The cross-platform app market is booming thanks to the gracious cross-platform frameworks that enable businesses to cross the threshold and succeed. In this blog, we have presented the quest that aspiring entrepreneurs are stuck with: React Native vs Ionic best cross-platform framework for enterprise app development. Both these frameworks are best as it allows to build prototypes and publish apps with a single source code, so let’s dig in to get the answer to which framework is best, React Native or Ionic, and why.
The blog compares the popular frameworks Ionic and React Native based on parameters such as popularity, architecture, compatibility, framework complexity, developer experience, performance, and more to help you determine which is best for your project.
Introduction to Ionic React vs React Native in 2023
A few years back, hybrid frameworks, including PhoneGap and Ionic, dominated the cross-platform app development market. In order to make it easier to create native apps, React Native entered the market. This required separate specialized teams to create and support mobile apps for iOS and Android.
However, Ionic React and React Native take a different route. They enable you to benefit from having a single codebase and produce cross-platform solutions. However, as Ionic is a hybrid app framework, they do not belong in the same category. Let’s quickly review the important terminology before comparing these two mobile app development alternatives, Ionic React vs React Native in 2023.
Native vs Cross-platform for Mobile App Development
There are several ways to create a mobile application currently. Although using native code results in better performance, it has the drawback of involving two teams to work on the product: one dedicated to the iOS ecosystem and the other to the Android ecosystem.
Following this brief introduction, let’s delve deeper into the two most popular tools for creating cross-platform mobile apps: Ionic and React Native.
Introduction To React Native
The fundamental goal of the React Native framework is to create cross-platform, truly native applications. Objective-C and Swift are the most common programming languages used to create native iOS and Android apps. React Native started out as open-source technology in 2015, and since then, it has grown significantly in popularity. We have also covered a comprehensive piece of article to help you understand why use React Native.
Advantages of React Native
- Native-like performance: React Native ensures good application performance by rendering code components straight to native APIs.
- An interface that feels native: The framework includes a variety of UI elements pre-installed, such as buttons, modules, sliders, etc. This shortens the time required for UI development of apps.
- A hot reload: This is a very helpful feature that React Native supports. It enables the addition of new releases without causing the state of a program to be lost.
- React Native community: Looking to the GitHub metrics, you’ll certainly discover that the React Native ecosystem is vast. As a result, you can always find a response to any related query because the developers are happy to share their expertise and learnings when operating with the framework.
- Pricing: It is free to utilize this potent cross-platform framework and its libraries because it is an open-source project.
Negative aspects of React Native
- Longer period of development: React Native doesn’t support Write-Once-Run-Anywhere. Each screen will need to be made specifically for each platform. Although it ends up taking longer than Ionic development, the end product gives your consumers a genuinely native experience.
- Higher investments: As React Native development time is longer, you may need to invest extra money in it.
- Use of native modules: React Native allows the use of modules written in native languages to perform difficult computations. Developing a complex application may require cooperation with native mobile developers.
- Android app size: The React Native APK size is larger than those developed with native technologies of Java or Kotlin.
Introduction to Ionic
Deliver consistent user experiences across all channels with a single codebase that works everywhere.
Ionic framework, to put it briefly, is a hybrid development tool that enables the creation of apps from a single codebase. The code can then be utilized to create desktop, web, iOS, and Android applications. Ionic was initially offered as a free ebook that outlined the distinctions between hybrid and native apps.
What’s New in Ionic v6
➡ New Components
- Ion-breadcrumb component
- Ion-accordion component
- Revamped ion-datetime
- Ion modal bottom sheet
- Ion modal revamped
- Ion-select restyled
- Ion-item component updated
➡ New Release Cadence: Adjusted Release Schedule
➡ iOS and Android Design Changes
- Pull to refresh
- Toolbar theme update
- The new modal styles for iOS in dark mode
- Collapse option in both ion header and ion footer components
- New input styles
- Error and helper text added
- Character counter added
- ion-select updated to use the latest material designs with popover interface
➡ Performance and Tooling Changes
- Custom elements build
- Multiple build tools (Vite, Rollup, ESBuild)
➡ Ionic Vue Routing
➡ Platform Detection Customization
➡ Type Script Improvements
Advantages of Ionic
- Native-looking UI components: You may create an application that seems native on every platform by using the pre-built UI elements for each platform.
