When it comes to evaluating cross-platform frameworks, the biggest debate is between React Native and Ionic. The purpose of this article is to compare the performance, user experience, and many other topics of React Native vs Ionic.
The fun thing about working in the services industry is you get to interact with many different technologies. We will see how React Native and Ionic differ in terms of platforms for creating non-native apps.
There is usually some ambiguity about which platform I should use to develop my enterprise app – “What platform should I choose?”. Though it is generally very specific, there are still some general guidelines we can follow (or at least try!) to better decide.
In order to fully explain the differences between React Native and Ionic and to show their differences, let us first examine how these frameworks work under the hood.
It is precisely because of this bridge that React native apps almost work like native apps!
Ionic uses Cordova rather than React Native which relies on the dynamic runtime approach. Cordova relies on Webviews (UIWebView on iOS and WebView on Android) or chromeless browser views. In order to render a HTML/ CSS user interface, the WebView component uses a HTML layout engine (WebKit/ Blink).
In order to begin, let’s look at React Native’s popularity versus Ionic’s. Developer survey results for 2020 are as follows:
React Native. It is evident that React Native has more popularity than Ionic.
In both frameworks, JS is at the core of their SDKs. Their similarities end there. With React Native’s basic flex layout, getting the necessary components style is simple. Only CSS knowledge is required. In addition to Axios for calling APIs, Redux with React, Flexbox, and ES6 are also some other prerequisites.
The installation of Cordova through Ionic is simpler than through npm commands. Ngcordova provides you with Angularjs extensions and services in a packed and powerful package. The greatest advantage of Ionic is its own online school, Ionic Academy, which offers lessons on different levels to make learning and building easier.
Winner: Ionic. The learning process is much easier and simpler.
Putting the frameworks into perspective from the point of view of a technology stack.
What is the difference between React Native and native? Develop Native applications with React Native for native platforms. Despite the fact that it can develop cross-platform applications, it cannot be considered hybrid since it does not share the ability to create a single codebase that can run on multiple platforms. React Native is also Core Native in some instances, in contrast to hybrid applications that use Cordova and HTML5.
The ionic stack is comprised of three main layers:
It’s a framework that provides user interface components that aren’t available in the ecosystem of web applications.
Additionally, the Ionic framework comes with a command line tool that makes creating, developing, and deploying Ionic applications much easier.
For creating customized UI components, Ionic relies on AngularJS. Ionic can also leverage Angular’s framework capabilities, such as those associated with MVVM, MVC, and MVP.
Cordova functions as a means of connecting WebView API with the native API of the device. Cordova’s main capability is to bridge the divide between these two technology stacks (WebView HTML and Native API).
Considering that Ionic uses native wrappers, such as Cordova or PhoneGap, you might wonder: is it native or hybrid? Hybrid frameworks such as Ionic are common. For clarity, let’s rewind and look at it from the perspective of the past. Use Ionic for Developing hybrid applications. To reach accessibility to native platform layers, Ionic reaches more towards the hybrid end of the spectrum. Also known as a hybrid framework, Ionic allows you to run native apps inside native shells.
Expense Manager showed the following results regarding its app size comparison:
Ionic can create applications that are small in size when compared to React Native.
Using the secure storage cordova plugin, developers can ensure the security of their iOS app while working in Ionic. On Android, however, there must be a swipe lock or screen lock set in order for this to work.
Encryption in React Native: Developers have access to a wide range of third-party encryption libraries, including:
Winner: React Native. Ionic and React Native provides a high level of security against application vulnerabilities; however, React Native provides the best options for securing applications.
Ionic has been a favourable framework for developing hybrid/native apps and PWAs. It remains unclear whether React Native is officially recommended as a framework for Enterprises, although many renowned organizations such as Facebook, Airbnb, Wix have adopted it.
Winner: Ionic. Ionic is more enterprise-friendly than React Native.
React Native testing can be accomplished by using a variety of frameworks, including: ReactTestUtils, Jest, Jasmine, Mocha, XC Test, and Earl Grey, for testing iOS applications and automating iOS UI.
Ionic uses an end-to-end testing set up similar to that of Angular CLI. In this case, Ionic has the capability to use Karma for testing components, Protractor and Jasmine for unit testing and End-to-End testing.
Winner: Both React Native and Ionic. The testing for React Native covers units, automated tests, and Ionic covers component testing as well as end-to-end testing.
The React Native debugger app, Console.log or Chrome developer tools can be used for debugging. Debugging is much easier with React Native applications. Here in debugging an app using native code can also be done using any editor such as XCode for iOS or Visual Studio for Android.
Also, debugging in Ionic is generally a simpler experience with tools like Chrome’s dev tools available to developers. ngCordova can be challenging, especially when a project uses hardware features.
Winner: Both React Native and Ionic. Use Chrome developer tools to debug both frameworks.
Ionic builds, TestFlight, Codeship, Jenkins CI, Travis CI, Semaphore CI & CircleCI all allow for continuous integration and deployment pipeline implementation
Use the following CI-CD tools with React Native: Bitrise, Travis CI, CircleCI, and Jenkins CI
Winner: Both React Native and Ionic.
