Is React Native a Good Option for Mobile App Development?
- Updated on 8 Jan 2024
- 11 min
React Native has exploded in popularity, now claiming over 38% of the cross-platform app development market.
With the ability to reuse code across iOS and Android, React Native apps can be developed in half the time of native apps.
As a startup founder, entrepreneur, or product manager exploring app development, React Native merits consideration.
This guide will cover everything you need to evaluate if React Native is the right choice for your mobile app project.
- What is React Native, and how it works
- The pros and cons of using React Native
- When React Native makes sense for your app goals
- How to select a qualified React Native development team
- Examples of apps built with React Native
- And more…
If you’re short on time, check out the bonus infographic summarizing key points.
What is React Native?
React Native is an open-source framework for building mobile applications.
The main idea behind React Native is to enable developers to write code once and deploy it on multiple operating systems.
It uses native components instead of web components to provide a native look and feel for the apps, ensuring better performance and user experience.
React Native Basics
The basics of React Native involve having a detailed knowledge of its architecture, understanding that it varies with traditional app development, and how it works.
Let’s delve into its intricacy.
React Native Architecture
- Bridge Layer
- Native Layer
This layer has platform-specific codes that are written in a suitable mobile app language. It offers access to the device’s native APIs and renders the User Interface components.
React Native vs Traditional App Development
|React Native App Development
|Traditional App Development
How React Native Works
React Native uses a “virtual DOM” concept similar to React on the web.
Here’s an overview of how it works:
- The code communicates with the Native modules through the bridge layer, sending and receiving updates.
- The Native modules interpret the JS instructions and execute platform-specific code.
- The Native modules also handle rendering the UI components on the device’s screen using native APIs.
Pros and Cons of React Native
React Native is a tech stack with numerous pros and cons.
For example, ReaThese pros and cons are key to determining whether to use the technology or not. As such, we’ll educate you on that.
Benefits of React Native
Let’s first consider the advantages.
1. Cross-Platform Development
A major advantage of using React Native is its ability to facilitate cross-platform development.
Cross-platform refers to the process of creating mobile applications that can run on multiple sites, such as Android and iOS with a single codebase.
The React Native Android studio allows you to tailor the solution for an immersive experience on the Android operating system.
The core logic and components of the application can be shared between both iOS and Android.
Also, its hot reloading feature guarantees developers a codebase that’s quickly executed, similar to what’s obtainable in a native solution.
2. Code Reusability
React Native has a component-based architecture, where user interface elements are created with reusable components.
Developers can compose and reuse their codes throughout the application.
Once a code is created, you can then reuse then in different parts of the application, even for another project.
This approach is what makes React Native known for code reusability.
3. Fast Development
React Native’s code reusability leads to quick development time.
Thereby, eliminating the time expended on writing codes to create new functionalities.
4. Native User Experience
The tech stack uses native components provided by the platform to render the user interface.
These components are genuine, platform-specific UI components.
For example, React Native uses UIView components on iOS, while it uses Android View components for Android apps.
5. Cost Effectiveness
React Native is cost-effective due to its ability to deploy a single code on both iOS and Android.
With a single codebase, you’re saving time and resources to eliminate the need to create separate applications for each operating system.
This way, you don’t have to hire platform-specific programmers.
Also, React Native offers access to open-source libraries and resources, further reducing development costs.
Not that we’ve talked about the advantages, how about the disadvantages?
Drawbacks of React Native
As popular and helpful as react native is, it has its own disadvantages.
1. Limited Access to Device Functionality
Although React Native offers a bridge to access the device functionalities and native APIs, it doesn’t offer access to every range of native features.
Also, developers have to write platform-specific code to achieve platform-specific UI elements.
2. Performance Issues
React Native does not match the performance of a fully native application.
Using React Native can introduce a number of challenges when it comes to debugging layout and styling issues.
React Native has some platform-specific variations in how components are rendered.
These result in layout discrepancies that are challenging to debug because they require platform-based adjustments.
