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8 Reasons to Develop a Mobile App Using React Native for Android and iOS

by Ruslan Botnar

Mobile Development

15Dec

In this article

Mobile devices have become much more widespread during the last decade. People increasingly stay connected with the world using smartphones and tablet devices. According to Pew Research Center, the share of Americans who own smartphones has increased from only 35% a decade ago to 85% in 2021. Along with mobile phones, other portable electronic devices have become much more popular. The share of U.S. adults who own a tablet has increased from 8% in 2011 to 53% in 2022.

As smartphone and tablet ownership has been growing over the years, the popularity of mobile apps expanded proportionately. Billions of different apps for Android and IOS are being downloaded each year around the world. They make our lives easier and help us stay connected with the world while “on the go.” There is an app for everything from managing finances to interacting with family and friends on social media. The more an app is engaging and user-friendly, the more effort is typically put into every step of its development process.

 

There is a long list of tools and resources that help app developers to build fully functional apps and effectively solve users’ problems. React Native (RN) stands out as a robust framework for cross-platform mobile app development among these tools. Since its launch in 2015, RN has proven to be a reliable alternative to native app development. 

Today many top companies build their apps with React Native because it saves them time and money. Instead of hiring two separate development teams for your project, you can develop a mobile app using React Native and launch it simultaneously on Android and iOS. 

This article will discuss the benefits of React Native for mobile app development and point out the prospects and challenges of using this cross-platform framework. Whether you are an entrepreneur or developer, you will learn

  • how to develop a mobile application with React Native, why building a mobile app using React Native can benefit you, and 
  • what makes it one of the most popular frameworks for cross-platform mobile app development. 

 

What Is React Native and Why Use It to Build a Mobile App?

React Native is an open-source platform for mobile app development created by Facebook in 2015. Today it’s the second most popular platform after Flutter. Developers can create native apps using React Native. The main advantage of cross-platform development is that it helps you save time and money by using a single codebase that can be shared across Android, iOS, and web platforms.

You can build a mobile app with React Native without learning a native programming language like Java, Objective-C, Kotlin, or Swift. The platform transforms JavaScript code into native code, allowing your application to run just like a native application.  

Since its original release in 2013, React libraries have gained trust and popularity among developers around the world. So much so that many other tools were created to use React JavaScript libraries for different purposes. 

In addition to building mobile apps with React Native, React developers have used the framework to create static sites and desktop applications. A static site is a website that delivers fixed content and doesn’t require lots of backend processing. Gatsby (https://www.gatsbyjs.com/) is a popular framework that enables developers to build React-based websites. For building cross-platform desktop applications, Electron (https://www.electronjs.org/) is a go-to resource that integrates with React component libraries. Electron is an open-source framework to develop applications for Windows, Mac, and Linux. 


Benefits of React Native for Mobile App Development

Now that you know what React Native is and how to create a React Native mobile app let’s discuss what makes RN one of the most popular frameworks for cross-platform mobile app development. Here are the main benefits of building a mobile app using React Native.

  1. Rapid Development and Quick Updates

Due to cross-platform compatibility, RN can save a considerable amount of time for mobile app developers and shorten the development timeline. Instead of developing two separate codes for Android and iOS, you need to write only one sharable codebase in JavaScript or React.js. In some cases, apps can share up to 90% of their code or more between the two platforms. 

It simplifies the decision-making process and allows businesses to reach more clients in a shorter time. You no longer need to ponder whether to start with an iOS or Android app. With a shortened development timeframe, you can launch your app on one platform first and then release it on the second platform in weeks.  

Once the app is running, quickly delivering a new version of your app to its users is often critically important. Traditionally, this is done by asking your current users to download an update from the App Store or Google Play Store. It can take days until the new version is reviewed and available to download. With React Native Over-The-Air Update, the review process is completely bypassed, as you can deploy a new version of the app with just one line of code in less than a minute.

  1. Great Performance

When React Native was initially released in 2015, many companies were reluctant to switch from native application development to cross-platform as they didn’t want to sacrifice robust native performance. Today React Native platform has matured to such an extent that the differences in performance are unnoticeable to the human eye. As a result, developers can achieve a native feel within a shorter timeframe. 

It’s important to mention that RN can easily handle very complex applications. The Facebook mobile app, which uses RN on more than 750 screens, serves as a perfect example of robust performance and a very low crash rate.