In general, cross-platform and hybrid frameworks may have performance issues in terms of UX and UI. View the video of Tal Kol providing some insight into some of these challenges. A big challenge in working with Ionic is rendering your UI at 60fps. While libraries like React Native Interactable and Lottie by Airbnb have made it much easier to achieve 60 frames per second with React native, this is still a challenge.
Text inputs used in many applications such as the hitSlop prop, KeyboardAvoidingView, and TouchableNativeFeedback enable developers to improve user experience by providing more ways to enhance text input. With Ionic, you can create a simple hybrid application that runs on multiple platforms with a single codebase.
By eliminating separate native codebases for each platform, it reduces development and maintenance costs. Consequently, you can invest more time into improving the quality of the application and adding new features.
Winner: React Native.
WebView, as mentioned earlier, wraps an application in an Ionic app. Due to this, Ionic, which renders through a WebView, is significantly slower than React Native, which compiles natively.
Winner: React Native. As a native application, React Native boasts superior rendering and performance over Ionic.
Ionic, a hybrid development platform based on WebViews, is somewhat similar in developer comfort to Web development.
Winner: Ionic. The Ionic framework makes it quite easy and feasible to create apps.
In case of Ionic, developers are fortunate for their convenience to search for any type of plugin from the bunch of libraries such as Apache/Cordova plugins, Ionic plugins from the marketplace, and Angular modules. With mind-boggling support from its community, React Native is also rich in its availability of 3rd party libraries or plugins.
With React native, any 3rd party library that you might use could get outdated or become incompatible with your updated codebase. Hence, maintainability remains a big issue.
As opposed to React Native, in Ionic you would only be required to maintain one single code (In React Native you would have to maintain both iOS and Android builds). However, the biggest challenge with the maintainability of Ionic apps is that the framework itself is undergoing continuous changes with frequent release cycles on Ionic and Cordova.
Winner: In this criteria, both React and Ionic are not winners. Maintenance of libraries in React Native and Ionic both is little inconvenient due to outdated updates or constant updates respectively.
In React Native, developers can deploy applications directly over-the-air to their devices with the help of Microsoft CodePush. It is possible to make changes to an Ionic app on demand with a feature called Ionic Deploy.
Winner: Ionic. The user can go back and forth between the latest and older versions of an application with Ionic.
3rd party libraries are available to integrate IOT within a React Native app.
React-native-aws-native-device-shadows – This is a library for wrapping React Native components in SDN to hook up to AWS IoT.
In the future, IoT developers will be able to easily build frameworks and applications based on Ionic as it can be easily integrated with Bluetooth devices, Ibeacons and wireless sensors.
Winner: Ionic. Comparatively to React Native, it is easier to interface with IoT devices
According to the business perspective, both frameworks prove to be time and money savers. Ionic, however, is more affordable than React Native when comparing both frameworks. Due to the fact that Ionic gives you the option to develop hybrid applications that can run across multiple platforms by creating only one codebase.
Winner: Ionic. It’s a great way to save money, but might not be the best choice when the project requires hardcore native code.
The functionality of Ionic 2 is based on Angular 2.x versions, one of the significant improvements made with it. The OnPush strategy is used by Ionic 2 components. According to the strategy, changes in the application are only detected when the input changes, rather than always automatically during execution. Application components are not rendered excessively in this way. During the build, your application is already optimized.
Winner: React native. Ionic 2 and React Native have similar purposes, but they differ in regards to the requirements of your project.
What is the best framework to use for your app development requirements: React Native vs Ionic? I’ve included a list of points to consider when choosing a framework.
For apps that revolve around video streaming, P2P marketplaces, social media or fitness functions, Ionic is a solid choice. With React Native, you can build an app that has higher performance, responsiveness, budget, and time requirements.
Which is better, Ionic or React Native?
In contrast to implementing native UI patterns for iOS and Android, Ionic React relies on cross-platform web technology instead of using platform controls directly. The performance of React Native may be higher because it uses a wide range of iOS and Android controls.
Which is better, native apps or Ionic framework?
Ionic gives you the ability to build iOS, Android, PWAs, desktop apps, and applications on any platform running the web using HTML/CSS/JS. Using React Native, you can build iOS and Android apps using the React JS framework, but rendering native UI elements at runtime.
What are the benefits of Ionic for Web?
It’s already incredible to have one code base that can be implemented in mobile apps as well as web applications, but the flexibility of CSS and responsive elements make it the perfect solution for building your next web app and PWA.
Does React have a future?
Its extra versatility and ease have made react development the future of web development. More than 1300 developers actively use ReactJS in development, with more than 94000 pages estimated to use ReactJS. AngularJS had many shortcomings that were overcome by ReactJS
In comparison to react native, what is better?
Social networks have made React one of the most popular front-end frameworks at the moment, with an active community. There are more stars on GitHub for Flutter than for React Native as of the time of writing. The popular commercial applications of both Flutter & React Native.