- Rapid testing and development cycle: Code can be tested in browsers without loading a complex emulator.
- Learning curve: There isn’t a big learning curve with Ionic. Knowing Angular, React, or Vue and being familiar with Apache Cordova’s guiding principles are prerequisites for using it.
- Community: The Ionic website claims that 5 million developers have created 4 million Ionic applications. Such popularity guarantees prompt assistance from coworkers in a dedicated Ionic Q&A forum or a Slack channel.
- Pricing: To create apps with a native-like look and feel, the platform provides a free Hobby plan. Ionic Pro is another option with more features for bigger teams. The monthly subscription ranges from $49 to $120.
Disadvantages of Ionic
- Performance restrictions: To render apps, Ionic employs web technologies. When using many callbacks to native code, such a practice has a detrimental impact on the app’s pace and can result in performance problems. Additionally, creating complex visuals or engaging transitions may be difficult. Ionic apps’ performance is consequently inferior to that of native apps.
- Potential bugs: Each new Ionic version, according to developers, has fresh issues. Some of these might be upgrading to the newest releases, using native device features, out-of-date upgrading plugins, etc.
How is React Native vs Ionic similar?
Difference Between Native vs Hybrid App
In essence, hybrid applications are web pages made to appear native and embedded on a mobile device using a WebView. Ionic comes pre-configured with this.
On the other hand, as the name implies, native apps are built in the platform’s native programming language, such as Objective-C or Swift for iOS and Java or Kotlin for Android. They have unrestricted access to every facet of the platform. Facebook developed React Native to address the issues of subpar hybrid responsiveness and an ineffective approach to building native apps.
As a result, many other consumer-focused digital and media companies, including Vogue, Bloomberg, Netflix, and others, started using the paradigm.
Now, because Ionic is a hybrid, programmers can repeat the codes here for several platforms. Ionic apps are unable to utilize native functionalities because of this. In order to incorporate the native functionality, it makes use of the Cordova plugins.
Ionic framework is also not recommended for bigger apps because it could impair their overall efficiency. React Native is the platform of choice if you want to create a cross-platform application with a native feel and style. In contrast, you should definitely think about Ionic, if you want sophisticated user interfaces.
React Native vs Ionic Comparison For Cross Platform App Development
React Native is learned once, write anywhere approach, whereas Ionic writes once, run anywhere” approach. Both Ionic and React Native are a charm for cross-platform app development. It is prudent to look at the circumferential diversification of React Native vs Ionic. So, for your convenience, we have evaluated and tabulated the same within various parameters.
||Available at certain charging stations
||iOS, macOS, tvOS, Windows, Web, Android
||iOS, Web, Android, Electron
||Based on a dynamic runtime approach
||Based on WebView Wrapper
||If you are a newbie, it is quite sharp. No flexibility in the tech stack. Skills in Java/Kotlin, Swift/Objective-C, may be required.
||Ionic is simpler to learn because just rudimentary technical knowledge is required. Additionally, you can select the framework in which you are most skilled.
||Quick basic documentation
||Extremely clear and consistent documentation
||Same codebase can be used for Android and iOS devices. Albeit, a tiny piece of platform-specific code might be required.
||Use the exact same code to develop applications for any platforms, devices and OSs.
||Need a device or an emulator to test React Native efficiently.
||Testing is executed right in the browser.
||Hot reloading features allow real-time rendering.
||Application refreshes instantly after implementing a change.
||React Native application performance is as similar to Native as possible. Few of the native components are used too.
||Applications created with Ionic are comparatively slower.
||Facebook, Bloomberg, Skype
||MarketWatch, Pacifica, McLaren Automotive
At Bacancy, we are familiar with React Native and Ionic platforms, as we are using them on a regular basis.
Guided by experience, connect with our cross-platform mobile app expert to make the right choice between native (React Native) and hybrid development (Ionic).
