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Expo vs React Native: 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 React Native? A framework for building native apps with React. 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.

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

"Free" is the top reason why over 6 developers like Expo, while over 170 developers mention "Learn once write everywhere" as the leading cause for choosing React Native.

Expo and React Native are both open source tools. React Native with 78.8K GitHub stars and 17.6K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Expo with 6.78K GitHub stars and 791 GitHub forks.

Instagram, Intuit, and Yahoo! are some of the popular companies that use React Native, whereas Expo is used by Discontinuity, PUBLY, and Mifos Initiative. React Native has a broader approval, being mentioned in 719 company stacks & 809 developers stacks; compared to Expo, which is listed in 29 company stacks and 26 developer stacks.

What is Expo?

Exponent lets web developers build truly native apps that work across both iOS and Android by writing them once in just JavaScript.

What is 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.
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    What are some alternatives to Expo and 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.
    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.
    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.
    Flutter
    Flutter is a mobile app SDK to help developers and designers build modern mobile apps for iOS and Android.
    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
    Decisions about Expo and React Native
    Sezgi Uluçam
    Sezgi Uluçam
    Sr. Software Engineer at StackShare · | 6 upvotes · 59.4K views
    Flutter
    Flutter
    React Native
    React Native
    PhoneGap
    PhoneGap
    Apache Cordova
    Apache Cordova
    #JavaScript
    #MobileFrameworks
    #NativeApps

    For a front end dev like me, using a mobile framework for side projects makes more sense than writing a native app. I had used Apache Cordova (formerly PhoneGap) before (because React Native didn't exist yet), and was happy with it. But once React Native came out, it made more sense to go that way instead. It's more efficient and smooth, since it doesn't have the simulation overhead, and has more access to hardware features. It feels cleaner since you don't need to deal with #WebView, using native UI widgets directly. I also considered Flutter . It looks promising, but is relatively new to the game, and React Native seems more stable for now.

    MobileFrameworks #JavaScript NativeApps

    See more
    Sezgi Uluçam
    Sezgi Uluçam
    Sr. Software Engineer at StackShare · | 7 upvotes · 75.8K views
    Android SDK
    Android SDK
    Android Studio
    Android Studio
    React Native
    React Native
    Xcode
    Xcode
    Expo
    Expo

    I've recently switched to using Expo for initializing and developing my React Native apps. Compared to React Native CLI, it's so much easier to get set up and going. Setting up and maintaining Android Studio, Android SDK, and virtual devices used to be such a headache. Thanks to Expo, I can now test my apps directly on my Android phone, just by installing the Expo app. I still use Xcode Simulator for iOS testing, since I don't have an iPhone, but that's easy anyway. The big win for me with Expo is ease of Android testing.

    The Expo SDK also provides convenient features like Facebook login, MapView, push notifications, and many others. https://docs.expo.io/versions/v31.0.0/sdk/

    See more
    Apache Cordova
    Apache Cordova
    redux-saga
    redux-saga
    React Native
    React Native
    AngularJS
    AngularJS
    Redux
    Redux
    React
    React
    #JavascriptMvcFrameworks

    We had contemplated a long time which #JavascriptMvcFrameworks to use, React and React Native vs AngularJS and Apache Cordova in both web and mobile. Eventually we chose react over angular since it was quicker to learn, less code for simple apps and quicker integration of third party javascript modules. for the full MVC we added Redux.js for state management and redux-saga for async calls and logic. since we also have mobile app along with the web, we can shere logic and model between web and mobile.

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    Vishal Narkhede
    Vishal Narkhede
    Javascript Developer at getStream.io · | 19 upvotes · 89.4K views
    atStreamStream
    Babel
    Babel
    styled-components
    styled-components
    Expo
    Expo
    JavaScript
    JavaScript
    Chat by Stream
    Chat by Stream
    React Native
    React Native
    Stream
    Stream

    Recently, the team at Stream published a React Native SDK for our new Chat by Stream product. React Native brings the power of JavaScript to the world of mobile development, making it easy to develop apps for multiple platforms. We decided to publish two different endpoints for the SDK – Expo and React Native (non-expo), to avoid the hurdle and setup of using the Expo library in React Native only projects on the consumer side.

