Quick Summary:

Today, JavaScript developers get a wide range of options to build mobile applications. This is where cross-platform mobile development enters. Currently, it is a tedious challenge to decide the best framework for developing mobile apps. Although native mobile development is the most preferred one, it is time-consuming. However, the benefits that it offers are incredible. With fast operating speed, updated SDKs, seamless app performance, and high responsive UIs, one can always overlook the time factor. Isn’t it? Today in this guide, we will focus and compare the two brilliant frameworks: NativeScript Vs React Native that is used in native mobile development. Keep reading!

Introduction

For business owners, the entire concept of building an application for their businesses is definitely an excellent idea. But, before building an application, there are a series of activities and decisions that business owners need to make. When it comes to developing an app, having a dilemma between Native apps and Hybrid apps has always been around the corner. We have done a comparative analysis between React Native vs NativeScript to find all necessary details you need to be aware with.

In this internet age where applications are everywhere and digital marketing is the ideal form of advertising, knowing the difference between Native and hybrid apps is the first and foremost step to figuring out what kind of app would help your business reach heights. The next step will be to find out the best framework to build a native app: Nativescript vs React Native.

Hence, before heading onto building applications, we have come up with this guide that discusses the basics of hybrid and native apps briefly.

How are Native Applications Different from Hybrid Applications?

native vs hybrid app

Native applications

Generally, Native applications are smartphone apps that are specifically built for certain operating systems: Android or iOS. This is exactly what strikes most minds while thinking of mobile apps. They are usually downloaded from Google Play or App Store and installed on a device/system.

What makes native apps different from hybrid apps is that they are developed and built for particular devices. For example, let’s take Android apps and iOS apps. Android apps are built with Java while the apps for iPhone are using Swift or Objective-C.

Here, the advantage of choosing native apps over hybrid apps is that it is the most reliable and fastest approach when it comes to user experience. Built with the operating system’s SDKs, native apps can interact with all the device features including camera, microphone, device storage, GPS, etc.

Native applications

Hybrid applications

Hybrid applications comprise both Native and Web app features. One can access a hybrid app through a Web browser and can be downloaded from app stores. Hybrid applications are written in JavaScript and HTML5 for web apps. In other terms, hybrid applications are web pages wrapped in a mobile app that uses a WebView.

However, these apps have access to the built-in features and capacities of the device. Hybrid applications are built with cross-platform frameworks like Ionic, React, Xamarin, and Sencha.

Hybrid applications

One advantage of hybrid applications is that they are highly faster and easier to develop as compared to a native application. Besides, they require lower maintenance than native apps. However, the hybrid apps’ speed and performance depend on your browser. Eventually, this denotes that hybrid apps fail to perform as fast as a typical native app.

Why are Native Apps Better than Hybrid Apps?

The Hybrid Vs Native app debate is quite conducive to discussing our topic comprehensively. Below is a chart that depicts the major differences between Native applications and Hybrid applications. The chart states why native applications are better as compared to hybrid applications in terms of performance, response, speed, following, development timeline, app ecosystem, and feature set.

Field Of Difference Hybrid Applications Native Applications
Brief They are created to work on more than 1 platform or operating system. Hybrid apps are built with a mix of languages like Java and HTML5. They are built to work on one operating system only. Native apps are built by implementing Swift, Java, Objective-C.
Performance Although Hybrid apps are slower than their native counterparts, they perform on the basis of the user interface. An incredible user experience is guaranteed as the performance of native apps is unmatched. In addition, native apps are better, faster, and have expressive UIs.
Development Timeline Moderate Longer timeline (ranging anywhere from 3-6 months for MVP)
Programming Languages Web technologies: CSS, HTML, JavaScript Native only: Kotlin or Java: Swift, Android, or Objective C: iOS.
Frameworks And Tools PhoneGap and Apache Cordova, Native JS, React Native, Xamarin, Ionic, TypeScript. It uses 3rd party plug-ins, libraries, and APIs that may be unreliable. OS offers APIs. Access to native tools is supported by the system.
App Ecosystem Restricted to framework and is available to 3rd party services SDKs and other tools for any sort of technical implementation
Feature Set Moderate access. Several APIs are closed for hybrid mobile applications. (eg: accelerometer, gyroscope) Wide access. Any device APIs used. Provides solutions for certain unique features. (eg: VR, AR, IoT, etc.)


