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Aug 7, 2023

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NativeScript vs. React Native: Which One to Pick ?

Find out which framework suits your needs better: NativeScript vs. React Native. Discover their pros and cons here!

 

Suppose you are looking for a way to build cross-platform mobile apps using JavaScript. In that case, you might have come across two popular frameworks: React Native vs. NativeScript. Both allow you to create native-like apps with one codebase and seamless performance. However, they also have some differences that might influence your choice. 

 

Thus, this article will compare NativeScript vs. React Native in various aspects. By the end, you should have a better idea of which framework suits your needs better.

 

 

What is React Native?

 

React Native is a JavaScript framework created by Facebook that lets you build cross-platform mobile apps using React. It uses a multi-threaded model where JavaScript and the app’s interface run on separate threads. In other words, the UI is not blocked by the JavaScript execution and remains responsive. 

 

To communicate with the platform and render its UI components, the framework uses a bridge and JSX syntax. Remember that React is the only supported JavaScript framework. Thus, being familiar with its concepts and syntax is crucial when using this technology.

 

What is NativeScript?

 

 

NativeScript is a popular alternative to React Native. It is an open-source framework that lets you build cross-platform mobile apps. You can use JavaScript or TypeScript along with any JavaScript framework of your choice, including Vue, React, Svelte, and Angular. 

 

NativeScript uses a single-threaded model to access device APIs directly from JavaScript without any wrappers or bridges. In other words, you can use any native feature or library in your app without leaving your JavaScript code. Additionally, you can use XML or HTML-like syntax to create native UI components with NativeScript’s declarative UI layer.

 

NativeScript vs. React Native: 5 Key Differences

 

 

Now that we have a basic understanding of these technologies. Let’s compare NativeScript vs. React Native in various aspects.

 

Architecture: How They Differ

 

As mentioned earlier, NativeScript operates with a single-threaded model where the JavaScript code and platform run on the same thread. Thus, there is no need for a bridge or a wrapper to access native features or libraries. And you can use any native API directly from your JavaScript code without any overhead or limitations. However, suppose your JavaScript code is not optimized or asynchronous. In that case, there may be performance issues and UI glitches.

 

In contrast, React Native follows a multi-threaded model where the JavaScript code is executed on a separate thread from the platform. This ensures a smooth and responsive UI by separating the JavaScript execution from the UI rendering. However, there is a need for a bridge to communicate between the two and render native UI components. This adds complexity and overhead to the communication between JavaScript and native code. 

 

In addition, the bridge is responsible for serializing and deserializing data between JavaScript and native code. This process may introduce some performance issues or bugs. Also, you might face limitations and challenges when using native features or libraries the bridge does not support.

 

Performance: Which is Faster?

 

The performance of NativeScript is heavily reliant on the quality of your JavaScript code and the use of platform APIs. Without any bridges or wrappers, you can fully utilize the power of the platform without any added overhead. 

 

However, you must be cautious not to block the UI thread with synchronous or heavy JavaScript operations. Additionally, you should know that there is no automatic memory management in NativeScript. Thus, manual management of memory allocation and garbage collection is necessary.

On the other hand, React Native’s performance depends largely on how well the bridge works and how well you optimize your app for each platform. 

 

Since a bridge is involved, transferring significant amounts of data between JavaScript and native code can lead to performance issues or bottlenecks. You also have to deal with platform-specific problems or bugs that might affect your app’s functionality or appearance. In some cases, you can improve your app’s performance by using native modules or libraries whenever possible. This is because they bypass the bridge and run directly on the platform.

 

As you can see, both frameworks can offer good performance for cross-platform mobile apps. However, achieving optimal results requires optimization and fine-tuning. 

 

UI and Design: Flexibility and Customization

 

With NativeScript, you can utilize XML or HTML-like syntax to create native UI components. You also have the option to style these components using CSS or SASS. Likewise, React Native uses JSX syntax to create native UI components, with the option to apply CSS-like stylesheets.

 

Whichever framework you choose, you can add logic and behavior with JavaScript or TypeScript.

Both have built-in UI components, including buttons, labels, text fields, images, and lists. Moreover, you can incorporate any native UI component or library available on the platform. Not only that, but you can also create custom UI using JavaScript, TypeScript, or third-party libraries and plugins. When comparing NativeScript vs. React Native, we can see both frameworks offer flexibility and customization options for creating native UI components for cross-platform mobile apps. 

 

However, NativeScript might have an edge in terms of using native UI components or libraries directly from JavaScript without any wrappers or bridges. On the other hand, React Native might have an edge in terms of using JSX syntax, which is more familiar and expressive for React developers.

 

Cross-Platform Capabilities: A Comparison

 

NativeScript allows for cross-platform development by allowing direct access to each platform's APIs through JavaScript. Thus, you can use any native feature or library available on each platform without any limitations or dependencies. However, it is crucial to be aware of each platform’s differences and nuances and handle them accordingly in your code. Sometimes, you may need to write platform-specific code or logic if the platforms differ significantly.

 

In contrast, React Native’s cross-platform capabilities are based on its ability to render native UI components using a bridge between JavaScript and native code. Thus, you can use a common UI layer across both platforms without worrying about their differences. However, this approach may have limitations or challenges when using some native features or libraries that the bridge does not support. In such cases, you may need to write platform-specific code or logic if the bridge does not work well.

 

Integration with Other Technologies: Seamless Connections

 

NativeScript is framework-agnostic and allows you to use any web development framework—including Vue, React, Svelte, and Angular—to build your app’s UI and logic. To test your app’s code and behavior, you can choose from various testing tools or frameworks compatible with JavaScript or TypeScript, such as Jest, Mocha, or Jasmine.

 

On the other hand, React Native is based on React and allows you to use native modules or libraries via the bridge. In other words, you will use React as the web development framework to create your app’s UI and logic. In addition, you can use any testing tool or framework compatible with React or JavaScript—like Jest, Enzyme, and Detox—to test your app’s code and behavior.

 

Whether you choose NativeScript or React Native, backend service or API available on the platform or the web can be used—such as Firebase, AWS, and GraphQL—to connect your app to data and functionality. 

 

In general, both frameworks offer good integration options with other technologies to enhance your app development and functionality. Nevertheless, NativeScript might have an advantage in terms of using any web development framework of your choice without any limitations or dependencies.

 

NativeScript vs. React Native: Which One Is For You?

 

 

So, NativeScript vs. React Native, which framework should you choose for your cross-platform mobile app development? The answer depends on your preferences, requirements, and goals. Both frameworks have their pros and cons. Nonetheless, both can help you create high-quality, native-like mobile apps with one codebase. 

 

We hope this article has helped you make an informed decision by comparing React Native vs. NativeScript in various aspects. Happy coding!

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