    The capability of style customization is one a large deal breaker for frontend SDKs. To solve this, we decided to use styled-components in our SDK, which makes it easy to add support for themes on top of our existing components. This practice reduces the maintenance effort for stylings of custom components and keeps the overall codebase clean.

    For module bundling, we decided to go with Rollup.js instead of Webpack due to its simplicity and performance in the area of library/module providers. We are using Babel for transpiling code, enabling our team to use JavaScript's next-generation features. Additionally, we are using the React Styleguidist component documentation, which makes documenting the React Native code a breeze.

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    Gustavo Muñoz
    Gustavo Muñoz
    Web UI Developer at Globant · | 6 upvotes · 26.6K views
    JavaScript
    JavaScript
    Visual Studio Code
    Visual Studio Code
    Android Studio
    Android Studio
    Dart
    Dart
    React Native
    React Native
    React
    React
    Flutter
    Flutter
    #Flare

    In my modest opinion, Flutter is the future of mobile development. The framework is as important to mobile as React is to the web. And seeing that React Native does not finish taking off, I am focusing all my efforts on learning Flutter and Dart. The ecosystem is amazing. The community is crazy about Flutter. There are enough resources to learn and enjoy the framework, and the tools developed to work with it are amazing. Android Studio or Visual Studio Code has incredible plugins and Dart is a pretty straight forward and easy-to-learn language, even more, if you came from JavaScript. I admit it. I'm in love with Flutter. When you are not a designer, having a framework focused on design an pretty things is a must. And counting with tools like #flare for animations makes everything easier. It is so amazing that I wish I had a big mobile project right now at work just to use Flutter.

    See more
    Vaibhav Taunk
    Vaibhav Taunk
    Team Lead at Technovert · | 24 upvotes · 67.3K views
    Visual Studio Code
    Visual Studio Code
    Markdown
    Markdown
    Postman
    Postman
    React Native
    React Native
    Flutter
    Flutter
    MongoDB
    MongoDB
    React
    React
    Angular CLI
    Angular CLI
    .NET Core
    .NET Core

    I am starting to become a full-stack developer, by choosing and learning .NET Core for API Development, Angular CLI / React for UI Development, MongoDB for database, as it a NoSQL DB and Flutter / React Native for Mobile App Development. Using Postman, Markdown and Visual Studio Code for development.

    See more
    Interest over time
    Reviews of Expo and React Native
    Avatar of tonyxiao
    Economics
    Review ofReact NativeReact Native

    Native iOS developer here. One of the most important thing React Native managed to accomplish is that it created a better single-platform development experience than the platform owner themselves did. It's faster and easier to develop a react native app than it is to develop an iOS app. And remember that react native is at the end of the day still native. So native views, native components, native modules. You get to pick and choose how much you want to be in JavaScript and how much you want to be in native.

    How developers use Expo and React Native
    Avatar of Kurzor, s.r.o.
    Kurzor, s.r.o. uses React NativeReact Native

    React Native is great in that it reduces the overhead of writing native code based on a web app. If written in a good style, Redux part of the app can often just be copied or shared in the Native app - and it just works! What a timesaver.

    Avatar of Ryan VanBelkum
    Ryan VanBelkum uses React NativeReact Native

    The framework used to write the mobile apps in this project. I've chosen this because of the "write once run all" (ios and android) mentality.

    Avatar of AmericanBibleSociety
    AmericanBibleSociety uses React NativeReact Native

    We are not currently using this product but we have very high interest in learning and using this for mobile apps.

    Avatar of JINJA Ltd.
    JINJA Ltd. uses React NativeReact Native

    New features of our app are developed on React Native, so we could maintain a small dev team.

    Avatar of Tana
    Tana uses React NativeReact Native

    100% of our mobile codebase is shared between iOS and Android. Using along with TypeScript.

    How much does Expo cost?
    How much does React Native cost?
    Pricing unavailable
    Pricing unavailable
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