React Native: Yay or nay?
Is it just a trend or is it the new norm? Undoubtedly, React Native is currently highly popular among mobile app developers. But does it have what it takes to stand its ground in the long run?
What makes the world beat at your fingertips? The answer is user-friendly mobile apps that are inherited with lots of features powered by tones of codes. Native apps allow you to get more access to a device’s capabilities such as push notifications, location-based marketing, streamlined field operations, and more. But different OS and devices — Android, iOS, and Windows, predominantly — require different source codes to run natively, leading to repetitions and delays.
But React Native came along to speed things up. Just a few years old, React Native has fascinatingly become a preferred choice for mobile app developers around the world.
What makes React Native popular?
Previously, web developers had to write separate codes for iOS and Android platforms for the exact same application. Cue, all the extra efforts and development cost. React Native saves the day by bringing speed and agility of web app development to the hybrid space—with native results.
No wonder, the media giant Bloomberg, retail goliath Walmart, social network site Facebook and the Sydney-based travel startup Townske chose React Native to develop their mobile apps.
React Native’s popularity can be easily explained by numbers and names of its giant users:
● 14th most starred repository
● 1002 contributors committed 7,971 times in 45 branches with 124 releases
The entire world is under the command of React Native
Some of the advantages that make React Native web developers’ favorite are:
- State-dependent views: In React Native, a component is drawn based on the current state. That means the component needs to be configured to be drawn based on whatever possible states could occur. React Native components are side-effect-free functions that return what the views look like at any point in time. For this reason, it is easier to write state-dependent views, as you don’t have to care about updating the view when the state changes since the framework does this for you.
- Cost reduction: Because this is cross-platform software, it can be used on both iOS as well as Android systems – helping you save huge costs of development as well as saving plenty of time. What’s more, almost 90% of the code can be reused between Android and iOS which is a huge advantage as it saves a lot of time required for modifications.
While the above advantages might make you feel that React Native is the best cross-platform app development software out there, it does have some limitations.
Let’s dive deeper into the cons of using React Native:
- Redundant default editor: React Native uses Atom IDE as its default editor, which lags behind the other available advanced editors such as Xcode and Android Studio that are generally the more preferred used during mobile app development. The use of a not-so-great editor slows down the development process, beating the whole purpose of increasing efficiency.
- Outdated documentation: Due to the continuous development of the software, React Native moves too fast and documents get outdated very soon. The available official and community documentation, especially, testing documentation, are not updated on a regular basis.
- Lagging API integration: Native app development is normally the preferred choice when it comes to integrating functionality with APIs or third-party libraries. This is because it doesn’t require any additional integration effort and there are fewer limitations, comparing to React Native since there are some APIs that React Native does not support.
While there are a number of cons associated with the former, one cannot deny the development time saved by the latter. Many developers in our team love working with this framework despite all the documentation, libraries and API issues simply because it gets the work done faster than the Native development.
That said, React Native is not the absolute platform just yet. It is not ready to be used in a long-lasting supported application. It stills needs to mature, and it will, in time. After all, it is still just a 3-year-old baby!
According to Statista, the number of smartphone users will exceed the 5 billion mark by next year, which is roughly 3/4th of the world’s population. This will further solidify the growing popularity of React Native. But the question here is, will React Native continue to impress or will it gradually go down the history as a passing trend that enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame? Only time will tell.