React Native: Why it’s a Vital Tool for App Development
What is React Native?
When to Use React Native?
To keep it short, all mobile app makers want their apps to work on all devices, and two platforms – Android and iOS, yet still keep it all in one codebase only.
Although React Native is becoming better and better in terms of performance and it seems to get closer to a truly native experience, there are still many differences that we should be aware of
The latest version of react native is 0.70.4
One of the reasons to use React Native for app development is, its strong community where you will get support for every possible open query, they have close around 21k+ open issues which are great.
If we check the highlights with its latest release, then it’s listed as follows
- New Architecture's New Documentation: Over the last few months, React Native Community has been working to add more content to the New Architecture section of the documentation. In the new section, you can find migration guides, examples and tutorials to get you up to speed.
- Hermes as Default Engine: This is the result of a collaborative effort between the Hermes team and the React Native team, alongside the priceless contributions from the community. React Native Community worked to improve and fine-tune Hermes to make it more performant and deliver highly requested features by the community.
- A New Unified Configuration for Codegen: With 0.70, React Native introduced a unified way to define the Codegen specs for both iOS and Android. Previously, we had to put the Android configuration in a separate build.gradle file. Now, we can define it directly in the package.json.
- Android Auto-linking for New Architecture libraries: With 0.70, users on New Architecture can automatically link libraries without any additional configuration on their Android.mk or CMake files. Autolinking is a crucial part of the React Native development experience. It allows you to include external libraries with a yarn add command, without dealing with CocoaPods or Gradle setups.
- Full CMake support for Android builds: From now on you can use a CMakeLists.txt file instead of an Android.mk file for anything Android/Native related in your project
This change benefits both app and library users on the New Architecture:
- The CMake file created in your app is way smaller. This makes for an easier update experience between React Native versions in the future and less code to maintain on your end.
- Codegen is now generating both Android.mk and CMakeLists.txt, so libraries should not worry about doing anything if they're using the default setup we provide for New Architecture libraries.
- The Auto-linking mentioned above will work with both CMake and Android.mk files out of the box.
- Despite apps being free to use either Android.mk or CMake files, the recommended solution in the future would be CMake files (due to better documentation, tooling and ecosystem around CMake).
- Breaking Changes:
- Removed jest/preprocessor from the react-native package
- Remove nonstandard Promise.prototype.done
Some of the Pros and Cons can help us to get a better understanding about react native.
Pros of React Native
- Easy to work with: Experienced developers will appreciate the development experience. Meaningful error messages and time-saving and robust tools make it a premium choice over other platforms.
- Works everywhere: Once you learn React Native, you can build apps for iOS and Android and Windows.
- Quick iteration cycles: which just simply add more value.
- Intelligent debugging tools: and error reporting mechanisms. Give it an advantage over others and allows developers to focus more on the productive part.
- Easier to debug: uses Flipper as default.
- Keep things minimal and worthy: it doesn’t force you to work in Xcode or Android Studio for iOS or Android apps respectively.
- A large community of developers: who are contributing day in, and day out.
- Code reusability: developers can easily integrate 90% of the native framework and reuse the code for any platform. This feature not only saves time but also helps to cut down the cost of building two apps. Cool thing is that you can use the web app code (written in React) for a mobile app.
- Pre-developed components: numerous open-source libraries are available to accelerate your work.
- Live reloading feature: it helps to compile and read the file from the point where the developer made changes. Then a new file is offered to the stimulator which automatically reads the file from the beginning.
- Compatible with third-party plugins: and does not require high memory to process. No specific web view functions are required and native modules are linked with the plugin through the framework. Smoother running and faster loading are key features for it.
- Transform web projects into mobile applications: work done on this platform is easy to understand, and anyone can work around it although they were not previously engaged in it. It increases flexibility and web updates become consistent.
- Smoother and faster UI: as compared to classic hybrid ones. React Native apps use native APIs to render their UI.
- Expo: it’s a great tool for the fast development of apps for many platforms, with many ready-to-go libraries in the SDK.
- One codebase for all: A possibility of keeping just one codebase to run a project in an Android, iOS and web browser.
- Demo mode: When using Expo, it’s possible to build a demo for a customer without actually pushing the app to the Testflight or Google Store. The only thing we need is an Expo App on a mobile device.
- Over The Air (OTA) updates: Allow pushing quick fixes directly to users without the need to wait for the App store or Google play to accept our changes.
- Hot reloading: Allows developers to see the changes they applied in the code almost immediately, which saves a great amount of time.
Cons of React Native
- Performance is still lower than native: React Native is not able to use all the blessings and potential of a specific platform. On the other hand, a native app can maximize functionalities and deliver the ultimate user experience in the result. However, the re-architecture puts a lot of effort to make RN more performant, e.g. there is a new JS engine available – Hermes, and it makes apps run much faster on older Android devices.
- Not efficient for complex interfaces: If you consider complicated designs or advanced interactions as a crucial part of your business advantage, you should go for native development.
- Lack of some custom modules: many custom modules are already available, yet, there may be a need for some specific components that you will be forced to build from scratch yourself.
- Updating issues: it’s hard to keep the app updated with the latest React Native version. Updating React Native versions is in most cases a complicated process.
React Native in Fibonalabs
At Fibonalabs, we have used and are continuing React Native for app development in a range of industries such as:
- Healthcare industry
- Retail industries
- In Fibonalabs we have an experienced React Native Specialized developer team, who keeps enhancing their knowledge to provide better support to our clients.
- In React Native, Maintaining the version for Libraries is a crucial task, we always make sure that our project must use all the latest version of library versions.
- While working with React Native we make sure, Keep the code clean, maintain industry standards for UI/UX, maintain product performance to its best and many more.
- We Have successfully closed Manier projects of our client where React Native was one of the tools for the project and we make sure that all the capabilities which React Native Provide we converted for projects betterment.
- Because React Native is a trend there, we follow the trend and created our own ready-to-use boilerplate we can say Ready to use React Native project kit, so whenever any new requirement comes, we just use our boilerplate and create the basic framework for any project.
- In This Boilerplate we have all the basic utilities which are needed for any React Native Project, like Navigation, Debugger, Redux, Common component, Industry standard Directory structure, Network call setup, Push notification and many more.
- We also believe in training new people also regarding React Native, for that we keep arranging a training session there for new talents.