PWA vs React Native: Which Is Better For Your App?

PWA vs React Native: Which Is Better For Your App?

February 15, 2019 0 By Ideaction
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In previous blog posts we have mentioned many times why businesses need mobile apps. It’s a great way to keep in touch with customers and improve brand awareness. Also, people these days spend more and more times on their mobile devices and most of the the time they are browsing through apps. This is why a simple website optimized for mobile just won’t cut it these days. One easy way for businesses to have an app is to go for a cross-platform one and two popular choices for cross-platform mobile app development frameworks are Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and React Native. There are many others, but here we are going to focus only on these two. So, what’re the main differences between them and should you choose PWA or React Native for your app?

Benefits of Cross-Platform Mobile App Development for Businesses

When building an app, you usually have the choice between Native, Web, and Hybrid. Native apps are developed specifically for one mobile operating system, like Android or iOS. That’s why they cost quite a lot to develop and maintain.

Web apps are just more advanced web sites, i.e. they offer certain functionality, but it’s all delivered via the Internet. Hybrid apps are a mix between the the other two and run through the browser, but also store some data on the device.

And then we have cross-platform apps. Cross platform apps are native apps that are developed for multiple operating systems at once. Instead of developing native apps for each Android and iOS, a single cross-platform app can be deployed on both. This allows businesses to save a lot of money on development and app maintenance costs.

There are many types of cross-platform apps, but two of the most popular are PWA and React Native apps. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, let’s look into each one individually to help you make a choice.

What Are Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps are a more advanced form of web apps. They use the advanced capabilities of browsers. PWAs can be installed on the device and can run offline. Users like PWAs because they load much faster compared to web apps or websites.

Businesses appreciate PWAs because they are responsive and can fit on any mobile device, desktop, or tablet. PWAs are also safe due to the security protocols they use and discoverable, because the user doesn’t have to find them through an app store, but download it directly from a website. In addition, because PWAs are basically websites, users can share them as URLs and search engines can discover and index them.

What Are React Native Apps

React Native is a software framework that uses a hierarchy of UI components to build JavaScript code. It allows building mobile applications with a native look and feel using JavaScript. It allows building a single app for both iOS and Android and allows injecting some native code.

The drawbacks are that React Native is an open-source framework and it’s still new. At the same time, it still needs some native language to be fully-functional on both Android and iOS.

Should You Choose PWA or React Native?

Both PWAs and React Native are much cheaper to develop compared to native apps, but there are some factors to take into account when making the choice between the two. While React Native allows building pretty much native apps, you still need native developers for each Android and iOS. Native developers will have to provide code to allow access to the camera, accelerometer, as well as enable push notifications.

On the other hand, PWAs don’t allow for the app to be included in an app store. You’ll have to rely on your website or web app users to download it. Also, they are much easier and cheaper to build compared to even React Native apps.

Therefore, if your business already has a website that is popular among your customers, PWAs are the best way to go. If you can afford a slightly bigger budget and need an app that’s closer to native, then choose React Native. React Native is also a great approach for startups that are looking to build a Minimum Viable Product before launching a full-scale native app.

If you are still unsure about which to choose, get in touch with our business development team for a quick consultation, where we will present the advantages and disadvantages of both PWA and React Native apps tailored to your specific project.

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