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of this tech stack, when do you use them?
When to Use React Native
React Native is currently being used by over 40% of cross-platform apps, and the primary reasons for this large patronage are:
1. You Have a Product and Website Isn’t Enough
Statistics suggest that 85% of consumers prefer the app to mobile sites.
This is primarily because they guarantee better user experience, and often lead to a high user retention rate for business.
So, if you feel your website’s performance is limited, you can build a React Native app.
It guarantees better performance by rendering UI components directly on the device.
This results in smoother animations, faster load times, and overall better user experience.
2. Expand Availability by Entering New Markets
React Native allows you to write code once and deploy it on both iOS and Android platforms.
This means it allows you to target the two most prominent mobile operating systems with a single codebase, helping you save on development time and resources.
3. Building Large-Scale Applications
React Native lets you reuse code between platforms, which can be an advantage for large-scale apps.
By sharing a significant portion of your codebase, you can reduce development efforts and ensure consistency across different platforms.
This approach promotes code maintainability and simplifies the process of adding new features or making updates.
This makes it easier to manage and scale a large application.
Also, React Native encourages a modular approach to development, which ensures that you break your application into smaller, reusable components.
These are necessary for better code organization and ease of maintenance.
4. Limited Budget
React Native’s hot-reloading feature lets programmers observe real-time changes as they work on the code.
This improves the development timeline as it allows for rapid iterations, which can save costs associated with prolonged development cycles, and expedits time-to-market.
Also, if your company already has a solution created in React Native, you can reuse parts of the codes in your new project for similar features.
5. Leveraging Developer Expertise
React Native should be your preferred development tech stack if your product requires a large pool of programmers.
When you choose React Native, you have a better chance of finding lots of skilled developers with the expertise.
Integrations with Other Technologies
React Native can integrate with other technologies, making it a versatile mobile app development tech stack.
Its support community has created a robust extensive ecosystem to seamlessly connect with various technologies and third-party libraries.
Managing an app’s data and keeping it organized can be challenging.
As such, the React Native Community ensures it’s integrated with Redux.
Consider Redux as a big container that holds all the data you need for every part of the application.
Redux synchronizes with React Native with the aid of a library called “react-redux.”
This provides a way for React Native components to access the data in the Redux store.
React Native and GraphQL integrates for efficient data retrieval and easy management of complex data structures in React Native solutions.
Developers can precisely request for data, and avoid over-fetching or under-fetching by defining a GraphQL schema and executing GraphQL queries.
The integration with GraphQL client libraries, such as Apollo Client or Relay, streamlines the communication with the GraphQL server.
It also provides features like caching, data normalization, and batching of requests.
Additionally, GraphQL further enhances the capabilities of React Native apps by holding support for mutations and subscriptions for real-time updates and seamless data modification.
React Native integrates adequately with Firebase, a Google-owned backend-as-a-service.
It offers a number of services and features to improve the performance and capacity of React Native solutions.
Firebase offers developers access to features like user authentication, push notifications, analytics, cloud storage, and real-time database.
4. AR/ VR Technologies
React Native integrates effortlessly with AR/VR technologies to create interactive applications.
It does this by leveraging the capabilities of ViroReact or React Native ARKit, enabling developers to add AR/VR features to their apps.
This can provide access to APIs for cameras, device sensors, and other capabilities for creating augmented and virtual reality experiences.
Upon discussing React Native as an ecosystem, let’s delve into how to choose a reliable React Native company.
How to Choose a React Native Development Company?
One of the most influential success factors in React Native app development is your developer.
Thinking of outsourcing to a React Native company?
Let’s discuss how to select a React Native development team:
1. Expertise and Experience
Access the company’s expertise in the development of complex React Native solutions.
They must demonstrate an apt understanding of React Native’s core architecture, its core concepts, and best practices to ensure you have a top-notch product.
Experience indicates that the company is vast in the intricacies of React Native, and has a portfolio of projects in React Native.
This experience helps you gauge their ability for an efficient development process, effective problem-solving skills, and optimized code.
