5 min read

Today, mobile app development has come a long way, it isn’t the same as it used to be. In earlier days, the development process included only simple decisions such as design, features and the cost of creating the app. But, this scenario has changed now. Nowadays, mobile application development starts with the selection of the right app development framework. There are lots of options to choose from like Flutter, AngularJS, Ionic, React Native, etc.

In this post, we are going to compare two powerful mobile app development frameworks: Ionic and React Native, to figure out the best option for your app development needs.

React Native – An introduction

React native is developed by Facebook using JavaScript which is one of the most popular languages used by mobile developers. React Native allows creating high-end applications for specific operating systems. Developers can reuse the code from this framework and don’t need to build an application from scratch. This is a helpful tool to create applications for Android and iOS operating systems.

Features and benefits of React Native

  • As it is reusable across Android and iOS, it saves development time and cost.
  • With virtual-DOM support, it allows viewing changes in real time.
  • There is a huge community of React native developers.
  • Code written by one developer can be read, studied, understood and extended easily by other developers.
  • Once the code is developed,  it can be used on iOS and Android.
  • Issues with React Native apps for Android or iOS can be resolved quickly.
  • It’s consistently improving and with every new release app development becomes interesting and convenient.

Ionic – An introduction

Ionic is developed by Drifty using TypeScript. It’s an open-source platform for developing hybrid mobile applications using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS technologies. Apps built with the Ionic framework are mainly focused on the UI, appearance, and feel. As it utilizes a combination of Apache Cordova and Angular, Ionic for many developers, is the first choice for app development. It provides tools such as HTML5, CSS, SaaS, etc to develop top-notch hybrid mobile apps to be run on Windows, Android, and iOS.

Features and benefits of Ionic

  • Ionic is an open source framework used for developing hybrid mobile applications.
  • It is built on top of AngularJS and Apache Cordova.
  • Ionic Framework comes with a command line interface (CLI) that empowers developers to build and test apps on any platform.
  • It offers all the functionalities that are available with native app development SDKs to allows to develop apps and customize them for the different OS then deploy through Cordova.
  • Apps require one-time development with Ionic and can be deployed on Android, iOS and Windows platforms.
  • Facility to build apps using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript technologies.
  • The apps developed with Ionic are majorly focused on UI to provide the better user experience.
  • It offers a multitude of exciting elements to choose from for development.

Ionic 4 is the newest release of Ionic so far. The release is a complete rebuild of the popular JavaScript framework for developing mobile and desktop apps. Although Ionic has, up until now, been using Angular components, this new version has instead been built using Web Components. This is significant, as it changes the whole ball game for the project. It means the Ionic Framework is now an app development framework that can be used alongside any front end frameworks, not just Angular.

React Native Vs Ionic: A comparison

The following table below shows the difference between these two on different bases.

Basis for comparison React Native Ionic
Ease of learning Due to a few pre-developed elements, learning takes time. With plenty of pre-developed and pre-designed elements, learning is easier and shorter.
Code language JSX (A syntax extension to JavaScript used to optimize code before compilation into JS) TypeScript (A typed superset of JavaScript for compiling clean and simple JS code on any browser)
Code reusability It allows using the same code to develop Windows, Android, and iOS mobile apps. Same code can be utilized for creating apps for iOS, Android, Windows as well as web and PWA.
Performance It has excellent performance as it doesn’t use WebView. The performance is average because it uses WebView.
Community support Strong Strong
Ease of development React follows the approach, ‘learn once write anywhere’ Written only once, it can be executed on any platform
Phone hardware accessibility To access phone hardware Apache Cordova is used. No third Party tool is required to access phone hardware.
Code testing An emulator or real mobile is needed for testing. Apps can be tested on any web browser.
Documentation Very basic documentation Quite simple, clear and consistent documentation
Developer Facebook Drifty.co

By now, you must have obtained knowledge about the basic differences between Ionic and React Native. Both these frameworks are different from each other and they provide distinguishing features. Let us now further investigate both frameworks based on some board parameters


Performance

Android apps developed with React Native usually have a better performance score than ones developed with Ionic. This is because Ionic uses web-view in mobile app development and this is not the case with React Native framework.

Design

Ionic comes with plenty of pre-developed elements that allows creating elegant apps with excellent UI. This is what makes Ionic beat React Native when it comes to design. React Native offers a few pre-developed elements as compared to Ionic.

Cost

Developing apps with Ionic is cheaper than developing with React Native. This is because, in Ionic, the same code can be utilized across different platforms.

Final words

So which technology you should use? Well, this is not easy to tell. There are several factors you can consider like cost, features, requirements, platforms, and team size when deciding the best app development framework. They both serve different purposes and choosing any of them may be easy. If you a low budget then Ionic can be your choice to build an appealing application with a good performance. On the other hand, React Native lets you build native-like apps but the cost of development may be much than Ionic. Depending on your requirements and preferences, you can decide to choose any of the frameworks.

Author-Bio

David Meyer is a senior web developer at CSSChopper, a front end, and custom web development company catering customers across the globe. David has a passion for web development and likes to share his knowledge through informative blogs and articles.


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