React Native vs. Ionic – A head-to-head Comparison in 2020

Last updated on by Digamber

The mobile application development industry is booming with the continual rise in the number of smartphone users. 

Mobile Apps are gaining popularity, and today we have an app for almost everything. Whether we want to book a taxi or check any restaurant’s ratings, we have specialized apps for all these things. 

Companies, individuals, and organizations are launching various sorts of mobile applications at a rapid pace to leverage the massive number of smartphone audiences and make a profit from them.    

What does it all imply? It indicates that the demand for application developers is at the peak. No doubt, it is the best time to be a part of the mobile development industry. 

Whether you want to learn application development or you are a professional developer looking forward to building mobile applications faster and skillfully, you must be a bit confused about what development framework should you work with?

Application development frameworks make the process of building applications more productive and susceptible. Thus, it is always suggested using a specific development framework for your projects, but which one should you choose? 

Maybe Ionic? Or React, Native? Are they all the same or different? On what parameters should you make the judgment? All these questions might be troubling you, but don’t worry, we are here to help you get rid of the confusion. 

React Native vs. Ionic

In this article, we are going to look at an intense comparison between Ionic and React Native development frameworks. At the end of this article, you will be all clear about what framework you should use for your development projects. 

So without wasting any more time, let’s dig into it. 

Native application vs. Hybrid apps

So before we begin comparing the two technologies(Ionic and React Native), we should first know what is a native application and a hybrid application? 

Native applications, as the name suggests, are native to a particular operating system or platform. As you know, an app specifically designed for the IOS platform would not work on android, and an android app can’t work on ios. Such an application is what we call native applications. 

Native IOS application is written in swift or objective C, whereas native android apps are created using java. 

Hybrid applications, on the other hand, are cross-platform, which means the same app can run on both IOS and Android or any other platform with the necessary support. HTML, CSS, and javascript are consumed to write hybrid apps generally. 

Thus, hybrid apps are not traditional apps but more of like web application running in a mobile application chassis. PhoneGap/Cordova technologies integrated with hybrid apps, provide native features. 


Native vs. hybrid apps, what’s better? 

Native apps are generally more robust as they are designed specifically for particular platforms. The system does not need to put many resources to let the app work swiftly. This gives native apps an edge over hybrid ones when it comes to performance. 

Hybrid application development eliminates the cost and efforts needed to build distinct applications for different platforms. 

This leads us to the first difference between Ionic and React Native frameworks. 

1. The Basic distinction between Ionic and React Native

Ionic is a framework specialized for hybrid apps development that is cross-platform. This platform is useful in building modern apps that are feature-loaded. The latest version of Ionic in use is Ionic 5. 

Web developers can efficiently craft mobile or web applications using Ionic. The apps are cross-platform and have a single code base. 

Altering this single code base would be enough to update the applications running on different platforms. This could be a sort of advantage for many running tight on time and money. 

React Native is best suited for native application development. React to the Facebook community originally produced native. 

This framework is widely favored to build robust native-like apps. React native is javascript dependent technology. 

2. Technologies consumed

React native utilizes Javascript and React for application building and JSX for the user interface. React Native uses native UI components to build elegant user interfaces. 

Ionic is more liberal when it comes to the choice of technology for building applications. Vue, HTML, React, you can use any of them in the development of your application. 

3. Performance

Talking about Ionic, with many built-in tools and features, building a web or mobile application, is a breeze with Ionic. 

Ionic follows the “write-once and runs anywhere” principle. Performance can be an issue sometimes, and some native features may require additional plugins to be downloaded. 

React Native apps are more of like native applications using native UI components. They are more robust when compared to ionic apps. React native is the choice for those who prefer native-like applications for their users. React Native is also considered to be more stable, and React Native apps are more responsive.  

4. Community and support

React Native has a large user base and community of contributors who continually keep participating in making the framework better. 

When it comes to plugins, React native has a large number of plugins to extend or support application functionalities. Moreover, a plugin is available to React native that could utilize PhoneGap/Cordova plugins. 

This helps you a lot when you wish to use plugins from other communities. 

When it comes to Ionic, This is not to conceal that a large number of applications are built on Ionic. Thus, it does have a large user base and contributors community. 

Even the application of many big brands is Ionic powered. To facilitate the use of native features and fill the gap of native features, many PhoneGap/Cordova plugins are available. 

5. Platform support

Both Ionic and React Native apps are cross-platform so they could run seamlessly on both Ios or android. Besides, Ionic has support for UWP. UWP stands for universal windows platform. So this could be an added advantage for Ionic lovers. 

6. Learning curve

No matter what technology is most favored, beginners always like to start with something easy to learn. 

Ionic is easy for those who know Angular as Ionic is built on top of Angular. The technologies consumed to make the application are even simpler; thus, the efforts needed to learn app development using Ionic are limited. 

This is not the case with React native, and it has a steep learning curve that could divert beginners from this framework. 

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of both technologies one by one. 

Ionic advantages

It is an open-source framework that is easy to learn and uses web technology for application development. 

Ionic apps are supported on multiple platforms, and it facilitates rapid application building. 

Shortcomings of Ionic

Ionic applications are not closer native applications; thus, they have some performance issues, and there is sometimes a need for additional plugins to access platform-specific features and hardware. 

React Native Advantages

Apps built on React native can run on a multitude of platforms. React Native apps are known for their responsiveness and performance. React native apps have elegant UI. 

A large community of React native developers could help you in any circumstance. An application can be developed at a rapid pace with React native. 

The principle behind React Native is “learn once write anywhere”, which implies the code is platform and community independent. 

So this was a head-to-head comparison between Ionic and React native. 

You can conclude what parameters and features matters most for you and decide your future application building framework. 

I hope this article solves your dilemma. Thanks for reading.