Hybrid App VS Native App: Quick Facts

Hybrid vs native app

Frameworks Used to Build Native Mobile Applications

As per Statista, 218 billion mobile application downloads were recorded in 2020. This indicates that the demand for efficient, reliable, fast, and high-performing mobile apps is quite evident. To build native mobile apps, two frameworks that have gained massive recognition are React Native and NativeScript.

NativeScript VS React Native: Introduction to Developing Native Apps

NativeScript VS React Native

NativeScript

NativeScript is an open-source framework used to build native mobile applications on iOS and Android platforms. Under a rule, it implements CSS and JavaScript to render the UIs to ensure a native-like experience. NativeScript generally attracts users with its personalized tech stack. NativeScript is built with JavaScript or TypeScript. (basically any JavaScript-related language). NativeScript supports frameworks including Vue.js and Angular. Back in 2017, Progress Software EAD (previously Telerik) helped and assisted this framework to come up in the world. As of now, it holds 166 contributors on GitHub.

Furthermore, NativeScript developers can re-purpose third-party libraries from Maven, CocoaPods, and npm.js without the need to use wrappers.

React Native

As a whole, React Native is a free, open-source framework used to build cross-platform applications. Considering the technicalities, React Native adopts JavaScript as its primary language of development and the React library as its component source. Back in 2015, React Native hit the mobile development world brilliantly. The first hit was when Facebook released the iOS version of React Native. And second in September when the Android version was available on GitHub.

Targeting the community, React Native has more than 2083 contributors and is backed by Facebook as well. Typically, Facebook created React Native as an open-source framework based on JavaScript. With React Native, developers can build native mobile applications for both iOS and Android platforms.

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NativeScript VS React Native: Pros and Cons

Every popular application is balanced by the features and performance it offers. Let’s look into the strengths and weaknesses of the popular frameworks, NativeScript Vs React Native.

Pros of NativeScript

  • It uses Command Line Interface (CLI).
  • Supports present/existing native libraries.
  • Cross-platform application development: Once written can run everywhere.
  • NativeScript keeps updating its features and version to comply with the existing/upcoming mobile OS versions.
  • The knowledge of CSS, JS, and XML builds a robust starting point for building applications with NativeScript.
  • The app feels native on every device and platform.

Cons of NativeScript

  • Does not support DOM or HTML. This refrains developers to use some libraries like jQuery.
  • The community keeps building resources and documentation.
  • Debugging in NativeScript is harder than in React Native. One needs to do it on an emulator or a device.
  • With NativeScript, you must know the APIs of Android and iOS to access the particular platform features and the device hardware.
  • Few UI components are paid and not free of charge.

Pros of React Native

  • Has a massive community and is backed with Facebook support.
  • Enables building a cross-platform application with a rich native experience in defiance of the platform device and type.
  • It employs Virtual DOM to enhance application performance.
  • Applications can be updated without App Store/Play Market approval.
  • React Native’s auto-reload option determines and spot the changes immediately without app recompilation.
  • React and JavaScript as a core makes the learning curve highly straightforward as compared to NativeScript.

Cons of React Native

  • React Native works smoother on iOS than Android.
  • Device-related issues might take more fixing time.
  • Applications employ more device memory.
  • In case your app requires onboard hardware or a device camera, you need to add a few platform-specific modules.

NativeScript VS React Native: Brief Comparison

Choosing one framework between two JS-based frameworks is not a child’s play. Both being cross-platforms, deliver quite similar benefits. However, there are some fields where React Native steals the show. Below is a brief comparison of the major aspects of both the frameworks including the performance, learning curve, popularity, and development community.

NativeScript VS React Native: Performance

To begin with, both frameworks offer native app performance. Both have a high loading time. However, here is where React Native enters the stage.

NativeScript delivers slow rendering. To be very honest, in a world that counts every second, slow rendering is something unacceptable. Here is exactly where React Native comes to play. Rendering dynamic elements, React Native renders apps using native SDKs. All thanks to the Virtual DOM. DOM turns React Native into a highly performant framework.

  • Difference 1: React Native inclines towards the native performance more than NativeScript.
  • Difference 2: React Native uses the Virtual DOM and hence delivers faster UI rendering compared to NativeScript.

