React Native Vs. Ionic - Which Framework Is Better?

React Native vs Ionic: Which is The Best Framework?

By Shrikant Srivastava
September 13, 2018 5 min read
Last update on: October 31, 2019

Originally published September 13, 2018, updated October 31st, 2019.

Mobile app development isn’t the same as it used to be. The process included simple decisions like designs, features, and cost of building the application. The scenario has completely changed now. Mobile app development now depends on one of the most crucial factors: Which framework to choose for app development?

There are various platforms like Flutter, React Native, Ionic, Angular, etc. that are in the spotlight already. Each one of these is suitable to perfect different features in a mobile application. Recently Node.js and PHP also joined the list of famous platforms after starting some serious debates in the industry.

{Bonus: Know the top 10 Cross-platform platform frameworks for 2020}

When it comes to comparison of top development platforms, there are a ton of things to be compared. In one of our previous blogs, we chose a clear winner between Flutter vs React Native and even React Native vs Hybrid apps for that matter by comparing as many factors as we could.

The two most preferred platforms that we will talk about in this article are: React Native and Ionic.

React Native was developed by Facebook using JavaScript which is the most used language by the developers. Vue.js and React.js are two of the best frameworks of JavaScript.

Ionic mobile framework was developed by Drifty in 2013 and uses TypeScript for development. The latest version is Ionic 4.7.1.

Before moving forward towards the comparison between React vs Ionic, let’s get a clearer picture, let us understand each term individually:

Ionic

Ionic is an open-source platform for hybrid app development which uses JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5. Ionic framework app development mainly focus on the appearance, feel and UI. Ionic uses a combination of Apache Cordova and Angular which gives developers a reason to choose it more often. What is more, Ionic is an ideal choice for PWA development. 

The Ionic mobile framework also offers developers tools like Sass, HTML5, and CSS to develop hybrid mobile applications that can be easily run in Android, iOS or Windows. It gives serious competition to its contender in the battle of Ionic vs React Native.

Benefits of Ionic framework

  • Apps built with Ionic can be deployed in Android, iOS, and Windows with only one-time development.
  • Gives facility to build using tools like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS.
  • Ionic framework app development focuses majorly on the Ul designing to make the user interaction a great experience.
  • Ionic gives developers ease of development by allowing them to choose from multiple already existing elements to create an application.

What’s new in Ionic 4?

Ionic 4 is one of the latest upgrades for this development platform. The newest version has striking new features and when measuring the performance of Ionic 3 vs Ionic 4, we will see who wins.

Web Components

This new version came with many surprising changes and one of them is the fact that they have moved to web components for every component. 

These web components are a cluster of web platform APIs helping developers in creating custom and reusable HTML tags that are used in web pages and web apps as well. They are considered amazing as they push work to the browser without the need for writing code. This boosts up the performance in terms of load and startup time. When it comes to Ionic 4 vs React Native, this feature poses as one of the main reasons why developers go for Ionic.

Stencil

Stencil is a web component compiler that is used to perform many functions such as create standard-compliant web components, enables to work with JavaScript frameworks like React, Preact, and more. It helps in utilizing additional APIs like Virtual DOM, TypeScript, JSX, etc. such amazing features are surely the reason why developers use Ionic framework.

Ionic CLI 4.0

Ionic CLI, an acronym for Command Line Interface, is an Ionic framework tool offering numerous helpful commands to the programmers. It is an engine allowing you to pick another framework when forming an Ionic project. What is more, it is built with the intention to make it compatible with Angular CLI, so that developers can enjoy the benefits of them both. No doubt that this feature is a big step in making the Ionic framework app development process more effective.     

Ionic Native 5

Ionic Native 5 is responsible for bringing the projects to a complete framework-agnostic stage where the components can work in any framework, or no framework at all as well. If anyone wants to use providers or injectables, then they need to use Ionic Native 5 with Angular 5.

Lazy loading

Lazy loading is a technique where the content is not loaded all at once but as needed. This was first introduced in Ionic 3 which enhances the speed of the app. Mobile app development companies like Appinventiv already use lazy loading for better app performance. Without lazy loading, apps become slower for the reason that all the data is being loaded at the same time.

React Native

React Native, in simple terms, is a platform to create apps for specific operating systems. It allows developers to reuse the codes so that they do not have to build a whole new app from scratch. React Native was developed by Facebook and shares JavaScript that can easily be used for both Android and iOS.

Since the coding of Android and iOS apps are quite different, companies find it convenient to hire react native developers since they can develop in either Android or iOS.

[Extra: React Native vs Native Apps: When To Use Which Mobile App Development Platform]

Benefits of React native app development

  • Codes developed once can be used on either Android or iOS platforms. 
  • Any issues relating to the React Native Android apps or iOS apps can be solved quickly. 
  • The majority of the React Native app development company shows how it is preferred by the developers and businesses. 
  • React Native is constantly improving and with every new upgrade app development becomes interesting and innovative.

