React Native

React Native is progressive form of React (a JavaScript code library, was released on Github in 2013) developed by Facebook and Instagram. Native application means apps for specific platform. The focus of React Native is to enhance developer (engineer) efficiency across all platforms. It offers reusing code across different platforms. It is not aiming to be a cross platform, write-once run-anywhere, tool. It is aiming to be learn-once write-anywhere. If you learn the concepts which covers iOS can put that knowledge into creating an Android app very fast.

One of the best parts about this approach is that it can be adopted incrementally, building new products based on it or converting old ones by using it whenever and wherever it makes sense. It is widely accepted that native tools are needed today to create best UX (user experience). These tools make faster and neater apps that respond in correct way as users expect from them on each platform. But negative aspect is that learning those tools is time consuming and hectic task to do. An app needs to be developed twice or more to run on different desired platforms. In fact, it is cost driven and painful; leads towards performance and compatibility issues. React Native is new tool that offers very popular entry level language that can run on all mobile platforms.

Facebook has open sourced the React Native, we can put the code and idea into our tools and development platforms. In coming years, it is expected to have more responsive apps. High quality app development will be cheaper; developers will be more productive and creative. App industry is suffering pains (double work on iOS and Android) since the invention of smart-phones. Different platforms have different looks and feels; we should still develop discrete apps for each platform. Whatever the platform is, same set of engineers should be able to develop app for different platforms; without learning technologies from scratch. But thanks to React Native which offers this with better tools and source code reusing.

Will it be the framework that finally replaces native mobile app development?

No, don’t be silly!

Whether or not React Native is right for you very much depends on who you are and what you are trying to build. The same could be said for any other mobile framework.

Colin E | 26th Mar 2015