Cordova vs react native: The comparison of two cross platform frameworks

In case you’re paying attention to React native yet don’t know anything about it, you’ve come to the right place. In particular, coming to this blog, you can also gain a lot of helpful knowledge of the main differences between Cordova vs react native. For more detail, let’s refer to the blog below of ArrowHiTech right now! 

What is React native?

What is RN

Before going in detail of the comparison of Cordova vs react native, firstly we must know what React native is. For more detail, React Native is a follow-up to Facebook’s ambitious React project, which went from inventing the framework to completely producing native applications while sharing the majority of the codebases. For more detail, in order to native cross-platform applications, React Native uses Javascript. For developers, the combination of native and cross-platform is interesting enough. 

What’s more, the framework’s native components and API keep the application true to the platform’s React concept. Virtual DOM makes it simple to tweak or upgrade components because it reflects changes in the core applications with less effort.

Related post: React native review: Everything you should know in 2021

Advantages & Disadvantages of React native

Advantages of React native

  • First and foremost, React Native accounts make it simple and quick to create native cross-platform apps.
  • Besides, the nature of developed applications is similar to that of native mobile apps, despite the fact that they are cross-platform.
  • Moreover, it’s simple to pick up and utilize. With few changes, the same codebase may be shared across many platforms.
  • The most cost-effective way since it eliminates the need for numerous teams to work on platform-specific app development.
  • Additionally, with each passing day, the platform’s open-source nature provides fresh solutions. The bottom line is that as the community develops, the platform continues to improve.
React native vs cordova

Disadvantages of React native

  • First of all, it will be necessary to use a newer platform with additional enhancements in terms of plugins and components.
  • It can be difficult to navigate through the framework’s various elements.
  • A skilled native developer is required in any firm that uses React Native to develop applications.

What you should know about React Native?

As you may know, fluency in developing React components, data flow structure, flexbox, and inline styles is required while working with RN. Besides, creating interactive user interfaces using templates from the JS library is the initial purpose of the React platform. The RN components Library is added to the interface once the interactive UI has been created to complete the application design and functionality. In addition, the use of React Native simplifies the process of introducing new UI components by making a change to the basic configuration automatically utilizing the React philosophy. Then, the completed app features a layered tree of components as well as an interactive user interface that allows the app to be flexible and responsive.

React native vs cordova

When should you utilize React Native?

You must evaluate when to use React Native for a seamless development process that will result in the application output that you envisioned.

#1. If an application has to handle a lot of traffic and have often updated features, it should be built with React Native

#2. Besides, to overcome the time constraint, you must switch to an RN development framework.

#3. Also, you can use React Native if you have a budget limitation with your development strategy.

What does Cordova mean?

After being acquired by Adobe, Apache Cordova – the successor to the PhoneGap framework, was instantly transformed into an open-source platform.

Although the PhoneGap platform is still in use as a commercial tech support platform, Cordova is an open-source framework that was created specifically with the goal of developing cross-platform hybrid apps.

As a developer, if you want to work with Cordova well, you firstly must have the best knowledge of Javascript, CSS and HTML. In addition, despite being a non-native hybrid app, an additional plugin search engine provides the app a native-to-device feel. 

Cordova

Pros and cons of Cordova

Pros of Cordova

  • Instead of spending a lot of time selecting apps independently for different platforms, using Cordova means you can save numerous time and effort.
  • Working with Cordova necessitates JS, CSS, and HTML programming knowledge, which contributes to the framework’s ease of use.
  • The framework’s open-source nature allows for the inclusion of multiple plugins, which may be quickly found via a specialized plugin search engine.
  • Cordova’s cross-platform capabilities make it simple to maintain applications created with it.

Cons of Cordova

  • Hybrid apps built with the Cordova framework have performance and size inconsistencies.
  • The most fundamental problem in Cordova applications is that they lack the property of being native.
  • Finally, adding and changing new plugins is extremely difficult, and plugins are frequently missing.

What you should know about Cordova?

