Kotlin vs React Native: The complete comparison you need to know

Mobile app development has now become a cornerstone of successful market differentiation, growth, innovation, profitability, and collaboration. It has become a point of debate to choose the right technology to accomplish objectives. More and more organizations are adopting cross-platform mobile app development to build the perfect app for their business. React native vs Kotlin are the two most common frameworks, as a demanding result.

If you are planning to launch a new mobile application, it is about time to compare and choose these two most favorable frameworks to help you understand the advantages and drawbacks. This quick analysis will help to decide whether to opt for cutting-edge React native vs Kotlin services. Before we dive right in, let’s first start by defining React native vs Kotlin.


What is React native vs Kotlin

Kotlin is a new powerful language created by JetBrains. It is a statically typed, general-purpose, and open-source programming language that combines object-oriented and functional programming features. Given the fact it is fairly new, most people frown on its community support BUT the official documentation from Jet Brains is very thorough and well-constructed. That makes it easy to learn for any willing mind.

React Native, to give it a brief explanation, allows building mobile apps for Android and iOS in JavaScript. React Native lets us compose UI components in JS code which is then translated into native platform-specific components. For more information about React Native, check out our previous article here: React Native: why you might (or might not) want to use it for your mobile app development

React native vs Kotlin: The Comparison

Like any other language that is out there, there are some pros and cons of React native vs Kotlin. React Native gives quick prototyping and a very high initial velocity. However, is it great enough to use instead of Kotlin for Android and IOS applications? Now that we know what each of the technologies is, let’s dive right in and find out what each one of them has to offer.

#1. Technology stack

React Native, being a JavaScript framework, is based on the JavaScript programming language for all development. It also uses the JSX syntax to render its UI which being a JavaScript technology comes with all the benefits of the JavaScript language. This means you’ll need knowledge of JavaScript to work with React. If you’re not familiar with the module, you can hire our best JavaScript team of ArrowHiTech here: ArrowHiTech developers for hire.

On the other hand, Kotlin is a mobile app programming language that is native to the mobile platform itself. This means that while developing your mobile application, you’ll be able to write native code that communicates directly with and has entire access to native device hardware. From this point of view, therefore, both React native vs Kotlin do not give your flexibility in terms of choosing what tools to work with.

#2. Developing environments of React native vs Kotlin

A platform with fewer hoops and jumps wins. React Native development can be done with any IDE or text editor. This means you can use your favorite text editor still. Our recent research has also found that installing React Native through the NPM package manager is really a fast and seamless process. One individual, professional developer usually just does it in under 2 hours at work.

Kotlin also gives you the flexibility of developing multiple IDEs and text editors. For instance, the IntelliJ IDEA may work out for you and your eCommerce business. Installing and setting up development for this framework development didn’t take any longer. Although some development tools come fixed with a particular IDE, the two frameworks come square on flexibility with this one.

#3. Performance over time

All factors remaining constant, a native app will always beat a cross-platform app in terms of performance. React Native, while being able to deliver a mobile app with a near-native look and feel, it does this through multiple layers. You’ll need to write JavaScript code which, interfacing through a bridge, is able to invoke native component APIs for your needs. Apart from this, React Native is heavily reliant on 3rd party libraries, which has lots of bugs and glitches

On the contrary, Kotlin – being a programming language that is native to the mobile platform communicates directly with the native components. Apart from the fact that this framework does not need another layer to communicate with the device hardware, it also compiles to native binaries that make for faster execution at runtime. Before it’s release, also, the module’s language underwent multiple testing. Therefore, in the competition of React native vs Kotlin, Kotlin wins this round.

#4. The productivity of React native vs Kotlin developers

React Native is built upon Reactjs, which is a JavaScript library. So you must have intermediate knowledge of JavaScript or at least the Reactjs framework to be able to pick it up. On the flip side, React Native presents a “hot reload” feature. This enables faster development by instant updates to code changes without the need to recompile code. The fact that you can also safely reuse up to 70% of your JS code for an iOS app is also a very big plus.

Kotlin, on the other hand, is a relatively easy language to pick. However, building your app will take you longer as compared to React Native. This is because the incremental compilation of code every time you make changes takes longer and longer, yet still really shaky. However, Kotlin also has the advantage that you’ll need to write relatively less code than React. Still, you’ll be able to get more productive faster in React Native.

#5. Community support

React Native is developed and maintained by one of the biggest tech companies, Facebook. They have a team of engineers always working to fix bugs and improve this framework. Apart from the great React Native documentation, there are a lot of tutorials for learning react native online. This just speaks to the fact that React Native has a very huge and responsive community that will help you out when you are stuck.

Community support

Kotlin, as a language, has the backing of a great tech company, JetBrains. The team at JetBrains is known to develop some of the best IDEs out there. From this, they will do whatever it takes to constantly improve the language. The documentation is also relatively great with all the guides and the best tutorials you need to get you started. All things considered, it’s clear that React native vs Kotlin both enjoy great community support.

#6. The prominence of React native vs Kotlin

React Native is already being used many big techs including Facebook (and everything related), Bloomberg, AirBnB, UberEats, Instagram, Gyroscope, Mintra, Discord, Discovery VR, Townske, SoundCloud Pulse, Wix & Walmart.

Kotlin is also available on mobile app development by many companies including Pinterest, Uber, Trello, KickStarter, Coursera, Corda, Capital One, Evernote, BaseCamp 3, Netflix, Amazon, Twidere for Twitter, Shadowsocks & KotlinConf app.

All of these apps have sizeable users and great functionalities. So, let’s take a look at the comparison of popularity in terms of the demand for the developers.

Throughout this pics, it’s quite clear that React Native has many more job offers in web/mobile app development.

Final words

That should conclude the comparison between React native vs Kotlin when it comes to web/mobile app development. Using React Native for its intended tasks performs quite well – but we think, this JavaScript library, with all its goods and glory, cannot outweigh Kotlin as a language. So, for the sake of this comparison, however, we think the best way to get to know which platform works for you is to try it.