Advantages and disadvantages of the React Native from developer and owner’s perspective

21.11.2019 Angelika Siczek
react native logo on the black background

React Native is a JavaScript based framework. It differs from the competition by the fact that it combines the best features of hybrid and native frameworks. On the one hand, although the iOS and Android app will look different, about 70 percent of the code can be reused. React Native does not rely entirely on HTML or CSS, but allows you to write in JavaScript. Later, when compiled, it adapts to the native platform language over the React Native bridge.

Apart from PWA, React Native has revolutionized cross-platform code writing. Many well-known applications were created on this framework, such as Facebook Ads Manager, AirBnB, UberEats or even Instagram. But what influenced success?

React Native has the ability to share code in repositories and reuse multiple components. This framework is famous for the fact that once familiar with it, the developer is able to write anything, regardless of the platform. A JavaScript expert can instantly build applications in React Native.

Business perspective

The advantages of React Native have been appreciated by IT giants. Facebook and its development team place great emphasis on the flexibility of their applications between platforms, because for such a large corporation, the platform range must be as large as possible. They are aware of the differences between operating systems and their typical features. React Native allows you to keep modules typical for iOS or Android, such as navigation or progress bar, and allows access to the camera and contacts, regardless of the environment.

Even for a large company, having separate applications for stationary and mobile devices can be tedious. Using React Native libraries for web projects allows you to create a cross-platform application that also works in a browser. Progressive Web Apps offers similar features, but the decision about the framework always depends on many factors and it is good to know that there is an alternative.

It should be remembered, however, that using React Native does not imply total compatibility from the beginning and help from a developer from a specific platform may be necessary.

Cooperation with a team of developers

For a business client, i.e. the client, it will certainly be important that you do not need a specialized team to work with React Native. The developer does not need to know Swift iOS or Java / Kotlin Android. The front-end will be created by a programmer familiar with UI (user interface), React elements and specific elements belonging to a given platform.

All you need is to hire developers who write in JavaScript and create applications for various platforms. They will exchange knowledge and review each other’s code, all while working on the same framework.

Performance of the React Native application

React Native was created for performance and flexibility in a multi-platform environment. Of course, nothing will be better than the native application and its performance in the native environment, but the products created on the React Native do not give way to the use of the graphics processor, logic and cache of their native competition. In many tests, React Native performs just as well as applications designed for a particular environment.

Developer perspective in using React Native

At the beginning of work on the application in the React language, the developer will choose the Webpack package and match the appropriate modules from it. React Native has everything you need from the very beginning. Thanks to this, the environment does not require any configuration. You can start writing the code from the very beginning.

Work on the code

React Native also has a feature that developers like. It is about Hot and Live reload enabling preview of introduced changes immediately without rebuilding the entire application. Hot reload displays the status of modified files from the application, and Live reload refreshes the entire application after making changes to the files. You don’t have to constantly check the results, which saves you compilation time and increases your productivity.

The use of components is greatly simplified compared to native applications. Efficiency in displaying animations, buttons, text and scrolling speeds up work and the speed of performing basic development tasks.

React Native libraries

For React Native there is a huge list of libraries with modules designed for both iOS and Android. However, some of them leave much to be desired. This is an area where React Native needs to improve. When working on push notifications or device sensors, you may need help from a native developer.

However, you have to remember that there are many experienced teams working on React Native, such as Facebook, and libraries are also growing at a rapid pace. Last year, 500 users added 2500 entries. Thanks to this, React Native is becoming more flexible and has more and more possibilities of integration between platforms. Even if there are still situations where you need to create your own solutions from scratch for emerging problems, they are increasingly rare.

Despite its disadvantages, React Native has advantages that cannot be ignored. A wide range of integration between platforms and the ability to create one application for a mobile device and for the browser is the greatest asset. In addition, developers who are not experts in the field of the environment can work on the application. All you need is knowledge of JavaScript and willingness to learn. Even if it is still a growing environment, every change is for the better and towards greater flexibility and speed of action.

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