React Native for mobile app development: points to consider in 2021
May 26, 2021
Update:

React Native for mobile app development: points to consider in 2021

Dmitri Koteshov
Dmitri Koteshov
Digital Content and PR executive
React Native is a cross-platform framework for developing mobile applications born out of the joint efforts of Facebook and enthusiasts. The framework provides engineers with the possibilities of the React library so they can create native applications that have full access to platform system APIs. React Native supports platforms such as Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Apple tvOS, Web, Windows, and UWP.

As it gets evident from the graph, the React Native app development is on the rise. The framework was the most popular cross-platform mobile tool both in 2019 and 2020. The world's most reputable brands, such as Facebook, Instagram, or Tesla, use React Native. 

The question needs to be asked: how did the framework manage to become so popular? Here’s a quick recap before we plunge into details: 

  • React Native is compact but has a lot to offer to developers;
  • The opportunity to write in JavaScript and use React makes it possible to create an application for both platforms quickly. Surely, it’s more profitable for any business;
  • The framework provides a large library of native and non-native components;
  • One can go on with a browser for debugging. Besides, there’s also a hot-reload feature for checking out applied changes. You don’t have to restructure an application if you change the code;
  • The native components of the system (all buttons, pictures, and texts) are all standard components of the operating system. It is impossible to distinguish a native application from a native one. In fact, a React Native app is a native app in itself;
  • It’s easy to manage your own library for React Native using the native functionality of the system.

If you've decided to develop an app using native languages ​​such as Java, Objective-C, and C#, be sure that  the development process will take considerable time. Besides, if you hire an experienced professional, it will not come cheap. So what your next step might be? Why do so many people consider React Native when developing a mobile app? Let’s find out. 

The pros and cons of React Native

Performance

In itself, a React Native mobile app shouldn’t be seen as HTML5 or a hybrid one. Instead, it is a mobile application in its own right. True, React Native-based applications may not be as fast as native ones, but you get very close to native performance. I’d say the speed is almost indistinguishable. 

One way or another, you can still improve the performance of a React Native app with native code. When talking about optimization, native code works like a breeze. To get the best out of the performance, use both sources of code. I mean, some features can be built with native code, and some using React Native’s code.

Convenience 

Essentially, an experienced full-stack developer can start creating mobile apps in React Native without going through specialized training. So how can you get started? Well, the first thing to do is to familiarize yourself with writing code in Javascript and know a thing or two about React. However, you need to know the peculiarities of both Android and iOS. These platforms have many similar and specific features, so the risk of confusion in the development process is high. In other words, React Native is simple and convenient if the developer understands what he is doing and what an eventual goal is.

It’s worth noting that React Native can be added at any time. You can start with RC (greenfield applications) or add it to an existing app (brownfield apps). That basically means that if there is a native application, and you want to update it with common features, it’s unnecessary to do this natively.

Awesome user interfaces

The framework makes it possible to design aesthetically appealing user interfaces using pre-built components such as Slider, Switch, Picker, or Button. Besides, it’s also possible to develop custom components with TouchableNativeFeedback and TouchableOpacity. Hopefully, there’s a myriad of iOS and Android components that work efficiently on corresponding mobile devices.

F is for fast 

React Native is powerful when it comes to a variety of components. You have all you might need when developing: text, images, keyboard input, animation, clipboard, scrolling lists, progress bar, and links. These components significantly accelerate the development process, not to mention Hot Reloading, which reloads the application without recompiling all the code.

React Native libraries such as Redux and MobX handle the state of an app, while Awesome React Native - a catalog of components and demos - helps finish the mobile app development faster. Besides, tools like VS Code, WebStorm, and Nuclide for coding, Sentry for monitoring bugs and crashes, and React Developer Tools for debugging also add to the list of React’s advantages. 

Strong community

Here are some amazing stats: React Native has over 2000 contributors with 95,000+ stars on GitHub. Many reputable companies have contributed to the platform. This way, you will easily find many React Native components and libraries built by the developer community on sites like JS.coach and Native Directory. You will always find someone who can help you on StackOverflow, Reddit, Codementor, or the Reactiflux Discord Community.

Drawbacks 

Let’s be honest: there are pros and cons to everything. I've talked about many of the positive aspects of React Native, but it has several problems such as large app size, memory leaks in Android apps due to unnecessary processes running in the background, and a slow app startup problem because of some dependencies. However, you can fix these problems to some extent.

For instance, you can solve the Android app memory leak issue with scrollable lists like FlatList, SectionList, or VirtualList. Refrain from using ListView to prevent memory leaks. To solve a slow application startup problem, you need to reduce the number of dependencies in your application and use components that work very well. What’s more, Hermes, a JavaScript engine optimized for React Native, helps launch applications faster, owing to build-time precompilation of JavaScript into effective bytecode.

How we can help you with React Native (+ video case study)

Here at Akveo, we use React Native a lot. We said it once, and we’ll say it again: using React Native is the easiest yet reliable method to reach the market faster. We’ve helped our clients save on development costs while providing them with cross-platform applications that work perfectly on any platform.

What’s more, as React Native advocates, we developed our own products based on React Native UI Kitten is an open-source and free framework for creating cross-platform mobile applications. Design system-based, UI Kitten brings your product from an MVP to the final product version. 

However, as the title suggests, a picture is worth a thousand words. Let me speak about one of our clients and how we helped them with React Native. Enter the client: Felmo is a German company from the industry of veterinary services. The customer came up with the idea of developing a mobile application that links vet clinics and pet owners that want to receive medical care services online. Using UI Kitten, our team reduced front-end development time by 25% and saved thousands of dollars for the client. The end result of the project is a multifunctional mobile application with a set of custom icons and illustrations.

To sum up (and take action) 

If you want a quick conclusion, it's easy to formulate it in one phrase. React Native is a robust mobile app development tool that allows developers to quickly create products while saving costs on development. When comparing the pros and cons of React Native mobile development, it's a no-brainer to realize that the advantages outweigh the minor drawbacks.

We know it firsthand, as our React Native expertise is rich. We’re already familiar with all the pain points and workarounds. Besides, we’re professionals in native development as well, so we know for sure when and how to use both methods. Sure, the trends in mobile development may change, but some things always remain in great demand. React Native is widely used by big brands, so don't it won’t disappear any time soon. Contact us to get the quote, and let’s build your React Native-based mobile app.


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Digital Content and PR executive
Dmitri Koteshov
Digital Content and PR executive

Dmitri engages readers with meaningful yet entertaining stories on technology and global digitalization.

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