Design, development, deployment and product enhancement as per the changing user needs and ever changing tech dynamics are three major phases of any application development lifecycle. What maybe a trend today might not be trending the next morning. The technology stack that you chose for your mobile application must be able to keep up with latest trends. In this article we shall throw some light on – “Why React Native should be the technology powering your mobile applications?”, in other words “Why small and medium enterprises considering digital transformation must consider react-native for cross platform mobile application development?”

The technology stack that you chose for your mobile application must be able to keep up with latest trends.

Article Map

  1. What is Digital Transformation? Is it for me? What if I ignore?
  2. What is a Native app? What is Hybrid Mobile Application? Which are the most popular Hybrid app development frameworks?
  3. Are React-native applications Hybrid apps? How it differs from WebView UI based apps? Why businesses must migrate to React-native from Ionic or phonegap?
  4. Why React-Native for Android and iOS app development? Benefits & Pitfalls.
  5. Who are using react-native for mobile application development? Which are the popular apps using react-native?
  6. Next Steps to take your app to market.

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What is digital Transformation?

Though the term digital transformation is not new, in-fact its attaining maturity, but still a lot of business people are not so aware about it and the first question that arises in their mind is “what is digital transformation?”. American businessman “Marcus Lemonis” in his famous show “The Profit” more than often can be heard saying that in business three things matter “people, product and process”. Digital Transformation, as the name goes is disrupting these very things by integrating and leveraging multiple technologies and the opportunities that these technologies unfurl. You would already be aware how IoT, Blockchain, Cloud, Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning (AI & ML) are changing the way our world works right now. Integrating these receptive technologies into your organization makes your business more efficient and effective.

You may want to read some interesting insights about these fiery and revolutionary technologies on our blog : Codewave Insights.

Digital Transformation changes business processes, how people operate, how value is delivered to the end customers and enhances the overall customer experience itself.

The next question that arises is “okay, fine. I know what is digital transformation but I have a small company or medium size business and everything is working fine for me. Why should I care about digital transformation? Well everything was working fine for offline retailers then came Amazon, Ebay, Flipkart and what happened next? Everything was working fine for agencies that provided commuting services then came Uber, Lyft, Ola and what happened next? From telecom to energy sector and grocery to jewellery sector there are number of examples to emphasize why SMEs and businesses of all sizes must consider digital transformation to stay competitive and relevant in this ever competitive and ever changing business world.

Our intention is not to make you feel worried but to keep you abreast with the changing business environment and to convince you to reconsider your business models, rethink your processes, to act and thrive. Act reminds me of react-native, the focus of this article!

The first step towards digital transformation is going online it can be done by having a website, a mobile application or both if needed. It depends on “where are your customers?”. We talk about best technologies for web application development in our “MEAN stack” article. Here we advocate react-native for Android and iOS application development. Wondering why we advocate react-native over others? Keep Reading.

React-Native framework for cross-platform Mobile Application Development

There is an abundance of options when you have to choose technology stack for your next big idea or for revamping your existing product. We have hybrid app development technologies like React Native, Ionic, Flutter, Nativescript, xamarin and apache cordova using which we can develop mobile applications for both android and iOS i.e., single JavaScript codebase for both platforms. Business owners and executives might be pondering “Should we go for hybrid app development? If we do, how is it going to benefit our business?” or “which technology should we chose? react native? flutter? cordova?”. No need to worry, we’ve got you covered! You’ll get answers to the following questions in this section :

  1. What is a Hybrid mobile application? How hybrid apps differ from native apps?
  2. What are the benefits of hybrid apps over Native apps? Pitfalls of using hybrid apps?
  3. Which are the most popular hybrid app development technologies?

Hybrid Mobile Applications :

Web applications are platform independent and are built using web technologies like html, css, JS, python, php and related frameworks. Native applications are platform specific softwares and are developed in native languages like Objective C or Swift for iOS apps, .net for windows apps and Java for Android apps. Native apps exploits all the features of a device’s operating System as well as its hardware elements like camera, GPS, accelerometer etc.

Hybrid apps, as the name goes, takes advantage of both the worlds. It makes use of web application technologies plus features of OS on which the smartphone is running as well as it’s hardware like bluetooth and sensors, not exactly like native apps but very close to it.

Before the react-native era, hybrid mobile applications were basically web applications that used to run in native browser of the smartphone like UIWebView in iOS and WebView in Android. But React-native apps are not Web apps (like ionic and phonegap apps).

Like native apps, hybrid apps too can be downloaded form playstore or appstore. There are plenty of benefits of going with hybrid development in comparison with native app development. Here we list 5 benefits of hybrid app development –

  1. Application Development Cycle is way more faster!
  2. (shorter) Time to Market.
  3. Easy maintenance, bug fixing and updating etc.
  4. Reusable code. Code for one platform and Use everywhere.
  5. Cost benefits. Same set of developers can take care for iOS as well as Android.

