React Native — Is it Really the Future of Mobile App Development?

React Native — Is it Really the Future of Mobile App Development?

There have been massive advancements in technology in the past decades. However, only a few sectors have witnessed unprecedented growth; one of them is the mobile app development industry.

According to statistics, by the year 2020, mobile apps are predicted to generate $188.9 billion in global revenue via app stores and in-app advertising.

The users also require apps that offer flawless performance, seamless navigation, as well as aesthetical appeal. The increasing demand for better, faster, and more innovative apps has led to the urgency to meet the criteria.

On the contrary, high performing, quality native apps are time-consuming to develop as compared to cross-platform apps that provide faster deployment but compromise slightly on the performance.

To adapt to an increasingly fast-paced world, mobile app developers require enhanced technology to build revolutionary mobile applications and keep in-sync with the demand. React Native has emerged as a viable solution to write brilliant apps, rapidly transforming the world of mobile.

What is React Native and its future in the mobile app development?

Maintained by the developers at Facebook and Instagram, React Native is the native version of the JavaScript library. It provides a fast track to completion, performs well on targeted platforms, and is easy to debug.

Using React Native, you can build mobile apps that are indistinguishable from the apps developed using Java or Objective-C. It uses the same fundamental user interface building blocks as the regular iOS and Android apps, but you assemble the building blocks using React and JavaScript.

As a result, React Native has gained massive popularity, community support, and market share within the few years since it was introduced. The Github repository statistics reveal that 1002 contributors have committed 7,971 times in 45 branches with 124 releases. In addition, it is also the 14th most starred repository on Github.

According to Jeff Meyerson, creator of the podcast Software Engineering Daily, React Native will survive the competitive niche of mobile app development and continue to take over a fair share of the mobile ecosystem. He also speculated that Facebook might create their own mobile phone, built specially to support apps developed with React Native.

In 2016’s F8 conference, both Microsoft and Samsung, the tech giants, committed to bringing React Native to Windows and Tizen. Subsequently, there have been many Universal Windows Platform and Smart TV apps built using React Native.

Moreover, according to Google Trends, in 2016 for the first time in past one year, search terms for React Native surpassed Android and iOS development. Thus, React Native has become a trending topic in addition to being a popular framework.

Reasons Why React Native is The Future of Mobile App Development

Following are a list of reasons React Native is being identified as the future of the mobile apps:

Cross-Platform Compatibility

React Native was originally introduced for iOS. However, owing to its amazing capabilities and features, Facebook developed its support for Android as well. Now, the majority of React Native APIs are cross-platform, which entails that developers can build both iOS and Android app through React Native, simultaneously, through one codebase.

Moreover, you can embed native code conveniently, when necessary, to impart a more platform-specific authenticity to your app. This reduces the development cost considerably, as well as save time otherwise spent writing two codes.

As mentioned above, there are instances when you need to be platform specific, for example, design implications are different on iOS and Android. React provides Platform modules and Platform specific file extensions. The Platform module can detect the OS supporting the app, and use it to define platform-specific implementations. With Platform specific file extension, React can pick up the correct file based on the OS the app is running on.

Native functionality

Mobile apps developed using React Native function as well as any native app, hence the name React Native. When it comes to usability, scroll accelerations, keyboard behavior, and animations can play a defining role in the popularity of the app and, thus, developers cannot ignore it.

The user interface developed with React Native consists of native widgets that perform flawlessly. React Native along with JavaScript runs the most complex of apps smoothly, outperforming even the real native apps, without WebView. Therefore, building apps with React Native is a competitive solution for developing robust apps.

Steps to Optimizing the Performance of the React Native Applications

Instant Live Updates

Another significant advantage of using React Native is Live Updates. With the extensive use of JavaScript, developers have the feasibility of pushing the updates directly to the users’ phones instead of going through the app store update cycle.

Consequently, this ensures that users can enjoy the updated versions of the app immediately and you do not have to deal with the problems associated with older versions. Moreover, with React Native, the entire procedure is extremely streamlined and simple.

You can use Microsoft’s live update service CodePush SDK, which integrates with your React Native app, to push notifications to your app. The only drawback is that only the JavaScript file and the assists can be updated using this feature. Other updates requiring the Native OS will have to go through the App store or Play Store’s standard update process.

Simple to Learn

React Native is highly readable and easy to learn since it relies on language fundamental. It is the perfect tool for novice developers, who are new to JavaScript, as it provides a range of components, including maps and filters.

Positive Developer Experience

React Native provides a great developing environment, where the developers have a better experience. For starters, it allows the modifications and implementations to take place while the app is running, eliminating the need to restart. Hot reloading refreshes the user interface when changes are made to the file. Consequently, it simplifies the iteration cycle by removing the tedious re-building and deploying step.

Moreover, React Native uses flexbox layout engine for generating app layouts for both the platforms, iOS, and Android. Therefore, you can learn just one layout engine to develop on both platforms and the web. You can also use the Chrome developer tools to embed React Native with desktop chrome browser. As a result, you can gain easy access to the debugger and profiling tools.

Finally, React Native enjoys massive support from the developing community, and it offers many components that are readily available for use, making the app developing process much faster. This further simplifies the job of a developer.

Supported by Facebook and a growing technology

When you begin developing an app on a relatively new coding framework, you are concerned about the app’s viability and whether it would be supported well in the future.

Since Facebook Engineering supports React Native, it has a sizeable developing community to back it. This community along with Facebook is continuously improving the under-development framework, setting advanced futuristic goals and a promise of better technology.

Wrapping up

React Native is a thriving community that offers a vibrant ecosystem for the mobile app development sector. It has morphed into a go-to-framework for the majority of developers, who want to create the most innovative and competitive apps.

Moreover, since it provides easy access to libraries and plugins, developers can expedite the app development phase. The apps enjoy the prominent features of native apps without compromising on the performance, all within a reduced timeframe, cost, and resources.

Mindinventory is a prominent React Native Development Company. With its expert team of developers, seasoned in the React Native technology, the company can deliver cutting-edge mobile app development solutions for both iOS and Android.


React Native — Is it Really the Future of Mobile App Development? was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Author: PK

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