React Native (RN) has become a solution to many issues related to the agile development process as it provides a single code base for creating native-like applications for Android and iOS. RN has changed the rules of the game. Since its early days, companies that provide React Native consulting and development services have become in great demand.
However, the mobile development industry is evolving rapidly. New frameworks and programming languages like Vue.js or Golang have appeared, and it seems that React Native is no longer a rising star that it was a couple of years ago. Is it really so? Of course, the framework has its pros and cons, so let's take a look at them.
While React Native is an effective cross-platform framework, some app elements still require native development. Therefore, if you are engaged in complex projects that require integrating advanced features, the help of native developers will still be needed.
RN allows reusing a single code base for different operating systems and platforms. In theory, it is possible to develop a completely cross-platform application, but the chances of this are slim. This is because you will still need to install additional native modules. However, even if separate teams or specialists are engaged in the development, a single code base allows you to quickly make changes to the application and carry out debugging smoothly. Here’s an example: Walmart reported that they reused over 90% of their code. The collaboration between developers did not cause any difficulties, since they all worked with the same code, which differs only in some details.
The decision to use a single code base for all platforms significantly saves development costs and time. However, it’s not so simple. Although the result may be great, as in the case of Walmart, there are no guarantees. Such applications still can cause some problems – debugging tools or installed packages may throw error messages. Therefore, if a decision was made to reuse more than 90% of the code, get prepared to spend more time maintaining the app and fixing bugs.
First, let's talk about Hot Reload. This feature allows developers to make changes to applications without stopping their operation. This may seem insignificant, but in fact, it is very important. Developers can monitor how any code changes (for example, during the bug fixing process) affect the UI and the app’s operation in a live mode. This saves time and effort of specialists.
Besides, the framework is backed by Facebook. And their support speaks for itself. The framework is constantly updated since an active and extensive community is adding new tools and features to it.
Frequent updates are both good and bad. Despite the fact that the framework has been on the market for over 5 years, it is still fresh and its libraries are constantly improved. Developers need to keep track of any changes and update their code according to the new paradigm. Even a slight delay can cause the entire application to stop working or critical errors to arise.
Let’s summarize all of the above benefits of RN. It boasts a large community and support from Facebook. It is multi-purpose and cost-efficient. In view of all this, we can say with confidence that RN remains one of the most demanded and promising frameworks from a business perspective. In 9 cases out of 10, this framework will help a team of specialists release a smoothly running application to the market that will satisfy their business goals and user needs.
However, despite all this, RN is still young. Working with it presupposes a certain factor of uncertainty. If Facebook suddenly decides to abandon it, the framework will quickly fall off the top of all lists. While this is hard to believe since many world-famous giants have made and continue to make products on RN, this reliance on Facebook support raises concerns.
When it comes to application development, there is a large variety of solutions, and everyone is free to choose what they like. Native development remains a hands-down winner despite its own pros and cons. However, studying materials on the Internet, you can notice that it is React Native that causes the most discussions within the community of developers.
This means that RN is here to stay, and it is still a go-to option for app creation among the entrepreneurs and developers alike. And, perhaps, it is the most important advantage of this framework.