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React Native

React Native – a handy framework for mobile apps

React Native is an open-source JavaScript framework for developing user interfaces and complete mobile apps. One of the reasons behind its popularity is its multiplatform design capabilities. That’s why one of the slogans behind React Native is “Learn once, write anywhere”. This versatile framework is gaining momentum and popularity among web and mobile developers.


What exactly is React Native?

React Native framework allows building applications on multiple platforms utilising the same code. It was introduced by the Facebook engineering team in 2015. It bases on React and brings its best features to developing mobile apps. React Native uses JavaScript to compile the user interface. However, it uses the native system views.

Moreover, it supports native code development in the language native to the specific operating system of iOS and Android. iOS developers primarily use Swift and Objective-C, while the most popular choices for Android apps are Java and Kotlin.


How does React Native development work?

React Native enables app development for iOS and Android devices, utilizing their respective means to handle JavaScript code execution. On iOS, a built-in JavaScript engine called JavaScriptCore, written in C++, efficiently compiles and runs the JavaScript code. Meanwhile, Android devices lack a built-in solution similar to iOS’ JavaScriptCore. However, developers can integrate JavaScriptCore into the Native framework on Android to enable JavaScript code execution through the same bridge mechanism used on iOS.

To achieve this, React Native employs a bridge that acts as a runtime communication layer. This bridge facilitates seamless interaction between the JavaScript code and native platform components. The JavaScript code runs within a JavaScript engine embedded within the app, and through the bridge, it gains access to the native functionalities, APIs, and UI components of each platform.

During the build process, the code written in Java/Kotlin (for Android) or Objective-C (for iOS) is compiled into native bytecode for the respective platform. For Android, Java code is compiled into Dalvik bytecode (for older devices) or ART bytecode (for newer devices). On the iOS side, Objective-C is compiled into native machine code. The JavaScript code undergoes bundling using the Metro bundler, an optimization tool tailored for React Native projects. This bundling process ensures the JavaScript code is efficiently prepared for execution within the JavaScript engine on each platform.

React vs React Native

React technologies have many faces. Developers are familiar with ReactJS, React and React Native. Since there are so many of them, it might need to be clarified which one is which. Let’s make a short breakdown of all of them.

React and ReactJS

There is no difference between React and ReactJS. Adding JS at the end of the names of some libraries or frameworks just highlights that they work with JavaScript. ReactJS is exactly this indication, and the library’s full name is now commonly shortened to just React.

See how React can enhance your web development

Learn about React

Differences between React and React Native

The critical difference between React and React Native is that the first one is used for creating interfaces in web development (those apps that run on a web browser). The latter is applied to building native apps in a cross-platform setting, helping create platform-specific versions for Android and iOS.

Moreover, React uses DOM to render browser code, while React Native uses Native API to generate components for mobile native development. It can wrap existing native code and interact with native APIs via React’s declarative UI paradigm and JavaScript language.

React is an open-source JavaScript library for developing single-page web applications. React Native is a JS framework with a single code base for developing single- or cross-platform apps.


How does React Native development work?

The idea behind the React Native framework is to combine the two pieces: JavaScript and native code (Java/Kotlin for Android and Objective-C/Swift for iOS) to make them work together. The native components are executed directly on the device, while the JavaScript part of the code would need a virtual machine for the execution.

See how to develop apps in Kotlin.

Check out Kotlin

iOS and Android devices have their means to aid with React Native app development. iOS has a built-in JavaScript engine called JavaScriptCore, written in C++, to compile and run the JavaScript code. Android devices don’t have a built-in solution akin to iOS. However, JavaScriptCore can be brought along with the Native framework.

During build time, the code written in Java or Objective-C is compiled into Java and C++ binary files, and the JS code will be bundled using the Metro bundler, optimised for React Native.


What are the essential features of mobile app development with React Native?

This widely adopted framework allows for building apps that are not only of high quality but also include more complex features and building user interfaces. React Native comes with a range of handy features that include:

Write once use anywhere

One of the most notable features of React Native, as mentioned earlier, is cross-platform development solutions. Code written once can be applied on multiple platforms and operating systems, including Android, iOS or Windows. It means no need to build two separate native apps for different mediums.

Focus on UI

User experience and UI design are significant concerns in the mobile development process. React Native lets build mobile apps with a high focus on the user interface. High responsiveness and impressive rendering capabilities for creating the app’s interface make the React Native community fond of it.


Easy to learn for those who know JavaScript

JavaScript is considered one of the primary programming languages. For those native mobile developers who already know it, learning React Native will be significantly easier, greatly lowering its learning curve. And since beginner and advanced programmers eagerly add JS to their stack, learning this framework won’t be too much effort. Using the native components also helps in mastering it.

A strong community that has already tried and tested it thoroughly

React native developer community has grown exponentially since its release. It quickly became a favourite to develop mobile applications. A large and dedicated community of software developers building software in React Native means that every question or doubt raised about the app’s performance or the framework will be addressed and answered, and it may result in faster development.

See how we applied React Native to our client’s project.

View the case study

Why should you consider developing a React Native mobile app?

Putting it all together, using React Native platform can be a good choice for multiple reasons. It can be learnt quickly under the right circumstances. It uses native elements of the mobile application device language in both iOS and Android development.

This mobile framework also puts the right amount of focus on the UI design, which React Native developers highly value. Its cross-platform capabilities also eliminate choosing between developing an iOS app or an Android one, as both can be built using one code.


Start building your React Native apps with our developers

Suppose you feel convinced and want to start building your cross-platform applications. In that case, we can make an experienced React Native team that can create native applications tailored to your needs and goals (whether it’s an ads manager app or something more complex, we know how to do it).

Feel free to contact us and share the details; we will do the hard part.