  1. Reusable Code

Another great advantage is that it’s possible to reuse the web application code for mobile app development. It speeds up the app development time since you can use pre-developed components stored in an open-source library.

Frontend developer at Discord says, “React Native is a great framework that bridges the gap between web and mobile. At Discord, it has brought us incredible efficiency. It allows us to write reusable code, learn from each other, and move fast with a two-person team.” (https://blog.discord.com/why-discord-is-sticking-with-react-native-ccc34be0d427)

  1. Can Be Combined with Native Code

React Native integrates with native software and existing native code. Therefore, it can be used to make improvements to existing native applications. Many companies use RN to enhance the experience for their current users without the need to build a new app. 

The opposite is also true. You can build an app in React Native and later augment it with advanced functionality using native Android or iOS code. For example, if you decide to incorporate some augmented reality features in an existing app, there is a chance that native solutions will perform better.

  1. Easy to Make Changes

React Native offers a convenient development interface that simplifies the development and testing processes. With two windows open, the Hot Reloading function lets you introduce required changes and see the results in real-time. Live Reloading function reloads the entire app when the changes are made, while Hot Reloading refreshes only a specific area that was modified.  

  1. Open-Source Libraries and Strong Community Support

React Native has the biggest community among all cross-platforms. Strong community support enables developers to receive help as needed, which saves them time and helps them improve their skills. The process of making a mobile app with React Native is simplified due to access to open-source libraries of relevant codes. Developers don’t need to write every single feature from scratch, which shortens the development timeframe. 

  1. Third-Party Plugin Integration

React Native can integrate third-party plugins into your application through JavaScript-based and native modules. For example, suppose you would like to add Google Maps or Google Calendar to your mobile app’s functionality. In that case, RN enables you to connect any plugin with a native or third-party module.

  1. Trustworthy

Due to its convenience and other benefits mentioned above, many large companies use React Native to build mobile apps that stand out in the modern, fast-paced environment. Before RN was launched in 2015, Facebook used it in its mobile app. Many well-known brands adopted the technology in recent years, including Walmart, Discord, Instagram, Pinterest, Skype, Coinbase, Bloomberg, UberEats, Wix, etc.

Prospects and Challenges in React Native Mobile App Development

  • Prospects for React Native Are Positive

Given the speed at which the platform gained popularity, its convenience, and its ability to resolve development issues quickly, the prospects for React Native in cross-platform mobile app development look positive. Even though it has its challenges, which will be discussed below, its pros outweigh its cons. Namely, the ability to speed up the development process and save resources makes RN very attractive to developers and product owners.

  • Compatibility and Troubleshooting Issues

As we discussed before, React Native creates a bridge between JavaScript tools and native iOS and Android coding. Even though large tech companies are actively using it, it’s still in the process of rapid growth. Many updates are being released on an ongoing basis, which means that developers need to keep their version of the software current and constantly update their knowledge. Otherwise, they may run into issues with troubleshooting, which might negatively impact the development timeline.

  • Native Developers’ Proficiency Is Required

Knowing several platforms well is not an easy task for any mobile developer. It requires much time and effort to keep your skills current in a fast-changing environment. React Native open-source libraries assume a good working knowledge of all three platforms – JavaScript, Android, and iOS. If your development team lacks expertise in one of the platforms, you may need some assistance from iOS or Android developers to incorporate native components into the RN codebase.

  • Scalability

Most of the time, React Native can handle complex solutions. After all, it has been successfully used by giants like Instagram, Skype, and Facebook for many years. However, there are examples of rapidly growing companies like Airbnb, who concluded in 2018 that React Native is not the right solution for their growth plans and refocused on native app development. (https://medium.com/airbnb-engineering/sunsetting-react-native-1868ba28e30a) Nowadays, scalability issues can be easily prevented with the right choice of application components.

Our Insights and Experience in React Native Mobile App Development

Our Experience and Insights

  • React Native app development can help startups to reach a larger audience in a short amount of time while saving money. The ability to reuse the same code on multiple platforms enables you to save 30-50% on developing a mobile application with React Native relative to the cost of creating two native apps for Android and iOS. 

Please read our article on How Much Does It Cost to Build a React Native App: React Native App Development Cost in 2022 to learn more about cost savings with RN

Recently, we developed a reader app for serialized fiction using React Native. The app features included membership authentication with different membership levels, in-app purchases, and hidden content that users can unlock using acquired tokens. React Native helped our client allowed our client to cut the development time roughly in half and reach a broader audience on iOS and Android platforms. 

