React Native – What It Can Do and What It Can’t

10 years ago, no one could have imagined the numerous mobile technologies that are simplifying lives today. Today, millions of apps are being developed for enterprises as well as consumers and they are powered by an infinite list of technologies and frameworks like HTML5, Objective-C, Swift, Java, Xamarin, Cordova, React and many more.

Looks like there is too much to catch up but from where to start?

Let us introduce you to one such framework named React Native that is worth catching up with. It is gaining a lot of popularity these days and if you are wondering why, you will know soon.

This article will help you familiarize with the functional basics and the business use cases of the latest React Native technology to power up your next mobile app.

What is React Native?

React Native is an open source JavaScript framework developed by Facebook. It is an all in one solution to build native mobile apps for Android and iOS platform in one go and amalgamates native app development with JavaScript UI development.

JSX – JavaScript Syntax eXtension is the method used to write React Native applications. If you are not familiar of what JSX is: It is simply a combination of JavaScript as well as XML-esque.

In other words,

It renders apps using real mobile UI components. That’s all for you to know for now.

Famous enterprises as well as startups have shown keen interest and decided to switch existing code base with it. Some of these include; Skype, Instagram, Facebook, Bloomberg, Baidu Mobile, UberEATS Vogue, Walmart, Tesla and Airbnb. This has been possible due to its ability to cater to both iOS platforms and Android.

Check out how React Native helped UberEATS revamp their app for better customer experience.

What Can React Native Do?

Mobile app advancement is based on development in short cycles i.e. an app that is quick to deploy and an app that provides better performance.

Besides this, every consumer’s first preference is always an app that provides seamless experience regardless of the platform.

React Native does that for you.

Clearly, there are various other reasons that have led to the immense popularity of React Native.

Here’s what React Native is capable of:

1. Establishes Platform Independence

React Native was initially developed by Facebook to sustain iOS. However, it now supports all the methods specific to the Android operating system. So, it’s just like building a native app with a single codebase that works on both iOS and Android platforms.

2. Readily Available Reusable Components

Built with re-usability at its core, React Native enables you to make use of plug and play like features corresponding to iOS and Android. This makes the app architecture consistent with the following features:

  • Responsive UI and UX
  • Web-like style of development as compared to hybrid frameworks
  • Look, speed and feel of the native widgets

3. Revamp Existing Code

You can apply the UI components of React Native to an app code that already exists. This is an added advantage to businesses that need to supplement an app that exists but do not want to rebuild it. Embedding React Native UI components is a quick process and does not require re-writing.

4. Fast Compilation Through Hot Reloading

JavaScript is one of the fastest programming languages. It introduces another unique concept of Hot Reloading to provide better development experience. This feature combines the small compilation time of JavaScript and other capabilities. That means, you can make edits simultaneously without having to recompile it altogether. React Native brings the speed and agility of web app to the hybrid space and with the results of a native app.

What React Native Can’t Do?

1. Not Fully Scaled for Custom Modules

React Native has not addressed all its glitches. It also has missing custom modules which may take a lot of your time to build as well as to create modules of your own. You will require a specialized developer to address the technical challenges and bugs from time to time.

2. Guarantee Certainty

Even if Facebook has a developed framework, there is an uncertainty of its permanence because it still has the rights to do away with the project at any time. However, this is not likely to occur because of the technology popularity it has gained with time.

3. Handling Complex UI and Background Processing

If your apps are more interaction-intensive, then React Native might not be able to provide the best native experience. Also, apps that require a lot of background processes to work should not be built with React Native. It is even harder to get that performance benchmark for heavier apps.

4. Mitigate Heavy CPU Usage

React Native works on the interconnected Native and JavaScript modules that combine the power of script compilation and provide a native feel to the app. This process is highly CPU intensive and is a major cause of low app performance.

Still not clear whether your app needs to be built with React Native?

It is possible to build any kind of app with React Native, but in many cases choosing React Native can add other worries as it lacks support for some major Native APIs. To get a better understanding of the performance specs hop on to read this comparison between Native and React Native apps.

react native downloadstop apps market share of react native apps

Cases Where A Native App is a Better Choice

Native apps should be your first choice if you have a budget that supports long term app development without compromising on specific features like:

  • Faster and heavy calculations
  • Multi-threaded processes
  • Easy and parallel updates with SDKs
  • Strongly coded app with less bugs
  • Apps with heavy UI and a lot of animations

Cases Where A React Native App is a Better Choice

Despite its growing popularity, we suggest you use React Native for:

  • Traditional native-like apps for cross platforms with lesser views
  • Less Hardware API access
  • Budget apps
  • Apps that require short development cycle

Which app do you prefer? Share your views with us in the comments section below.