React Native is a relatively new mobile app development technology started by Facebook developers and later made open-source. It quickly established itself as one of the leading technologies due to its numerous benefits and many possibilities. Some of the world's largest companies, including Facebook, Airbnb, Instagram, Skype, and many others, use React Native for their mobile apps.
In this article, you'll see briefly what React Native is about, its pros and cons, how to begin your React Native project, and some key skills to look out for in React Native developers.
What is React Native?
Nowadays, smartphones are widely used, and their users have access to a wealth of information and applications. Google's Android and Apple's iOS are the dominant mobile operating systems. Android is a mobile operating system created by Google. It is built on top of the Linux kernel. Through the Android Studio IDE, applications are built on the Android SDK, which supports the JAVA and Kotlin programming languages. iOS is the operating system used by Apple's iPhone smartphones. iOS is based on the BSD (Darwin) operating system. Apps are built with the iOS SDK and support the Swift and Objective-C programming languages. They can be developed in the Xcode IDE.
Many developers face problems when attempting to create a mobile application for both platforms because neither SDK supports a common programming language. This problem is solved using a framework that allows the programmer to write code once and compile it on both platforms to get their respective applications. React Native is one of these frameworks.
React Native Benefits
React Native has a reputation for producing high-performance apps using modules and native controllers. React Native connects to an operating system's native components and generates code using Native APIs. The fast performance of React Native is due to its ability to create threads independent of the UI and Native APIs. Although React Native supports WebView, application performance is affected as a result.
React Native developers can use this feature to quickly see changes to an app's code in a preview window. Changing the user interface without rebuilding your application is possible. This also contributes to faster development and effective problem-solving.
React Native's modular architecture divides the program's functionality into movable free parts known as modules. This technique has several advantages, including greater synchronization and seamless updating. Developers can use this feature to provide live app updates.
Extensive Community Support
The development of React Native began as a response to a developer community need. As a result, it takes a collaborative approach with thousands of active contributors. Facebook engineers are constantly developing and updating the platform, making it easier for users to get expert assistance.
Reusability and Lower Costs
Working with a single programming language has advantages. It eliminates the difficulties that disrupt the development between two platforms and significantly lowers the costs as you only have one codebase. Additionally, React Native makes it simple to add new functionality to existing apps at a low cost. It's as simple as incorporating user interface elements into an existing program instead of completely redesigning it. This feature is useful when you want to add new features to an app without completely rebuilding it.
Fast Application Updates
React Native has simplified the app upgrade process by removing the requirement for each app to have its own build process. Over-the-air (OTA) updates are a faster, simpler, and more convenient way for React Native developers and app consumers to update their apps. This way, even if the program runs, it can provide updates. Also, update capabilities are available the next time the app is launched. Simply put, app users no longer need to update their apps through the app store.
React Native Limitations
Performance Isn’t Yet at Native Level
Another factor to consider when deciding on React Native for app development is the amount of time you can dedicate to testing purposes. While development teams' working hours are decreasing, the same can't be said for your testing team's work. Testing time is comparable to testing time in native development. In some cases, it may be even higher.
Building an Efficient Development Team
React Native is a cross-platform technology that requires developers to be familiar with various technologies, including many native technologies. A cross-platform application can present a number of challenges, and it is much more challenging to develop a team that can handle all of them.
How to Begin a React Native Project
Below is a quick breakdown of how to begin your React Native mobile development:
First, companies need to explain their ideal user flows:
User flows demonstrate the core purpose of the mobile app. They allow developers to define the scope and potential challenges. Companies should ask themselves the following questions during this process:
- Is the flow simple and easy to use?
- Does it help users achieve their goals?
- What are the most important features?
- What advantages does it offer users?
- How does it encourage users to purchase additional services?
- Who will use the app, and what abilities will they have?
- Can users communicate with other users?
- Should it integrate with other apps?
- What information should I track?
- Am I accepting payment?
- Do I need notifications?
Next, companies need to create graphic layouts. The purpose of these graphic layouts is threefold:
- Reflect the animations and business rationale
- Discover the challenges and risks
- Create a timeline and return on investment projection
Companies also must determine the tool they would like to use for graphic design. Examples include Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD.
In addition, because apps can range from 20-200+ screens depending on the app, companies must decide whether they want to create the screens themselves or outsource the work to a UI/UX designer.
Finally, they must outline their technical requirements:
React Native developers' responsibility is to develop the mobile UI- essentially, they help companies with all of the "wiring" at the app's back-end. To prepare for this work, developers need to have the API documentation. Typically this includes:
- Request Samples
- Description of Resources
- Examples of Resources
If your company does not specialize in API, ask for help. Companies can connect with consultants in various ways: Upwork, Clutch, or Quora.
After these initial steps, founders are ready to complete their job overview and begin developing.
Key Skills React Native Developers Should Have
Any React Native programmer you hire for your team should possess a broad set of skills in order to complete your project successfully. Let's have a look at some of the most important.
Understanding of Native iOS and Android Development
Understanding the fundamentals of Native iOS and Android development and familiarity with Kotlin, Java, or C, can help developers become better React Native developers, considering that native side tools are occasionally needed as well.
Knowledge of JSX
Git is a necessary tool for the day-to-day work of every React Native developer. Understanding how to use all the basic commands is essential in modern-day software development.
Experience with React
A developer with a solid understanding of React fundamentals like Virtual DOM, component lifecycle, and component state is an excellent addition to any mobile development team. Also, knowing how to get around tools like Flux, Flow, Redux, etc., is a great plus.
Follow Coding Best Practices
Writing clear and concise code is a fundamental requirement for the success of any React Native project. Developers who follow coding best practices and write clear code consistently are preferred.
App Performance Enhancement
Companies that want to add value to the end-user experience need React Native developers who can see the big picture and know how to optimize and improve the application's overall performance.
Developing an application is a team effort. A developer must be good at communicating with teammates to accomplish their goals.
Each project presents its own set of difficulties. Facing bottlenecks is more than likely to happen. Using analytical skills to overcome these challenges makes a great developer.
If you want to talk more about React Native and starting your mobile application journey, let's chat!