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Ionic vs. React Native: What to Choose in 2018?

React Native Vs Ionic

Going Mobile’ is no longer a question of ‘why’ but ‘when’! Desktop programs and websites are getting replaced by mobile applications which drive business value and growth. The true workhorse behind the mobile applications is development frameworks that help companies to deliver superior customer experience at reduced costs. React Native and Ionic are popular examples of development frameworks.


The Ionic framework is an open-source framework used for creating amazing native and progressive web apps using HTML5, AngularJS, CSS, and Apache Cordova. However, the Ionic Pro version of the framework comes with a premium subscription. The framework uses Just-in-Time (JIT) compilation at run-time for Android-based devices and WKWebView browsers for iOS platforms.

React Native

The React Native framework was introduced by the developers at Facebook to facilitate full-blown JavaScript development at the social media networking firm for the first time. Unlike Ionic framework, the React Native framework combines the best of both the worlds—JavaScript and ReactJS—and does not utilize WebView browsers at the compile-time. It is known for creating high-performance native applications.

Take a closer look at the pros and cons of both the frameworks based on several parameters:




React Native


An Ionic framework does not give same performance on the smartphone and the web portal, as it requires PhoneGap or Cordova plug-in.

React Native framework does not rely on plug-ins for building mobile apps and web portal as the framework has a seamless architecture.


The framework relies on Just-in-Time (JIT) compilation at run-time for Android-based devices while WKWebView browsers for the iOS platform.


React Native frameworks do not require applications to be wrapped in WebView browsers as the ReactJS component takes care of run-time compilation.

Learning Curve

From an amateur’s perspective, the Ionic framework is easy to grasp as it is identical to CSS. It has a large following within the online community.

React Native framework can be mastered only by experienced developers. Unlike a developer working on Ionic, a React Native coder needs an understanding of the ReactJS, JSX, as well as Redux languages.



An app built around the Ionic framework depends on the speed of WebView browsers.


React Native essentially guarantees faster and better performance of apps owing to its cross-platform nature. Additionally, the framework is enriched with a “React Fiber” algorithm to boost overall app performance from an end user’s perspective.



Ionic-based apps can be run and tested instantly in a browser as compared to the React Native framework.


Applications developed using the React Native framework take longer than expected for testing as they require an emulator or a real device.






The Ionic framework is based on the MVC pattern and creates multiple views from the same data. This allows designers and developers to see the relevant view during the course of app development.


React Native framework does not have an MVC workflow pattern, which limits data views for designers and developers during various phases of the project life-cycle.



The Ionic framework is supported by a large community of developers who offer instant solutions to mitigate risks during the development and bug-fixing process. The documentation lists the most likely issues and ways to troubleshoot them.


React Native framework does not support robust documentation from the developer community. The documents do not address the coding or troubleshooting procedures as in the case of Ionic.



An Ionic framework offers a Live Reload option for packaging of desired components. This option cannot be used for pages that send an HTTP request to the server.


The React Native framework offers a Hot Reload feature that allows developers to package components as many times as desired while retaining all the input and data operations done in the first instance.


User Controls

The Ionic framework is flexible and follows the rule “write once, run everywhere.” All forms of style elements are rendered uniformly irrespective of devices running on Android or iOS devices.

When it comes to user controls and style elements, React Native is a bit tricky. It calls for customizing controls such as shaded buttons distinctively for the iOS and Android platforms.



The Choice: React Native vs. Ionic

The option of choosing a specific framework depends on the skills of the development team, objective of building the app, targeted time-frame for development, and requirements of the potential users or buyers. If a business wants to build an application that can deploy faster and use the characteristics of a native as well as a progressive web app, it is suggested to choose an Ionic framework for app development. On the other hand, if an application is intended to be created and tested on a long-term basis with a range of requirements that call for a seamless and interactive user-centric interface, then React Native would be the ideal go-to framework.