You can see a list of the content in the new folder after you start working on a new project, such as an app. It has a specific folder named ‘www,’ which you will notice. Besides, all of the code information for Javascript, HTML, CSS, and media files are stored in the ‘www’ notation content folder. Best of all, the new Cordova app can be thought of as a website wrapped around a Webview. As a result, it’s similar to a website that has the information that would be displayed in the app but lacks the regular menu selections. Simply described, it’s a blank shell container that renders HTML, CSS, and JS code. 

When should you use Cordova?

There are a few things to think about while selecting a development framework for a cross-platform program. Below are some of the reasons why you should utilize Cordova.

#1. When you need to construct interactive user interface components that are similar to those that were previously available in UI libraries.

#2. Using the adaptability of web technology, gain a greater level of control.

#3. To make greater use of native APIs and make them more accessible.

#4. Finally, if you want to create a cross-platform app with a native feel.

The comparison of Cordova vs react native

The comparison of React native vs cordova

Differences of Cordova vs react native in Philosophy

First of all, it’s worth noting that React Native’s tagline, “Learn once, write anywhere,” varies from the standard cross-platform mantra, “Write once, run anywhere.” In fact, this resulted in two consequences. To begin with, we can’t simply copy our existing React codebase from our web project and convert it to a mobile app with a few clicks. Nevertheless, React and React Native share a lot of essential principles, such as component systems, and React Native feels instantly familiar as a result. While there are many similarities between React and React Native, there are also key distinctions, ranging from how stylesheets are handled to the kind of components that can be used. 

Coming to the second difference of Cordova vs react native, when targeting different platforms, we may not be able to share React Native code. This occurs when we would prefer for user interface elements to function natively on their respective platforms, providing a better user experience and a more natural feel to the program. The drawer side menu in Android apps is a good example, although it’s not prevalent in iOS apps. 

Furthermore, when it comes to the difference between Cordova vs react native, Cordova, on the other hand, does not subscribe to this viewpoint. It’s not uncommon to start with a pure online app, then bundle it as a Cordova app to reuse as much code as possible across all of the (mobile) platforms we wish to support.

Development Freedom of Cordova vs react native

In reality, Cordova runs a single-page application called WebView inside the integrated mobile web browser on mobile devices before wrapping it as a native app. From the outside, it appears to be a native application, but our web code is actually running within the mobile browser engine. That implies we’re not reliant on a single library or framework. Any of these alternatives might be packed into a mobile application with Cordova, whether we’re using vanilla JavaScript, jQuery, Angular, or something else. Cordova is not a requirement for our technology stack. We’re good to start as long as we have an index.html file. The following code snippet is a simple example:

Code snippet of Cordova vs react native

<html>

  <head>

    <title>My Cordova App</title>

  </head>

  <body>

    <div id=”tapme”>Tap me</div>

    <script>

      // Select our element

      var element = document.getElementById(‘tapme’);

      // Send an alert once it was tapped/clicked

      element.addEventListener(‘click’, function() {

        alert(‘Hello there!’);

      });

    </script>

  </body>

</html>

Through this example above, we can use anything we want, including a package manager like NPM or Bower, a transpiler like Babel, CoffeeScript, or TypeScript, a bundler like Webpack or Rollup, or something completely else. It makes no difference as long as the end result is an index.html file with all of the JavaScript and stylesheets we require.

React Native, as its name suggests, is based on React. In fact, it’s critical to recognize that the React component of React Native is one of its most significant aspects. If you don’t like React’s declarative nature, including JSX, componentization, and data flow, you won’t like React Native. While React Native feels instantly familiar to React developers, there are a few distinctions to keep in mind at first glance. We don’t have any HTML or CSS using React Native. This technology, on the other hand, is focused on the JavaScript side. Styles are written inline as an alternative to CSS, and Flexbox is the default styling model. 

