React Native was initially created at Facebook used to develop the news feed of its social network. ReactJS released as open source in May 2013, under Apache License 2.0. Since the release of its version 0.12 in October 2014, ReactJS is proposed under license BSD clause 3 – Facebook authorizing in parallel the use of the patents associated with the software. ReactJS focuses on rendering the view. In terms of performance, ReactJS optimizes operations on the DOM using a virtual DOM.

Facebook offers a development kit that should facilitate the integration of the features of its social network (Login, Sharing, Analytics, Graph API access) to React Native applications. Today, React Native has already been successfully implemented on hundreds of apps around the world, including the Keynote app from Facebook, Airbnb and Instagram.

Developed and promoted in 2015 by Facebook team, React Native is a JavaScript framework for developing native applications. A little more than a year ago we chose this technology to realize all the mobile applications of our customers.

Being a reputed React Native development company we manage projects requiring between 1 and 3 months of development on the purely mobile part, often with rather strong budgetary constraints and always with the need to go as quickly as possible in production. We therefore eliminated purely native approaches, requiring two teams with different skills and opted for a “multi platform” approach. Although we know that a code is never 100% identical so having a single code base for iOS and Android makes it possible to develop applications faster.

Native development

There are many approaches to developing a “multi platform” mobile application but the tests we have done with hybrid technologies like Ionic or Cordova have left us hungry.

In practice, a hybrid application works around a web view (an embedded web browser) and a set of files (Html ​​and Javascript). It is therefore rather a dedicated web browser more than a real mobile application. Attention, if the whole project is feasible in such a web view is that there is no need to make a mobile application and a website is sufficient!

React Native uses the same components as native apps rather than using web views as do other cross-platform frameworks (Cordova for example). The performance is identical to that of the native, and an iOS or Android user will not be lost browsing the application, since it will find the ergonomics to which he is accustomed.

An active community

The ecosystem surrounding React Native is very dynamic because of the support of Facebook and also because companies like Pinterest, Skype, Uber, Tesla uses React Native.

The React Native community provides many updates and add-ons. The updates are therefore regular, with answers to relevant and extremely fast problems when we develop our projects.

Facebook is not alone in updating its framework, since more than half of the new contributions are added in open source by the community. This particularly high proportion indicates a particularly active community. The updates are therefore more frequent and it answers much faster when a developer finds himself stuck on a feature of his project.

We already use React.js

Finally, we needed a time-saving technology while keeping the same quality of development as on our web projects. We had already been seduced by React.js’ very component-oriented approach to some of our projects. We therefore capitalized on this learning which allowed us to quickly take this technology into its own hands.

Concretely, this device compares the existing DOM to the one whose display is requested (returned by the .render () method ), then via a reconciliation mechanism only modifies the part of the virtual DOM that needs to be. In the end, only the elements impacted by a change in the web page are updated. ReactJS is ideally used with JSX, a preprocessor JS that allows you to write templates with XML syntax, which allows novices to take charge very quickly.

React Native uses the same coding principles as ReactJS. They use the same syntax which makes it easy to create code for both web applications and mobile applications. It also allows you to reuse the maximum amount of code between the different platforms (iOS and Android). It offers a considerable time saving compared to specific development while being equally powerful.

React Native uses the JavaScriptCore engine with the Babel transpiler, it is ES5, ES6 or ES7 compatible. It is limited to the rendering layer, and therefore does not cover the application logic and the management of hardware functionality – as Cordova can do. But instead of running WebViews(this is the case of Cordova), its JavaScript libraries will be able to invoke and orchestrate native UI components (UITabBar on iOS or Drawer on Android, for example).

Quick application to develop

Like all cross-platform frameworks, React Native allows you to develop a single code base that will be deployed simultaneously on Android and iOS stores. The advantage is obviously to spend less time coding but also to control developments since only one team does the work for two.

The flow of development is also more fluid, comparable to that of a web project. We appreciate the refresh and live loads that avoid a long compilation. We deliver more in less time!

Additionally, one code to develop means one code to evolve. Only one developer is able to maintain the application and add new features. In addition, it will not need to master mobile-specific languages since React Native is a JavaScript framework which is the most widely used development language.

To conclude

React Native makes it easy to control a project by developing once for both platforms. Concretely, it is a saving of time during the phase of realization then when it is a question of maintaining the application. If multi platform development is the future of mobile then we are obliged by it’s performance identical to that of the native. React Native is the future of multiplatform development. Besides, you use applications coded in React Native without knowing it.

About the Author

Quick Beyond is web and mobile application development company offering a wide range of IT services & solutions revolving around Rub on Rails application development, Full-stack development, top-notch JavaScript development and on-demand solutions. We are renowned for offering bespoke web and mobile application development services from SME to large-scale enterprises.