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Expo vs Ionic: What are the differences?

What is Expo? Making React Native Easier. Exponent lets web developers build truly native apps that work across both iOS and Android by writing them once in just JavaScript.

What is Ionic? A beautiful front-end framework for developing cross-platform apps with web technologies like Angular and React. Free and open source, Ionic offers a library of mobile and desktop-optimized HTML, CSS and JS components for building highly interactive apps. Use with Angular, React, Vue, or plain JavaScript.

Expo and Ionic can be primarily classified as "Cross-Platform Mobile Development" tools.

"Free" is the top reason why over 6 developers like Expo, while over 234 developers mention "Allows for rapid prototyping" as the leading cause for choosing Ionic.

Expo and Ionic are both open source tools. It seems that Ionic with 38.5K GitHub stars and 13.1K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Expo with 6.78K GitHub stars and 791 GitHub forks.

Sellsuki, MAK IT, and Edify are some of the popular companies that use Ionic, whereas Expo is used by Discontinuity, PUBLY, and Mifos Initiative. Ionic has a broader approval, being mentioned in 393 company stacks & 361 developers stacks; compared to Expo, which is listed in 29 company stacks and 26 developer stacks.

Advice on Expo and Ionic
Needs advice
on
ReduxReduxReact NativeReact Native
and
ExpoExpo
in

Hello guys, I am new here. So, if I posted without specific guidelines, please ignore.

Basically, I am an iOS developer and developing native apps for the last three years. Recently, I started learning React Native to develop apps for both platforms. If anyone out there knows any useful resources that will become a better react native developer.

#newbie

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Replies (1)
Javier Silva Ortíz
Senior Full Stack Developer at Aleph Engineering · | 6 upvotes · 184.4K views
Recommends
ReduxRedux

Well, the first resource I would recommend you is my upcoming book by Packt Publishing, "Professional React Native", but it's due late January next year :) . Now jokes aside (the book's real by the way :) ), the easiest way to build a iOS/Android/Web app with React Native is to do: npm install -g expo-cli expo init some-project cd some-project expo eject

You might have heard of Expo, but trust me, stay away from it. Expo highest value is that it's an already pre-configured 3 platforms environment, but if you don't eject then you're vendor-locked to what Expo has to offer in iOS and Android, which is very poor compared to going full React Native on these platforms, they can't even handle Google Sign In properly and by the way, even if your app is 10 lines of code your app size will be over 40 MB if you don't eject, yep it's that bad, plus the performance is regular and the loading times slow, not to mention that you're stuck with their build service which the free tier makes you wait for hours for a free build slot. It's important to note that when ejecting you don't lose the Web, you simply do expo start --web to start your dev environment and expo build:web to build a static website that you can serve with any web server. Regarding state management, don't bother with "lifting state up" philosophies mixed with Context API to manage your state, lifting state is a great pattern and helps your codebase, Context is great to avoid prop-drilling, but NEVER mix them to achieve app-wide state management, for that, simply go for Redux or MobX, the hype is all about Redux, but I consider MobX far better in many aspects. However, as you're getting new into this I would recommend you start with Redux AND PLEASE grab yourself npm install @manaflair/redux-batch so that you can batch updates and don't bring your app to a crawl. Forget that "connect HOC" thing with React-Redux, don't bother for a second with it, go with Hooks and useSelector and useDispatch and the likes, it will make your code SO much cleaner and smaller. Adopt clean and new Hooks philosophy, avoid writing class components as much as possible and write function components augmented with Hooks.

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Needs advice
on
React NativeReact NativeIonicIonic
and
FlutterFlutter

Hi, we are an early startup (with an iPOC prototype) but need to get started on our MVP, and our tech developers in India recommended a hybrid, and they use Ionic, then we spoke with a software company in the US and he recommended Flutter or React Native. Any advice or input for us on the differences between these? Our app will need Bluetooth GPS for "near me" and social media sharing reviews capability, and also link on the backend with businesses. Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

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Replies (6)
Ahmad Khan
Recommends
FlutterFlutter

I would never recommend you to go with Ionic, Because of the User experience it provides is subpar. Flutter is most promising, Can be easily used to develop great user experience in no time. React native is also good, but it's phasing out in my opinion, while Ionic has already phased out. Flutter also provides great developer experience, resulting in fast and productive developers. I would have to press hard to think of a CON about flutter when recommending it for your needs.

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Dario Alves
Arquiteto de Software at Senior sistemas · | 2 upvotes · 315.4K views
Recommends
React NativeReact Native

Maturity, Community, Facility, Libs React Native is the principal platform of mobile cross-platform development today, Flutter is it's a promise.

