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Is react native good for mobile app development?

React Native is considered to be the best choice for mobile app development. What are the pros and cons of using react native for mobile app development?

Posted by Mohita on 16 Jul 2020
Is react native good for mobile app development?

A mobile application is one of the best tools that your business can use for its growth. According to Smartinsights, people spend 90% of their time on mobile apps. Application developers can use this information to develop applications of their own. The only question that you may have in your mind is: “What framework should I use to develop an application?”

With so many alternatives at hand, choosing one application framework can be a daunting task. However, it doesn’t have to be, especially after React Native came into the picture. React Native is one of the new frameworks that has gained popularity in recent times.

React Native has relieved developers from the problem of developing for multiple platforms. Popular applications like Tesla App, Pinterest, Instagram, and Discord make use of React Native. React Native is an open-source mobile framework. It is a JavaScript framework that has been developed by Facebook. React Native is a framework that works with both android and iOS.

So, should you go ahead with React Native for mobile app development? Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the platform. They will help you in deciding whether investing in React Native will be a good option for you.

Advantages of React Native

1. Fast

The React Native architecture is very well tuned to mobile devices. It makes use of the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), while native platforms are more ‘CPU (Central Processing Unit) intensive’. Compared to hybrid technologies (which was the only option for cross-platform in the past) React Native is superfast.

2. Saves time

Writing a different code for both iOS and Android is bound to eat up a significant amount of time. React Native makes sure that most source code can be used for both of them. This saves crucial time for a business. Costs are saved as a business does not need to hire many developers.

3. Live & Hot Reloading

Have you ever been confused about whether a design should be changed or kept the same? When we’re looking for alternate options, we find it difficult to judge whether it would be better or worse than the existing design.

The benefit of hot reloading is that one can keep a mobile application open while making changes to it. This makes it easy to see the mobile application looks like before and after making changes.

4. Code can be reused

One of the biggest advantages of react native is that the code is reusable. Especially for companies that already have an app written in react, they can reuse most of the code. Also, an open-source library makes it even easier to build react native apps.

5. Community-driven

Coding isn’t a piece of cake. Fortunately, React Native is community-driven. You won’t be alone while you’re programming.

Developers can ask for advice from other developers on online forums. They can share their knowledge with others. This can help them to get recognition for their efforts and show their portfolios to each other. The GitHub React Native Community is a platform where developers can engage in productive discussions and improve their coding skills.

6. Modular architecture

The functions of a program can be divided into several modules through modular programming. This makes it easy to update applications and makes it easy for developers to look at each other modules.

7. Third-party plugins can be added easily

React Native enables third-party modules like the Native and JavaScript Module to be added.

8. Simplified User Interface

React Native is a simplified user interface. This makes it easy for developers to use it. Declarative programming is used in React Native. On platforms like Native, a sequence of steps needs to be followed while developing an application. Spotting errors on the path that a developer follows is easy on React Native.

Drawbacks of React Native

1. Security

React Native is an open-source framework. It is a JavaScript library that is prone to be attacked. One needs to develop React Native based applications carefully.

2. Many custom modules are not available

A common issue that many developers face is that many custom modules are not available. This can make it difficult to adjust the appearance of the application as per one’s requirements.

3. React Native’s libraries get outdated quickly

Imagine spending a lot of time on programming only to realize that third-party libraries have been outdated. To avoid this issue, many developers prefer using Nativescript instead of React Native.

4. React Native is a new platform

Facebook released React Native in 2015. It is a relatively new platform, which makes it difficult for new users to use it correctly.

5. Single JavaScript thread

React Native is based on a single JavaScript thread, which makes multi-processing and parallel threading difficult. The speed of React Native is also slow as a result of the single JavaScript thread.

6. Not suitable for intensive operations

React Native is a convenient option to use for developing simple mobile applications. For instance, mobile applications like reminders and notes are simple. For advanced applications, React Native is a complicated framework to use. The JS bridge used in React Native may lead to problems if intensive operations are required. In such cases, Nativescript should be used.

7. Native languages have to be used

Abstraction layers need to be created using React Native. Custom designs need to be created using native languages, which forces developers to use them. If React Native doesn't support a native feature that you need, you have to reuse some existing Java, Objective-C or Swift code without having to reimplement it in JavaScript, or write some high performance, multi-threaded code such as for image processing, a database, or any number of advanced extensions. Developers are unable to mix native with others.

Using React Native means that it takes more time to fix any device-related issues. Fixing problems on React Native is harder than correcting them on platforms like NativeScript.

8. Navigation is not smooth:

A smooth programming process is something that the developer wishes for. However, since React Native is still being tested for improvements, problems with navigation are still reported. Developers face hot reloading failures and problems with debugging tools. Changes in tools and versions can also cause problems.

9. Difficult to use for people who are new in the field of programming:

When you learn something, do you prefer learning it from a basic level or try to jump to the advanced level? Most of you would prefer learning something from scratch. While experienced programmers can code quickly, new programmers have a hard time understanding React Native. This can discourage first-time JavaScript users from using the framework in the long run.

If one has a significant amount of experience with programming, they will prefer to use React Native. Some basic understanding of NativeScript is required to use React Native.

Now, you know about the benefits and the drawbacks of using React Native. It’s time to make the final decision.

Should you choose React Native over NativeScript for developing a mobile application?

The short answer is that it depends on your team size, budget, and whether it meets your requirements.

Since React Native is not an advanced platform, some developers choose to not work on it.

At times, using another Framework might be more suitable for a business than React Native. For example, NativeScript is a popular platform that has been used for a longer time than React Native. Developers also use frameworks like Angular and Flutter.

Many developers also make applications that are based on only iOS or Android. In such cases, it doesn’t make sense to opt for React Native. If you’re making a complex application, it might make sense to opt for NativeScript instead. A complex application requires the user to participate actively with your application.

Choosing to drop React Native shouldn’t be something that you decide to do instantly. Considering all factors is essential. Making the switch after experimenting with one framework will increase costs and time for your business.

The good news is that Facebook is consistently trying to make improvements to React Native. This will make it easier for developers to work upon mobile app development. For example, Facebook has recently launched a new tool, LogBox. This tool will make it easy to debug errors. LogBox will enable developers to work upon their errors in a better way. LogBox alerts a developer if a log should be formatted, concise, or if the log needs to be made actionable. Version 0.63 of React Native has been launched, as announced by Mike Grabowski. The latest version provides support for iOS 9.

If you’re trying to figure out how to develop your next mobile application, consider using Inkoop’s services. Head over to this page to find out more about them.

- Mohita

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