Functionality of React Native vs Ionic
Functional Components in React Native
Functionality is one of the biggest parameters that create a substantial difference among frameworks. Read on to know the functionality of React Native vs Ionic for mobile app 2023.
This bridge is the precise cause why React native applications virtually behave as if they had been developed natively!
Functional Components in Ionic
Ionic WebView allows adding web-based experiences to native mobile apps
Ionic is based on WebView Wrapper. In contrast, to React Native, which depends on a dynamic runtime strategy, Ionic is built on Cordova, which depends on a Webview component or a chromeless browser view. The WebView component renders an HTML/CSS user interface using the WebKit/Blink HTML layout engine.
React Native vs Ionic Functionality Verdict: Both React Native and Ionic make it simple to increase an app’s native capabilities, and developers should not experience any difficulties using either strategy. As a result, although different approaches are required to get to the end, Ionic and React Native support running native code and accessing Native APIs almost equally.
Popularity Comparison Between React Native vs Ionic
Both Ionic and React Native are blooming in terms of community and popularity. So, React Native or ionic? Let’s find out.
- Over 32K apps were created with React Native, according to research by AppBrain. In contrast, the Ionic framework has been used to create 26K apps.
- Ionic has a market position of 3.72% compared to React Native’s 4.67%.
- If you examine the top applications, 6.38% of them were created using React Native, while Ionic contributed 0.21% only.
- React Native has a market share of 14.51% and is ranked sixth among all technologies in the globe by the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2021. However, Ionic did not make it to the top technology list during this poll.
- React Native, which holds a 38% market share, is the second most widely used cross-platform mobile framework, according to Statista. Ionic, which has a 16% market share, is the fourth most widely used cross-platform mobile framework in comparison.
- Ionic has 47k stars and 13.7K forks, while React Native boasts 102k stars and 22k forks, as per Github.
Verdict: React Native is the winner. Undoubtedly, React Native has much greater popularity than Ionic.
Which one has easier learning curve Ionic or React Native?
Both frameworks’ React Native and Ionic core SDKs contain JS by default. Note that they are not equivalent, though.
How Steep is the Learning Curve for React Native?
Obtaining the required components’ style in React Native is a breeze! Thanks to the basic flex layout. The only restriction is that you must first be acquainted with CSS. You may also be required to understand ES6, Flexbox, Axios for calling APIs, and other prerequisites like Redux with React.
Ionic Has Easier Learning Curve Compared to React Native
In contrast, installing Ionic is simpler. Thanks to npm instructions that install Cordova. You can access a comprehensive list of all Angularjs extensions and services with the element ngcordova. The most significant feature of Ionic is that it has its own online school, Ionic Academy, which offers step-by-step lessons on various levels that significantly improve learning and build efficiency and convenience.
Verdict: Ionic wins this parameter. The grand is much easier, simpler, and fun to learn.
React Native vs Ionic App Performance Comparison
React Native Performance is the ultimate necessity for every framework in the market. If you scroll the internet, you will find numerous blogs entailing the performance difference between the two. Still, none of them present the performance metrics of React Native vs Ionic. So, to assist you in the same, let us compare the two frameworks.
The first comparison metric is the boot time or what we can call the time which your app takes to load. So, boot time can be measured under two aspects the Cold Boot and Warm Boot.
Under this head, React Native and Ionic cruised in at around 1.5 seconds for cold boot times and about 1 second for warm boot times.
The second head is the smoothness of scrolling. It is a general perception that Web Native apps are slower to render. But, when we compared both, there was not much difference that can be observed. It is prudent that at 60 fps, the smoothness is fine for the user. Both ionic and React Native took almost identical times (around 16.67 milliseconds) to perform their operation, which certifies there is not much frame drop.
It is a common belief that when it comes to transitions like “push” and “pop,” the web-native apps lose their native feel when the user navigates along the application’s routed paths into a detail screen and back. But, it is a common belief, not a fact.
The Ionic SDK also falls perfectly into this paradigm. The transitions are not ones that only frameworks that orchestrate native UI controls can accomplish. It is also possible for the web.
