Why Choose React Native for Your Mobile App Like Bloomberg or AirBnB

 / May 05, 2021

When you want to start a new mobile app development project, two options would come to mind: native and cross-platform. Native apps often run faster, with a wide range of functionalities, because they are built specifically for one single operating system, be it iOS (using Objective-C or Swift) or Android (using Kotlin or Java). But in order to make them compatible with different devices, you need to double the code base, and thus increase the time and cost by around 1.5 times. Cross-platform apps, on the other hand, are still universal but built at a more reasonable cost. And probably the most popular cross-platform framework lately, which grants your app almost the same quality as that of native apps, is React Native.

This is also the technology Designveloper use to develop several products including LuminPDF, Walrus Education, Joyn’it, or Bonux. By 2021, React Native earned more than 94,000 stars on Github, with more than 2,200 contributors updating it constantly.

What is React Native?

The name React Native is actually a combination of ReactJS and Native. ReactJS is an open-source JavaScript library used for building user interface (UI). Simply speaking, a library is a collection of code lines written by someone else that serve common functions in programming. ReactJS library was first created in 2011 by Jordan Walke, and deployed by Facebook a year later. It quickly gained popularity thanks to its adaptability, high performance, and easy-to-use components.

React Native is a JavaScript framework used to build cross-platform mobile applications that run as smoothly as native apps on iOS or Android. Technically speaking, although both libraries and frameworks are reusable code, when you use a library, you are in charge of the flow of the application (choosing when and where to call the library), whereas when you use a framework, the framework is in charge of the flow. Facebook introduced React Native two years after the ReactJS’ official release. React Native uses many popular features from ReactJS, e.g., components to build apps. It also follows the same design principles, enabling the rich mobile UI creation.

Bloomberg app's functionalities, built with React Native
Bloomberg app’s functionalities, built with React Native

Is React Native easy to learn for a beginner?

As above, React Native is a popular and influential framework not only it has many supports from the large community but also easy to learn especially with people who already know JavaScript and ReactJS. 

Let’s take a look at this example code below, if you already know some basics of JavaScript and ReactJS, understanding these code is a piece of cake.

import React, { Component } from ‘react’
import { Text, View } from ‘react-native’
export default class App extends Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <View style={{ flex: 1, justifyContent: ‘center’, alignItems: ‘center’ }}>
        <Text>Hello, world!</Text>

The official documents for beginners are super friendly and example code also included. More of it, it has a lot of tutorials on Youtube with different languages for beginners to get to know it, made by developers all around the world.

If you are a newbie who would like to learn more about JavaScript, ReactJS, and React Native, check out the following articles on our blog:

And in case you didn’t know, many top mobile apps are using React Native, such as Bloomberg, Facebook, Uber Eats, AirBnB, Instagram, Skype, Discord, Pinterest, Baidu, Wix, or Walmart. This has proved that React Native may be a choice worth considering for your project, too. 

Popular apps built with React Native

How React Native helps your mobile app development project

It is cost-effective.

As mentioned above, the cost to develop a mobile application using React Native is much lower than native application development. The cost depends on the components that need to be developed, the number of developers, and the total hours required to develop an application. Native app development requires you to have programmers who know Kotlin/Java to develop for Android, and Swift/ObjectC for iOS. After all, because of the complexity of both iOS development and Android development, it is almost a double trouble to make your app compatible with both operating systems, and thus cost you more time and effort.

React Native cost
Using React Native saves you more money than native solutions.

The main advantage of React Native and similar cross-platform technologies over native apps is the total time taken to develop being reduced to less than half. Cross-platform app development requires you to find developers who are good at JavaScript, which is fairly easy. And if you already have a web app that has been built using ReactJS, the cost to convert it to a mobile app will be much lower than starting from scratch.

See also: Website Development Cost: Difference Between a $5,000 and a $250,000 Website

Code reusability and great amount of 3rd party libraries

One of the greatest advantages of React Native is its code reusability. Inherited from ReactJS, a lot of useful components and hooks were also brought here. Developers only need to write UI code one time and use it for many different places by plug-and-play. Beside that, developers can share their code online like any third party online library; others only need to install and re-use it. No need to change anything; how easy is that!

Hence, there are tons of relevant components out there that were made and shared by a large community all around the world ready to use out of the box, which means you don’t have to build everything from scratch.

benefits of React Native

With React Native, there are plenty of ready-made solutions and libraries supported by the community that help facilitate development activities. There are testing libraries such as Jest, Mocha, etc. that aid in writing bug-free code.

Expo is a free and open source tool chain which will help you monitor the progress of your app and test new features. Potential hidden bugs in your code can be checked easily using ESLint, which is a great tool to accomplish this task.  Type checking can also be done faster now thanks to PropType or TypeScript. Redux is one of the most popular React Native libraries that accomplishes state management.

Easy to debugging

One of the biggest advantages of having a single codebase for Android and iOS is that the detection of bugs becomes much easier. React Native code can be reusable, you only need to give a single update patch for both platforms.

Ask any developer, and they will tell you that debugging is not the most pleasing job around. You have to spend hours looking at yours, or sometimes others coding, and pinpoint that exact location where the developer has made a silly syntax error. With React Native, your team doesn’t have to spend countless hours looking at two different codebases. A single debug will apply for two different operating systems at once, helping you deliver consistent behavior across all platforms.

Debugging is easier
Debugging is easier.

And lastly, with React Native’s “hot reload” feature, developers can now perform functions such as error handling at runtime, and instantaneously see their results on the running app. Compare this to native development, where developers have to halt the entire system, apply the fix, and then restart it again. This will help developers save a lot of time and reduce the stresses of doing this circle again and again to find and fix small common issues.

You may also read: 8 Best Practices with Mobile Development

Easy to combines with Native modules

React Native also supports an easy way to create and use modules in Native code just like a simple component for Android and iOS. And if there are some functions that are running too slow, you can also put it in Native code to use the multi threads support in Native for a better performance.

Still, React Native and Native Code need to walk along together for some time before they can break up.

Nothing is perfect; neither is React Native. There are some features not supported by the development team of React Native yet, like Bluetooth, Camera, and so on. And some animations still do not run smoothly on React Native code. But don’t worry because of how easy React Native communication with native code, there are a lot of open source support library for React Native which base on native code and even you don’t know how to write native code, you still can use it just like a normal component in React Native, just plug and play, they have all the feature you need for your app.

Final thoughts

So what should you know about React Native? Here are some key takeaways:

  • If you’re using Facebook or Airbnb mobile apps, you’re using React Native without even knowing it, you just feel like using Native app.
  • React Native is easy to write, saving time for developers and reducing cost for your project maintenance, because you don’t need to deal with two separate codebases for IOS and Android.
  • Since React Native is just a wrapper for Native modules, there’s nothing stopping you from adding Native code like Java or Kotlin or Swift code where you need it.
  • With the active community, React Native is still growing fast with no signs of slowing down or stopping.

Above is just some of my knowledge about React Native that I can deliver. Hope it will help you.

If you would like to read more about web and mobile app development, check out the following articles on our blog:

Trần Khánh Duy
Mobile Developer at Designveloper

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