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Recommends
IonicIonic
at

I don‘t have practical experience with flutter but between ionic and react native I‘d say both a perfectly viable options and we have used both for a number of production apps. We normally go with ionic on capacitor because we build a lot of pwa/web apps so we can use the same code for all. We don‘t use much of ionic elements, we do most styles on our own.

The comments that the user experience is bad I cannot agree with. A well designed and developed ionic apo can hardly be distinguished from a native app. But obviously that depends also on the usecase and type of app.

I hope this helps

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Recommends
FlutterFlutter

Flutter is built on DART which is written in GO. GO compiles to binary. Hence is faster than any java based framework. It provides superior performance and has a simplified UI process for designing apps.

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Kevin Lücke
Recommends
FlutterFlutter

It depends also on your team skills. Flutter is fast to learn, fast to develop with and the performance is much better in comparison to React. If your team is already highly skilled in React Native it could be the better option - if not Flutter is my 100% recommendation. We rapidly prototype and deliver MVPs with Flutter since two years.

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Nicolas Kovacs
Recommends
FlutterFlutter

Even if React Native is older (I didn't say mature) you should go for Flutter, It's works really well and the developer experience is great (auto-completion, plugin etc). I spent years with React Native and now I am using Flutter and I don't regret It. Even if you have to learn a new language, It's pretty simple even more If you know some OOP, Java and Javascript ES6 syntax in some case. One other advantage is the facility to design app in Flutter, you have widgets for everything and you can adapt any design made by your designer. For example you can't make a simple custom box shadow with React-Native ...

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Alexis Poveda
Needs advice
on
ElectronElectronFlutterFlutter
and
IonicIonic

Hi! I have to develop a software solution for a youth church group, for my graduation project. In the first meeting that I have with the coordinators, they did not have a clear idea of what they want. The biggest problem they have is the attendance control, they do it manually and that causes errors.

I was thinking of developing an Android app in Android Studio because that is the tool I master, but a friend told me that I consider using a tool that builds for iOS, Android and web. I have like 6 months. I own a MacBookAir but I do not know Swift (for iOS). I am familiar with MySQL, PHP, Apache, JSP,HTML,CSS.

Summary: What tool can I use that is easy to learn and easy to scale?

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Replies (5)
Recommends
IonicIonic

I think you should chose between Flutter and Ionic. With those two options, the main question is about graphs and performance. Are they really important for your application? If the answer is yes, your tool is Flutter but, if the answer is that you need an easy tool to create an app with some basic components I would choose Ionic. You have a library with lots of components that you can use and they have native UI by default (for Android and iOS).

You will find more support if you use Ionic with Angular as frontend framework (you have the option to use Vue or React but this is a new feature for Ionic and I think there are more difficult to learn than Angular).

You can develop and debug the majority of features on PC (I don't know if that is possible with Flutter). And when you will finish the app, create iOS and Android versions is simple.

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Recommends
IonicIonic

It's probably not relevant anymore, but I think Ionic with Angular as the frontend is the right choice. For IDE I would choose Visual Studio Code. You can just create a basic web application with responsive design, which is already included if you are going to use Ionic components with Material Design to create your app. You don't need to know Swift, you don't even have to create mobile apps, just create a responsive (Ionic already is) web app, or PWA. Upon browsing your website from a mobile device for example using google chrome, you will be prompted to create a shortcut of the website in your mobile phone. After you do this, there will be an icon in your phone that looks like an icon to launch an app, it will launch your website in full screen mode - for the user's perspective it will look like he is using a native app. Access https://ionicframework.com/docs/angular/pwa from your android chrome browser, go to tab options (3 vertical dots), click on Add to Home screen. When you launch the website from the shortcut, you'll see that it behaves and looks like a native app.

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Recommends
FlutterFlutter

Flutter is easy to use and easy to understand. Once you have completed the android platform, you can easily build it to ios, Web or desktop on a single code base.

