If you want to develop a mobile app, one of the questions you will encounter right from the start is whether you need to hire a react native developer or a Swift developer. Both Swift and React Native are leading mobile app development platforms, and it is hard to figure out which one is the best.
So, our in-depth comparison of Swift and React Native will help you understand which one is the best for your project.
Let’s start with the definitions:
What is Swift?
First of all, let’s understand what Swift is and why developers use it.
Swift is a programming language developed by Apple mainly to design mobile applications based on the iOS operating system. It is a multi-paradigm, general-purpose language that is quick and fun to learn. Developers can easily create high-speed software with its interactive code, concise syntax, and many modern tools.
Although it was mainly used for iOS-powered products, Swift recently started to be used in other areas, like web and machine learning. An example of it is TensorFlow, which decided to shift to Swift because of its increased speed and safety.
Now that we more or less understand what Swift is let’s take a look at:
What is React Native?
React Native is an open-source mobile application framework created by Facebook, Inc. It is used to develop applications for Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, tvOS, Web, Windows, and UWP by enabling developers to use React’s framework along with native platform capabilities.
If Apple designed Swift, React Native is the product of another giant, Facebook. It is an open-source framework for mobile application development used for both Android and iOS platforms.
The motto of React Native is “Learn once, write anywhere,” which expresses one of the strongest qualities of React: its compatibility with various operating systems.
The question remains, though: which one is better, React or Swift?
To answer that question, let’s skim through the pros and cons of each.
Benefits of Swift
- Lightning speed
As we’ve already mentioned, Swift is famous for its super quickness. If you compare it with Objective C, Swift enables you to perform the same tasks but with much less coding.
One of the reasons it is so quick is its ARC (Automatic Reference Counting) system that takes care of the app memory tracking and management, saving a lot of time for developers.
Another well-known quality of Swift is its safety. It excludes entire classes and many unsafe codes, making it way safer than the C-based languages. With Swift, the variables are always initialized, and the integers and arrays are checked.
Finally, Swift gives you the scalability you need to constantly add new features and scale up your app as much as you need.
Of course, it’s not only about the benefits, but there are also some negative aspects which we’ll discuss below:
- It’s comparably new.
Yes, it isn’t a big issue, but it is always better to trust a language that has been around for a while. Swift has been used for six years now, but if you compare it to Objective C that has been in the developing world since the 1980s, it’s too fresh.
- It has a small community.
We always mention that having a large community is always a huge benefit as they will help you if any questions arise. So the fact that Swift does not have a big enough community is a little discouraging. It means you need to figure out most of the parts by yourself.
- It has compatibility issues.
Swift does not have backward compatibility, meaning that the newer versions of Swift do not work with the older ones.
Benefits of React
- Good Performance
React Native has a years-long reputation for creating high-performing apps. It connects to the operating system’s native components and writes the code through Native APIs.
- The Hot Reloading Feature
This feature allows React Native developers to instantly view their changes to the app’s code with the preview window. In other words, it gives you access to real-time feedback, which can come in handy for most of your projects.
- Quick Updates
Finally, React Native constantly updates its apps to ensure it has all the tools needed for a more efficient development process.
- It is not suitable for intensive apps.
If you are developing a resource-intensive app, React Native might not be the best solution.
- It is not entirely secure.
So what is our verdict?
Unfortunately, there is no one answer here. Both Swift and React have their advantages and disadvantages, and it depends on what type of project you are working.
If it’s an app for the iOS operating system only that requires long-term app maintenance, it would be better to choose Swift.
However, if you’re working on an app that should be accessible both on Apple and Android, and you have budget limitations, choosing React Native would be a smarter choice.
So try to understand what your project requirements are and choose a developer accordingly.