Ionic vs. React Native | Secrets Unlocked

When it comes to app development, two of the popular choices are Ionic and React Native. Although both of these frameworks fall under the cross-platform ecosystem, there are significant differences between them. Be it React Native or Ionic; each comes with its own set of features, capabilities, and goals. Which one is better? Which one to consider for your project? We will try to define each of these individually and then highlight the pros and cons to develop a clear view.

Summary of the article below:

  • Ionic | Overview, pros, and cons
  • React Native | Overview, pros and cons
  • Ionic vs. React Native | Comparison Table

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between Ionic and React Native.

Ionic Overview

Ionic is an open-source framework that is used for developing progressive and native web and mobile applications. The latest Ionic framework has improved a lot over the earlier versions in regards to usability, features, and performance.

The most common languages used for writing the Ionic apps are JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. Using Ionic, you can expect an excellent feel and look of the app with a better functional user interface. When developing mobile apps, both dark and light themes are available from Ionic.

Ionic Advantages

  • Cross-platform

Ionic framework is cross platform-independent. It supports both iOS and Android. At the same time, it also has support for Universal Windows Platform if the need to develop apps for Windows 10 arises. The cross-platform feature of Ionic allows developers to take less time in building apps.

  • Performance

When working on hybrid apps, the Ionic framework usually collaborates with Cordova to produce higher performance. The use of CSS for transition purposes maximizes the processor time while leveraging the overall GPU performance.

  • Easily adaptable

The first thing that you will notice about Ionic is its adaptability. This open-source framework is easily adaptable. Understanding the Ionic framework will not become difficult for those who have sound knowledge of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Also, Ionic is best suited for those clients whose needs cater mostly towards hybrid app development.

  • Cordova Plugins

Cordova plugins work well with the Ionic framework. Integrating these plugins when developing an app using the ionic framework improves the app’s functional aspect, making it access features like Flashlight, GPS, email, camera, etc. Also, Ionic is best suited for those clients whose needs cater mostly towards hybrid app development.

  • User Interface

The user interface of Ionic is extremely user friendly. Every component and theme available can be customized. The UI is such that it makes the components adapt to different platforms accordingly.

  • Developed with AngularJS

This makes Ionic a strong framework to work with. Since Ionic is built on AngularJS, developers are privileged to enjoy several additional functionalities and a robust structure to manage the coding process a lot convincingly. It also allows developers to work on hybrid apps with confidence.

Ionic Disadvantages

  • Performance

This is a marginal issue. In most cases, you will not be able to notice any performance hindrances in Ionic. But in some specific cases, a marginal performance gap happens.

  • Security issues

The Ionic framework is not insecure. However, most apps that cater to the finance and accounts sector, the banking apps, government site apps, and considering an Ionic framework for the development purpose are not recommended when it comes to developing complicated apps. It may not provide a better security option compared to the native apps.

  • Limitation in native functionality

Ionic Framework doesn’t feature all the native functions. Some of the functions are absent, and in such cases, you need to look for 3rd party plugins, or you can even develop the same.

React Native Overview

React Native comes from Facebook’s house and is considered one of the most promising open-source frameworks for developing mobile applications. React Native is platform-independent, meaning apps developed using this framework can work efficiently in any platform like iOS and Android. The capabilities of native platforms are utilized while using the framework for cross-platform based app development.

React Native Advantages

  • Minimum investment without slowing down on the development speed 

React Native is a cross platform-independent framework through which codes can be easily transferred across different platforms. This suggests that with minimum effort, developers can create two different versions of an app for two different platforms. This saves time and money while improving development speed.

  • Great user interface promises for excellent user experience

The user interface of React Native is extraordinarily stable and user friendly. It has been designed to provide the best user experience regarding quick loading speed and smooth navigation. The user interfaces feature native widgets, and their seamless performance is the key to its success. It is the UI that makes React Native a popular choice for developing business apps while investing less.

