React Native vs Ionic vs NativeScript vs Android/iOS Native for App Development
Native and Hybrid App Development

This article will help you understand the pros and cons of some of the most frequently used native mobile app development frameworks at present. As mobile applications are always in high demand, it is always a good time to learn if you’re just getting started or if you’re trying to make the right choice for your business in terms of selecting the perfect framework to suit the needs of your application.

Frameworks for Mobile App Development

React Native

React Native | Fonseka Innovations
React Native App Development

React Native is a cross-platform framework created and developed by Facebook. It allows developers to create Android and iOS apps using JavaScript. React Native helps you save development time by enabling developers to code once and deploy to Android and iOS platforms. It is a framework that creates a hierarchy of UI components to build the application. It has a set of components for both iOS and Android platforms to build mobile application with a native look and feel.

Pros

  • Low development cost as the code can be reused to develop applications for Android, iOS, Windows Phone.
  • Can use JSX to program your application with combined JavaScript, HTML and JSX.
  • Better performance and hardware functionalities.
  • Uses multiple cores simultaneously so, your JavaScript code runs on one core and the app view runs on another core.

Cons

  • There might be bugs when converting HTML to native code, therefore need to understand the native code for the platform.
  • Android has a fewer functionalities than iOS applications.

Ionic

Ionic | Fonseka Innovations
Ionic App Development

Ionic is a hybrid mobile development framework. This means that the application can be used in the same manner with the given UI for all platforms. Ionic uses plugins like PhoneGap/Cordova to deliver a native-like experience. It is an open-source framework and contains many developer-friendly tools for application development.

Pros

  • Hybrid web development makes it easy to develop one application and deploy to multiple platforms.
  • Testing can be done in the browser, which makes it easy to develop.
  • Allows you code in TypeScript.
  • Contains many plugins to use native platform functionalities.

Cons

  • Performance issues when having many call-backs to the native code.
  • The same UI for all platforms will not depend on the native UI.
  • Development of highly advanced graphics or highly interactive transitions can be a complex job.

NativeScript

NativeScript | Fonseka Innovations
NativeScript App Development

NativeScript allows you to use either JavaScript or TypeScript for development. It was developed by Telerik. NativeScript uses the native platform's rendering engine, which means that it provides a truly native user experience rather than rendering a web view like Cordova.

Pros

  • Cross-platform support.
  • Single code-base for developing apps for all the supported platforms.
  • Complete Native API access (Hardware, camera, touch, and other features).
  • Developer support from Telerik.

Cons

  • Plugins need to be verified before implementing the project.
  • App size is much larger than ReactNative or Ionic.
  • Slow internet connection causes the application to reduce performance.
  • There’s no support of HTML and DOM in NativeScript.

Android / iOS Native App Development

IOS and Android | Fonseka Innovations
Android / iOS App Development

Pros

  • The performance of the application is much faster and works with all the features of the device.
  • Has full support from the system and the relevant marketplaces to download.
  • Native development ensures the application is secure.

Cons

  • Will be a problem with multiple device sizes.
  • Should be able to keep track of the native features to test the application.
  • Cost of the maintenance is higher than the above-mentioned frameworks.
  • Cannot be used as cross-platform as it depends on the system UI.

You can get started with Android by reading the guides at this link or read about Swift Development for applications.

Comparison

Compare | Fonseka Innovations
Compare Frameworks

We use development, workflow, extensibility and performance as the key factors for the comparison of these frameworks.

Development

When it comes to development, React Native uses Flexbox for layering out the user interface. This may make it easier for web developers as it has the same concepts as the web version. React Native uses JavaScript functionality but does not have the same JavaScript environment as what you find on a web browser.

Ionic is the easiest when it comes to learning. The application is built using HTML, CSS and JavaScript which is pretty much the same process as developing a web site. Since Ionic runs in a WebView, most JavaScript libraries should work the same.

NativeScript users the XML-base language for the user interface. It adds CSS styling and JavaScript functionality to bind it all together. NativeScript lets the developer use the default styling or chose what they want depending on the target device. NativeScript encourages you to use TypeScript and Angular, but since it is a JS framework, we can switch to plain JS to increase functionality.

There isn’t much to say about the native frameworks. In order to develop the application with Android or iOS, we need to user Android Studio or XCode, in that respective order.

Development Workflow

Android and iOS workflows would be pretty similar in installing the relevant IDEs and generating the project. Learn more about the IDEs. The other three frameworks will require you to generate a new project using the command line and building the UI using the given components. Then you can start adding the styling and functionality. The only differences are the tools used for developing and debugging apps. Chrome developer tools can be used to debug either framework, but React Native, and NativeScript might require their relevant debuggers to debug all features of the application.

Extensibility

React Native comes with a small collection of hardware APIs to access native device features. Apart from it, there are more third-party JS plugins to ensure the other hardware component are well connected if required. React Native also provides the module to create its native components.

When it comes to Ionic, it uses the Cordova plugins to access the native device APIs to connect the hardware components. Similar to React Native, customer-side components can be implemented if required for the application through Cordova.

NativeScript gives access to all native platform’s API through JavaScript. All the plugins can be found in the NativeScript Marketplace.

Performance

Out of the three, Ionic will have the worst performance while NativeScript and React Native will have a performance that’s very close to their native counterparts. Even though Ionic has the worst performance, it might be best for some applications if it requires a simple UI, not many animations and does not require much native device features.

Conclusion

To conclude this comparison, it can be decided that choosing the correct development framework depends on the application. If it requires less native behaviour you can choose Ionic, or if you require more depth with cross-platform to utilise the hardware components, then the choice will be between React Native and NativeScript. NativeScript is suitable for high performance, but React Native is still growing and is backed by Facebook; therefore, it might tend to overpower NativeScript. If the application requires only one platform, I highly suggest the native development framework of that platform as it will boost the performance of the application.

If you find some of the information provided a bit confusing and you’re looking to create your very own mobile application, you can contact us at Fonseka Innovations. We may cater to your requirements using our wide experience with all these frameworks.

Fonseka Innovations
Fonseka Innovations

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