Is Facebook’s React Native the Future of Hybrid App Development? 5 Pros and Cons

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In today’s rapidly growing app development world, where new technologies come in place so frequently we are always looking for better development standards, lesser development time and a greater user interface of applications. Most of the times, companies face a dilemma of whether to make an application with better user experience or applications that are faster to develop and run on multiple platforms. Thanks to Facebook that has come up with a unique framework for native mobile development called React Native.

This new framework provided by Facebook has really turned out to be a helping hand for faster development of native as well as hybrid Mobile Apps.

What is React Native?

React Native is an open-source backend framework that consists of base technologies like JavaScript or HTML5 and CSS. Developed by the community of great developers of Facebook and Instagram, this platform facilitates the development of a complete mobile app just as you would create in Java or Swift/Objective-C.

“Learn Once, Write Everywhere” is the development rule considered by the team of React Native developers.

React Native allows you to create indistinguishable UIs for both native platforms (Android and iOS). The code is shared across two different code bases, but for the layout (views, styles etc.) it uses respective native components. It uses JSX (JavaScript-XML) along with JavaScript to create native apps for Android and iOS. This is why this library is known as ReactJS. Let us understand whether this framework is the future of native mobile app development or not. Explore some advantages and disadvantages here:

Advantages of React Native

  • Live Preview with Hot Reload

    React possesses a feature of providing a live preview of apps called ‘Hot Reloading’, which allows the changes made in the code to immediately reflect into Android and iOS variants. This reduces the waiting time for the changes to show up, thus making it easy for developers to develop apps quickly. It is a major benefit as it boosts the developer’s productivity and results in shorter development time.

  • Improved Performance

    With the help of native controls and modules, React Native eventually speeds up the development process. Moreover, it directly interacts with the targeted components for Android or iOS and renders the code to native APIs independently,  which brings a lot of improvement in the performance.

  • Reliable and Stable Apps

    React Native has a capability to impact only the child data without making changes to the parent data. Thus, if a developer wants to change any object in the app, its state only needs to be changed and then the updates will be applied accordingly, meaning only allowed components will be upgraded. Great companies like Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb, Skype etc. are already using React Native for app development, which itself specifies how much reliable and stable it is.

  • Smaller Teams

    As a single developer can develop the application for both the platforms i.e. Android and iOS it requires fewer people and eventually leads to smaller team size.

    Unlike other frameworks which require two different developers or more teams for the development of a single application for iOS and Android, React Native doesn’t need two different teams. Only a JavaScript expert who can write codes for both the platforms is required. This lead to faster development, easy management, and smaller team size.

  • Growing Community


    React Native is an open source platform, which means it allows anyone to contribute. Its developer’s community also specifies that you can take the help of developers and their experience who are already contributing to the framework. This way, there are higher chances of getting the right kind of help from the community and experts.

Disadvantages of React Native

  • Requirement of Native Code

    React Native still requires writing a minimal amount of native code. This can be a challenge for developers who are specifically looking to avoid writing and maintaining native codes. If your app requires accessing hardware devices like a camera or any other onboard devices then you need to raise your budget a bit and hire a native developer if needed.

  • JavaScript-based library is less secure

    As mentioned earlier, React Native is a JavaScript-based library, and JavaScript is well known for its fragility. So, if you are developing an application which requires security like banking, personal finance, social media etc. you need to keep a close watch on the code snippets as that could easily harm your app’s core functionality. Moreover, adding a third party control add-ons to the application might be risky.

  • Complex Learning

    In comparison with the other cross-platform development frameworks, React framework might seem somewhat difficult if you’re very new to JavaScript. The JSX is a JavaScript syntax extension that allows mixing of HTML and JavaScript, which doesn’t come naturally to the new/average person and which can be frustrating for the beginners sometimes. All you need is “Patience and Passion”.

  • Limited components collection

    React Native’s ready-to-use components are the major factors for its preference for native app development. However, it is also limited in number. The collection of components, for now, is quite small and is expected to increase in the future. Hence, the tiny collection limits the developers to creating very basic and simple apps.

  • Less Smooth Navigation

    As tech giants are already using React Native in the production environment, it’s still in a beta phase. There are often breaking changes in tools and dependencies between versions. Right now, developers often stumble upon many weird issues with debugging tools, hot reloading failures or the compatibility of packages, which can slow down the development significantly.

Wrap-up

Before opting for this new technology, you need to consider the above-mentioned pros and cons so that you do not invest heavily in the full-fledged development stage. Right now the major advantages include faster development with small team size and the possibility of using the same codebase across multiple platforms. Still, it will be advantageous to be aware that the framework is at the stage of active development in terms of technology and is likely to become less unwieldy in the near future.

Overall, React Native holds a bright future in this emerging phase of app development technologies.

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