NativeScript VS React Native: Learning Curve

No developer having mere JS experience can handle NativeScript and React Native. Let’s think this way. Initially, developers with an Angular background will find NativeScript easier, to begin with. On the other hand, programmers having a React background will find the transition to React Native easier.

One thing to note is, both platforms take advantage of JavaScript. This is an excellent opportunity for front-end developers. Perceiving these frameworks is relatively easier at such times.

Coming to the difference, picking React Native indicates that all you require is JavaScript, while NativeScript offers you support with its declarative coding style.

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NativeScript VS React Native: Development Community

Being used among 42% of programmers, React Native holds a wider community of developers as compared to NativeScript with 11% of the programmer community. In addition, React Native is highly popular as tech giants like Instagram and Tesla chose this framework to build their applications over PhoneGap or NativeScript.

While choosing the ideal framework, pondering on community support is crucial. It might look surprising but NativeScript has been here way longer than React Native. While NativeScript was initially released in 2014, React Native was released on March 26, 2015.

Although the one-year difference might look like an advantage, the rising number of React Native usage is extensively higher than NativeScript. As of the publish date, NativeScript records under 7k downloads weekly while React Native records 533k downloads on npm weekly.

Speaking of contributors, NativeScript holds 208 contributors on GitHub while React Native wins this battle here with more than 2200 contributors. In fact, React Native is used by 720k developers on GitHub while NativeScript is used by more than 3.5k developers.

These margins indicate the wide adoption of React Native in the developer community that impacts the number of third-party libraries, answers, and bug fixes on StackOverflow. All in all, React Native takes the win here.

NativeScript VS React Native: Popularity

Built on JavaScript, both React Native and NativeScript are quite popular. The competition is always neck to neck. Back in 2019, as per the StackOverflow survey, JavaScript has been accounted as the most popular technology.

Javascript

Speaking of web frameworks, React.js has overpowered Angular.js/Angular and Vue.js. Turns out, developers prefer React.js more.

Web frameworks Reactjs

Simultaneously, React Native stands at 10.5% amongst all the respondents.

React Native

The results are here. React Native gathers more attention besides sharing higher popularity than NativeScript.

To sum up, when you choose React Native for your mobile application development, it gets easier for you to,

• Find and hire developers
• Obtain unconditional help from the entire online community
• Search learning resources or components


React Native vs NativeScript: When To Use Which One?

Choosing between these two prominent technologies might not be easy because both have got their own advantages and disadvantages. It rather depends on your project requirements as to which technology is right for you.

However, we have figured out you when you should use NativeScript and React Native.

Choose NativeScript if:

  • You want to develop a cross-platform application
  • You want to develop extensible APIs using the free and in-built plugins & templates
  • You do not need webViews and rather want to develop simple, accessible, and catchy UIs
  • You want to avoid performance issues.

Choose React Native if:

  • You want to build a quick MVP
  • You want to develop real-time apps that send live updates
  • You wish to develop UI-specific mobile apps
  • Your platform needs to be built without 3rd party plugins.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Ideally, the framework is a mix of both hybrid and native. Mobile applications are similar to native ones. However, if the application requires access to any device-specific features like the camera, the native code must be applied along with the React Native UI components. This is where hybrid becomes a part of this framework.

This depends on the needs and functionality of the dream application you want to build. React Native delivers the best for applications that

  • Are supposed to use the exposed APIs
  • Aim to check POC (Proof Of Concept) and MVP.
  • Are supposed to be lightweight, dealing in fashion, lifestyle, business news, etc.
  • Cater to all eCommerce purposes and serve event booking.
  • Hold limited resources

No. React Native is faster than NativeScript due to the Virtual DOM.

Let’s keep it short. Pick the environment that is close to your expertise. If you hold experience in mobile application development, it is better to start with React Native. It will help you get a basic knowledge of this framework. On the other hand, if you have worked with CSS and HTML, starting with React.JS will be easier. Putting hands on familiar technologies will boost your confidence before switching to React Native.

To begin with, you should have a basic understanding of API, web requests, ES6, HTTP protocol, and knowledge of CSS, HTML DOM, NodeJS, and HTML.

Some of the famous React Native apps are Facebook, Instagram, and Walmart.

Some notable Nativescript apps are Daily Nanny, Dwitch, and Strudel.

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