  • The amazing benefits of Live Update

The Live Update option in React Native is a big positive. Since React Native works on JavaScript, developers can easily integrate the Live Update feature into the phone app. Modification of the codes happens in real-time, but that does not delay the app loading process. The process is perfectly streamlined, and the connectivity is seamless.

  • Codes can be reused over and over again

One code works for different platforms. This is the fun of working with the React Native framework. The same code you use for Android app development can be used to develop apps for iOS with some minute changes. This code reusability feature helps in saving a big chunk of time in app development. The developer community support for React Native is an added advantage.

  • Highly intuitive interface and modular structure enhances the flexibility of the development team

As already discussed, code reusability is possible with React Native. This reusability feature also helps in identifying bugs and rectifying the same. The intuitive and modular architecture makes it easy enough for developers to understand the projects. As a result, the flexibility of the team handling the project improves. It also helps in making the maintenance part less time-consuming.   

React Native Disadvantages

  • Security may be an issue

Being an open-source framework, security may be an issue with React Native. Also, JavaScript never assures total security for more complex apps, like those used in the finance and banking sectors. To manage security, React Native may not be the best option to consider.

  • Unstable memory management

React Native may not be the ideal choice for the development of intensive, complicated apps. The float computations in React Native are not dealt with properly. This leads to difficulty in memory management, JavaScript being the main culprit beneath.   

  • Slightly difficult to learn within a short timeframe

A fresher may find React Native slightly challenging to learn and that too, within a short time. React Native can prove to be a complicated thing for beginners in this field. Some other cross-platform competitors are more comfortable to learn in comparison to React Native.

  • The initializing time is higher than usual

Before the initial rendering process, React Native apps take a lot more time to run. This happens because of the use of JavaScript threads that act as a spoilsport.

  • Relatively new to the field

React Native is a new framework, and hence, immature by a certain level. The framework is still on the verge of improvement, and developers often have to write extra codes for the component compatibility factor.

Ionic vs. React Native | Comparison Table

IonicReact Native
Cross-PlatformYesYes
Launch Date20132015
Parent CompanyIonicFacebook
Famous AppsMcLaren Automotive
Diesel
McDonald’s
Facebok
Uber Eats
Airbnb
Web FirstYesNo
Progressive web appsYesNo
CategoryHybrid WebHybrid Native
Advantages– Web first
– Easy to customize
– Works on browser environment
– Higher performance
– Interface with native app’s UI controls is more natural
– More similar to native apps
Downsides– May have lower performance
– May not have exactly the same look and feel as a native app
– Hard to debug
– More difficult to customize
– Not a true browser environment
– Libraries are not portable
Approach“write once, run anywhere” “learn once, write anywhere”
Supported PlatformsAndroid, iOS, Desktop, Progressive WebAndroid, iOS
UI Elements SharedNot shared
Community SizeSmallLarge

Conclusion

Both React Native and Ionic are cross-platform frameworks that promise tremendous potential. For developers targeting traditional native app development for Android and iOS platforms, React Native is a great choice. On the other hand, Ionic can be a good try for those targeting progressive web app development. Developers with traditional web development skills will find the Ionic framework a great option.

FAQ

What is Ionic?

Ionic is an open-source framework that is used for developing progressive and native web and mobile applications. The latest Ionic framework has improved a lot over the earlier versions in regards to usability, features, and performance.

What is React Native?

React Native comes from Facebook’s house and is considered one of the most promising open-source frameworks for developing mobile applications. React Native is platform-independent, meaning apps developed using this framework can work efficiently in any platform like iOS and Android.

What are the differences between Ionic and React Native?

– Ionic is a Hybrid Web cross-platform
– React Native is a Hybrid Native cross-platform
– Ionic supports progressive web app development
– React Native does not support progressive web app development
– Ionic approach is “write once, run anywhere” 
– React Native approach is “learn once, write anywhere”


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