swift vs react native
April 20, 2020

Mobile Development

React Native vs Swift: Defining the Best Option for iOS App Development

By Pavel Kukhnavets

When it comes to building an application for iOS, one essential question arises. This question is about developing a native app on Swift or a cross-platform solution on React Native.

Moreover, React Native vs Swift is a topic of confusion among many iOS developers. Many of them say that it is better to use Swift for iOS apps. However, in some cases, React Native may seem a better choice. This post will briefly explain exactly what is the difference between React Native and Swift when it comes to iOS application development. We will also share their basic pros and cons to help you choose the right solution.

swift vs react native

What is Swift?

Swift is a general-purpose multi-paradigm programming language. It was designed by Apple with the aim to create iOS-powered devices and all the following ecosystem. With the help of Swift, developers are also able to build apps for Apple computers, AppleWatch and Apple TV digital media player.

Nowadays Swift is distributed on Apache License, which makes it available for the community. It was launched in June 2014, seven years after the first launch of iPhone.  

What is React Native?

React Native is a JavaScript framework for writing real mobile-agnostic apps for Android and iOS. It’s based on Facebook’s JS library for building user interfaces, but instead of targeting the browser, it focuses on mobile platforms. 

The framework started in the summer of 2013 as Facebook’s internal hackathon project. Since then, it has been widely adopted thanks to its ability to produce native apps and great UI. You can use React Native to build production-ready mobile apps. And if have expertise in JavaScript and there is no need to learn Android specific Java or iOS’s Swift, then this choice is right for you.

Comparing react native and Swift

Swift vs React Native: Reasons to Compare

Mobile apps are becoming the attributes of lifestyle and establishing connection with users. When people install apps, brands are constantly in their pockets or under their hands. 

A typical mobile user checks his or her device no later than 15 minutes after getting up even before brushing teeth. So, having mobile apps seem like a must. When it comes to building the app and cross-platform mobile development, developers face real costs, sometimes huge ones.

Companies that are able to cut costs without losing quality may have a huge gain. They often need to address the needs of both iPhone and Android devices and prepare two separate software pieces designed to the most sturdy form of cross-platform mobile app development. Comparing React Native and Swift possibilities is accurate as the optimization may come with costs that are not to accept easily.

React Native vs Swift: Key Indicators for Consideration

Choosing the framework for your needs, pay special attention to the following criteria:

  • User interface
  • Speed of coding
  • Stability
  • Performance
  • Community and support
  • The maturity of the platform
  • Documentation

Pros & Cons of Both Programming Languages

Key Advantages of Swift

1. Its readability

Swift has clean syntax, which makes it easier to read and write and this is its main advantage. You will need fewer number of code lines needed to implement an option on Swift (compared with Objective-C). Swift code looks like plain English that makes writing code more natural.

2. Its dynamic library manual

Dynamic libraries are the executable code, which allows Swift applications to hyperlink the changes/updates that new versions of Swift language deliver over time. They are included in the app package deal at some level in the download.

3. Its maintainability

Objective-C can not evolve without C evolving first. Swift does not have these dependencies and it makes it easier to maintain it. Swift combines the Objective-C header (.h) and implementation files (.m) into a single code file (.swift). 

Applying Swift, developers are able to spend more time creating app logic and improving the code quality, comments, and features that are supported.

4. Its safeness

Nowadays developing a secure app is one of the major priorities. Swift’s language and synaxis exclude some mistakes possible in Objective-C. The stability of Swift makes it less likely to make mistakes and adds extra control during development.

5. Its speed

Swift is also known for its speed advantages during development that allows saving on costs. A complex object sort will run significantly faster than an implementation of the same algorithm in Python, for example.

6. Its open-source nature

As Swift was announced as open-sourced 2015, it has the potential to be used across different platforms and for backend infrastructure. The open-source nature of Swift means that Apple can get feedback from the community for making improvements on a consistent basis.

What are Swift disadvantages?

1. Problems with compatibility

Swift may look unstable, especially with the consistent changes in the newer Apple versions.

2. It is still quite young

Swift was introduced in 2014. However, the recent updates brought stability across Apple’s platforms, renewed documentation, and backward compatibility of Swift versions. It is a huge step toward making Swift a more mature language.

3. Its limited talent pool

Swift community is growing fast, however, it still seems smaller if compare with any other open-source language.

4. Lack of support for earlier iOS versions

Swift can be utilized in the apps that target iOS7 and later. You can not use Swift for legacy projects working on older versions of the operating system.

react native versus swift

Key Advantages of React Native

1. React Native accelerates the development and saves money

Thanks to the only one code written, React Native means two times lower costs for creating and only one dev team to pay. About 90% of the codebase can be used across both platforms. The exact savings that react Native provides depend on the number and complexity of platform-specific features.

2. It is free

React Native is open-sourced that gives developers an opportunity to use the frameworks and its libraries literally for free. All the functions are under the MIT license that puts only limited restrictions on the software reuse and grants legal protection to the developers.

3. It is used by the largest companies

Three years after its development, React Native has gained recognition of some of the world’s giants as Tesla, Instagram, Pinterest, Skype, and many more. Facebook invests considerable resources and time in enhancing the framework and releasing regular updates.

4. It is easy to market

React Native supports over-the-air updates. If you want to make minor changes quickly, you bypass the tiresome market stores’ approval process. what you need is to send an updated version out. Users download it, and the app upgrades.

5. It performs as fast as Native

The mobile apps in Swift and React Native are almost identical in speed and physical appearance.

6. The popularity of Javascript

Different surveys demonstrate that JavaScript is the most commonly used programming language in the world and React native is written in JS.

What are React Native disadvantages?

1. Lack of developers who professionally know it

There are few real React native experts. You may find more Swift resumes on the market. It means that it is not so easy to gather your own team of React Native developers.

2. The experts still need to know native languages

React Native can apply the platform-specific features, but it requires native bridges to access them (that are written in native languages).

3. Its open-source libraries are not always well-tested

It is good to have Having various solutions to typical problems, but some of them can suddenly present unpleasant surprises of their own.

Conclusion 

Programming is often based on a paradigm of building new things with old tools. Old stuff doesn’t leave the field, even when new programming languages emerge. 

It is actually about JavaScript, which powers the modern web despite being over 20 years old. However, the truth is – with React Native it has a chance to be used further as a working horse of mobile devices.

Developing with Swift boosts performance and enables developers to leverage all the possibilities provided by iOS.

What is your choice in the battle “React Native vs Swift”?

Leave a Comment

We use cookies to personalize our service and to improve your experience on the website and its subdomains. We also use this information for analytics.

Got it!