This blind selection can impact the app’s performance, cost of development, and may limit the app's functionality ultimately hurting your users’ experience.
If you are also doing the same, you need to read this blog where we will do a comparative analysis - React Native vs NativeScript. It helps you select the right one.
A Quick Overview Before We Do React Native vs NativeScript Comparison
Both are open-source frameworks with access to native APIs. They are used to build apps separately for android and iOS devices without doing the hectic task of writing different codes for each platform. Let’s have a quick overview of the two.
Besides this, developers don’t have to use the wrappers for re-purposing third-party libraries when working with NativeScript. The framework also has some notable features such as:
• Easy set-up process
• Single codebase
• Code sharing ability
• No need to write code for binding layers as the framework works on native API reflection
• Angular integration and Vue.js integration
However, NativeScript does not offer web views.
It is also an open-source free framework released in early 2015 by Facebook. However, it came into existence in 2013 when Facebook developed it for one of its projects.
Gradually, the mobile app development framework gained popularity among developers for offering the following features:
• A single codebase means no need to write separate code for the Android and iOS app
• The fast refresh feature saves developers’ time during code updating
• Modular and intuitive architecture that saves time of both different developers and testers in comprehending the code or building suitable testing scenarios for it
• Easy integration into the iOS project as it supports CocoaPods
It works on learn once, use anywhere philosophy, and lets you build apps without using HTML or DOM to build UI. Rather, you can use native app components from the device for it. Developers can freely use all these features without worrying about losing the application quality.
So, What Sets Them Apart?
Despite offering almost similar features, they do not give the same result. Plus, it is not always possible that a certain framework will suit every project’s requirement. There are certain areas where one beat the other and becomes a more favourable option among developers. Knowing those areas is important to decide which one is best suited for your mobile app development project.
React Native vs NativeScript: Key Comparison Areas
Both the frameworks have almost similar performance, so developers don’t have to worry much about it. However, the type of application you are building can alter the performance. For example, if you are building a simple input output forms then you can get desired experience whether you are working with react native or NativeScript.
In case, your application is going to have complex features like animations then it is important to focus on app’s performance. Here, react native is a clear winner because the framework works on separate threads for each process.
On the other hand, NativeScript also promises good performance of an application. But not in the case when you are developing a complex application.
Conclusion: React Native beats NativeScript when developing complex applications.
While developing a mobile application one must ensure that user does not experience app stuttering. It is caused by the slow rendering of UI forcing the application to skip few of the frames. As a result, the user must wait for the app to perform smoothly. It is the common reason behind shifting of users from a poor stuttering application to one that offers them a non-interruptive experience.
To ensure your app does not stutter, you must choose a framework that renders UI with a speed of 60 frames per second.
Here, virtual DOM can help speeding up the UI rendering process. Both frameworks use virtual DOM, however one is faster than the other due to its thread model architecture.
React Native uses separate threads for each process. For example, a UI thread is used for manipulating host views and the logic part of the application can be handled using a JS thread. Due to the use of a separate thread any change in the application state does not affect the real DOM, a copy of it gets changed instead which makes UI rendering smooth and fast.
On the other hand, Native Script works on a single-threaded model that affects UI rendering while JS code execution. As a result, rendering is slow making it a less preferable option.
Conclusion: Due to faster UI rendering, React Native framework ensures better app performance in comparison to NativeScript.
Ease of Learning
As both frameworks are in demand, more and more app developers and students are showing interest in learning them. But without knowing the prerequisites, it is quite difficult to get a good understanding of React-Native and NativeScript.
Conclusion: It depends on individual’s capability and how soon they can master it. For a freshman, learning any of these two will be difficult and time-consuming in the beginning. But for those with good experience in the above-mentioned prerequisites, React Native and NativeScript are not a challenge to learn.
Ease of Testing
Application testing is a crucial step in mobile app development to remove any glitches and ensure that app is working perfectly as per pre-set requirements. However, when working with React Native or NativeScript frameworks the ease of testing is not the same.
React Native does not offer any official support for unit-level testing of applications. In other words, QAs should use third-party application testing tools to discover any bugs or glitches in the RN apps.
Moreover, there is no facility to automate the deployment steps. Developers must deploy the app using Xcode manually.
The same issue does not occur with the NativeScript framework as it has its own QA workflow to ease the testing process. The framework supports unit-level testing by integrating a tool called Karma and external tools like Appium for functional testing. This in-built testing feature eases the work of QA.
Conclusion: Testing NS apps is easier as compared to RN apps.
Since React Native is developed by Facebook, the framework easily got a huge community support. According to a survey, there is more than 40 percent of React developers as against 11 percent of NativeScript developers.
Moreover, the React contributors on community platforms like StackOverflow and GitHub are more in numbers. In case they encounter any issues or get stuck somewhere during the development, they can always get help from those contributors.
If we believe the statistics, more than 2200 contributors on GitHub are from React Native backgrounds. NativeScript, on the other end, has somewhere around 200+ contributors on GitHub. This vast community support to React Native shows how popular the framework is.
Conclusion: React Native is a popular choice among developers.
Third-Party Plugins and Marketplace
When developing a mobile application, one may need plugins to access native APIs of either android or iOS. NativeScript marketplace offers direct access to those APIs through pre-built and open-source plugins for native device functionalities.
It got 400 plugins to integrate with visual studio, Gradle, WebStorm, cocoapods, firebase, etc. All you have to do is download the npm package and install it on your system.
Whereas React Native also have plugins and libraries to integrate with these platforms. But there are chances you may or may not find all the libraries you require on its directory. In that case, search on npm registry and once you get it, the next step is installation. However, using these resources always have some risk as all the resources come from third-party sources.
Conclusion: Pick NativeScript if you don’t want to go through installation process and wants more secure resources.
One of the best benefits of both React Native and NativeScript framework is developers don’t have to know multiple programming languages to write different code for each platform. They can reuse the same code for building applications for multiple platforms.
However, there is a limit on the amount of code’s reusability which makes code sharing an important factor when comparing the two. The code-sharing percentage depends on the type of application, components, and customization level. If the developed application has simple features and is not much customized, then around 90 percent of the code can be shared. But if the application has more native components and sophisticated code then developers cannot share the code completely.
React native does not offer high code-sharing benefits as it styles each component individually to give a more native-like appeal to the application interface. Thus, the code-sharing percentage is low in this framework.
On the other hand, NativeScript allows developers to share more code compared to React-Native because of its write code once and run anywhere concept.
Conclusion: If you don’t want to do the difficult task of writing code again and again, then choose NativeScript.
React Native or NativeScript: What to Choose?
Choosing between the two is not easy as the above factors depend strongly on the project requirements. What you want to achieve at the end will help you decide which framework is best for you. To ease your work, we have a mentioned few cases that helps you decide when to choose React Native and NativeScript.
Choose React Native for Building Apps
• That support both third-party modules and native plugins
• Have a simple UI but offers fast-loading features
• Require easy maintenance
• Send upgrades and updates in real-time
• Have stable architecture for multiple devices
Choose NativeScript for Building Apps
• That work on cross-platforms
• Work on augmented reality
• Compatible with Vue and Angular framework
• Whose code can be shared with mobile or web apps platforms without affecting the performance
• Does not require WebView and has simple, interactive, and accessible UIs
React Native and NativeScript frameworks make mobile app development faster and easier without suffocating developers to write multiple codes for each platform. They can develop any application to have native app features and works on both Android and iOS.