Nowadays, everybody wants to build an application – either for fun, self-esteem or business. In the last case, probably it’s because the number of mobile app downloads grows year-to-year. For example, in 2020, users downloaded 218 billion mobile apps to their devices.
Regardless of the reason behind the desire to build an app, it’s always worth counting every penny and saving some money on the development instead of making a big investment right away.
That’s one of the reasons behind the creation and development of such technologies as React Native. It cuts the development time and costs by allowing developers to build an application that works on every mobile device.
However, the benefits of React Native doesn’t end there.
Keep reading to find out more about its benefits. Check if it may be the right choice for your next mobile project.
What is React Native?
React Native is a framework allowing developers to use React to build mobile applications that can run natively on both Android and iOS platforms.
Facebook started working on React Native during the internal hackathon in 2013, and as result, two years later they released React Native as an open-source library on GitHub.
It quickly became a popular choice for mobile development to many worldwide companies. But the truth is, the size of the company doesn’t matter. The main reason was that React Native gives developers the ability to build beautiful user interfaces and native apps quickly.
React Native is also responsible for popularizing cross-platform development.
What is cross-platform development?
Cross-platform development is a cheaper alternative to native development for Android and iOS platforms. Thanks to that approach, the mobile app is no longer being written to run on one of these operating systems only. Instead, developers build one application that works on both Android and iOS which cut costs and development time basically in half.
When to use React Native?
It’s needless to say that choosing the proper technology for any mobile project always requires greater thought. Therefore, it’s helpful to consider needs, estimated budget and available time which will make the decision easier. And as it occurs, in some cases React Native is the right choice.
Consider React Native if:
- You already have native applications – switching to React Native doesn’t require re-writing the entire code, so the whole process is smoother (check how Khan Acadamy managed such a switch).
- If you want to scale your business quickly – as React Native is based on React, it’s easy to hire or train React Native developers. It means that you can scale your team and application quickly. Scaling application is easy thanks to component-driven development. However, other frameworks also offer such an approach.
- You want to build MVP fast – with React Native you can build a working Minimum Viable Product (aka Application). Thanks to that, you can get feedback from real users and adapt it accordingly.
- You have short, specified deadlines – this point is strictly connected with the above one as building a product or application fast is not enough. It’s also about making constant changes as fast as possible, so you won’t stay behind the competition, and React Native helps you do that.
- If you have a limited budget – having just an idea won’t make you money and attract clients or investors. What you need is a functional application built in no time – not an application full of features that will drain your budget before even going on the market.
Benefits of React Native
React Native brings in tons of benefits for both business owners and developers. Keep in mind that React Native is constantly evolving, and the list of benefits will change over time. Because of that, we will update this and other articles (links at the end) about React Native. This way, you will be always up to date with the latest changes.
From a business perspective
- Development cost and speed – the ability to reuse and recycle components (and subcomponents) are what developers love about React (and React Native, too). It significantly reduces development time and cost as developers can work much more efficiently. Additionally, they can share their codebase.
- Apps work anywhere – React Native allows developers to build one application that will work on Android, iOS and Windows.
- Faster time to market – as already mentioned, React Native helps you build and test your MVP, get feedback from real users and adapt changes accordingly to this feedback. All of this without a need for a big investment.
- On-demand help – React Native community consists of many contributors who probably already solved your problems.
- Lower maintenance costs – as you have to deal with only one codebase, the maintenance costs will be lower.
- Visibility – on the contrary to PWA, it’s easy to get your React Native application available in AppStore and Google Play.
From a development perspective
- Effortless work – developers choosing React Native will love the developer experience thanks to time-saving and robust tools.
- Changes preview – another time-saving feature is the possibility to preview changes thanks to quick iteration cycles. This way, you don’t have to rebuild the application to see changes. Instead, you can hit the Command+R combination (on macOS) to refresh the application.
- Intelligent debugging tools – together with an error reporting mechanism, these tools allow developers to focus mainly on building applications.
- Easier to debug – React Native uses Flipper by default.
- Keeps things minimal – you don’t have to work in Xcode (iOS apps) or Android Studio (Android apps) to build separate apps.
- Big community – there are many contributors out there who work with React Native and will help you out if there is a need.
- Code reusability – a possibility to integrate 90% of the native framework and reuse the code for any platform. It helps developers save development time and cost. It’s worth knowing that you can use the web app code (written in React) to build mobile apps.
- Pre-made components – you don’t have to write everything from scratch as there are many open-source libraries boosting your coding productivity.
- Live reloading – this feature works as follows – the file can be compiled and read from the point where the developer made changes. Then a new file is offered to the stimulator. And finally, a stimulator reads the file from the beginning.
- Compatibility with the third-party plugins – you can add external plugins, and it doesn’t need high memory. Native modules are linked with the specific plugin through the framework which runs smoothly and loads fast.
- Possibility to transform web projects into mobile apps – any work done with React Native is easy to understand. Thanks to that, it’s easy for developers to take over the project, even if they haven’t been involved before. It increases the flexibility of development.
- Possibility of using one codebase for Android, iOS and web browser.
- Smoother and faster user interface – the interface created with React Native is highly responsive. Also, it’s smoother and faster than classic hybrid ones.
- Expo platform – it’s a great tool for developing apps for many platforms, which offers many ready-to-go libraries in the SDK.
- Possibility to build a demo (Expo is necessary) – when using Expo, it’s possible to build a demo for a customer without actually pushing the app to the Testflight or Google Store. The only thing we need is Expo App on the mobile device.
- Over The Air updates – it allows for pushing quick fixed directly to users without the need for the AppStore or Google Play to accept our changes (more about Over The Air Updates).
What companies are using React Native?
Companies from Facebook itself to yet unknown startups choose React Native because of its benefits. Below you will find a list of a few React Native applications:
However, you don’t have to be a tech giant to choose React Native and there are some examples of companies that think exactly like that:
- Mattermost – self-hosted open-source collaboration tool for developers
- Oval – personal finance app
- Luko – the fastest growing insurtech in Europe
Learn more about React Native by reading the following articles:
- Get inspired from 50 React Native Apps Examples from many different industries
- React Native For Startups: Is It Really a Good Idea?
- Comparison: React Native vs NativeScript
- React Native FAQ For 2021: All You Need To Know
- React Native Flipper: A Better Way of Debugging
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