What is React Native and why to choose it in 2021

React Native is one of our leading cross-platform technologies at itCraft. This framework is appreciated for many reasons and we often use it when developing apps for clients that require short time-to-market and a bit lower costs but don’t want to give up quality. And the market is quite promising – each year, mobile applications grow their revenue. More and more companies decide to create such solutions for themselves as they find the world of apps tempting in terms of business benefits.

One of the main problems is that there are thousands of apps in Google and Apple app stores. Some are great, others not so much, but the competition is overwhelming. To stand out, a mobile app needs to offer actual value. Excellent design and fantastic performance are a must. Is it possible to achieve results like that using React Native? Let’s find out!

In this article, we share our opinion about React Native based on our previous experience. itCraft is on the market for ten years, and during that time, we have implemented a good deal of apps. We know a thing or two about cross-platform development because it’s one of our main areas of expertise. Hopefully, this article will come in handy.

What is React Native?

Before we begin, we should explain how React Native works and what it brings to the table. This framework, released in 2015, was created by one of the digital giants – Facebook. Bearing in mind that React Native is based on JavaScript, which is the second most popular programming language right now, we are not surprised that it quickly became one of the main cross-platform technologies. It is still much-loved by many software houses – even when they adopt its biggest competitor, Flutter.

To understand how React Native works, you need to know the difference between cross-platform and native app development. The latter requires a dedicated language to create a mobile application – for Android, it’s usually Kotlin or Java and for iOS, it’s Swift or Objective-C. But using React Native means we can write just one code and the app will work on both operating systems. It’s an advantage that often motivates our new clients to suggest React Native and cross-platform as a technology we should use for their product. We don’t always agree to do so, but below, we will discuss the cases when it’s definitely justified to use React Native as the main framework.

Before that, let’s talk a bit more about React Native itself. Facebook created React, ReactJS and React Native to build their social media platform modules and mobile apps. After some time, they decided to share the technology with the public, making it open-source. According to AppBrain, 6% of top apps in the US Play Store are made with React Native. Examples include products we know and love like Instagram, Uber, Netflix and Pinterest. It proves that brands with strict requirements and an enormous amount of users trust React Native.

So why should you choose React Native in 2021?

We will showcase the most significant advantages of React Native, so you can understand better how it works and what kind of benefits it can provide. At itCraft, we always pick technologies for our clients by analyzing their requirements, expectations and needs. We believe that an individual approach to every business is crucial for success.

So what are the unique perks of React Native? Let’s find out!

Proven technology with a devoted community

As we mentioned above, many recognized international brands tried React Native and provided native-like apps for their users. It is a trusted framework that has been on the market for years. Thus, updates are fixing minor issues, but more or less, it is a complete solution that works as it should. That doesn’t mean, though, that Facebook doesn’t invest in React Native anymore. The framework is still expanded to provide an even better experience when building apps.

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React Native supporters help each other with all kinds of problems and create articles about their challenges so other developers can conquer them easily. It always means something when so many IT companies and programmers get interested in concrete technology. React Native wouldn’t be so widely adopted if it didn’t represent quality.

Flutter, as the primary competitor of React Native, is also a beloved framework for developers around the world. Still, it has a disadvantage – it is based on an entirely new language called Dart. It means every dev needs to learn it before they can build cross-platform mobile apps with Flutter.

For React Native, it is much easier. According to Stack Overflow 2020 Survey, almost 70% of professional developers know JavaScript – React Native’s foundation. So the learning period is much shorter and doesn’t require so much effort.

 Shared code between platforms

The main reason to consider cross-platform and React Native. A single base of code utilized almost entirely by Android and iOS means we can introduce changes to the product and see immediate results on both platforms. Platform-specific code can take less than 1% of the product, depending on the features we want to implement.

It is worth mentioning that React Native code compiles to native Java and Swift. It means that these apps look and work like native ones. Also, the visual side of an app is built using native components connected with the React Native code with a “bridge” – and that also makes it closer to native software.

Efficient mobile app development

There are many positive traits of React Native that will matter for product owners and startup creators. Cross-platform development requires only one team to build an app – unlike its native counterpart, where each platform has its own framework, so it needs a separate squad of devs. Managing tasks for a single team is more productive and delays can be quickly eliminated.

All that means you get shorter development time and spend less money on your app project. React Native offers a lot of flexibility – the team can evolve and scale if there’s a need for that. Cross-platform frameworks are often picked by startups that have limited budgets but want to build a high-quality product.

A feature that accelerates the coding process

We wrote a couple of articles about React Native and cross-platform development for our blog. You can check it out for more detailed content about all the functionalities of the framework that make the development process very effective.

We really like the live reload feature. Simply put, it speeds up the introduction of changes in the app by immediately displaying them on the screen. And that’s for both versions! In native development, we need to add new code to Android and iOS apps independently. Live reloads in React Native allow developers to refresh the app to see changes in real-time and fix things that might not work or look properly.

Will React Native be your framework for 2021?

To sum it up, React Native brings a lot to the table. We didn’t mention other, smaller benefits like the possibility of creating web applications and ready-made components for seamless UI design. Of course, no technology is without flaws and React Native is not an exception. It offers fast performance, but native apps are almost always better in this field. Some alternatives are even more intuitive when it comes to user interfaces. For platform-specific code, you might need the help of an experienced native developer. Still, React Native is considered reliable and is often used for mobile app development.

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At itCraft, we believe that an app project shouldn’t be based on technology alone. We conduct regular testing activities, organize our work with the help of a project manager and create beautiful designs thanks to our UX/UI team. We choose frameworks and programming languages after analyzing an app idea when we know what the client wants to achieve.

If you want to work with us – check out our website to see what kind of services we have for you. You will find there our portfolio with previous deliveries and a blog full of useful content.

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