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What Is React?

React is a JavaScript-based UI development library. Facebook and an open-source developer community run it. Although React is a library rather than a language, it is widely used in web development.

What Is React Native?

React Native is a JavaScript framework for writing real, natively rendering mobile applications for iOS and Android. It’s based on React, Facebook’s JavaScript library for building user interfaces, but instead of targeting the browser, it targets mobile platforms. 

In other words: web developers can now write mobile applications that look and feel truly “native,” all from the comfort of a JavaScript library that we already know and love. Plus, because most of the code you write can be shared between platforms, React Native makes it easy to simultaneously develop for both Android and iOS.

Differences between React and React Native?

While there are several similarities between ReactJs and React Native, however, there are some notable differences as well. Let’s have a look:

● Reactjs can be defined as a base derivative of React DOM, for the web platform while React Native is a base derivative in itself, which means that the syntax and workflow remain the same, but components alter.

●Reactjs, ultimately, is a JavaScript library, which allows the programmer to create an engaging and high performing UI Layer while React Native is an exclusive framework for building cross-platform apps, be it web, iOS or Android. 

●In Reactjs, virtual DOM is used to render browser code in Reactjs while in React Native, native APIs are used to render components in mobile.

●The apps developed with Reactjs renders HTML in UI while React Native uses JSX for rendering UI, which is nothing but JavaScript. 

●CSS is used for creating styling in Reactjs while a stylesheet is used for styling in React Native.

●In Reactjs, the animation is possible, using CSS, just like web development while in React Native, an animated API is used for inducing animation across different components of the React Native application.

●If the need is to build a high performing, dynamic, and responsive UI for web interfaces, then Reactjs is the best option, while if the need is to give mobile apps a truly native feeling, then React Native is the best option.

Advantages of React Native

The fact that React Native actually renders using its host platform’s standard rendering APIs enables it to stand out from most current methods of cross-platform application development, like Cordova or Ionic. Existing methods of writing mobile applications using combinations of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS typically render using web views. 

While this approach can work, it also comes with drawbacks, especially around performance. Besides, they do not usually have access to the host platform’s set of native UI elements. When these frameworks do try to mimic native UI elements, the results usually “feel” just a little off; reverse-engineering all the fine details of things like animations take an enormous amount of effort, and they can quickly become out of date. React works individually from the main UI thread, so your application can maintain high performance without sacrificing capability. 

The update cycle in React Native is the same as in React: when props or state change, React Native re-renders the views. The major difference between React Native and React in the browser is that React Native does this by leveraging the UI libraries of its host platform, rather than using HTML and CSS markup. React Native combines the best parts of native development with React, a best-in-class JavaScript library for building user interfaces.

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Differences in Building iOS and Android Apps Using React Native

The differences between iOS and Android that you will encounter while building React Native apps.

IOS:
The first tool you will need to build iOS apps with React Native is Xcode. It installs the iOS simulator and all the necessary tools to build your iOS app.
You also need a Mac OS to work with Xcode. This means you need a Mac OS if you want to build iOS apps with React Native, or iOS apps in general.

Android
While building Android apps with React Native, you will notice we need a completely different toolset. The first thing you would need is to install the Java Development Kit (JDK). The tool that is comparable to Xcode for Android is, Android Studio.

When you start developing apps with React Native, you will start to notice that certain components look different on iOS vs. Android. A classic illustration to this is the date picker component. The native iOS date picker looks completely different from the native Android date picker. React Native supports styling based on platform. You can leverage it in situations where you may need subtle difference in styling based on the platform. For instance, if there is a difference in the native components and you have to style iOS and Android differently, you can use the Platform API.

import { Platform, StyleSheet } from 'react-native';
const styles = StyleSheet.create({
  container: {
    flex: 1,
    ...Platform.select({
      ios: {
        backgroundColor: 'red'
      },
      android: {
        backgroundColor: 'green'
      }
    })
  }
});

Developer experience with React Native?

If you’ve ever developed for mobile before, you might be surprised by how easy React Native is to work with. The React Native team has baked strong developer tools and significant error messages into the framework, so working with robust tools is a natural part of your development experience.

For instance, because React Native is “just” JavaScript, you don’t need to rebuild your application in order to see your changes reflected; instead, you can hit Command+R to refresh your application just as you would any other web page. All of those minutes spent waiting for your application to build can really add up, and in contrast React Native’s quick iteration cycle feels like a godsend.

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