Ionic vs React Native: Picking a Cross-Platform Framework
Posted by Abhishek Kothari on July 7, 2021
In this article, we will address two of the most common mobile app development frameworks—Ionic and React Native—to help you consider the primary distinctions between these two frameworks as well as their main features and disadvantages. We'll also take a look at how you can quickly implement a headless CMS for Ionic or React Native.
Before we get into the Ionic vs React Native debate, let's take a quick look at the differences between native and hybrid (cross-platform) apps.
Table of contents
Native Apps vs Hybrid (Cross-platform) Apps
There are several ways to develop a mobile application as an end product in this modern technological era. The foremost approach is to develop it natively, using the native language of each platform. Native applications are developed for a particular platform in a particular programming language. As an example, when we develop an iOS-specific application using the Objective-C language or an Android-specific application using Java, then the app is called a native app. The use of native code results in better performance, but the only disadvantage is the requirement of multiple teams to manage the mobile application.
Functionality: Ionic vs React Native
Comparison: Ionic vs React Native
- Tech Stack
When it comes to Ionic development, it leverages the strength of traditional mobile platforms to build multi-feature, cross-platform applications with minimal programming. Ionic is developed on top of the Angular framework, and if you are already acquainted with Angular, it would be a good idea to begin with Ionic for mobile application development. Also, Ionic comes with a slew of pre-built components and modules that enable production to be simpler, quicker, and gentler. The Ionic framework has a profound significance to include UI/UX elements that do not exist within the web application development environment. Ionic applications can be developed with frameworks such as Angular, Vue.JS, or React JS. In comparison with React Native, Ionic's engineering stack is even more scalable. The Ionic architecture also includes a command-line interface (CLI) platform for designing, developing, and deploying Ionic applications.
- Learning Curve
While developing a mobile application, if you want the highest performance, create native iOS and Android apps independently. This is because native programming allows us to develop explicitly for native functionality. Native iOS and Android components contribute to improved efficiency with direct interaction and no abstraction layer. As a result, React Native and Ionic do not correspond to their native performance. Let us now debate the performance of those two frameworks.
- 268 version launches
- 13.4k project forks
- 44.2k GitHub stars
- React Native
- 357 version updates
- 20.8k projects that are frequently forked
- 95.4k GitHub stars
- Plugins and Community
React Native has a large range of extensions. React Native also has a large group that is very useful in finding crucial facts, updates, and answers to your problems. A Cordova plugin is now available that allows you to use several matured extensions from other groups. For Ionic, a well-established and professional group will help you solve your problems. Many plugins are used by Capacitor to obtain native functions.
Advantages: Ionic vs React Native
- React Native has the ability to blend with already developed native applications. Apart from this, you can create native libraries, which will give your mobile app the same appearance as native mobile applications.
- React Native allows reusability of code to build Android, iOS, and Windows applications.
- React Native ensures a robust and well-maintained platform to build enterprise-level applications and provides rapid application development by productive code implementation.
- React Native has a large community and platform-independent code, which creates a wonderful developing experience.
- Ionic is an organization that specializes in developing tools that assist businesses and engineers in creating smartphone apps, and they have extensive documentation.
- In Ionic, the program is written to execute in a web browser, it is simple to migrate the program into a PWA. It just takes a few extra moves in Ionic to develop a progressive web application.
- It consists of valuable pre-styled elements and excellent community involvement.
Disadvantages: Ionic vs React Native
- React Native is not appropriate if you choose to create an interface with a lot of transitions and graphics, such as a simulation app.
- React Native is backed by a large private corporation and new tools are introduced in response to their specific requirements. The tech community, on the other hand, is free to expand the requested functionality to accomplish what is needed for both technologies (iOS and Android).
- React Native is currently in beta testing. Despite the fact that it was established years ago, the Facebook team has been hesitant to push a "development" release of it.
- React Native requires native programming skills and does not support custom modules.
- Ionic is a framework designed on top of a web browser.
- You must use Capacitor extensions to control the hardware capabilities of the system.
- Ionic creates a WebView rather than a native app.
Simplifying content management using ButterCMS
To begin, install the ButterCMS NPM module in your existing Ionic repository and then integrate ButterCMS into your Ionic project. Create a service file to integrate ButterCMS into your ongoing project. buttercms.service.ts
Then import the ButterCMS client in your TS file:
You can then test the ButterCMS client by retrieving all of your blogs, for example:
Let’s take an example.
Add the ButterCMS NPM module to your existing React native project as a dependency.
Then add the API token to butter-client.js file and import the ButterCMS client in your JS/TS file:
You can then test the ButterCMS client by, for example, fetching all of your blogs:
Based on this elaborate analysis and comparison of the two frameworks, we can conclude that the choice of mobile development framework is highly subjective to the features that you would need and the skill set you have available. Both React Native and Ionic provide similar features along with great community support.
In my opinion, React Native supports native functionalities better. Ionic, on the other hand, is more mature and has more resources on the web to support your development. With a CMS like ButterCMS and its powerful SDKs, you can create a simple and efficient development process with either one of these popular frameworks.
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