Android holds up to 73% market share of the total mobile app marketplace, whereas iOS only retains 26% of the market. Yet, companies are keener toward building apps for iOS. Why? iOS users have a higher tendency to spend on in-app purchases and reportedly have higher incomes than Android users. Hence building an app for iOS can be a great decision. The next question is; how?
So, you need to develop an iOS app and are confused between React Native and Swift to develop your perfect iOS app solution. This decision will depend on many factors such as the number of platforms you are targeting, what’s your budget, how important is security for your app and more. There is no wrong approach or one that’s better than the other. It depends on your mobile app requirements and your specific needs, but it is still important to understand the differences between the two approaches and their merits and demerits. This will help you decide whether to hire Reactjs developers or go for Swift development. Let’s start by understanding both the platforms individually first –
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What is Swift Development?
Swift is Apple’s official programming language for developing apps across various platforms such as iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, macOS and watchOS. Apple created Swift back in 2014 as an open-source, general-purpose, robust programming language. Even if Swift has only been in the market for 8 years, many companies and developers who previously used Objective-C for their projects have shifted to Swift to leverage its simple yet efficient approach to iOS app development.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Swift
There are many benefits of using Swift to develop your iOS apps, although it isn’t without flaws. Here are the major benefits and limitations of Swift that you should know before selecting it for your iOS app project –
Advantages of Swift
- Efficient Error Handling – Swift programming language follows strong typing and error handling practices and rules, which reduce the chances of code crashes and errors.
- Minimal and Rapid Coding – Swift is a concise programming language enabling developers to get more done with lesser code than React Native. On their official website, Apple claims that Swift is 2.6 times faster than Objective-C and 8.4 times faster than Python 2.7.
- Easily Scalable – Swift has many in-built features and was designed to allow iOS developers to extend features in their app as and when needed.
- Positive User Experience – Swift is a lighter framework than React Native and takes less time to install, and takes up lesser space in the users’ device. Since it is specifically created for native iOS development, it gives developers better access to the native device’s features.
- Access to Xcode
Xcode is an IDE that helps developers create stunning applications. Using Swift with Xcode unlocks the possibilities of building spectacular apps for multiple platforms such as tvOS, watchOS, macOS, iOS and the entire Apple ecosystem.
Limitations of Swift
- Limited Resources – Though Swift is highly popular and many companies are looking for Swift developers now and then, the talent pool for Swift is still very limited compared to other programming languages such as React Native.
- Limited Scope – This is not as much a limitation as Swift’s very nature; however, compared to React Native, Swift only allows you to build apps for one operating system, limiting your overall market reach.
- Poor Interoperability with IDEs and third-party tools – The absence of backward compatibly and frequent updates make it difficult for developers to find the right tools and resources to get certain tasks done on Swift.
What is React Native Development?
Advantages and Disadvantages of React Native
There are many benefits and limitations of React Native you should consider to determine if React Native is the ideal mobile app development framework for your project or not. Without further ado, here are React Native’s advantages and disadvantages –
Advantages of React Native
- Code Reusability – One of the greatest advantages React Native has over Swift is code reusability. React Native developers can write code once and use it multiple times. Hence, if they want to develop a platform for iOS and Android, they won’t have to code the entire application separately for both platforms. Almost 90% of the code in React Native is reusable.
- Hot and Live Reloading – Hot Reloading is a unique feature that sets React Native apart from most competitors. It allows developers to keep the app running even when making changes in the app at the runtime. In React Native, you can also track the updates in real-time.
- Active and Large Community – The React Native community has more than 50k+ contributors on StackOverFlow. The community is always very active and responsive to answer any queries or issues you might face in your React Native app project.
Disadvantages of React Native
- Performance and User Experience Issues – React Native is still a cross platform mobile app development framework with its limitations in app size and dependencies. However, you will only notice such issues in a highly dynamic project such as mobile games.
- Complex Design – iOS and Android follow different app publishing guidelines, making it difficult to create a single codebase in React Native that complies with both standards.
React Native vs Swift – Major Factors to compare
Now that we have a decent understanding of both – React Native and Swift, we should compare them against each other to see how they bid against each other –
- Coding Speed Differences
Swift is one of the fastest coding languages. Since it is the native programming language for iOS, it takes all the benefits of the legacy Objective-C while minimizing its drawbacks, making it a reliable and fast coding platform for iOS apps. React Native is simple; however, it isn’t as fast as Swift when developing iOS apps.
However, if you consider a project where you need to build both Android and iOS apps, using Swift would mean you would have to start all over again with Kotlin or Java for Android, whereas, for React Native, you could reuse 90 percent of the iOS code for Android, thus reducing your overall app development time.
- React Native vs Swift – Performance Comparison
When you think about comparing React Native and Swift based on performance, the first perception is that Swift will naturally be better performing since it is used for native app development. However, if you compare both the languages based on CPU and GPU consumption and memory usage in iOS, React Native is generally better in CPU usage optimization and other areas. If you compare the cost of native app development (Swift) and React Native for iOS, Swift isn’t all that powerful to cover the gap in the costs. Hence it depends on the individual and their project requirements.
- React Native vs Swift Stability
Platform stability is very important when developing your mobile app. React Native is one of the leading cross platform mobile app development frameworks, but it still depends on many third-party vendors and libraries to power apps built in React Native. Moreover, they are too frequent with updates that can be difficult keeping track of for developers.
Compared to this, Swift is used for native app development that can access the platform’s possibilities to the fullest. This way, it doesn’t need to be too dependent on third-party vendors, and since Swift is designed for scalability, it is flexible enough for making changes if needed. Swift wins the round of stability against React Native.
When should you choose React Native over Swift?
Both React Native and Swift are great in their respective ways as mobile app development platforms. However, there are some instances where using React Native is a better choice than Swift. You should opt for React Native when –
- You need to target both platforms – Android and iOS.
- You want similar looking apps on Android and iOS.
- You are looking for a faster time to market and have a lower budget.
When should you choose Swift over React Native?
Just like React Native is better suited for certain projects, there are other projects where Swift shines better in comparison. Use Swift when –
- You are clear about building an app only for the iOS platform
- You want your app to work with stability for a longer duration
- You need to build complex apps that can leverage most of the platform-specific code
- You want to build user-centric apps that require higher security measures and protocols
Both React Native and Swift are capable, robust and market-proven mobile app development frameworks that can be used to build feature-rich, high-performant and future-ready mobile app solutions. You need to understand which works better for your project.