  • Established companies can benefit from redesigning their apps and websites with React Native. Companies with web platforms offering similar products or services as the app can benefit from quick and easy updates and additional savings with React Native.

Energy Ogre (https://www.energyogre.com/), a team of non-biased energy industry professionals committed to helping Texans save money on their electricity bills, hired our team to redesign their website and application using React Native. The functionality of their app includes the ability to search through a directory of electricity providers, third-party synchronization, and membership service. Since Energy Ogre offers similar services through their website, they could save with React Native by reusing the same code on all three platforms – Android, iOS, and web.  

So why use React Native for mobile app development? In short, if your goal is to create a top-quality application in an efficient timeframe, React Native allows you to launch your app on Android, iOS, and web platforms by writing only one code. In practice, this translates into a shorter development timeframe and cost efficiency without losing quality.

Our Development Team

When we work on developing a mobile application with React Native, the size of our development team depends on the scope of the project. Some apps can have just 20 screens, while others include 300 to 400 screens. At a very minimum, the team consists of a development coordinator and React Native developer. The development coordinator serves as a link between the backend, design, and React Native teams.  

Our development team includes a development coordinator, lead developer, and senior and mid-level React Native developers for large projects. The lead developer assigns the sequence of tasks to developers, oversees the entire development process, and coordinates the internal transfer of tasks between the QA team and the development team. 

In addition, the responsibilities of a lead developer include ensuring that the policies set up by the development coordinator are followed.

Consider Tino Agency Your Trusted Partner

As a full-service design agency located in Houston, we help our clients define, design, and develop powerful user experiences. Our proven human-centered design process consistently delivers user-friendly and engaging digital products for our customers. We develop full-fledged mobile and web applications with frontend, backend services, and third-party integrations. We also build and redesign static websites.

 Please read our article on How Much Does It Cost to Build a React Native App: React Native App Development Cost in 2022 to learn more about cost savings with RN. 

 If you have an idea you would like to discuss with our experts, feel free to drop us a line at … , and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Final Thoughts

React Native is one of the leading frameworks in cross-platform mobile app development. It rapidly gained popularity among many successful companies, as it offers excellent functionality, convenience, and faster product development time. It gives you access to a larger audience right away, as you can release both Android and iOS apps simultaneously. 

Overall, React Native can be beneficial for startups who need to build a fully functional mobile application that will work on both Android and iOS platforms and don’t want to waste time and resources developing two native apps. For companies that have web platforms that complement their mobile app, it offers even more significant benefits, like quick and easy updates across all platforms and additional savings.

FAQ

Is React Native used for mobile app development?

Yes, React Native is one of the most popular open-source platforms for mobile app development that developers around the world use to create fully functional native-like apps for Android and iOS using JavaScript. React Native app development can help startups to reach a larger audience in a short amount of time while saving money. Due to its ability to reuse the same code on more than one platform, the cost savings are typically 30-50% relative to the cost of developing two native apps for Android and iOS. Many successful companies used React Native to build their mobile apps. 

Why do we need to consider React Native for mobile app development?

The main advantage of React Native is cross-platform development, which means cost-efficiency and shorter time-to-market with no loss in performance quality. If you plan to launch a new mobile app, it gives you access to a larger audience right away, as you can release both Android and iOS apps simultaneously. Due to its ability to reuse the same code on more than one platform, the cost savings are typically 30-50% relative to the cost of developing two native apps for Android and iOS. For companies that have web platforms that complement their mobile app, it offers even more significant benefits, like quick and easy updates across all platforms and additional savings.

Is React Native a good option for mobile app development?

React Native is a great platform to build a fully functional mobile application that will work on both Android and iOS platforms in a short amount of time. React Native allows you to launch your app on Android, iOS, and web platforms by writing only one code. In practice, this leads to a shorter development timeframe and cost efficiency without losing quality. The cost savings are typically 30-50% relative to developing two native apps for Android and iOS. If you’re unsure if RN is suitable for your project, feel free to drop us a line at … , and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Can you build mobile apps with React Native?

Yes, our development team is experienced in making mobile apps with React Native. Whether you have an idea for a new app or would like to redesign an existing application, our development team will be happy to help you. If you would like to discuss your idea with us, feel free to drop us a line at … .

 

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