Platform-specific or Unified Styling
The market has diverse opinions regarding styling; some say styling should be OS-specific styling and others prefer brand-centric styling. But, Ionic supports both of them. Ionic delivers Adaptive Styling, an Extensive UI Toolkit that makes your app platform adaptive with its nativity intact and without any configuration. But if you like brand-centric styling irrespective of the OS, you can do it by overriding norms using CSS variables.
React Native uses native UI components to achieve that native look and feel. But, irrespective of the platform, both React Native vs Ionic, it is not much difference observable with a typical eye that determines one to prefer one over the other.
CPU Consumption and Energy Impact
Under this segment, we can assure you that Ionic and React Native have a significant observable difference. The React Native apps put a considerable strain on the CPU, while the Ionic ones put much less stress. This is because Ionic has access to the faster JS engine with WKWebView; than the ones using JSCore, like the ones built using React Native. Though it is not observable as the app runs smoothly, it affects the CPU, draining the battery faster and reducing battery life. So, we can give a clear point to Ionic under this head.
How does Ionic stand out in terms of performance?
In contrast, Ionic is actually cross-platform. It is compatible with online, desktop apps built with Electron, iOS, and Android. It is possible to compile a single codebase to serve each or all of these systems with a few small changes.
How does React Native stand out in terms of performance?
Both iOS and Android are the platforms that React Native targets. Using the same codebase, you may develop an application for both platforms. React Native and React are sufficiently similar to allow you to reuse a portion of the same code when developing a web application with React Native, albeit this has limited application.
Verdict: Ionic is the champ in this area due to its cross-platform compatibility for desktop programs and online apps.
Architectural Difference Between React Native vs Ionic
The terms “almost native” and “web-first” can be used to describe the architectural distinctions between React Native and Ionic apps.
React Native Architecture
React Native architecture helps to structure multi-platform mobile applications
Ionic architecture allows building web, cross-platform mobile, and desktop apps with one shared code base
React Native vs Ionic Architecture Verdict: It depends on your project’s constraints and the software’s needs. React Native is a better option if all you want to do is create a mobile application with native app-like features. Ionic is the right choice if you want your mobile app’s design to match that of your site, or if you want to create a mobile app using a web framework.
React Native vs Ionic Language Stack
React Native vs Ionic Running Code and Performance
Wondering why React Native has been ruling the cross-platform mobile development market for quite some time now?
Hire React Native developer from us who are well-versed at fulfilling the varying parameters such as security, scalability, reliability, user experience, testability, and so on.
Ionic stands behind React Native in performance as it uses web technologies to render an app which affects speed. It also doesn’t use native components, and it uses the native wrapper, Cordova, to connect with the native API and adapt app behavior to the underlying platform. Ionic has several components available by default which reduces development time.
It also has a fast testing process and can run directly in a browser. Ionic uses JIT compilation for Android, but for iOS, it is impossible; WKWebView (a platform browser, as default for iOS) supports JIT, so it uses embedded web content in the app. It also provides JIT conversion of JS code to machine code, improving rendering performance.
Verdict: If we compare the performance of React Native vs Ionic, though both are exceptional in terms of their code rendering and performance but React, Native leaves Ionic far behind when it comes to complex and rich apps.
React Native vs Ionic Coding, Building, and Debugging
Well! In this segment of the coding and build process, both Ionic and React Native are not far away from each other. Here also, you can use WebStorm, Visual Studio Code, and ALM to debug on a device and deploy your apps. React Native recommends using an iOS and Android emulator to debug while coding.
Coming onto IDEs or code editors, you can use anyone which has JS ES6 support. Several options are available at your disposal: Visual Studio Code, Atom, WebStorm IDE, ALM IDE, and Angular IDE. Though some are free, the rest are paid, and some are free to use but need payment for additional features. Though the most common way to debug your code is from the Chrome browser itself. Then, you can use Java JDK, Android Studio, ad updated SDK tools for Android while for iOS, XCode on a Mac machine, an iOS device, and an Apple ID, unless you have a paid Apple Developer account.
Ionic vs React Native: Framework Complexity
Given that Ionic apps may be created using a variety of web frameworks, it is tough to distinguish the intricacy of React Native and Ionic properly.
