Certain things just make your life easier.
Nonstick cooking pans. Fast stain removers. Motorized vacuums.
And if you’re an app developer, you know the idea of being able to only write code exactly one time for both iOS and Android apps definitely makes your life easier. And that’s possible thanks to React Native.
What is React Native?
React Native was first developed as a mobile development framework in 2015 when Facebook released it as an open-source project. It was initially developed for iOS apps only, but quickly evolved to Android support before being introduced to the public.
In just a few short years, RN became one of the top-used solutions for mobile development since it isn’t platform-specific and is used on some of the most popular mobile apps available.
React Native vs. React
It’s easy to confuse React Native with a “newer” version of React; however, differences exist.
React Native, powered by React, allows developers to use a set of user interface (UI) elements to create and launch iOS and Android apps.
|Used for front-end web development
||Used for mobile application development
|Developed by Facebook engineers
||Developed by Facebook engineers
|The UI renders to the browser’s programming interface, also known as a virtual document object model (VDOM).
||The UI renders to the native platform’s programming interface instead of creating a web-based view.
How does React Native work?
Benefits of using React Native
Choosing React Native for your mobile app can lead to many benefits. Some to keep in mind are:
- Saving time: Companies can create a code just once for both iOS and Android versions of their app. Being able to reuse code is a huge advantage of using RN.
- Cost efficiency: Using the same code to build applications saves companies money, too. Organizations don’t have to hire one dev team for iOS and another for Android to finalize a project.
- High performance: Compared to other cross-platform solutions, the bridge concept in use for React Native apps and natively written code means it won't lag as much as other solutions, providing a preferred user experience.
- Fast development: Because developers don’t have to write two sets of code, React Native speeds up development time.
Drawbacks of using React Native
If you’re considering React Native for your mobile app, don’t forget to consider the potential drawbacks!
- Debugging issues: Although React Native language is extremely popular and used by major tech players, it’s still in beta. Developers may run into issues regarding compatibility that could require lengthy troubleshooting.
- Young technology: As mentioned, since React Native is a new technology, it still has some glitches, issues, and limitations that have yet to be addressed. Additionally, some custom modules don’t exist in the framework, meaning developers will have to build them from scratch.
- Relies on Facebook: RN relies on Facebook, a third-party open-source technology. If Facebook decided to step away from using this technology, it would cause a significant distribution in the app world.
Apps built with React Native
It’s likely that some of your favorites are actually React Native mobile apps. Some of the most popular apps built with RN are:
- Facebook. As its founder, it should be no surprise that Facebook uses RN for its mobile app, as well as for the Facebook Messenger app!
- Skype. In 2017, Skype announced it was building an entirely new RN-based app. The launch was so successful that RN is also used in the platform's desktop version.
- SoundCloud Pulse. When SoundCloud decided to make SoundCloud Pulse, an app for music creators, they used React Native for its development. At first, the team set out to build two separate apps but struggled to find iOS engineers. Utilizing RN for both versions of the app was the solution, and SoundCloud was pleased with the final product.
- Pinterest. The engineers at Pinterest had their eye on React Native since it launched and decided to give RN a test run before officially implementing it within their app. They tested it with their “Topic Picker” function and were satisfied with its performance and the time it took to execute.
Two for one!
RN is an ideal framework if your app is consumer-facing with a straightforward use. React Native gets iOS and Android versions of your app to your audience fast.
Once your mobile app is complete, learn how to generate revenue through app monetization.