There are some pitfalls too! For simple hybrid apps there aren’t any significant tradeoffs  but for very complex apps that makes use of high-end graphics and other stuffs, we may have to compromise a little with performance. If it seems reasonable to tradeoff a bit of performance for the benefits that comes with hybrid technologies then we suggest you to consider building hybrid mobile apps else if your mobile app is performance critical then you must go native.

Most popular Hybrid app development Tecnologies –

  • React-Native (Facebook)
  • Ionic (Drifty co.)
  • PhoneGap (Adobe Systems, open source version is Apache Cordova)
  • Xamarin (Microsoft corporation)
  • Framework 7 (Vladimir Kharlampidi)
  • Appcelerator Titanium (Appcelerator Inc.)
  • NativeScript (Progress Software corporation)
  • Flutter (Google)

So many stars in the sky!! We’re only covering the brightest one in this article i.e., “React-Native”, so we shall compare it with the rest to help you make an informed decision on choosing or not choosing “react-native for your big idea”. By the way, React-Native is the most popular framework for making hybrid apps. It has been developed and maintained by a company whose apps are the most downloaded ones on smartphones i.e., Facebook (messenger, whatsapp and Instagram). Basically, you can plant your trust in react-native.

Why You Should Chose React Native for your mobile application development? Benefits.

USER EXPERIENCE

Often people ask us “aren’t React Native apps just like other hybrid apps based on WebView UI?” No, it’s not. This is what the documentation(Facebook.github.io/react-native) says, “A React Native app is a real mobile app. The apps you are building with React Native aren’t mobile web apps because React Native uses the same fundamental UI building blocks as regular iOS and Android apps.” React native uses native widgets and thus scroll accelerations, keyboard behavior and animations etc. works flawlessly.  

Having answered that, it must be obvious that UX of react native apps are no different than purely native apps and thus we have the first reason to recommend react-native for your app development over phonegap or ionic where we might have to compromise on UX.

PERFORMANCE & EFFICIENCY

Performance wise react-native mobile applications are way better than webView based hybrid apps but still not as good as native apps. In terms of CPU, GPU and memory usage react-native apps performance is native like for not so complex apps but as the app grows complex react-native may lag a little when compared to native apps written in Java for android or swift for iOS.

SHORTER TIME TO MARKET & CODE REUSABILITY

Our experienced React-Native mobile app developers say one of the many features of react-native that makes their life easier is code reusability. In most cases 30% – 60% of react-native code/components are reusable. This means less time to develop the product, shorter time to market and faster release cycle. Also, all this indirectly saves money and makes best use of all available resources.

COMMUNITY

React-Native boasts a much bigger community and support compared to phonegap, xamarin, Nativescript or Ionic. There are 27k watchers on stackoverflow for react-native while for other frameworks competing with react numbers are not that good. A bigger community means stronger support. It makes life easier for developers as some other developer might already have faced the problems that arise during app development and most probably would have found the solution and made it available for the brotherhood. Of-course, facebook too takes care of any identified bug.

SCALABILITY OF REACT-NATIVE APPS

Scalability of React-Native apps should not even be in question as we have some apps which are built with react-native and they are top apps on playstore & appstore in their respective niches. Eg. Instagram, Bloomberg, Myntra, Airbnb, UberEats. Also, Tesla, Wix, Skype, Walmart, Baidu mobile are some of the apps using react-native.

ARCHITECTURE, LIBRARIES & THIRD-PARTY INTEGRATION

Compared to xamarin, flutter, NativeScript or Flutter (which is new in the market) there are a lot more third party libraries and support available for React Native. Also, react native supports popular development architectures MVP, MVC, MVVM and REDUX. Integrating react-native app with third party applications is very easy and there are plenty of plugins available to use.

MAINTENANCE & HOT-RELOADING

Maintaining a react native app is like slicing a cake. Developers often feel frustrated if they have to wait for another life to rebuild their code but “hot reloading” functionality of react-native framework makes it much easier for developers to see the changes instantly.

So, when should you chose react-native for your mobile app development?

  • If you are making app for both Android and iOS and want consistent User Experience across both platforms.
  • If you want your app to be quickly deployed and make it available to your users at the earliest while not compromising on quality and user experience
  • If you want great UI and native like feel.
  • If you want truly scalable app that could handle explosive business growth.

And, when not to use react-native for mobile app development?

  • If you’re building app for just a single platform (iOS/Android) and have no future plans to be on other platform.
  • If your app is way too complex and makes excessive use of high-end graphics, Augmented Reality etc.

Stay connected to Codewave for more such insights and feel free to reach us at hello@codewave.in or +91 8971824910. If comfortable you may drop by at 1st Floor, Shree Chambers, #307, Outer Ring Rd, Banashankari 3rd Stage, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560085. Thanks for taking out time to read this article. We hope it enriched your existing knowledge. Do let us know your views, by sending an email to hello@codewave.in.

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