Jan 12, 2018
by Alexei Falco

Why react native is trending today

There are a lot of ways to build a mobile app and you can’t just define the best one – every app requires personal approach.

Nevertheless, one of the modern trends in app building is heavy use of React Native that grew really popular these days.

And with the rise of mobile app development startups in UAE and Dubai region exactly, it would be interesting to learn what is trending today and what developers and startups may want to consider for their future work.

So what is the reason behind such popularity of React Native and why Middle East developers should pay attention to it? Let’s find out.

A bit of intro

You are probably aware of pure native app development and the advantages it offers. React Native is another way of developing an application and it’s basically a combination of JavaScript web programming language and JSX markup syntax.

Some may say: why would I want to choose React Native when pure native app building is considered to guarantee smooth and efficient performance already?

Pure native development guarantees easy and fast performance, makes full use of device hardware and offers you a variety of exclusive tools and support from iOS or Android. Another nice add-on of pure native development is the genuine feeling of the native app “belonging” to your device as if it was there by default.

And don’t forget about enhanced security and ease of adding new features - all that is available when you choose to build a native app.

That’s true if developers know what they are doing – but unfortunately, pure native development has its cons.

In case you need an app that should run both Android and iOS devices - therefore, you’ll need to write two apps for two different platforms and for that you’ll probably even need two different teams of developers. Imagine how much money and time it will consume?

Development will take long time and it will cost you quite a lot.. Keeping that in mind, that’s where React Native steps in.

Advantages of React Native

React Native solves this problem, allowing you to save your resources and deliver high-quality product. In addition, the creation of iOS and Android app differs a lot and React Native is much more flexible.

However, note that React Native apps are not hybrid, they are actually native if done right, but the approach towards development can be called hybrid.

With React Native your app will be indistinguishable from the one built with Swift or Java. Because React Native utilizes same fundamental user interface building blocks as iOS or Android apps, it makes React Native apps feel native. The only difference is that these blocks are put together with the help of JavaScript and React.

Because it’s based on JavaScript, about 80% of its’ codebase can be reused and thus only small native changes will be needed.

Secondly, React Native saves a lot of time during debugging – it deploys all the changes within seconds and at the same speed displays them on the testing device.

One of the possible reasons for React Native may be its growing community and constant growth. While being created in 2015 only, it now has 26,500 members in Facebook official community and the numbers are growing. Also, it’s an open-source framework and developers often share their improvements.

We should, however, say that React Native is not the only tool used for cross-platform development. Still, it’s one of the best due to its performance and features.

For example, it renders UI-related parts of the code with native APIs and, as a result, we get performance that is incredibly similar to the pure native.

In addition, React Native offers a number of modules in Java and Objective-C or Swift that will help you bring the app performance as close to pure native as possible.

Predictions for the future

Many people are saying that React Native is the future of app development. In addition to the pros stated above, React Native also has shorter development cycles, CodePush and better development environment.

All in all, it really helps making development process faster while they remain highly efficient, without lacking in quality.

Another great benefit of React Native is its end cost. If we compare developing two apps on React Native vs developing two different apps in Swift and Java, React Native would be much cheaper.

You will save approximately 30% of your budget and time if you choose to use React Native. As for end-users, they won’t even notice anything because for about 95% of app tasks there is no difference how the app was built.

Still, if you think React Native is all about pros, you are wrong. Everything comes with good and bad things and there are certain cons about React Native that one should consider: lack of third-party components, could be a bit weak with extremely complex UI elements, or in cases when the app needs to use the device internal hardware modules really heavily.

So before getting down to app building the best thing to do is to consult with developers who have experience with both Java\Swift and React Native.

Describe how you see your app and its functions, outline what matters the most for you and together you will come up with the best solution, whether it will be React Native or pure native development.

In conclusion

Let’s one more time have a quick look at React Native pros:

- Price and time: allows you to save great deal of your budget

- High performance: React Native apps feel like native and work with same efficiency as native ones

- Development flexibility and cross-platform compatibility

- Faster debugging process

- Variety of tools and community support

According to our research and personal observations, in Middle East region React Native did not gain a lot of popularity yet.

The reasons for that may be general negative experience with hybrid apps in the past and biased attitude that hybrid apps by default mean poor quality.

But don’t forget that different tools suit for different purposes and modern tools and technologies today have changed the way things used to be in the past. And the best practice shows that React Native is quite a universal tool and efficient tool that delivers excellent results if used properly. Keep an eye on React Native and remember that in a lot of cases it might suit the best for your needs.

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