The most basic React Native application might look something like below. So, let’s refer to it:

The most basic React Native application

// Import the React module for JSX conversion

import { React } from ‘react’;

// Import React Native’s components

import {

  View,

  Text,

  AppRegistry,

  TouchableOpacity,

} from ‘react-native’;

// Create an App component

const App = () => {

  // Define our press handler

  const onPress = () => alert(‘Hello there!’);

  // Compose the components we are going to render

  return (

    <View>

      <TouchableOpacity onPress={onPress} />

        <Text>Tap me!</Text>

      </TouchableOpacity>

    </View>

  );

};

// Registers the `App` component as our main entry point

AppRegistry.registerComponent(‘App’, () => App);

What’s more, React Native has a package of its own. Besides, it combines all of the JavaScript files into a single large file, which is subsequently eaten and performed by Apple’s JavaScript engine, JavaScriptCore. On iOS and Android, JavaScriptCore is used, whereas React Native UWP apps are powered by ChakraCore. Additionally, React Native by default employs the Babel JavaScript transpiler, which allows us to use ECMAScript 2015+ (ECMAScript 6) syntax. While using ECMAScript 2015+ syntax is not required, it is strongly recommended because it is supported by all official examples and third-party modules. Because React Native handles the packaging and transpiling, our application code and third-party modules may benefit from these functionalities without having to set up the tools themselves.

To summarize, React Native is a React-centric mobile development method, whereas Cordova allows us to combine web technologies inside the WebView shell.

differences of React native vs cordova

Native Appearance and Feel of Cordova vs react native

The ability to have a natural appearance and feel of an application is vital to users. Because Cordova apps are typically simple web apps, there are a few things that may seem unusual at first. There may be issues ranging from no visual feedback on tap areas to scrolling that isn’t as silky smooth as in native apps to a 300-millisecond delay on tap events. In fact, while all of these difficulties have solutions, we should keep in mind that if we want our Cordova application to feel as near to native as possible, we may need to put in some more effort.

We can’t use native controls in Cordova because we don’t have them. For more detail, we have two possibilities if we want to get a native appearance and feel: Either use HTML and CSS to re-create native controls like buttons and input elements, or use native modules to access those native controls directly. We could implement this on our own or with the help of a third-party library like Ionic or Onsen UI. 

In particular, you must keep in mind that it’s very critical to maintain them up to date with OS upgrades as they become available. When iOS 7 was released, the appearance of the mobile operating system was given a makeover. Users will be taken out of the experience if the app is unable to adjust. Alternatively, we could use Cordova plugins to connect to the native side of things. Microsoft’s Ace library is one of the most comprehensive native controls available.

Meanwhile, native controls and interactivity are available right out of the box with React Native. Text, TextInput, and Slider components map to their native counterparts. Some components are available for all platforms, while others are only compatible with certain platforms. Furthermore, you have to use components that are only available on this platform in case you expect a native look and feel, and the codebase will diverge. React Native also includes mind touch interactions and motions.

Differences in Performance of Cordova vs react native

We are constrained by the constraints of the WebView because Cordova only has a WebView. Android, for example, has finally switched to the (far quicker) Chrome engine as the default WebView from version 4.0. While on iOS, the program running in the default WebView engine was consistently slower than the identical application running in the Safari mobile browser for a long time. Additionally, we may encounter complications if our application code contains too many threads. This is because JavaScript is single threaded. These constraints result in sluggish animations, and our app may not feel as responsive as we would like. While there are various tactics we can use here and there, we are ultimately limited by the limitations of the mobile browser. 

As React Native uses several threads, each UI element is rendered in its own thread. JavaScript does not do the heavy lifting in React Native because React components link to native views.

Workflow of developers

The difference between Cordova vs react native also manifests in the developer’s workflow. Firstly, Cordova has a command-line tool for creating new project templates, running the app in the simulator, and producing the app for the real device in production mode. The majority of the time, we design the app on a desktop browser and then package it as a mobile app later. Besides, with the flexibility that Cordova provides, we must take up the development workflow ourselves. Moreover, we must implement live-reloading on the device ourselves if we want it. We use the same concepts that we use to debug websites to debug Cordova applications. For example, on iOS, we’d connect our device through USB, then launch Safari and the developer tools.

In terms of React Native, it has a similar command-line interface and a development approach that web developers are used with. Right out of the box, we have live reloading. Our application reloads with the changes we made when we change a React component. Hot module replacement is one of the most intriguing features, as it partially reloads the changes we made in the component without changing the application’s state. Also, we could even connect to a real device and test our changes to see if they operate as expected on a real device. Chrome for Desktop can be used to debug our React Native applications remotely. In React Native, error handling is obvious; when we encounter an issue, our application displays a red backdrop and the stack trace. We can see the specific position of the mistake thanks to sourcemaps. 

