July 24 2018
React Native is rapidly becoming the go-to framework for cross platform apps. It’s used by a number of high profile apps with huge amounts of installs - including Facebook, Airbnb, Skype, Messenger, and Uber among many others. But why are there so many major players using it now instead of developing in more traditional native technologies? Let’s delve in to ten reasons why it’s such a good technology:1
Facebook made it.
OK not everyone’s flavour of the month at the moment, but yes, having one of the established big internet behemoths behind a technology gives it significant clout. This also means great support, not just from Facebook, but from the wider adopting community as well.2
It’s high performance.
React Native uses native components rather than traditional hybrid app technologies (think Phonegap, Cordova, Ionic) which are essentially apps running in a web browser. This means when running it is indistinguishable from a native iOS or Android app.3
Reusable native components
As already mentioned, React Native uses native components out of the box. This gives a two-fold advantage. Firstly, apps which use simple functionality are quick to create out of the box, and secondly the user experiences a native app feel in keeping with their existing experience of using apps on their mobile operating system.4
Development speed is further increased with the ability to make, then instantly see changes as you develop. This makes those pixel perfect layouts a breeze, and in general avoids the laggy development flow associated with other mobile app technologies. Gone are the days of booting up your favourite mobile shooter (or candy matching game) while you wait for your app to complete the compilation process so you can check your changes.5
It can be integrated any time
If you’ve already made the decision to go down the native route and are maintaining two app codebases, React Native can still be a good idea for new features. Why? Here’s an example - Airbnb recently shipped two new features using React Native in their native apps. Instead of maintaining two codebases, they only write the code once.6
VR is already covered
React VR is already built and ready to integrate any new VR app functionality you may require - nice!7
It’s all about the UI
With all those built in native components at your disposal, the heavy lifting is mainly already done. This means you can really concentrate on building a user experience that surpasses your initial plans, incorporating intuitive flows, animation and visual and tactile feedback that works for your users.8
Lottie is the creation of engineers at Airbnb who wanted to extend the animation capabilities of React Native. Think the beautiful feedback touches when you like a listing, rate, or view the onboarding in the app and you can see what is possible. Essentially visual designers can now create memorable animations using high end software which can be exported and integrated without being painstakingly recreated by hand.9
Native code integrated, simply
React Native bridge will simply and easily link native code with callbacks allowing complex functionality only possible in the native environment to be integrated into React Native apps. Now functionality such as Augmented Reality or Machine Learning can be performed simply by writing and integrating the native code required.10
It’s a single codebase, outputting to both iOS and Android
OK it’s a given, but put simply, this is the reason to use it. It makes business sense to launch and maintain an Android and an iOS app, but the logistical and developmental headaches involved can be painful and expensive. React Native solves this fundamental problem.