Ionic or React Native as a framework for an app? A consideration that is not always easy. Many developers (or clients) have therefore scratched their heads when making this choice. Ionic and React Native are the most popular frameworks for developing mobile apps and the debate is fierce. This is not crazy. Both frameworks support the strongest programming languages ​​and each have their own key features and disadvantages. As a specialist in app development and recently one more nomination for Top Cross Platform App Developers, we have specialists of both frameworks in-house. They are happy to tell you more about their findings: Ionic or React Native, what are the differences and philosophies behind the well-known hybrid programming languages? 

Ionic and React: 2 programming languages ​​1 mission

Before we talk about the two different programming languages, it's important to note that the goal of both programming languages ​​is the same: use technology X to build a mobile app for platform Y. X and Y are not traditionally the same frameworks. The origin of Ionic arose from the demand from developers to develop apps for platforms that were not (yet) accessible. For example, if you wanted an app that can be downloaded in the stores with a web technology, Ionic made this possible. Cross-platform frameworks allow developers to use technology they are familiar with to develop apps in technologies they are unfamiliar with. Useful!

  • Ionic uses HTML/CSS/JS to build apps for Android, PWA, desktop apps or any other platform that the web runs on.
  • React Native uses the JS framework React, but renders native UI elements, allowing apps to be built for iOS and Android.

It is good to first explain that Ionic is a cross-framework for hybrid apps. React Native is a cross-framework for developing natively similar apps. Both frameworks each have their own advantages, which we have listed in this article. It's good to know that all cross-platform app development frameworks, including Ionic, can access native elements of the phone such as the camera, geolocation, offline storage, and biometrics. 

Curious about a current example of an Ionic or a React Native app production? Then view our latest hybrid apps built with Ionic or React below or read this page where we tell you more about Develop React Native apps.

ionic app

React Native app


Ionic was released in 2013 and works with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Ionic is a framework designed for hybrid mobile app development with Angular and Cordova. Since Ionic 4 was recently released on January 23, it is no longer necessary to work with Angular and Cordova, for example you can use Capacitor. Ionic has an easily extensible basic theme with advanced features such as interactive flows, mobile components, and typography. What makes Ionic popular is mainly the simplicity of developing mobile apps in this framework. 'Write once and run everywhere' is therefore an appropriate motto of Ionic. If you already have some experience with the open source web application framework Angular, app development with Ionic will be a pleasant task. Mainly in structure and design, the two frameworks show many similarities. The Ionic framework has a set of pre-developed components for UI. This can significantly simplify or speed up programming.

One of the key features of Ionic is the adaptability of the framework and the huge range of (mostly free) plugins that reduce the need for third-party solutions. This allows you to efficiently build a solid and sustainable web-based app with Ionic. 

Advantages Ionic:

  • Platform independent
  • Open source and many plugins
  • Code can be reused
  • Builds apps for iOS, android, Windows, Desktop, Web and PWA
  • A standard set of components already styled and compatible with any platform
  • Requires relatively less development time and therefore often less budget
  • Makes it possible to create standard functionalities of a mobile app in an easy and efficient way
  • Web-based solutions are reliable, solid and durable
  • Works on both UIWebView (iOS) and WebView (Android)
  • Can be tested in any browser

Disadvantages Ionic:

  • Performance may be less than with React Native in some cases. Think of User Experience, the smoothness of animations or the app speed
  • Performance issues when using too many callbacks to the native code
  • Developing advanced interactive or graphical transitions can be complicated

"I find it useful that if you are used to working with Angular, you can immediately start working with Ionic. Ionic is actually just like Angular, but with Ionic components. This makes development extremely efficient." - Raymon Tsung - our Ionic developer

React native

React Native was developed by Facebook in 2015. It is therefore no surprise that parts of the well-known applications such as Facebook, Skype and Instagram were created in the React Native framework. This framework mainly works with JavaScript and allows app developers to develop apps for iOS, Android and Windows. React Native makes it possible to create cross-platform apps that are almost indistinguishable from native apps and are characterized by a high degree of user-friendliness and responsiveness. When you write code in React, it is then rendered as a native UI component in the mobile app. This is a bit like entering a sentence in Google Translate. Because React is based on JavaScript, the code can be shared across multiple platforms. Specific parts for iOS or Android are easy to implement in a short time without having to rewrite the entire code.


