Facebook, Instagram, Shopify, and Uber are among the many businesses that have developed their applications using React Native. In fact, it’s become one of the top frameworks used by developers across a range of industries. But is it the right fit for your product? Do you know enough about the benefits as well as the drawbacks of React Native? Have you connected with a developer that can facilitate your React Native journey? In this guide, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about React Native to make the best decision for your app.
So, to start, what exactly is React Native?
React Native’s origin story
React.js vs React Native
How does React Native work?
The advantages of React Native
One of the biggest reasons for React Native’s success is that it operates on actual native views and components rather than rendering in WebView like many other cross-platform development frameworks. This fact aside, there are a several advantages to using React Native for mobile application development:
- Cross-platform development. We’ve touched on this already, but the value of code reusability cannot be understated! React Native saves developers time and makes it easier to implement codebases for multiple platforms. Further to this, if your website was developed using React Native that same code can be reused for your mobile app.
- Cost efficiency. Further to its cross-platform capability, React Native is a cost-effective solution for mobile application development. Because the same code can be reused between Android and iOS, there’s no need to hire separate development teams; one effective team can build out your product.
The disadvantages of React Native
While there are many benefits to making use of React Native for your mobile application development, there are some considerations to be made to ensure that this framework is the best fit for your project:
- Compatibility. Through all its success and climb to stardom, React Native is still in the beta phase, which means your developers may encounter debugging or package compatibility issues. This requires troubleshooting which will be particularly challenging for developers with less experience using this framework.
- Scalability. While many companies have seen great success scaling their mobile apps with the use of React Native, such as Facebook and Skype, others, such as Airbnb, found that the framework did not meet their scalability needs and so switched to native applications. React Native, however, continues to make great strides in advancement, so this issue is preventable with support from software architecture.
- Custom module shortfalls. In certain, specialised cases, React Native does not provide the support in terms of customised modules you may need. Either the existing codebase falls short of expectations, or they are missing in their entirety, meaning developers are required to use multiple codebases to achieve fully functioning apps across multiple platforms. While this concern exists, it is also deemed an unlikely event (though it always pays to be prepared for anything).
Comparing React Native for Android vs iOS
We’ve discussed all the ways in which React Native is compatible with a range of platforms, but are there some ways in which the programming language differs between them? The short answer is yes. The long answer has three considerations:
- Operating system. Testing your mobile app on both Android and iOS is imperative to ensuring the best possible experience and smooth functionality for your user. The difference between Android and iOS then comes in with regards to the fact that Windows cannot run Xcode, meaning you will need to use a macOS device to test your application, rather than Windows.
- Native elements. While you’ll be making use of the React Native library for the native components of your application, it’s important to keep in mind that they each look and function differently so anything you implement for Android may present with a slight difference on iOS.
- Styling. UI elements differ between Android and iOS, which means that manual configuration will come into play when working on the visual elements of your mobile app. Each platform has its own unique display manner, so developers need to account for this.
When shouldn’t you use React Native?
React Native is particularly a great option for companies looking to get to market quicker or those with a smaller budget but would not be considered a suitable framework for projects that require native functions, a specifically complex user interface, or for an app only required for one platform.
Naturally, there are a few considerations to take into account when determining if React Native is the right fit for you. With this being said, the value of React Native outweighs any small niggles. It is a well-loved programming language in the developer community for its cost efficiency, quicker development process, and time-saving aspects, while offering a broader audience for your product with its cross-platform capabilities. Community-backed by Facebook, Uber, and Shopify, amongst others, React Native further cements its worth as a framework worth considering for your mobile application development.
The team over at Blott.studio would be happy to answer any of your questions regarding React Native as a solution for your mobile application; get in touch!