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Carlos Esteban Lopez Jaramillo
Recommends
IonicIonic
  1. Electron is for desktop apps, so not useful for you.
  2. Flutter has better performance, but Ionic is decent as well, I would use Ionic unless you're making a game or graphic-intensive app.
  3. Ionic is more flexible since you have the whole NPM ecosystem available, while flutter is more recent, thus libraries for it are less in quantity and battle-tested than the ones in NPM.
  4. Ionic 4 introduced CSS variables, which improved immensely the theming process for the app, which was the hardest issue Ionic development had.
  5. Ionic has extended to many frameworks so it's compatible with Angular and React frameworks, meaning more flexibility, personally I would recommend Ionic with Angular over React since it's more suited to enterprise-level apps.
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Alejandro Ulate Fallas
Mobile Developer at Build SRL · | 2 upvotes · 194.1K views
Recommends
IonicIonic

Hi there. So Electron embeds everything in a webview, which means that what you would have to develop would be a Node project most probably. Ionic does the same (kindof but won't bore you with specifics) but it does it much more efficiently. Usually you do Ionic apps with JS frameworks like Angular or React (this one recently added). Flutter on the other hand does native apps, it does it really good but it's support for Web is in beta and it's relatively simple to setup if you already know the SDK and the environment.

My recommendation would be that you do your app using Angular/Ionic if you reaaally need the multi-platform environment and there's different reasons in this case:

  • Since it's a graduation project you need it to be as simple as it can be and adding a new technology adds to the learning curve.
  • Flutter is great if you have different complex UI or if you have specific performance needs that require native support and in your case it does not seem like you need that.
  • Flutter is also an incredibly powerful tool but it's learning curve might be tricky if you have not developed native apps before so I wouldn't recommend you start off like this if you have time sensitive projects like a graduation project. It does have great docs and an awesome community but I'd suggest you stick as close to what you know as you can.
  • Ionic/Angular uses Typescript (a type javascript wrapper) and Angular (JS framework) so you will have to learn a little bit but if you already know HTML, CSS and Javascript you won't have that much of a hard time. Also there's quite a lot in terms of documentation and tooling already tested around this combination.
  • Ionic/Angular has a really good CLI that helps you stick to the architecture they recommend so you wouldn't have to worry about it that much.
  • Ionic/Angular helps you test either locally in the web browser as well as your devices which is in the end what you want if you are looking for a multi-platform system. Flutter also does this but is not quite in a stable state (yet!).

Anyway, in the end, if you go for the multi-platform suggestion I think, because of time you would be better off with Ionic. If you decide that you don't need that as of right now (which is fine as well) you can start with just the Android app and plan on the different things you might eventually need like a website or other different stuff. Cheers!

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Decisions about Expo and Ionic

Our stack roughly divides into three major components, the front-end, back-end and the data storage.

For the front-end, we have decided to go with React Native via Expo. This allows us to target both Android and iOS with a single codebase. Expo provides "managed workflows" and an SDK that will simplify development and deployment.

For the back-end, we have decided to use Python. Python is the language of choice for machine learning (ML). It has extensive support for traditional ML algorithms (e.g. random forests) via Scikit-Learn and the SciPy ecosystem. On top of this, our industry partner has provided us their current solution written in Python. We decided to expose the back-end as a REST API using FastAPI. This allows us to nicely separate concerns from the rest of the codebase. FastAPIs use of static type hints, validation with Pydantic, and automated documentation allows us to build better APIs faster.

For data storage we decided to use a MongoDB Atlas, a NoSQL database. We decided to use a NoSQL database because we need to store large amounts of data (e.g data from the wearable IMUs). Moreover, due to the ever changing nature of a startup we require flexibility. NoSQL databases are schema-free which enables us to modify our schema as we see fit.

We plan on using GitHub Actions (GA) to orchestrate our CI/CD. Given GAs broad support of languages and workflows, it's hard to go wrong with this decision. We will also be using GitHub for version control and project management, so having everything in one place is convenient.

The major components of our CI/CD for the backend will consist of black for autoformatting, flake8 for linting, pytest for unit-testing, and mypy for static type checking and codecov for coverage reporting. We plan to use separate Docker containers to package the back-end and front-end components and use Docker Compose to launch the app. This allows us to better separate concerns, manage dependencies, and ensure our app is deployable anywhere.

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Pierre Canthelou
Lead Developper Frontend/Mobile at WinMinute · | 5 upvotes · 65.2K views

I've made 6 professional/business applications with React Native before choosing Flutter/Dart for the new version of WinMinuteConso (historical in Ionic...). Multi Platform is far more stable, Dart is far more powerful, the whole process is really better... It is just hard to find the proper software architecture...

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Thuan Nguyen
FE Lead at SOLID ENGINEER · | 5 upvotes · 437K views
  • Javascripts is the most populated language in the world.
  • Easy to learn & deployed production
  • Fast development
  • Strong community
  • Completed Documents
  • Native performance with lower RAM used.
  • Easy to handle native issues by using native code like Java / Objective C
  • Powered by Facebook.
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awesomebanana2018
Chose
FlutterFlutter
over
IonicIonic

While with Ionic it is possible to make mobile applications with only web technologies, Flutter is more performant and is easy to use if you are willing to learn Dart, which is a fun language. Plus, it has awesome documentation and, while its ecosystem isn't near as big as JavaScript's is, it has a good package manager called Pub and its packages are generally high quality.

