The world is rapidly going mobile, and everybody uses dozens of mobile apps daily. Apps are mushrooming in all segments of business: healthcare, construction, finance, transportation, and logistics, etc. More and more enterprises are leveraging mission-critical mobile apps to improve their operational efficiency, track performance, and drive sales.
And here comes the question: which technology to adopt for development of the future groundbreaking app? The aim of this article is to compare the major pros and cons of the most popular frameworks: Ionic and React Native.
|Adaptability||Performance issues arise when using too many callbacks to the native code|
|Platform-independence (HTML, JS, CSS, or Angular) allows quick development and testing cycles, minimal maintenance, and lower costs||Framework dependencies|
|Develop an app once, and deploy across iOS, Android, and Windows devices||Difficult development of heavy graphical apps like 3D games|
|Wrapped by Cordova and PhoneGap||System overhead due to the use of the WebView (to deliver a native-like experience)|
|Easy to learn||Security problems may occur. It’s not recommended to use Ionic for development of financial/banking apps|
|Works on UIWebView (iOS) or WebView (Android)||It can be relatively complex to build in-app navigation|
|Variety of templates allows fast prototyping||Prolonged app loading and deteriorated responsiveness at the CPU load due to the use of a browser|
|Rich library of front-end building blocks||You need to use Apache Cordova plugins to access the device’s hardware functionality|
|Lots of UI components available (buttons, cards, toggles, inputs, segments, row/column grids, lists, etc.)||Sometimes it requires a lot of time to set up the deployment process across all platforms because some native mobile functionality has different requirements and the way of access.|
|Great community support|
|Free and open-source|
|Plugins for smartphone-specific apps (camera, Bluetooth, fingerprint scanner, geolocation, push notifications, etc.)|
|Clear, accessible, detailed and updated documentation|
|Great code reuse. In some cases, up to 95% of the code reuse helps substantially cut costs on development||There is a need for native development skills for some platform-specific modules|
|Excellent performance (much better than Ionic) due to native controls and native modules||Problems due to frequent updates|
|Increased development speed||Immaturity of the React Native. It is still new and on the stage of improvement|
|Vast developers community helps speed up the learning||Lack of custom modules, others are underdeveloped|
|Time efficiency due to ‘hot reloading’||A lot of time to initialize the runtime|
|Native look and feel of the apps||Problems with memory management|
|Third-party plugins supported||Security issues|
|Increased development speed due to ready-made components available in the open-source library||Available documentation is poor|
|Simplified data binding (child elements cannot affect the parent data)||You need sticking to the licensing rules because React Native is backed by Facebook|
|Platform-independent code||Steep learning curve. If you don’t have React background, you’ll need some additional time to get in|
|More flexible development due to the modular architecture||A small collection of ready-made components|
|Apps are reliable and stable, which make React Native suitable for large and complex projects|
Ionic vs. React Native: comparison table
Both Ionic and React Native are amazing frameworks, but they have different specialties for different things, also, they have their pros and cons. The frameworks do different things, and both do them the right way.
|Purpose||Write once, run anywhere||Learn once, write anywhere|
|Mobile apps type||Hybrid apps||Cross-platform native-like apps|
|Cross-platform applicability||Most of the codebase is reusable for different platforms||Most of the codebase is reusable but requires adaptation to a particular platform|
|Supported platforms||iOS, Android, UWP, PWA||iOS, Android, UWP|
|Performance||Moderate due to WebView||Close to native, comparatively faster|
|Documentation||First-class documentation, very clear and consistent||Very basic documentation|
|Code testing||Testing can be done in any browser. Very fast development-testing cycle||Real mobile device or emulator is necessary|
|UI engineering||Code sharing for the cost of native experience||Customization with built-in UI components|
|UI rendering||HTML, CSS||Native UI controllers|
|Learning curve||Low (more pre-developed & pre-styled components)||Steep (few pre-developed components)|
|Community||Large and strong||Large and strong|
|Use cases||GE Transportation, MarketWatch, NHS, NASA||Facebook, Instagram, Uber, Airbnb, Skype, Bloomberg|
There’s a lid for every pot
It’s not so easy to make the right choice, huh? When deciding upon which framework to choose, you should consider the complexity of your project, the skills of developers, and the nature of the upcoming product.
If you are a short-budget startup, Ionic will be really budget-friendly. If you are an established company and look forward to developing a complex native-feeling product, opt for React Native.
If you focus on the excellent performance and want to cut costs by utilizing the code reusability, then React Native can deliver you these benefits. As well, If you require a really speedy delivery, choose to React Native.
Though, if you need a temporary app for a particular event, an enterprise app, or any app with moderate traffic, consider choosing Ionic.
If you want to implement sophisticated native features, e.g. fingerprint scanner or geolocation, give React Native a shot.
And if you need launching the app as soon as possible, and consider limited mobile features, go with Ionic.