Any issues relating to the React Native Android apps or iOS apps can be solved quickly which makes up for one of the reasons why some developers may convert Ionic apps to React Native.

The majority of the React Native app development company shows how it is preferred by the developers and businesses. React Native is constantly improving and with every new upgrade app development becomes interesting and innovative.

Features of react native

  • React native is reusable and hence saves cost. The same code can be deployed in Android and iOS which reduces the development time and cost. Even though the reduction is not much still reduces the overall cost.
  • It has virtual-Dom support which lets you see the changes made in one window, immediately on the other window.
  • The community of react native developers is quite huge and that is the reason companies are looking to hire react native developers at all times.
  • This platform lets other developers peek into the code structure so that they can study and build on it further.

Ionic vs React Native: Which is better?

React native vs Ionic has been in debate numerous times and everyone ends up having a different reason to choose either of the two. The comparison table below shows differences with basis between React native and Ionic:

Basis Ionic React Native
Release 2013 2015
Developer Drifty.co Facebook
Languages Coded in TypeScript Codes in JSX
Reusability Same code can be used to develop Android, iOS and Windows phone, web and PWA Same code can be used to develop Android, iOS and Windows mobile apps
Performance Average since it uses web-view Excellent performance
Community support Okay Strong
Documentation Very clear and consistent documentation Quite basic documentation
Ease of development Written only once and can be reused anywhere Learned once and can be written anywhere
Learning Easy to learn with plenty of pre-developed and pre-designed elements Very few pre-developed elements which result in long learning time
Testing Can be tested on any browser Needs a mobile device

According to you who won the react native vs ionic?

By now you must have gotten an idea about the basic differences between these two. Both React native and ionic are different from each other and each of them provides different benefits. To choose one from react native vs ionic will not be an easy task.

The Ionic and React native platforms have been compared briefly in the table above but for better understanding, we will look at some points in detail:

  • Design
    When it comes to comparing design of the app between React Native vs Ionic 4, the latter takes the medal. The Ionic framework allows developers to use a pre-developed elegant component that is not available in the React Native framework. The absence of the ability to design an attractive app does not make React Native is a wise choice if someone is looking for appearances.
  • Performance
    When comparing React Native vs Ionic performance,  React Native Android apps have an excellent performance record for a long time whereas Ionic doesn’t match it anywhere near. The reason is as simple as Ionic using web-view in mobile application development. Even though Ionic apps are well designed yet they don’t beat React Native in performance.
  • Community and Plugins
    React Native has strong community support and a variety of plugins available. The massive React Native community is always active and continuously helping each other. On the other hand, the Ionic community developers also solve any problems or issues but lack a huge number of plugins to obtain native features.
  • Cost
    The cost of developing an app based on Ionic 4 vs React Native is cheaper. Since the codes can be reused in different platforms in Ionic app development, it relatively reduces the costs of development. Many mobile app companies use Ionic app development when the projects are strictly budget bound.
    React Native app development, on the other hand, is slightly costly when compared to Ionic development.

What do brands prefer?

Before we move forward to the conclusion, let’s take a look at which brands used Ionic framework and which brands used the React Native framework. The table below lists some of the most renowned apps of all times:

Brands that used Ionic framework for development Brands that used React Native framework for development
MarketWatch Facebook Ads Manager
Pacifica Instagram
Sworkit Myntra
JustWatch UberEats
McDonalds Turkiye Airbnb
ChefSteps Gyroscope
Untappd Discord

So, which of the two should you choose?

Now that we have seen each and every aspect of both the development platforms, we can say that nobody can tell for sure that one is better than the other in every aspect. Both the development platforms are good for app development but each is used to fulfill a particular need that the other has not fulfilled yet.

If you need less cost, easy to build with excellent designs and great user interface then Ionic framework will be the best option.

If you need plugins, strong community, glitch-free performance even with large data then React Native will provide that.

Many mobile app development companies are looking for solutions to build apps with excellent performance at a faster rate. This can be done with react native framework as it used JavaScript which makes the development process fast.

But when we compare both the frameworks on overall results, React Native is a clear winner. The reason being its performance, efficiency, quality, development time and the strong community that backs it up. For the same reason, we see many big brands like Myntra, Instagram, Airbnb, UberEats, etc. using react native app development for themselves.

The future of Ionic framework of app development looks challenging with the constant upgrades in React Native framework. Ionic used to be preferred widely but due to the risks involved in the development developers are shifting to react native at a fast pace.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Which is best React Native or Ionic?

Well, it is not reasonable to give a one-word answer to this question, as there are many parameters on which these two frameworks are compared. React Native may excel at something where Ionic is not that efficient and vice versa. However, they both are highly popular among developers and praised for their features.

Shrikant Srivastava
Shrikant Srivastava
VP Technology
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