If Hamlet was re-enacted today, the opening line might be - To “Android or to iOS”, that is the question! In this article, we’ll tell you why Cross-platform app development in React Native works and we’ll provide you with A-Z of React Native app development, the pros and cons of using React Native and why React Native is the future of mobile app development.
According to Allied Market Research, the worldwide mobile application market is expected to rise at a CAGR of 19.2% to reach $311,249 million by 2023.
The CEO and founder of Interchange, Matt Galligan quoted, “In my opinion, the future of mobile is the future of everything.”, so, businesses who are eyeing to influence people with their innovation need to develop an interactive and fluid mobile app. But, which app platform to choose? Android or iOS? Or both?
Native apps are platform specific, i.e. separate coding is required for iOS and Android respectively. These will run only on the target platform with the support of all the native technologies and hardware components.
With native apps, as they are developed and optimized keeping a specific platform in mind, their performance is also better. They are faster, responsive and efficient, also more secure. With benefits, native apps come with some disadvantages too.
Native apps are expensive and usually have a lengthy and time-consuming development process. Native app also requires frequent upgrades.
With the objective of limiting performance and UI/UX related issues in hybrid apps, Cross-platform app development became an important name in the mobile app development community. Cross-platform apps run on a variety of operating systems. After a code is written, it can be deployed on different devices and platforms without apprehending whether they’ll be incompatible with the platform or not.
React Native is an open source mobile development framework for cross-platform mobile development.
What is React Native?
React Native, in simple terms, help you develop full-blown applications that run and look exactly like native without even a single line of platform-specific code.
It was developed keeping 2 scenarios in mind:
[i] better user experience
[ii] reusable code and faster development.
All businesses have a question, Is React Native the right solution for us? Let us help in answering that question.
Why create React Native apps? What are the advantages of React Native app development?
5.61% of the top apps contain React Native. Let’s take a look at what advantages React Native has and why it is growing so much in popularity. More importantly, why should you develop a React Native app for your business?
Better User Experience
This will ensure that the apps built with React Native will have quicker load times and a smoother feel. This also makes React Native a popular choice as the apps offer flawless performance as well as aesthetic appeal.
Popular apps like Facebook, Instagram, Uber, Skype uses React Native. Another advantage is that native code can be embedded in the app if required.
There are some platform-specific instances, say, design implications are different on iOS and Android; React provides Platform specific file extensions that can detect the OS supporting the app and use it to define platform-specific implementations.
Less Development time
Native apps demand a huge time commitment on the developer's side as these apps are natively coded,
Objective C, Swift for iOS and Java for Android. These apps have a long compilation time and any small change to the apps needs to be pushed and tested in two completely different environments.
When we talk about React Native, this development time reduces as it’s possible to share a single code across several platforms. Instead of developing two separate apps, developers now need to develop only one and share the code and make necessary platform-specific changes, decreasing the development time.
Live reloading enables apps to reload automatically any time there are code changes, hence further speeding up development.
There is a huge demand for mobile apps. But, when the time comes to actually develop it, we see the follow up to the demand deteriorates due to the exorbitant cost of app development. Native app development costs spiraling out of control for the past few years. This is mostly because of the huge time associated with developing native apps. The maintenance charges of Native Apps are also pretty high.
But, with React Native, the maximum part of the code can be shared between the 2 platforms and as there is no need of building separate apps for individual platforms, the cost of development reduces substantially. Also, there exists an open-source library of pre-built components in React Native that also helps in lowering the app development cost.
Further read: How to decrease mobile app development cost?
Every time a source file is saved, the changes are immediately deployed on the device that runs the app. So, one can immediately see the latest changes made on the code and test the effect of the changes on the code immediately.
Hot reloading in React Native only refreshes those files that have changes without refreshing the app. This avoids annoying interruptions that are really an inconvenience.
Even though React Native is a framework and vastly simplifies mobile development, there are certain things to keep in mind before starting with the app development with React Native.
React Native is a work in progress. Even today there are not that many open-source libraries that support React Native. React Native is highly dependant on Facebook and it might be possible that you need to pause development until Facebook resolves issues in React Native.
When should you consider not using React Native for app development?
 If the app requires features too complex, ex: too many screen transitions, animations, device sensors, geolocation etc, a native app is a better option. If your app’s performance is a high priority for you, steer away from React Native or any cross-functional app development platform.
 If your app relies too much on graphics, say, a high-performance gaming app, cross-development might not be the best option for you. Your users will not want to play a game that has any amount of lag.
 If you need to develop a companion app for Apple watch or Android wears or smart TVs, React Native does not support these platforms.
React Native incorporates all the native features without compromising performance and well optimized for a timeframe, cost, and resources.
It is relatively new but it’s maturing well.
After reading this article, you know what React Native has to offer and whether or not it’s a good idea for you to develop a cross-browser app for your business.
If you are considering app development with React Native, drop us a line and we’ll gladly hear you out. The consultation and estimate are completely FREE.