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What is the difference b/w react js and React Native

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React-Native has been around for about 2 years, and became a really interesting framework since it can be used for Android and let us build cross-platform mobile apps. A few contributors also customized the framework to build desktop apps for Mac and Windows, which is quite cool.

React-Native is very similar to ReactJS in a way, but there are differences you need to know before you start your first native app. In this article, I’m going through the main differences I have encountered as a ReactJS web developer who learned to use React-Native and built a few native apps with this technology.

Setup and bundling

React-Native is a framework, where ReactJS is a javascript library you can use for your website. When you start a new project with ReactJS, you probably will choose a bundler like Webpack and try to figure out which bundling modules you need for your project. React-Native comes with everything you need and you most likely wouldn’t need more. When you start a new project you will notice how easy is it to set up: it’s very fast and only takes you one command line to run in the terminal and you will be ready to go. You can start coding your first native app immediately using ES6, some ES7 features and even a few polyfills.

To run your app, you will need to have Xcode (for iOS, on Mac only) or Android Studio (for Android) installed on your computer. You can either decide to run it on a simulator/emulator of the platform you want to use or directly on your own devices.

DOM and Styling

React-Native doesn’t use HTML to render the app, but provides alternative components that work in a similar way. Those React-Native components map the actual real native iOS or Android UI components that get rendered on the app.

Most components provided can be translated to something similar in HTML, where for example a View component is similar to a div tag, and a Text component is similar to a p tag.

Because your code doesn’t get rendered in an HTML page, this also means you won’t be able to reuse any libraries you previously used with ReactJS that renders any kind of HTML, SVG or Canvas. Although you might find alternative libraries for React-Native, has a Native category for you to find what you need.

To style your React-Native components, you will have to create stylesheets in Javascript. It looks similar to CSS, but it’s not exactly the same. This can be quite confusing at first, and you might reach a point where you wonder how you can create mixins like you would do with SASS, or how you can override the style of a component you want to reuse. Then you understand React-Native is not made from web elements and can’t be styled in the same way. Fortunately, you will most likely find alternative solutions available in order to accomplish what you need.

Example of stylesheet with React-Native

I don’t know about you, but even though Flexbox has been around for quite some time already, I’ve never been completely immersed into its use, mostly because the projects I was involved with required backward compatibility with older browsers. With React-Native, you have no better way to build a nicely responsive app than using Flexbox. It can be tricky at first as it doesn’t always behave like it would do with CSS, but you will become quickly good at it once you got the basic understanding. I would recommend you to read this article to learn more about it: <a class="ck dl jz ka kb kc" rel="noopener nofollow" href="" style='box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration-line: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-repeat: repeat-x; background-image: url("denied:data:image/svg+xml;utf8,<svg preserveAspectRatio= quot;none quot; viewB

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