  • Good performance, very fast and responsive
  • Adaptive code for any platform.
  • Very similar to a native app. The user will not realize that it is a hybrid app.
  • Higher personalization possible because it works less with standard parts
  • Large developer community (op Github for example), so that the answer to any issues or bottlenecks can be found quickly.


  • Needs relatively more development time than Ionic
  • Was initially developed for iOS, so components for Android may require more energy
  • May be associated with more costs due to more complicated apps
  • Needs a mobile device or emulator to test
  • The code has to be rewritten for each new platform after the launch of the app
  • Because React Native is supported by Facebook, this framework is bound by strict licensing regulations

"Working with react is great for building user interfaces. With react you make components for things like a container, button, form, etc. You can reuse these components everywhere with some adjustments, so you don't write code twice anywhere. React uses a virtual DOM, this only updates the components that need to be modified, which makes the performance of the application very high, making development very efficient." Max Dice - our React Native developer

As you can see, both frameworks each have their own advantages. To make it even easier (and because everyone likes lists) we have listed the pros and cons of Ionic and React Native:

Cross platform mobile app developer (1)
Ionic React native
programming language HTML, CSS, TypeScript, Angular, JavaScript JavaScript
-- Open source, reusable Open source, adaptable for any platform
Reusability code Up to 98% Up to 70%
Platforms Android, iOS Android, iOS, Windows, Desktop, Web and PWA
Components Simplicity, standard components Design more yourself
UI engineering Custom with built-in UI components Shared code versus the cost of a native experience
UX Average performance Very fast and responsive
Development time Less time needed Need more time
App type Hybrid: Hybrid app with similarities of a native app

Let the Battle Begin: Ionic or React Native?

We have now laid out the pros and cons of both Ionic and React. But who is the ultimate winner now? Both frameworks each have their own advantages. It is therefore difficult to choose a winner, if there is one at all.

Which framework best suits an app concept depends on a number of converging factors such as the ultimate goal of the app, the complexity, the budget, the end user, the developer, et cetera. Good market research is therefore important before you hire an app developer. Based on this, it may appear that Ionic or React Native better meet the wishes of the end user.

Generally offers React native a better user experience. React is a stable framework which is characterized by good performance and responsiveness. This makes React ideally suited for high-quality, often large-scale, applications and, in comparison, often requires a little more budget.

Ionic on the other hand, it is very suitable for applications where speed and efficiency during the development process are key against excellent performance. It is ideal for the development of relatively fast prototypes and the code can be deployed on multiple platforms without having to be rewritten. This makes Ionic a framework with a good price/quality ratio. 

Finally: Ionic vs. react

In short: there is actually no absolute winner. As far as we are concerned, the choice of the framework is based entirely on the desired functionalities, goals and specifications of the app and the target group.

Are you curious about examples of successful apps with an Ionic or React Native framework? Then take a look at our portfolio page of the app ExamenOverzicht. ExamenOverzicht is an innovative app with an Ionic framework with an emphasis on an efficient app for both Android and iOS systems. The app works great and has thousands of active users. In addition, the app can be further developed. We optimize the app based on user data and regularly add extra features.

An example of an app with a React Native framework is the app Knaek recently developed by us. This app provides thousands of students with discounts based on geolocation. The app must be responsive and have a hip look and feel and be downloadable for both Apple and Android users. Hence our choice for a React Native framework.

Would you like to create your own app in Ionic or React?

Take it without obligation contact and we will gladly help you further. As a cross-platform mobile app developer, we have experts in both frameworks.

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