React Native is the future of modern app development.

By 2015, React Native was released on iOS and Android platforms. At present, I think it is the most successful alternative technology for mobile development. Day by day, it has a lot of developers use React Native in the world and React Native community are becoming stronger than ever. In this article, we will let you know why we should use React Native.

1. Is React Native  ‘Native’?

As you probably guessed from the name itself, React Native lets you build native applications. Cordova and other types of framework, like Sencha Touch or Ionic, are hybrid solutions, and with them, you will never achieve the look and feel of a native app.

It’s the little things that matter: fluent or accelerated scrolling, transitions between screens, totally custom animations, custom navigation, and so on. If you ever worked with React on the web, you’re in for a treat because you’ll feel right at home. Even though you are writing JavaScript, you’re not using the web view to render components. React Native renders real native components, and you can use platform-specific components, like the activity indicator, that will give every platform a recognizable look and feel. The main problem with hybrid technology previously was that the embedded browser just didn’t work well enough. It wasn’t optimized, and it provided poor performance. From a technology standpoint, the biggest competitor for RN is Xamarin, which lets you develop apps for lots of platforms: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, you name it. Native Script also works in the same way. Xamarin, for example, is great because it has neat IDE (VS), but you have to use C#. Since you’re a web developer, you probably don’t know C# that well, and you’re likely more familiar with JavaScript. React Native works similar to JavaScript since you’re writing code with JS itself (you can also use Angular.js, for instance). Furthermore, JS was astonishingly upgraded with standards like ES6 and ES7. That’s not to mention how big and powerful the JS community is.

2. Learn Once, Write Anywhere

Users spend 18x more time in native apps than on mobile web. Most products have to cover at least web, iOS and Android platforms to be successful today. This usually means tripling the costs of software development as you develop and maintain each platform separately. In such diverse environment, it can be really tricky to provide a consistent experience for your users. Hybrid apps might seem to be a solution. There is a lower barrier to entry, you can reuse your code amongst all platforms and it is much easier to maintain consistency with a single cross-platform team. Unfortunately hybrid apps often don’t deliver a high quality user experience. And angering your users is risky business, because mobile users are unforgiving, which Facebook has learned the hard way. React Native makes a real difference. You can create truly native apps with JavaScript and other tools you know from the web. React Native supports hot reloading, and tools like Reploy and CodePush can instantly deliver your app to customers and testers. Wondering about code reuse between platforms? Facebook shares 87% of the Groups app codebase between their Android and iOS platform.

3. It’s easy to learn.

That’s always a good thing, right? It’s also one of React Native’s greatest strengths. It’s readable like a children’s book, so you can just glance at it. With other frameworks, you are usually forced to learn a long list of concepts. Over time, Facebook significantly improved their official React Native documentation. Recently, they added the basics section, which is a really neat, clever way to learn RN because it explains everything you need to know in a straightforward crash course. If you know JavaScript, you’re in luck. React Native uses ES6. Still not familiar with ES6? Here’s a tutorial explaining some ES6 specifics that will make your JavaScript development a lot easier. It uses JSX, which is basically like HTML. Styles are very similar to CSS, but they are written within components and not in a separate single file. There are pros and cons to that approach, and many articles have been written about it. So really, everything you need to know is React. React is easy. Imagine a div component named “View” and another text component simply named “Text.” This is essentially the connection between React Native and React.js.

Styling is very similar to CSS, except it’s included with the component itself and not in a separate file.

4. You can update your applications remotely.

Facebook says that the glitches in the publishing process of Native applications have forced them to develop React Native.

Let’s think. You want to add a new property to your application. You’ve added this feature on both Android and iOS and you need to update your applications already on the market. One of the problems here is that you can instantly publish your Android app on Google Play while you’ll be under the control of AppStore. This means that the features you develop are published at different times on different platforms.

Especially in A / B testing, we can experience difficulties because data on different platforms arrive at different times. As a workaround, you need to send iOS before. In this case, development processes can lead to various troubles such as the same features of Android and iOS being developed at different times. Of course this is not the only problem. Beyond publishing, the update we publish is not always available to the user. Many users can resist downloading the new update. This, in turn, leads to a lot of additional work, from API versioning to force update.

We allow our users to download the JavaScript bundle. This allows the user to load the latest version automatically (often without annoying the user) when the application is turned on. This means that many of the problems we mentioned earlier are resolved automatically.

The first question that may come to mind here is what will happen to the changes in the Native codes? Naturally, we can not use the remote update feature for changes we made on the Native side. So, when we change an ObjC code (or Java, Swift vs…), we need to publish it in the market because it needs to be compiled. We can use the remote update feature only for Javascript and developments in the assets domain.

5. You can speed up application development.

The biggest obstacle for software developers in their development process is undoubtedly limited time. In addition to working overtime to train the project on time, it is important to think seriously about development processes and optimize as much as possible. On the other hand, we can not overcome some obstacles. When we look at the mobile world, we can think of compile times of languages that we use for Native development. If we use Java, ObjC or Swift language, Compile-time is giving us serious time loss. Of course not only compile, but the application we wrote at the end of the Linking and Building processes becomes testable on the mobile device. In order to shorten these times, there are various solutions such as incremental builders, but we can not reach the development speed of a javascript project at all.

6. Reactive Community Always Willing to Help

React Native has been increasing its popularity since its first publication. Below, we can observe the search graph of the React Native keyword from Google Trends over time and the rise in user searches. 

In addition, many projects outside Facebook also produce libraries for React Native. As you develop your mobile, you will be able to easily find solutions to many difficulties.

7. It’s still JavaScript

Elm, ClojureScript, PureScript and other great languages compete with React.js to be the coolest kid on the block. They all have interesting super-powers you can’t match in JavaScript. However, they have a much higher barrier to entry in the form of a completely new language and ecosystem. React.js brings in revolutionary concepts, but it is still JavaScript. If you haven’t done much functional programming before, it is probably easier and safer to start with React.js

8. You don’t have to rewrite your native application.

If you already have an application, you may find it a risky way to rewrite it with React Native. Let’s not forget that React Native is capable of producing native applications in real sense. In this case, you can move certain parts of your application to the RN, test both the technology and create a good starting point.

9. It offers a cross-platform framework for the future.

Let’s face it, the reason React Native is such a favorite with developers is because it supports cross-platform development. The ability to develop for both the major mobile operating systems with just a single development language is what originally attracted developers to the scene. React Native maximizes code reuse; so, you can use the same code for deployment on Android and iOS. If the recent calculations are anything to go by, then up to 80-90% of your code can be reused between the two platforms. Developing two native applications with just a single codebase saves you a lot of development time and effort, and that’s not to mention the huge savings in cost as well.

Give it a go! It’s time to become a mobile developer. As we’ve explained, this framework really has potential. The whole development logic uses modern principles; the workflow is efficient, easy, and quick to learn; more and more platforms are using it; and all of that is just the start. That’s where you come in: a new React Native developer, resolving problems and bringing new ideas to this fast-rising framework of the future.