React Native seems to have taken the world by storm. The technology conceived by the brainiacs at Facebook is already a part of Facebook mobile app. Big brands are using it to shift their mobile focus from true native to cross-platform development. What’s more, it has amassed a fan base among developers.
In fact, some go as far as to claim React Native might put an end to true native development as we know it. So what is this buzz all about?
To begin with, React Native is gaining huge traction among big market players. Netflix and Airbnb are already using it for their apps. Samsung will be making it a part of Tizen, its proprietary OS for smart devices and Microsoft is bringing React Native to Windows and XBox. Other examples of iOS and Android apps built with React Native include Discovery VR, Baidu, and the SoundCloud Pulse.
With so many big names on the list, you might wonder if you should join their ranks and jump on the React Native bandwagon. So what can React Native do for your project?
1. Faster development and production
Sure, there’s a lot more to React Native than helping web developers dip their toes in mobile development. React Native helps teams reuse the same JS code for iOS and Android which saves you time and money. Having the same program components shared by different app versions means less time spent on development, testing, and debugging, with the added benefit of simpler and faster updates.
But how much code is reusable? In our experience, iOS and Android versions of the same React-based mobile app can share about 80%of common code.
2. Near-native performance
So far, you might’ve gotten an impression that the React Native is another “write once, run anywhere” technology, but this is absolutely not the case. And, actually, it is the good news.
If the phrase “write once, run anywhere” rings a bell, you’re probably familiar with Ionic and Sencha Touch. While these frameworks are conceptually similar to React Native, there is an enormous difference in the way they handle app architecture.
Don’t get me wrong, web apps are awesome if you’re dealing with a simple project. However, web apps will never match the look and feel of native applications — especially when it comes to subtle stuff like scrolling acceleration, animations, or platform specific UI components. Subtleties of this kind are exactly where React Native shines.
Instead of targeting HTML, the components of React work with native UI widgets. To do this, the framework uses views (<View>) that render into UIView on iOS or android.view on Android. What’s more, React Native components can interact with native code. Basically, you can write native components in Java and Objective-C / Swift for heavy-lifting parts, and use React Native for everything else.
As a result, both the performance and the look and feel of the end product are a lot closer to what you’d expect from a native application.
3. Great following and reliable ecosystem
The answer is simple: Facebook, its top-notch developers, and it’s $363.8 billion net worth.
In 2013, Facebook proved itself fully capable of driving innovation in software development thanks to React JS. Being the 6th most-starred project on Github, ReactJS has a vast community of developers. With the launch of React Native, these developers got an opportunity of building mobile applications using a technology stack they’re already familiar with.
As a matter of fact, ReactJS and React Native are Facebook’s top-two open source projects as of March 2016. As a consequence, updates are regular and frequent, and the developer community is thriving. What this means for someone who’s aiming to create a new mobile app is that React-based projects get a steady supply of qualified workforce.
Wrap-up: the core strengths of React Native
Summing it all up, there are multiple reasons for you to choose React Native over other mobile development platforms:
- With React Native, you can have the same specialists working on iOS and Android versions of your app.
- With about 80%of code shared by your iOS and Android app, you will boost production speed.
- React Native outperforms hybrid frameworks in terms of speed and the look and feel of the end product.
If these points sound convincing enough, take a look at the React Native Showcase. See how this framework performs for search engines, VR solutions, messaging services, and other applications. This way, you will know for sure if React Native fits your business idea of a new mobile app.