React Native: A Framework for building Native Mobile Apps

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Statista maintains that by 2024, the global mobile app market revenue will grow at a rate of 10.4%, creating a market volume of US$ 5.2 million.

cross platform app development

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It further states that by 2023, mobile app revenues will stand at US$ 935 billion, thanks to in-app advertising and paid downloads. 

mobile app revenue

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These statistics highlight the fact that the mobile app market presents a promising business opportunity. However, in a market that’s already flooded with hundreds of applications, the only way to stand out in the crowd is to offer cross-platform mobile apps with excellent UI and UX. 

But, how to create an app that performs well and works seamlessly across multiple systems?

You use React Native

React Native is a massively popular mobile app development framework that combines the power of React with native app development. You can use React Native to design a unique Android and iOS app from scratch and also to tweak your existing apps. It is the foundation behind successful apps like Pinterest, Skype, F8, Bloomberg News, Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb, and Walmart. 

React Native app development is popular among mobile app companies since it is simple, quick, and efficient.

What is React Native?

React Native is a JavaScript framework based on React and JavaScript library (ReactJS). It is designed for coding mobile apps (via native rendering) for Android and iOS platforms. React Native is a highly diverse framework. While on the surface, it depicts a mix of JavaScript and JSX, under the skin, there’s the React Native bridge that couples Java (for Android) and Objective C (for iOS). 

In React Native app development, developers can reuse several components of one code to develop mobile apps for Android and iOS simultaneously. Although React Native is written in JavaScript, React primitives render to native platform UI. This means that a particular app built on React Native will use the native platform APIs other apps do. 

React Native app development allows developers to leverage the ReactJS library to design mobile apps that both look and feel “native.” Since the React Native platform is replete with APIs, developers get multiple options for integrating features in a native mobile app.   

What are the benefits and limitations of React Native?

Today, React Native app development is immensely popular, thanks to React Native’s rapidly expanding community. In fact, React Native apps have snatched a significant portion of the market share.

 

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Advantages of React Native

Here are the main benefits of React Native:

1. Easy learning curve

React Native app development is perfect for beginners as it features a smooth learning curve. Except for some minor differences, React Native is quite similar to ReactJS. The main differentiating factor between React Native and ReactJS is that instead of using HTML and CSS, Native uses UI libraries.

2. One codebase for iOS and Android

In React Native app development, you can build platform-specific versions of app elements so that multiple platforms can share a uniform codebase. One team can maintain two platforms while sharing a common technology, React. 

React Native can compile a single code to native Java and Swift code. It creates a “bridge” between the native elements and web UI components. Thus, it eliminates the need for synchronizing features.

3. Create genuine native apps

With React Native, you can design pure native apps that deliver exceptional user experiences. It comes equipped with a host of platform-agnostic native components that map directly to the native UI components of a specific platform.

4. Use native code when required

React Native is designed to sync seamlessly with native components written in Java, Swift, and Objective-C. Naturally, React Native app development lets you to easily switch to native code for optimizing features of your mobile app. You can also develop some parts of your app using native code, and design other aspects of the app using React Native.

5. Build and launch apps faster

React Native app development is a quick and seamless process. Since React Native uses web technology underneath, the app screens can reload instantly, reflecting the new changes. 

The Hot Reloading feature enables developers to run new code while retaining the app’s state. There’s no need for reconciliation at any point. Powered by JavaScript, React Native makes iteration possible at a lightning-fast speed.

6. Reap the benefits of the wholesome JavaScript ecosystem

As mentioned earlier, React Native is primarily based on JavaScript. This makes it possible to reap the myriad benefits and community support of the JavaScript ecosystem. For instance, you can use lodash.js for implementing array manipulation functions. Then again, if you want to manipulate the state of your app, you can use the redux library. 

Now that we’ve stated the advantages of React Native app development, it’s time to mention the drawbacks of the React Native framework.

Limitations of React Native

React Native is a young and emerging project. It is still undergoing rigorous development accompanied by constant updates to the framework. Regular updates mean bug fixes, performance improvements, the addition of new custom components, and much more. This poses a challenge for long-term app maintenance. Developers need to update the app with each build, which may lead to hardcore platform dependency. 

Furthermore, React Native lacks some components that would make it a universal mobile app development framework. Developers need to create native modules for functionalities and features that are absent in React Native. Native modules (usually written in Java, Swift, and Objective C) function like a bridge between the native code and React Native code. As a result, React Native app development is still reliant on native developers. 

Essentially, the React Native framework is an abstraction. This means that large portions of code exist between React Native and the host platform. Bugs almost always accompany abstractions. In React Native, debugging becomes a complicated process as it increases layers in your project. These bugs may be issues that are beyond your skills and knowledge base. Hence, solving these problems often requires the assistance of third-party developers. 

 Conclusion 

React Native has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. It allows for speedy React Native app development, enables code reusability, and features a shared codebase for multiple platforms. However, the major issue with React Native is that it’s relatively new, and hence, not completely mature. 

Ideally, React Native app development is best-suited for small apps that don’t utilize too many custom UI features and rely on device-specific APIs. 

We at Affle Enterprise grasp your business challenges & ideate a personalized user experience to solve complex business problems. Connect with our team at enterprise@affle.com for a quick mobile app development consultation.

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