React Native vs Ionic: Documentation
One of the most crucial components of a developer-friendly framework is documentation. Developers can easily solve difficulties and discover answers to their inquiries with the help of clear documentation.
Ionic and React Native both offer excellent documentation. Even editable code examples with outputs are included in React Native’s documentation. Ionic’s documentation also makes up for its lack of editable code samples with the breadth of information offered. Even best practices for integrating your preferred web framework into Ionic are included in the documentation for Ionic.
Verdict: This parameter is a tie because both frameworks have top-notch documentation.
Ionic vs React: Developer Experience
You will feel considerably more at ease using the Ionic programming environment if you are a web developer.
As a mobile developer, you’ll feel more at ease with the React Native development expertise because it’s similar to natively designing an app.
Verdict: It comes down to personal opinion as to which framework offers the best development experience. If you run into trouble, both frameworks have excellent documentation and a wealth of resources.
React Native vs Ionic Cost of Development
Both models provide cost and time-saving benefits from a business standpoint. Ionic is, nevertheless, significantly less expensive than React Native when comparing the two frameworks.
This is due to the fact that Ionic enables you to create hybrid apps that will run on several platforms by only creating the app once and using a single codebase. Although React Native is free, hiring a skilled React Native developer might run you a sizable sum of money. The cost of hiring React Native developers starts from $20
On the other hand, depending on the functionality, you can choose between the open-source and premium versions of Ionic. Ionic has three different pricing tiers: Basic ($499/month), Standard ($2499/month), and Enterprise ($5999/month) (custom pricing).
Verdict: React Native wins. Ultimately, creating a top-notch app requires a large investment including Ionic and React Native. React Native, on the other hand, comes out on top when it comes to a framework that can assist you in building an app that comes the nearest to a native experience.
Decide on React Native if,
- You’ve already implemented React Native into your website or application.
- Your development team is a React guru.
- Your project’s reliance on native platforms is crucial and significant.
- You have the necessary resources and the necessary time to build your project.
- You already have enough money on hand or a flexible budget to cover the high development costs.
Opt for Ionic Native if,
- You’re planning to develop Progressive Web Apps (PWA) in the future.
- You want to employ web development capabilities to deliver a web and mobile experience.
- You are seeking a framework that will guarantee future high performance.
- You desire to create and expand enterprise-level, mission-critical apps.
- You have experience in web programming and want to create an app for entrepreneurs.
Are you not familiar with React Native and Ionic platforms?
Connect with React Native App Development Company like us. We use them on a regular basis. Let’s make the right choice between native (React Native) and hybrid development (Ionic).
The React Native team is consulting with the developer community as it makes some significant architectural changes to React Native. Recently, the React Native team declared that Microsoft would be helping them expand support for desktop apps. This implies that the desktop version of your software might be produced using the same codebase. It’s big news, especially for chat application developers as most users anticipate desktop functionality in chat apps.
On the flip side, Ionic has established itself as nimble and flexible to its user base, continuously enhancing the framework and releasing new versions. Implementing new capabilities, like Ionic Payments, is a great sign that the Ionic team wants to grow and bring new and enhanced functionality. In a nutshell, we were able to solve the dilemma of choosing right cross-platform app development framework between React Native vs Ionic in 2023 as both appear to have promising futures.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Both React Native and Ionic have a sizable community, considerable acceptance by major corporations, and widespread customer use of mobile applications.
Both each have distinctive qualities and diverse environments. Both serve distinct purposes and prove to be advantageous in a slew of instances. To further comprehend how Ionic and React Native function and the benefits and drawbacks of each, refer to the content above.
You will be able to create fantastic mobile applications using Ionic and access native features like GPS, maps, or audio. With the same time and knowledge needed to construct a website, these functionalities are prepared for deployment into the Play Store and App Store.
The development of React Native is simple for programmers who have experience with iOS or Android. In comparison to Ionic, the learning curve for a React programmer to comprehend and troubleshoot a React Native application is larger.
React Native, on the other hand, has the shining accomplishment of being able to access the native features of mobile devices, giving your mobile application a more native appearance and experience.