The “hybrid vs native” question still lingers among programmers and coders. In 2021, the choice is between React Native and Ionic, the two biggest players in the mobile app development frameworks market. According to AppBrain,

Ionic is the most used in app development at 3% while React Native is at 1.3%.
Market share in terms of app installs show 4.05% for React Native and 0.27% for Ionic.

To understand this stat, let us look at the difference between a native app and a hybrid app.

Native and hybrid apps differ in many ways including UX, performance, technology used, features, and associated costs.

Hybrid Mobile Apps

The underlying tech in hybrid apps are HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other web technologies. WebView is the platform that they all run on. Through native modules and plugins, they can be developed as Single Page Apps or Progressive Web Apps.

Native Mobile Apps

Platform specific UI components are needed to run native mobile apps. Java for Android and Objective-Cor Swift for iOS are used to build these apps. They cannot be reused between platforms and there are about no drawbacks to the efficiency of these apps.

Now, with a surface understanding of native and hybrid mobile apps, let us know a little bit about React Native and Ionic.

React Native is a JavaScript based framework. It helps create native mobile apps and is supported by a huge community of developers. The corporate backing comes from Facebook. It uses the “learn once, write everywhere” principle. Facebook, Oculus, Coinbase, Shopify, Tableau, FlipKart, Discord, NerdWallet, Skype, Bloomnerg, Tesla, and Wix among many others use the React Native framework.

With a shared codebase between mobile, web, and desktop apps, Ionic is a hybrid development framework for web apps. Ionic is rich in features and much more capable than web apps since it uses Cordova and PhoneGap to access native features. Ionic follows the “write once, use everywhere” principle. The Ionic framework has been used by MarketWatch, Pacifica, Sworkit, Diesel,StockPlan Connect, Honeyfi, McLaren, JustWatch, mcDonald’s, Untappd, Nationwide, and Cryptochange among a plethora of others. According to Ionic, over 5 Million apps have been created using its framework.

Now let us take a quick look at how the Ionic framework and the React Native framework compares against each other and determine the best one for 2021.

The Tech

React uses features that are native to the UI. This is what gives it the aesthetics of a native application. The native form also allows the developers to give a seamless experience to the end user.

Ionic uses web tech. This enables it to achieve multi-platform applications. It is based on Angular JS and uses the code base in a minimal fashion. Angular enables Ionic to have a smoother process and be extremely user-friendly.


React demands the developers to make platform-specific changes to achieve the most efficient components. React Native has a much more stable framework. This makes it efficient for large scale projects with higher budgets. The framework also enhances responsiveness and detailing of the UI.
On the other hand, Ionic’s hybrid approach makes it much more convenient for prototyping or facilitating an urgent requirement. Using CSS, JavaScript and HTML5 components, Ionic enables faster app development but the user might be asked to download additional plugins to enable the native features.


As discussed earlier, React uses the “learn once, write everywhere” logic. This framework will suggest suitable components that respect the native aesthetics, to the developers.

Contrary to that, Ionic can run the same code across all platforms. It adapts to the platform and learns its behavior in order to provide the native aesthetics.

Apart from these differences, React native has a community of 1752 contributors while Ionic has just 268. And in order to pinpoint the better one for 2021, we need to understand the benefits and drawbacks of both Ionic and React Native.

Open source
Easy to learn
Built in components
Speed development cycle
Familiar development environment
Cordova and PhoneGap wrapping


Requires WebView
Apache Cordova required to access hardware functionality
Slight performance issues


Stable and reliable for large scale projects
Android, iOS and Windows app code reusability.
Codes are not dependent on the platforms
Vast community


Require native development skills.
Lack of custom modules
Slight debugging and compatibility issues.

Now that we have laid down the facts and figures, let us conclude by determining if one is above the other.

The choice will be largely influenced by the type of project you are undertaking, the time of development, and the skills garnered by the team. According to a popularity survey by Ionic,

86% of web developers have used Ionic and 16% went for React Native.
To build PWAs, 72% preferred Ionic while 21% picked React Native.
On GitHub, Ionic has 41,000 stars and React Native has 89,100 stars.