Access to Native Features and Extensibility of Cordova vs react native

On the JavaScript front, we can use whatever JavaScript library we choose, including NPM packages. Nonetheless, since React Native is not a browser, it may be challenging to employ code that relies on the Document Object Model (DOM). React Native supports CommonJS and ES2015 modules, making it simple to incorporate libraries that use both formats. 

The option to create and use plugins that link to the native side of things is available in both Cordova vs react native. Cordova provides a low-level API for constructing our own, giving us a lot of flexibility but also requiring us to employ more native and JavaScript boilerplates. Then, the following code snippet is what a Cordova iOS plugin might look like if written in Objective-C. The input parameter will be logged by our plugin.

Code

#import <Cordova/CDVPlugin.h>

// Create a class that inherits from CDVPlugin

@interface Log : CDVPlugin

– (void)log:(CDVInvokedUrlCommand*)command;

@end

// The actual implementation of the class we just defined

@implementation Log

– (void)log:(CDVInvokedUrlCommand*)command

{

    CDVPluginResult* pluginResult = nil;

    // We are getting all parameters and taking the first one

    NSString* echo = [command.arguments objectAtIndex:0];

    // We are checking for the validity of the parameters

    if (echo != nil && [echo length] > 0) {

        // We are just printing the parameter using the native log method

        NSLog(echo);

        // Let’s create a result for the plugin

        pluginResult = [CDVPluginResult resultWithStatus:CDVCommandStatus_OK messageAsString:echo];

    }

    // Let’s send a signal back with the plugin’s result

    [self.commandDelegate sendPluginResult:pluginResult callbackId:command.callbackId];

}

@end

This piece of JavaScript code will assist you in using the module:

Code

window.log = function(str, callback) {

    cordova.exec(callback, function(err) {

        callback(‘Nothing to echo.’);

    }, “Log”, “log”, [str]);

};

After that, we only need to use the log function if you want to use the plugin:

window.log(‘Hello native!’);

In terms of React native, it has a different philosophy. For more detail, when developing plugins, it automatically maps JavaScript types to their native counterparts. Hence, this will make it easier to connect native and JavaScript code. So, you can take a look at a bit of code that’s required to make a native module with React Native: 

#import “RCTBridgeModule.h”

@interface Log : NSObject <RCTBridgeModule>

@end

@implementation Log

RCT_EXPORT_MODULE();

// This makes this method available NativeModules.Log.log

RCT_EXPORT_METHOD(log:(NSString *)message)

{

  NSLog(message);

}

@end

Amazingly, with the RCT EXPORT MODULE and RCT EXPORT METHOD methods, React Native attaches the module for us. Then, we are able to access it thanks to NativeModules.Log.log like below:

import { React } from ‘react’;

import {

  View,

  Text,

  AppRegistry,

  NativeModules

  TouchableOpacity,

} from ‘react-native’;

// Create an App component

const App = () => {

  // Log with our module once we tap the text

  const onPress = () => NativeModules.Log.log(‘Hello there’);

  return (

    <View>

      <TouchableOpacity onPress={onPress} />

        <Text>Tap me!</Text>

      </TouchableOpacity>

    </View>

  );

};

// Registers the `App` component as our main entry point

AppRegistry.registerComponent(‘App’, () => App);

While we only looked at constructing a module in Objective-C for iOS, the same ideas apply to developing a module in Java for Android. Each platform’s native plugins must be linked within the project files. For iOS, this entails linking the compiled native component with our program and including the appropriate header files. This can take a long time, especially if there are many native modules to deal with. Luckily, utilizing rnpm, a command-line utility that has become part of React Native itself, makes this a lot easier.

To sum up with Cordova vs react native

All in all, ArrowHiTech hopes through this blog above, you will get a lot of useful information about React native vs Cordova, in particular, the comparison of these two cross-platform frameworks in every aspect. Moreover, if you have any inquiries or face any issues with React Native App Development Services, let’s CONTACT US. With a lot of experience in this area, ArrowHiTech will solve it for you instantly. 

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