Android SDK vs REACT: Which one is better?

June 18, 2021

As developers, there are a few very important decision one must make when thinking about developing an app, and one of them is deciding which technology are you going to use.

You know, picking the right development tool can be quite stressing. Pick the wrong one, and you might end up with an app that wasn’t what you (or your client, for what matters) really wanted.

So, let’s say you have to build a mobile application, specifically an app that is available for Android systems. What do you choose? Do you pick REACT? Do you go for Android SDK? How do you know which one is the best one.

To save you some time, we have taken upon the task of making this research for you, and help you decide. But buckle up, because if you think this is going to be an easy fight between these two tool kits, you are very, very wrong.

Tool kits vs Javascript libraries

Comparing Android SDK with React seems unfair when you realize you are comparing a Software development tool kit with an open source Javascript library, sure, they both perform the same tasks, but they do it differently.

Let’s put it this way, Android SDK is, literally, a software development kit full of necessary tools to create an Android mobile application, meanwhile, React is simply a JavaScript Library.

To be fair, React happens to be extremely useful when developing an application since it helps you creating user interfaces, allowing you to design views in every single page or stage of your app.

However, when put against Android SDK, React isn’t really the strongest competitor. Yes, they can both be used to develop and Android app, but not on the same level… And that’s when React Native comes in.

React Native is pretty similar to ReactJS, with the only difference one is an open source library, and the other one is actually a framework. So, to continue our debate, we’re going to be focusing mainly on React Native.

What Android SDK can (and cannot) do

Like we said before, Android SDK is basically a tool kit that provides developers with everything they could possibly need to create an application that works on Android platforms.

We will get to what this tool kit includes in a minute, but for now, you should know that everytime Google comes up with a new version of Android (Lollipop KitKat, etc) they also release a new Android SDK version. Meaning, every new version of this mobile system, comes with their own tool kit for developers.

Why does Google do this? Simple, so engineers and developers can continue to create mobile apps that present all the latest features. To put it simply, they do this to keep YOU and your code writing up to date.

Now, if you are wondering if this tool kit is compatible with your current development platform (Or computer, to put it in a less fancy way) it does. This tool kit and everything it comes with it functions in all platforms, including Windows, Mac OS and even Linux.

Let’s take a deeper look into all the features and characteristics of Android SDK and how it can help you create and develop a really awesome mobile application.

What does the Android SDK includes?

Like we previously said, these tool kit comes with everything you could possibly need to create a mobile app that functions of Android, such as:

  1. Sample source codes

  2. Libraries

  3. An emulator

  4. Documentation regarding Android APIs

  5. Debugger

  6. And Free tutorials to put together your mobile app.

It’s worth to mention this tool kit pretty much functions on its own, however, it is recommended to integrate it with a development environment and plugins (Android ones, of course) to enhance the developing experience.

Amongst the benefits of Android SDK we can find the following:

  1. It’s free. Google gives out this tool kit to basically anyone that would go to the Android App Developer website and download it directly from the official source.

  2. It’s open code. This is a HUGE deal since it allows software developers and engineers to share useful technologies, allowing others to further customize and make their developing experience even easier.

  3. It’s easy to handle. Although it is true you do need some level of expertise in computer programming to manage all the features included in the SDK, it is still a pretty easy to handle tool. Not too complicated, not too “fancy” to get around.

The truth about React Native

Now that we have talked about Android SDK, let’s talk a little bit about React Native. First off, we have a full on report on this technology, touching on topics such like what exactly this is, how it works and the benefits you will experience. We truly recommend reading it and understand it before continuing this reading.

Same goes for ReactJS, we also have a full on report on that particular technology which you can check out if you want to, just to make sure you are completely aware of the differences between React and React Native.

That being said, React Native is a Framework, specifically a JavaScript framework that allows you to create real native applications that work perfectly on Android (or any mobile system, for what matters)

Keep in mind a native application is one that is specifically made to be used on a particular platform, which in this case, is Android. Meaning you can build original, native apps that will function just as well as if you were creating them with Android SDK.

What does React Native includes?

Keep in mind React Native is not a tool kit, but rather a framework that works with JavaScript, therefore you will have access to this type of programming language, native building blocks and all the other features that allow you, as a developer, to code your app in a much easier way.

However, the real value of React Native doesn’t lie on what does it include or not, since it isn’t a tool kit. Rather, it relies on what you can do with it, and how you can implement it on your software development process.

Amongst the benefits of React Native we can focus on the three main following ones:

  1. Create a native app. Unlike working with other frameworks, with React Native you are actually develop a legit mobile application that is exactly the same as any other app made with an SDK.

  2. Have access to all the benefits of web development. The great thing about React Native is that it’s extremely similar to ReactJS, which means you still get all the benefits and power of working with React, but for mobile apps.

  3. Create apps that work on both Android and iOS. Perhaps the best thing about React Native is that you can actually create apps for either of these two systems, and they will work just as well.

So, which one is better?

To sum up our little, but very entertained debate, which one is the best app to create an Android mobile application will directly depend on two things: What you’re looking to create, and your level of expertise.

Both Android SDK and React Native are relatively easy to use, however, it is true the first one requires certain level of expertise on computer programming to to truly access all the features and benefits this tool kit has to offer you.

Also, if you want to create an app that is able to run or iOS, then React might be your winner, since it allows developers to create mobile app for either of these two platforms. Other than that, you are facing two of the strongest mobile software development tools out there, it is just a matter of choosing which one fits YOUR project the best, and go for it.

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