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mobile apps Authors: Rostyslav Demush, Ravi Jasti, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Dmitriy Kolenov

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Five Tips for Developing a Mobile App with ReactJS | @CloudExpo #Java #Cloud #Mobile

ReactJS for Developing Mobile Apps?

ReactJS is a well-known open-source JavaScript library which has shown considerable growth and immense popularity in the recent years. It was connected with quite a great number of events in IT industry, and this is a clear evidence of its wide recognition by the majority of specialists. React was released by Facebook, and the giants like that never leave hold of their successful pet projects. They early twigged on to React's highly promising nature, and hit the mark - this great tool for building web products is gaining a tremendous pace of winning people's hearts and minds. On top of that, a year ago Facebook released React Native, and numerous advantages of ReactJS were brought to mobile.

They've already felt the difference
Many large, well-respected and well-known companies have enjoyed the numerous benefits of this technology. For instance, lots of elements of Facebook and Instagram systems are React-based. WhatsApp, Airbnb and Feedly has acquired the taste of using its components, while Facebook Groups, Discovery VR, Myntra Discord MoneyLion are built on React Native. An interesting fact - Facebook developers claimed they needed only 5 months to build this application. The adjustment of the same application to Android platforms took only three months! This became possible solely due to the fact that 87% of already written code was reused, claimed Andrew, JS developer at Erminesoft. Actually, the slogan "Learn once, write anywhere" allows to make a mobile app with React Native in record-breaking time. All of the above-mentioned companies has felt the advantages of developing a mobile app with ReactJS.

Why React Native is different
React Native is a kind of a bridge that connects JavaScript and native programming language (Java for Android and Objective-c or Swift for iOS), which allows sending information from JavaScript into native language, and vice versa. Traditionally, developing native applications is a very money-consuming process, since initially they are tuned and adjusted for one platform to work perfectly. When creating an app for iOS and Android in parallel, cross-platform approaches are required, like Cordova or PhoneGap. It allows to cut development costs, but, unfortunately, in the end such apps have a significant amount of downsides, like non-native UI elements, worse performance and necessity to rely upon third-party packages. React Native allows sharing code between platforms. As contrasted with hybrid applications, the ones written in React Native are really native. It managed to take the best features from native and cross-platform development.

Five React Native development tips for tough cookies in mobile development:

  • Forget about tags and HTML. React is deprived of it, unlike front-end work, habitual to many developers. Native components themselves are embedded into React. Using it, you create a bridge, by means of which you connect it with the library.
  • If initially you understand that besides mobile, the application would be created for a web project, it is reasonable to create a mobile application using React Native, and only after that, you may ask your development team to concentrate on web applications, not vice versa. It is recommended since in Native you create a style at once, and when you switch to the web, you don't change anything. Firstly, it is convenient for developers, and secondly - it allows saving time, and, consequently, lowering the cost of the solution.
  • In order to build a mobile app with React Native, one should be familiar with such tools like Flux or Redux, since their synergy with React is outstanding. Their module character allows building app's architecture very effectively.
  • Do not be afraid to use groundbreaking technologies. React Native is an emerging technology, and though it is very promising, community is not reacting (what an eggcorn!) swiftly enough to the possibilities it provides.
  • Good command of Flexbox - a web layout model, used as a new means of placing blocks on the page. It is important to know onions in it, since website coding in browser differs from the one in React Native. Though it is not supported by all browsers, it is essential for writing native apps. Fortunately, it is easy to master it.

On the average, the price of a native application created on React Native would be lower than of the native one created for a specific platform, which is an undeniable advantage for startup owners. However, each specific solution should be assessed individually.

Advantages of using React Native for mobile applications development

  • Stronger developer experience, which is offered by React Native, comparing to standard iOS and Android app building. Since the application is based on JavaScript, programmers get lots of privileges of web development, for example, they can instantly "refresh" the application to see the changes of the code without the need to wait for rebuilding of traditional mobile app. Besides, React Native offers smart error reporting and debugging tools, which make the overall development process easier.
  • Easy switching between platforms. 87% of once written code for iOS application may be reused for the creation of Android one. Such efficient code reusing makes programming with React Native very attractive. Thus, you need to have one JavaScript codebase to bake iOS and Android apps, without sacrificing quality or performance.

Nothing is perfect, and React Native has some drawbacks. Yes, it's still a new project, and some features are constantly changing, some of them are missing, and the best practices are in the process of mastering and discovery. However, its advantages outweigh these headaches. With it, one may create business applications of any kind, you name it.

More Stories By Max Hornostaiev

Max Hornostaiev is CTO of Erminesoft, an app development company.