These statistics boil down to the fact that it is not feasible to put one over the other objectively. We can conclude by understanding that if the requirement is a low budget, high performance app in a limited time, Ionic is the better one and if the requirement is a high budget, large scale app, React Native is the better one, for 2021. At Orion, we specialize and deliver excellence in both.

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Wesley Hindley


Nice Article. Thanks for sharing this information.

Autumn  Blick

Autumn Blick


How native is React Native? | React Native vs Native App Development

If you are undertaking a mobile app development for your start-up or enterprise, you are likely wondering whether to use React Native. As a popular development framework, React Native helps you to develop near-native mobile apps. However, you are probably also wondering how close you can get to a native app by using React Native. How native is React Native?

In the article, we discuss the similarities between native mobile development and development using React Native. We also touch upon where they differ and how to bridge the gaps. Read on.

A brief introduction to React Native

Let’s briefly set the context first. We will briefly touch upon what React Native is and how it differs from earlier hybrid frameworks.

React Native is a popular JavaScript framework that Facebook has created. You can use this open-source framework to code natively rendering Android and iOS mobile apps. You can use it to develop web apps too.

Facebook has developed React Native based on React, its JavaScript library. The first release of React Native came in March 2015. At the time of writing this article, the latest stable release of React Native is 0.62.0, and it was released in March 2020.

Although relatively new, React Native has acquired a high degree of popularity. The “Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2019” report identifies it as the 8th most loved framework. Facebook, Walmart, and Bloomberg are some of the top companies that use React Native.

The popularity of React Native comes from its advantages. Some of its advantages are as follows:

  • Performance: It delivers optimal performance.
  • Cross-platform development: You can develop both Android and iOS apps with it. The reuse of code expedites development and reduces costs.
  • UI design: React Native enables you to design simple and responsive UI for your mobile app.
  • 3rd party plugins: This framework supports 3rd party plugins.
  • Developer community: A vibrant community of developers support React Native.

Why React Native is fundamentally different from earlier hybrid frameworks

Are you wondering whether React Native is just another of those hybrid frameworks like Ionic or Cordova? It’s not! React Native is fundamentally different from these earlier hybrid frameworks.

React Native is very close to native. Consider the following aspects as described on the React Native website:

  • Access to many native platforms features: The primitives of React Native render to native platform UI. This means that your React Native app will use many native platform APIs as native apps would do.
  • Near-native user experience: React Native provides several native components, and these are platform agnostic.
  • The ease of accessing native APIs: React Native uses a declarative UI paradigm. This enables React Native to interact easily with native platform APIs since React Native wraps existing native code.

Due to these factors, React Native offers many more advantages compared to those earlier hybrid frameworks. We now review them.

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Einar  Hintz

Einar Hintz


Pros and Cons of Ionic Development

Entrepreneurs around the world want a top-notch mobile application for their business in both Android and iOS platforms. Most of them get stuck mid-way where they struggle to pick the best technology suitable for their business. From questions such as native mobile development or cross-platform development? Flutter or Ionic or React Native?. Each technology and development approach has its own Pros and Cons from which you will need to choose the right one for your business. If you think Ionic is the right cross-platform application development, here are a few pros and cons of Ionic development. 

What is Ionic Framework?

Being an open-source SDK for building Hybrid mobile applications in both Android and iOS platforms, Ionic is the best choice for building top of the line mobile applications. This Ionic framework is completely based on Apache Cordova and Angular. More precisely, Ionic is an npm module that requires the installation of Node JS to function.

One can build a full functioning mobile application in both platforms using their Javascript, HTML, and CSS knowledge without requiring the basics of Kotlin or Java. More than 5 Million mobile applications are built using this Ionic framework by leveraging its platform-specific UI elements, innumerable libraries, and more exciting features.

The applications that are built using the Ionic framework are cross-platform, web-based, and have access to native device’s APIs.

Ionic Applications are

  • Cross-platform – Single code base for both platforms (except native components)
  • Web-based – Built using web-views and can be displayed in a browser like PWAs.
  • Access to native API components – They can access native device’s camera, files, and others.

Advantages of Ionic Development

Quick Development and Time To Market

For entrepreneurs and business owners, ionic development can be beneficial if they want to develop a mobile application in both platforms in a short period of time while comparing to native applications. Building native applications specifically for each platform can be time-consuming which can imply a delay in time to market and development cost of native applications are generally expensive.

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