June 22

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Why Use React Native for Mobile App Development?


For a long time, there has been a viable alternative to native development: cross-platform development. The main benefit of using the same code on both platforms is that it saves money and time.

Today, React Native (RN) application development is a popular solution. In this article, we will discuss the benefits, popularity, and perspective of React Native app development companies, as well as when RN is the right choice for you and when it is not.

What is React Native?

React Native is an open-source framework developed by Facebook that uses a declarative programming paradigm to build native JavaScript mobile apps. React Native combines the best aspects of native development with React, a world-class JavaScript library for creating user interfaces.

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“Most companies developing mobile on native stacks must make some compromises.” Either on productivity (creating the same product with different engineers on different stacks multiple times), quality (creating low-quality apps), or scope (focusing on a single platform). In an interview, Tal Kol, ex-Head of Mobile Engineering at Wix.com, says, “The path to stopping these compromises is inventing new mobile stacks — like React Native.”

Many businesses now prefer to build their apps with React Native because it allows them to write almost all the code in JavaScript and share it across iOS and Android without paying for two teams of developers to maintain two separate code bases.

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Who is Using React Native?

Facebook announced React Native in 2015.

In a blog post on the official Facebook Engineering blog, Facebook engineers Daniel Witte and Philipp von Weitershausen write, “We were able to ship Facebook’s first fully React Native app on two platforms, with native look and feel, built by the same team of JavaScript engineers.” Even though not all of the engineers were familiar with React when they joined the team, they managed to create an iOS app with a native look and feel in just five months. And three months later, we released the Android version of the app.”

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After a long wait and hundreds of updates, fixes, and functionality additions, version H 0.63.4 / November 30, 2020, is the most recent version of React Native.

Thousands of apps use React Native as a solution due to its popularity and ease of use. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Skype, Uber Eats, or Bloomberg, many brands and top-tier applications use the React Native framework to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

React Native App Development Benefits

Below we list the major pros or top reasons for choosing React Native for mobile app development.

  • Reusable Code — Saved Time and Money

Developers using React Native do not need to write separate code for different platforms (iOS or Android), as Javascript can be used for both. The ability to reuse code, in particular, increases efficiency, yields super-fast development results, and lowers costs. Furthermore, the existing open-source libraries, including UI libraries, significantly accelerate mobile app development.

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Furthermore, if a company already has a React web application, some code can be reused to create a mobile app.

  • Hot and Live Reloading — Quick Changes

Hot and live reloading functions are at the heart of React Native mobile app development. This allows developers to work with code changes in real-time and make fixes while the app is loading: the live feature automatically reloads the entire app after changes are made, whereas hot reloading only reloads a specific area of the change, which simplifies development and testing.

This justifies the first point, making application development faster, more efficient, and more intuitive.

  • Truly Native Feel
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Native development components map 1:1 to React Native components. This enables developers to create interfaces faster, increase app agility, and create an authentic, native feel that is indistinguishable from the native app.

RN is also native software compliant and can seamlessly integrate with existing code, making it ideal for adding quick extensions to existing native applications.

  • Third-Party Plugin Support

Because React Native is still in its early stages, components that would meet specific business requirements may be missing. To address this, React Native offers two kinds of third-party plugins: JavaScript-based plugins and native modules.

If you need to integrate Google Maps into your application, React Native allows you to link any plugin with a native or third-party module.

  • Community Support and Industry Popularity 
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Among all cross-platforms, React Native has the largest community. The most significant advantage of strong community support is the assistance available to developers. Because React Native is an open-source platform, you can get help from community experts or find libraries of relevant information to develop React Native-based applications. If you need an immediate answer to a question, you can use Reactiflux chat. A large number of React Native tutorials are also worth mentioning.

React Native’s Downsides

Recently, news broke that shocked the entire mobile software development world: Airbnb worked on React Native for various reasons but determined that, despite its numerous benefits, it isn’t appropriate for their specific needs.

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This example demonstrates that even the most efficient programming tools can fail to handle certain business cases.

  • Partly Poor Guidelines

In addition to its benefits, the open-source platform and the ability to create new modules have drawbacks in the form of insufficient guidance.

Stack Overflow, which has over 95,000 questions on #react-native, also sparks some ideas. On the one hand, you may not be concerned about not having an answer to an interesting question, but on the other hand, you may question the library’s quality. After all, why would questions arise if something works well?

  • Lack of Support for iOS & Android Features
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React Native does not support all of these platforms’ features. Some modules are missing, necessitating custom development, and other features may be incomplete or outdated, requiring developers to rebuild them from the ground up.

  • Performance is Lower than Native Apps

It is important to note that, despite its many advantages, JavaScript has notoriously slow performance.

The bridge between JS and React Native is the primary cause of the poor performance. In 2021, the company promised to release a new bridge update and change the way native code communicates with JS, giving RN a performance boost. Additionally, developers may be required to integrate integrations such as TypeScript and Flow into their existing infrastructure. A noticeable amount of optimization can be achieved through skilled programming.

  • Lack of Power for Complex UI
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If your app requires a lot of animations, integrations, and background processes, React Native is not a good choice.

Developers may face challenges when creating screens with complex gestures because the Android and iOS touch subsystems are too different from using a unified API.

React Native’s Popularity and Perspective

The number of JavaScript libraries and frameworks is steadily increasing. New “killers” emerge every year, promising improved performance, greater usability, and fewer bugs. This process cannot be stopped; it must only be monitored so that you do not end up with an outdated stack.

Numerous tools are available for tracking trends, and it is only necessary to remember that you must refer to several of them to get a complete picture. Let’s take a look at the current market situation.

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Conclusion on React Native — When to Choose

React Native provides many distinct advantages; however, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and your choice of the technology stack is heavily influenced by your business idea, whether you are a start-up or a successful business guru.

React Native is a good choice for:

  • Projects with simple functionality
  • Attractive app design and development, and efficient interfaces, such as eCommerce and social media
  • JavaScript-based apps
  • Rapid development with short iterations.

However, React Native may not be the best solution for the following:

  • Complex visualisation
  • Feature-rich gaming
  • When developing rich multimedia apps with many background processes
  • Platform-specific apps
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If you are looking to hire dedicated mobile app developers, contact applify.co.

 

Author: APPLIFY

 

As artists sketch thoughts, we create digitally empowered products.

Applify delivers hands-on experience across multiple technologies for mobile apps, gaming apps, TV, and wearable apps. We have been recognized by Clutch as one of the top industry leaders in the global B2B market for 2021. Our team has reached new heights and we’ve worked together with Cashify, Coca-Cola, Mixpanel, SiteDrop, Show to Stream, TA, and more.

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