The react native mobile app market is more than ten years old, but it is still growing rapidly. The demand for mobile applications is constantly increasing, which noticeably exceeds the supply. This leads to a constant rise in the development cost.
Both developers and customers have been debating over which method is better for application development. This question is especially acute when it comes to creating a modern mobile app. World statistics show that two mobile operating systems steadily keep the leading positions. These are iOS and Android. They account for 98% of the global market share. And all modern apps are designed to be compatible with these two giants.
There are two types of mobile apps that affect the development process:
- Native apps — you need to build a separate product for each platform.
- Cross-platform apps — you create one solution for several platforms in one go.
Let’s study some more details of these approaches.
What is Native Development?
A native app is created for a specific environment and platform and is coded in languages designed for this platform. Both iOS and Android have their own SDKs (software development kit) and their own technology stack, tied to a certain programming language. For Android, these are Java and Kotlin, while iOS uses Swift and Objective-C.
Benefits of Native Apps
There are certain reasons for the popularity of native applications:
- performance speed
- optimized use of resources in the application
- full UI and UX
- better indexing of the application in the AppStore
- a large community of developers and a variety of libraries
There is one major drawback, however. Native products are very expensive to create and support as you need to develop a separate variant for each platform from scratch. There are no standard projects, native apps are developed individually for each customer. The price includes design, number of operating systems, use of technologies for writing code, the complexity of work, and other nuances. And it is just a development stage. Publishing, testing, and other services require additional funding. That is why these applications are often ordered by large companies that are ready for such investments.
Hybrid Apps with React Native
The cross-platform approach allows for reducing the overall app cost. Hybrid apps run on several operating systems but the same program code is used on all platforms. The app works well everywhere without incompatibility issues. It is a versatile approach that is widely used to save financial and technical resources. One of the most commonly used tools for such apps is React Native.
Hybrid applications combine the features of native and web apps. They can still be downloaded via application stores. These apps are able to independently update information via the Internet. React Native speeds up the whole process and makes it cheaper.
Benefits of React Native
The popularity of the framework is not by chance. There are weighty arguments in its favor:
- Simultaneous development for the two largest operating systems. There is no need to split development for each platform. The application will work using intermediate libraries. Therefore, the apps will run on both iOS and Android. Moreover, you can make updates for both platforms in one go.
- Cost reduction. Creating a program using native languages such as Java, Objective-C, and C# will take a long time. If you hire a specialist in all these languages, it will cost you a fortune. It can become a serious obstacle if you are planning to create an MVP. In this situation, React Native development is an ideal solution for a cheap prototype.
- Affordable technical support. The popularity of the framework simplifies its further servicing and updates. The number of experts with React Native qualifications is steadily growing. It makes application maintenance much cheaper. Eventually, you will be able to modify the app on your own if you have a relevant specialist in your team.
- Large community. Another reason explaining the huge popularity of React Native is its worldwide adoption. It has been used by giants such as Facebook, Instagram, Tesla, etc. There were around 20,000 RN specialists registered in 2020.
When to Use React Native?
This framework is a primary choice in many cases:
- When you have to realize a low-budget project. If your potential customers use both iOS and Android, a native app will be quite costly. For immediate maximum reach, a multi-platform option is the right choice.
- MVP development. You may have a brilliant business idea but you can never be 100% certain that it will have demand. In this case, a low-cost MVP will devoid you of risky investments. A product based on React Native will help you study the reaction of the audience without burdening costs.
- RN will be appropriate for apps that do not use complex animation and complicated calculations. These advanced features may require more powerful resources than this framework can offer currently.
- React Native will cope well with the apps that use the basic functions of the smartphone. Such apps will easily search for information, download files, use geolocation, place orders. For more advanced integration with the device, you will need native development.
- This framework is viable for apps designed for narrow audiences like an app for a certain company and its employees.
Both development approaches have their strong and weak sides. To understand which approach to choose, evaluate the complexity and uniqueness of your application. For projects with advanced functionality, it is advisable to choose native development. Simple projects are more profitable to build using a cross-platform approach.
For startups testing their idea via MVP, it is recommended to opt for the React Native variant. The number of users logging in from a smartphone significantly exceeds those who use a PC nowadays. So React Native mobile apps will become a powerful solution for any business.