React Native Vs Cordova: How To Choose The Right Platform for Mobile App Development?

There are numerous tools and technologies today that can potentially accelerate any mobile app development process. React Native vs Cordova is the most popular ones among them. Both these tools are helping businesses gain traction and grow exponentially by creating robust, secure, and highly-scalable mobile applications. However, many enterprises find it challenging to choose the right one for their project. Either they feel skeptical about their preferences or unaware of the uniqueness it brings to their project.

If that sounds like you, this blog is just what you needed. We have outlined an in-depth comparison between React Native Vs Cordova to help you make the right choice. Here are the key parameters to exhibit their differences and choose the best for your app development project. But before getting started, let’s understand the basics of both platforms and it impacts the entire app development landscape.

What is Cordova?

Apache Cordova, the successor of PhoneGap, is defined as an open-source framework designed to build cross-platform apps using technologies like HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. 8.675 of professional mobile developers use it to create apps that run faster and perform better.

Most web apps lack native functionalities like an accelerometer, camera, GPS, and more. With Cordova, developers had a hold on these benefits to package web apps that get access to these native-only features. Therefore, when it comes to creating a new app with Cordova, you get a container (WebView) that successfully renders with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS code.

Some of the popular apps written within Cordova include Localeur, Fan React, Bit Timer, and more.

Pros and Cons of Cordova

Pros:

  • With Cordova, developing and deploying apps for multiple platforms at once becomes easier
  • It is highly customizable and easier to maintain the apps
  • It helps save time and resources without creating a separate app for each native platform
  • Well-versed knowledge of JS, CSS, and HTML5 is enough to get started with the hybrid application
  • Users can easily access numerous device features via a host of third-party and Cordova plugins
  • You can exploit several community add-ons including libraries and frameworks while using this platform
  • Cons

  • Applications built using Cordova may show poor performance as they run inside a WebView component
  • Debugging with Cordova is a lot more challenging than in a native app
  • The Cordova app development process may not support smooth animations or complex graphic integration
  • Apart from limited backward compatibility, users have to deal with version conflicts for a new codebase
  • What is React Native?

    React Native is also an open-source UI framework that functions on the learn-once-write-anywhere principle to create native apps for varied platforms like iOS, tvOS, macOS, Android, Android TV, Windows, and more. It helps developers make the most out of React framework and utilize native platform capabilities. 38% of software developers worldwide used this platform to address their project’s cross-platform requirements.

    Creating a React Native app demands an excellent command over inline styles, flexbox, React components, and data flow structures. Developers need to understand how React works to automatically change or modify UI components within its core setup. It also makes the app highly responsive and agile than ever. Some of the popular apps built with React Native include Instagram, UberEats, Skype, Walmart, Tesla, Salesforce, and more.

    Pros and Cons of React Native

    Pros

  • Developers can create mobile apps for multiple platforms using a common codebase, which saves them a lot of time.
  • When you hire React Native developer to build a web or mobile app, it minimizes the app development cost
  • React Native ensures great stability and resistance to discrepancies between platforms to enable enhanced feature addition and upgrades
  • It is backed by wide-ranging tools and libraries to support the entire app development process
  • It can easily integrate with your existing native application and reduce the chances of errors.
  • Cons

  • Apps written in React Native are large in size and might get slower than their pure native counterparts
  • Developers require to invest a lot of time in testing and debugging the apps
  • Building a cross-platform team that is well-versed in native concepts as well as technologies gets challenging
  • React Native Vs Cordova Apache

    Development Freedom

    Cordova runs a single-page application inside the integrated mobile web browser called WebView and then wraps it as a native application. Although it looks like a native application, our web code is running inside the mobile browser engine. For developers, it means they are not tied to a specific library or framework. Whether you prefer vanilla JavaScript, jQuery, Angular, or more, any of these options could get bundled into a mobile application with Cordova. It does not impose on the technology stack. As long as developers use the index.html file, the project is good to go.

    React Native, as the name suggests is built on React. It’s crucial to understand that React in React Native is one of its core features. If you don’t prefer React’s declarative nature, its componentization and data flow won’t make it happy either. This technology is focused on the JavaScript side, as an alternative to CSS and HTML.

    Native look and feel

    One of the most crucial aspects of every user is the look and feel of the apps. Since Cordova applications are mostly simple web applications, there are a few things that may feel strange. From missing visual feedback on tap areas to smooth scrolling, there is a 300-millisecond delay on tap events.

    With React Native, we have access to native controls and interactions that are out of the box. Components like Text, TextInput, and Slider map to their native counterparts. The closer you want your app to look and feel native, the more you need to use components specifically designed for the platform with more codebase diverges. Also, mind-touch interactions and gestures are crucial aspects of React Native.

    Comparing Performance

    With Cordova having WebView at its disposal, developers are bound to its limitations of it. For instance, following its 4.0 version, Android finally started using Chrome engine as the default WebView. With iOS, the application runs inside the default WebView engine significantly slowing down the same application in the Safari mobile browser.

    React native on the other hand utilizes multiple threads. Therefore, rendering UI elements run in their own thread. After all, React components link to native views, and JavaScript doesn’t heavy lift in React Native.

    Summary

    React Native vs Cordova both serve different purposes and cater to different needs. Therefore, deciding over each other’s supremacy is a never-ending debatable topic. Where Cordova can quickly turn your existing single-page application into a mobile app for different platforms, React Native offers visually appealing designs and feel.

    Are you looking for a React Native application development company? We are here to help. Get in touch with our experts today.

    FAQs

    Is Cordova similar to React Native?
    Cordova uses web-based technologies to create hybrid and cross-platform apps. React Native, on the other hand, uses JavaScript to write applications that are not only native but also serve varied cross-platform purposes.

    Is Cordova outdated?
    The future trends of cross-platform mobile development are emerging. However, the platform won’t be on the list of frameworks that empower hybrid web apps for mobile devices.

    Why React Native is better than Cordova?
    React Native is all about building a true mobile app, while Cordova implements web technologies in a mobile solution. Unlike Cordova, React Native platform offers more automation and optimization for a successful product launch.