3. Client References
Client feedback offers insights into the company’s reputation and trustworthiness within its client base.
Positive feedback from clients indicates that the company has a track record of delivering quality work and meeting client expectations.
It also helps them in establishing credibility and reliability as a React Native company.
The cost of creating a React Native app varies based on the complexity of the solution, the number of features it has, and the level of customization embedded in it.
As it relates to cost, the pricing structure of companies varies, and as such, might increase the fees beyond budget.
5. Technical Support
A reliable Native Company should offer comprehensive and up-to-date documentation to assist your internal team in understanding the actions taken.
Things they should offer include guides, tutorials, and API references.
Clear and accessible documentation eases learning and makes it easy for any expert to troubleshoot issues they encounter during the development process.
Types of Apps Built with React Native
React Native is a versatile tech stack with applicability in multiple fields.
Its versatile framework is due to its code-reusability, cross-platform capacity, etc.
The kinds of app you can create with React Native entails:
1. Social Media Apps
React Native is suited for creating social networking applications.
It offers high performance by leveraging native components and rendering the solution directly to the device’s User Interface.
The tech stack’s modular architecture permits for easy integration with third-party APIs, allowing for seamless integration with social media functionalities like real-time updates, authentication, etc.
Also, it packs top-notch performance: a key requirement for social media applications that desire a smooth user experience.
2. E-commerce Apps
React Native can effectively create an e-commerce solution.
Due to the stack’s reusability, it’s a preferred technology for creating shopping carts, catalogs, payment gateways, and other features that’ll be used multiple times in the application.
React Native’s robust user interface components allow you to create aesthetically appealing product displays, while also seamlessly integrating with other third-party features.
The React Native library is a popular choice for e-commerce applications because it guarantees a user-friendly shopping experience.
3. Travel Apps
React Native is ideal for creating travel apps that require real-time airline and hotel booking.
It has an impressive ability to integrate with APIs and handle asynchronous tasks, a feature that’s important in running multiple features at the same time within an app.
Additionally, it also allows developers to import external features with API for real-time weather updates, and navigation functionalities.
4. Food Delivery Apps
Food delivery apps need to be accessible on both iOS and Android platforms to reach a wide user base.
With React Native, developers can write code once and deploy it on multiple platforms, eliminating the need for separate development efforts for each platform.
This significantly reduces development time, effort, and costs.
Also, React Native helps food delivery apps maintain consistency in functionality and user experience across different devices, ensuring a seamless and efficient service for users.
5. Fitness Apps
React Native offers APIs and native modules that let programmers devise features and sensors via the app.
This in turn provides the foundation for fitness applications that rely on accessing a number of complex functionalities like heart rate monitors, accelerometers, GPS, etc.
By leveraging these capabilities, fitness apps can offer an immersive user experience.
6. Gaming Apps
React Native is not the most ideal framework for high-performance gaming products that require intensive processing and complex 3D graphics.
However, you can use it for low-level gaming applications.
React Native leverages native components and a virtual DOM to properly render User Interface components and update the view as needed.
This offers gamers an engaging user experience for games that don’t require advanced graphics.
Now that we’ve come to the end of the article, let’s help you summarize the article.
React Native is an app tech stack that helps create cross-platform solutions.
It’s a desirable framework for startups that want to create a solution that’s available on all operating systems at a cost-efficient rate.
However, it’s not effective in building high-powered solutions, such as 3D games.
How to Find Experienced React Native Developers?
React Native has demonstrated its capabilities for delivering high-quality mobile apps faster and more affordably. Its cross-platform abilities provide startups and entrepreneurs with a practical path for bringing their mobile visions to reality.
As you evaluate React Native, explore our team’s expertise. As pioneering React Native developers, we have delivered exceptional results for clients worldwide — from minimum viable products to complex integrated apps handling millions of users.
Here is a summary of our detailed guide. Here you’ll learn the ins and outs of not only React Native’s performance but also how to deliver a top-notch user experience.