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Pros of Expo
Pros of Ionic
  • 14
    Free
  • 11
    Hot Reload
  • 8
    Common ios and android app setup
  • 7
    Easy to learn
  • 6
    Streamlined
  • 5
    Open Source
  • 4
    Builds into a React Native app
  • 246
    Allows for rapid prototyping
  • 227
    Hybrid mobile
  • 208
    It's angularjs
  • 185
    Free
  • 179
    It's javascript, html, and css
  • 108
    Ui and theming
  • 76
    Great designs
  • 74
    Mv* pattern
  • 70
    Reuse frontend devs on mobile
  • 65
    Extensibility
  • 31
    Great community
  • 29
    Open source
  • 22
    Responsive design
  • 20
    Good cli
  • 13
    So easy to use
  • 13
    Beautifully designed
  • 13
    Angularjs-based
  • 12
    Widgets
  • 11
    Typescript
  • 11
    Allows for rapid prototyping, hybrid mobile
  • 10
    Quick prototyping, amazing community
  • 10
    Easy setup
  • 8
    Angular2 support
  • 7
    So much thought behind what developers actually need
  • 7
    Because of the productivity and easy for development
  • 7
    Fast, easy, free
  • 7
    Base on angular
  • 6
    Super fast, their dev team is amazingly passionate
  • 6
    Easy to use
  • 6
    It's Angular
  • 4
    UI is awesome
  • 4
    Hot deploy
  • 3
    Material design support using theme
  • 3
    Amazing support
  • 3
    It's the future
  • 3
    Angular
  • 3
    Allow for rapid prototyping
  • 3
    Easy setup, development and testing
  • 3
    Ionic creator
  • 2
    User Friendly
  • 2
    It's angular js
  • 2
    Complete package
  • 2
    Simple & Fast
  • 2
    Fastest growing mobile app framework
  • 2
    Best Support and Community
  • 2
    Material Design By Default
  • 2
    Cross platform
  • 2
    Documentation
  • 2
    Because I can use my existing web devloper skills
  • 2
    Removes 300ms delay in mobile browsers
  • 1
    1
  • 1
    Native access
  • 1
    Typescript support
  • 1
    Ionic conect codeigniter
  • 1
    Fast Prototyping
  • 1
    All Trending Stack

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Cons of Expo
Cons of Ionic
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 20
      Not suitable for high performance or UI intensive apps
    • 15
      Not meant for game development
    • 2
      Not a native app

    Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

    What is Expo?

    It is a framework and a platform for universal React applications. It is a set of tools and services built around React Native and native platforms that help you develop, build, deploy, and quickly iterate on iOS, Android, and web apps.

    What is Ionic?

    Free and open source, Ionic offers a library of mobile and desktop-optimized HTML, CSS and JS components for building highly interactive apps. Use with Angular, React, Vue, or plain JavaScript.

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    What companies use Expo?
    What companies use Ionic?
    See which teams inside your own company are using Expo or Ionic.
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    What tools integrate with Expo?
    What tools integrate with Ionic?

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    What are some alternatives to Expo and Ionic?
    React Native
    React Native enables you to build world-class application experiences on native platforms using a consistent developer experience based on JavaScript and React. The focus of React Native is on developer efficiency across all the platforms you care about - learn once, write anywhere. Facebook uses React Native in multiple production apps and will continue investing in React Native.
    Create React Native App
    Create React Native App allows you to work with all of the Components and APIs in React Native, as well as most of the JavaScript APIs that the Expo App provides.
    Flutter
    Flutter is a mobile app SDK to help developers and designers build modern mobile apps for iOS and Android.
    Xamarin
    Xamarin’s Mono-based products enable .NET developers to use their existing code, libraries and tools (including Visual Studio*), as well as skills in .NET and the C# programming language, to create mobile applications for the industry’s most widely-used mobile devices, including Android-based smartphones and tablets, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
    Apache Cordova
    Apache Cordova is a set of device APIs that allow a mobile app developer to access native device function such as the camera or accelerometer from JavaScript. Combined with a UI framework such as jQuery Mobile or Dojo Mobile or Sencha Touch, this allows a smartphone app to be developed with just HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
    See all alternatives