October 12, 2021
5 min read
React Native is an open-source software framework developed by Facebook, Inc. This framework gained its popularity by mobile developers using the following platforms: Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, tvOS, Web, and Windows. Since its first public appearance at React.js Con in 2015, the React Native framework has gained immense popularity to make itself synonymous with cross-platform app development.
What is Native Mobile Application Development?
Native development is using programming languages specific to targeted systems to develop platform exclusive applications. Native applications are famous for delivering high-performance apps, with exceptional user experience. However, being restricted to a single platform, it can be expensive to develop cross-platform native applications. This makes native app development gradually lose its charm.
Programming languages used:
When the developed application is ready, it is uploaded to the Google Play app store where users can download it as a free or paid application.
Programming languages used:
Applications developed for the iOS operating systems have a closed source code, meaning they can only be run on Apple products. Hence a Mac is needed to develop native mobile applications for iOS systems.
Why React Native for Mobile Development?
When it comes to mobile applications, there are two main markets, Android, and iOS. Software developers want to maximize the market for their products by making them cross-platform. This can be expensive when two different development teams are used to build the same application for two different platforms with a completely different codebase. Both teams would need to design an app, write its code, test and deploy it; accruing unwanted development hours for the same end product.
React Native framework reduces the codebase by 95%. This cross-platform development feature allows for 30% - 35% lower development costs when compared to native development for the same app.
React Native equips developers with wider tools for processing a higher amount of work in an application and deploying bigger updates. Just like the codebase, the updates are also cross-platform, giving it an edge over native development.
Native apps have two different codebases making it a nightmare to track bugs on both platforms. Not only that, a specialized developer is needed depending on which stack the error came from.
Being open-source has its own advantages. No licensing fees. Free to modify and refine framework to better suit developers. Opensource libraries are more lucrative nowadays due to their vast support network. As of 2019, just three years after its inception, React Native had 9,100 contributors on GitHub. Additionally, if users run into trouble with React Native, there are 50,000 active contributors to the React Native tag on Stack-Overflow, meaning developers can often find someone to help them with their challenges.
Great UI/UX experiences can be achieved using React Native but at an increased complexity as it is difficult to match the UI/UX standards for both Android and iOS platforms. This is not a problem for native development. Native development allows for design for a platform-specific design and is streamlined for the platform rather than being generalized for multiple platforms, which is the for React Native.
The native environment on the other hand using languages like Java that can handle complex tasks, and access advanced device hardware. In general, the performance award goes to native app development.
Despite its popularity, React Native is still in Beta mode, which means there might be some lengthy troubleshooting needed if a problem arises with package compatibility or debugging tools. If the developer is not experienced in React, this can cause significant delays.
Programming languages employed in the native environment are backed by major corporations like Apple, Google, and other tech giants. They regularly update the codebase and resolve errors. In comparison React Native, being open-source has fewer updates, and known errors get fixed pretty late.
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