Vilmate Blog

What to choose:
React Native or Native App Development?

Native Mobile App DevelopmentReact NativeTechnologies

There is no perfect universal programming language. Some solutions simply comply with particular tasks better than the others. Let’s not be pessimistic about any of the alternatives and single out the key advantages of a more traditional native approach and relatively new React Native technology.

React Native: 5 Advantages of A 5-Star Technology

While just like any other technology React Native is not immune to shortcomings, the bunch of formidable advantages it boasts eclipses any flipside to it, making this solution a premier choice for developing a mobile app. Actually, it’s not so much the relatively minor flipside (cross-platform reusability leaves much to be desired, calculation-intensive tasks give JavaScript a hard time and some other loose ends mar a bit the otherwise nearly perfect picture), as the true value of React Native’s potential you’ll be sure to appreciate once you’ve come to grips with it. So, what are React Native’s undisputable advantages your development team can benefit from?

1. Native ‘feel’ of an app

Advantages of React Native are aplenty. Having open-sourced this framework once, Facebook became a game changer for the whole mobile app development industry. The fact that it has, later on, become the technology of choice for such behemoths as Skype, Instagram, and until recently Airbnb speaks for itself. Yet, most notably, mobile applications are developed to be used by people and must be user-friendly. With React Native, you will scarcely need to sacrifice the look and feel. This truly ‘native’ look-and-feel of the application is particularly created by following the principle of consistency. Through the use of the native components, React Native allows for equally full-fledged apps for both OSs. Writing reusable code for a consistent UI look also becomes possible with React Native, though some parts will still have to be adjusted.

2. Quick ramp-up

Not for everyone, though. If you are no stranger to React syntax and people say you are proficient in JavaScript, then you have every chance to do well. When diving into React Native being knowledgeable in these two technologies, you will not only easily survive, but also soon find yourself on your home ground, meaning that proficiency in JS is a threshold for a developer to shift to creating mobile apps for both iOS and Android with the same codebase. Sounds great? Absolutely!

react app development

3. The status “solved”

To manage the state of a new application that is constantly growing in complexity efficiently, you may consider adding Redux or MobX to it. With such solutions, the status management is by no means a problem. Well-supported, they both can make it easier to control the state between lower- and higher-order components. However, components of React Native itself are side-effect-free, and they are also able to reflect the actual view for any point in time. And that’s a lot less hassle for your team. Would you agree?

4. It is cross-platform, alright

Overall, React Native does have the cross-platform ability. You can write code in Java, Objective-C, Swift, or Kotlin and still be able to use it in your app. The downside is you will have to maintain several separate code bases for each of the features written in React Native in order to ensure the app's cross-platform operability. This, in turn, often results in some of the features being present in some of the versions and missing in others. Yet, whatever the cross-platform limitations there are, they can be partially dealt with using shared code (up to 70%) and cross-platform handling tools.

5. You can save a bundle by opting for React Native

And that’s no exaggeration. Identification and production of the accurately estimated costs is crucial to the project management success. Nonetheless, it is not guesswork, but an undertaking that requires sound reasoning. Despite the fact that making estimates of the exact project effort is still hard, one can say with confidence that if you have some Web development–savvy folks on your team, it is quite possible for you to save up to 25% of your project budget by using React Native.

Native Mobile App Development: 5 Reasons to Do It

However, native app development also has some advantages. The requirement to use a particular coding language is not a binding obligation that complicates things. Instead, though not being the best solution per se, native application development can easily compete with React Native, and here is why:

1. Better performance of an app

Development and deployment of native mobile apps for either iOS or Android imply a single codebase (Java for Android; Objective-C or Swift for iOS). An average user will most probably not be able to tell the difference between native user interface components and their simulated equivalents. No doubt, smooth UI design is more than doable when using React Native for cross-platform application development. However, native app development is second to none when it comes to the performance of certain types of native iOS or Android apps with rich custom UI and complex animations.

2. API access

To be specific, it is application programming interfaces (APIs) that make applications look and feel native. These APIs give access to the tools and frameworks created for a specific platform. Being a part of the platform SDK, they provide the hardware-software integration, sharing media data with no network connection and such. Thus, the methods of linking applications to the needed features via available programming interfaces are optimal.

native app development

3. Third-party vendors’ mercy

The distributor of a native mobile app is the company that has developed a mobile operating system — Google for Android and Apple for iOS. In such a way, merciful vendors not only help manage upgrades and bug fixes but also guarantee security yet before and then after the app distribution.

4. Strictness is not that bad

At first, the necessity to build two different applications for iOS and Android using their own proprietary languages may seem to be an obvious downside. In fact, it is not so. Once you start digging deeper, you are to discover the real value of the native app development. Though the strictness of the languages used levels out the possibility of the infinite data structures and lazy evaluation as such; it provides an understandable code and an easier debug process, while this imperativeness helps avoid unexpected and unwanted effects.

5. Documentation availability

What hybrid solutions really lack is very good and thorough documentation. If you have no experience in setting up and testing React Native apps, you stand little chance of succeeding without frustration. On the other hand, when working on the native projects, you can be sure that, with every new version, you receive updated documentation thus keeping up with all the changes.

Approach for Businesses

To wrap it up, we should say what the discussed approaches mean for businesses. In a competitive environment, many companies, focusing on the revenue generating activities, opt for mobile applications as targeted advertising channels.

Consequently, even if the application remains the same, for a better efficiency, it must be supported both on iOS and Android devices. The two options to do so, whose upsides we’ve highlighted before, may not equally well suit your business needs. When the cost efficiency is the priority, React Native is the best way to achieve it.

Nevertheless, it is only one criterion to be matched when choosing the route. Simplicity, team proficiency, time limits and the project scope are also on the list. Consider all the nuances before connecting the dots and choose your technologies wisely!

react native vs native app development

© 2018, Vilmate LLC

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