Becoming truly native

Facebook announces React Native

Natali Vlatko
Facebook mobile image via Shutterstock

Having already open sourced React last year, Facebook has now launched React Native, a JS library that is rethinking how we write applications using one-way data flow, immutable data structures and the full potential of JavaScript.

The latest programming innovation from Facebook HQ comes in the form of React Native – the next step in the evolution of native apps. The news was shared at React.js Conf, where Facebook programmer Tom Occhino’s keynote reviewed the past and present of React in 2015.

The creators of React have made it clear that this isn’t just another MVC framework. React is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces and encourages the creation of reusable UI components which present data that changes over time.

Pete Hunt of React summed up the higher level details on Hacker News, listing the following specs:

  • JavaScript engine on a background thread
  • Communicates via batched, async messaging protocol to a native (Objective C or Android) server running on the main thread (basically create_view(), update_view(), destroy_view(), on_event() etc)
  • Plug-in for React that speaks that protocol
  • Tools to make cross-platform development a bit easier (standard text component, cross-platform flexbox layout system)
  • Designed to take advantage of native platform views, NOT be the next Java Swing

The social media buzz around the announcement is palpable. You can find some pretty positive reactions when surfing Twitter:

Facebook also plan to make the technology available as open source, which is an appealing development. We also know that the Facebook Groups app has been built with React Native. The news should prove to be exciting for many developers, as React Native isn’t just a wrapper around JavaScript, but is truly native.

Tom Occhino’s keynote can be watched in full on YouTube below.

Natali Vlatko
An Australian who calls Berlin home, via a two year love affair with Singapore. Natali was an Editorial Assistant for (S&S Media Group).

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