casesSpark Chess
Sworkit
Fan React
Walmart
Instagram
Uber Eats
Programming LanguageHTML5, CSS3, and JavaScriptJavaScript
EnvironmentFlexible IDEFlexible IDE
PerformanceNear-to-nativeNear-to-native
ComponentsUI frameworks, for example, Dojo Mobile, Sencha Touch, or jQuery Mobile.Buttons, Text Inputs, and less sophisticated components
Code ReuseYesYes
PricingFreeFree
Community SizeSmallLarge
SupportCommunityCommunity

Conclusion

Both Cordova and React Native are open-source platforms that cater to different needs and serve distinct purposes. Each of these frameworks comes with its share of pros and cons. Some very strong points support their presence; hence, it may well be difficult to pick a winner between the two.

Using React Native, your applications can be offered a perfect native look and a better feel. But, specific implementation procedures may take up a lot of time and money.

On the other hand, Cordova can be used to transform your already functioning single app into a perfectly stable mobile app with cross-platform support. However, the native feel may well be missing in certain platforms.

FAQ

What is Apache Cordova?

Cordova is a cross-platform, open-source framework used for the creation of hybrid applications. Previously, Cordova was referred to as PhoneGap.

What is React Native?

React Native comes from the house of Facebook. It is another open-source framework used exclusively to create native mobile apps (cross-platform).

What are the differences between Cordova and React Native?

– Cordova is owned by Adobe
– React Native is supported by Facebook
– Cordova is better for Webview, Web App, Plugins etc
– React Native is better for development teams with prior familiarity with JavaScript
– Cordova supports HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript
– React Native programming language is JavaScript


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