React Native

React Native

React Native is an open-source framework written mainly in the JavaScript programming language and used for building hybrid mobile applications. Created by Facebook’s parent company Meta, React Native allows developers to create cross-platform mobile apps that can deploy on both iOS and Android platforms while approximating the high performance that native mobile apps are known for.

The pros of React Native

  • Shorter development timeline. React Native enables the development of Android and iOS apps, reducing the need for separate codebases. In other words, unlike native apps, apps created using React only need one set of code (hence, a shorter development cycle) to be compatible across multiple platforms.
  • Hot reloading. The hot reloading feature allows developers to instantly see the impact of code changes in real time, facilitating a more efficient development process.
  • Native app-like performance. React Native apps perform better, on average, compared to many other hybrid apps. Apps created using React have the cross-compatibility of hybrid apps but with relatively better performance.
  • Large developer community. React Native has a large and active community, resulting in extensive documentation, various third-party libraries, and a wealth of resources for developers.

The cons of React Native

Despite all these advantages, the React framework has the following limitations:

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  • Limited access to hardware resources. Unlike native app frameworks, React Native doesn’t have full access to certain device features. This means that React programmers may take longer to finish some phases of the mobile app development process compared to developers using native app frameworks. Aside from this, a React Native app doesn’t have the same level of performance as an equivalent and purely native app.
  • Upgrade challenges. With every React Native update, some enhancements make using the latest version preferable. Yet, relying solely on automatic updates isn’t foolproof; you could encounter unforeseen obstacles while migrating to the new iteration.
  • Lack of custom modules. Currently, React Native may not offer all the required components, and some existing ones might still be in a rudimentary state of development. Consequently, you might need to create your own solution from the ground up or attempt to modify an existing one. This could lead to a rare but possible scenario of maintaining three separate codebases instead of just one: one for the React Native app and one each for the Android and iOS native apps. Such a possibility might introduce discrepancies in how the app behaves and looks across different platforms.

Some famous React Native applications

Despite the limitations of React Native development, many companies have bet on the technology to create apps for scaling their businesses or reaching out to more stakeholders. Some of these applications are:

  • Walmart. The U.S.-based retail giant with thousands of stores worldwide has a mobile app built using React Native for both iOS and Android. The React Native app lets users shop for products, manage shopping lists, receive discounts, and check product availability at nearby stores. Walmart has competed with many e-commerce stores worldwide, among which is MyDeal.
  • Bloomberg. A prominent name in the financial news and data space, Bloomberg has a React Native application. This technology lets the company update more frequently and deploy changes faster across both iOS and Android platforms. The Bloomberg app mainly serves as a user interface for accessing financial data.
  • Townske. The Sydney-based startup has a React Native mobile app that enables users to share local experiences, events, and recommendations. In a way, Townske is somewhat similar to an app called Roamni, which has gotten multi-million dollar funding and the backing of Formula 1.
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