React Native: Pros and Cons Unlocked

This article will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of using React Native for mobile development.

React Native is one of the most popular JavaScript frameworks in the world today. It is famous for its usefulness for creating native apps on Android and iOS platforms. React Native finds its roots in React; it’s a JavaScript Library that Facebook created for designing mobile apps interface.   React Native can be combined with JavaScript to build apps with similar features as the native ones. Because React Native codes are shareable, an excellent platform for developing cross-platform apps. 

React Native apps leverages a combination of technologies such as JavaScript, JSX, XML-like markup, and many others. The React Native bridge handles API rendering in Swift and Java for creating iOS and Android apps, respectively.

This framework’s app rendering uses mobile UI rather than WebView. It gives the developer an interface for interacting with the app platform’s APIs.  That is why React Native can integrate native features such as accessing device GPS and camera. Presently, it creates native apps for Android and iOS platforms and may feature support for additional app platforms. Code reusability saves developers lots of development hours. Many users facing apps on Coinbase and Facebook are made with React Native. 

Let’s take a look at the pro and cons of React Native.

Top Ten Pros of React Native

Here are the top ten advantages of React Native as a Mobile app development platform.

  • 1. Cost-Efficient Development.

React Native gives developers an inexpensive avenue for creating cross-platform apps with React Native.  Rather than build two different apps for Android and iOS, the developer can deploy the same code for both platforms. This means cutting the development costs by about 50%. This feature also makes React Native apps cheaper to maintain.

  • 2. Faster Delivery of App Projects

React Native’s ability to expedite app development is one of the platform’s most attractive features.  Developers take advantage of various readymade components to create app functions faster than ever.  React Native is less code-intensive compared to other development platforms.  Therefore, it takes lesser efforts to get React Native apps up and running. 

  • 3. Leverages JavaScript

According to the Statista website, JavaScript is the most widely used programming language in the world. According to a study by Statista, 68% of developers write JavaScript. This makes it easy for JavaScript developers to use React Native since the framework is written in JavaScript.

  • 4. Requires Smaller Teams

While React Native development might still require input from core iOS and Android developers. The bulk of the development assignment is on JavaScript.

A typical app development project needs Android and iOS development teams. Such an arrangement can lead to miscommunications and inconsistencies. In some cases, the app’s look and functions would not be the same across both platforms. However, using React Native provides the advantage of building Android and IOS apps with a single team. It would be beneficial to have an experienced native developer among the team members. Two different development teams are no longer required.

  • 5. Open-Source Advantage

Given the fact that React Native is an MIT licensed opensource platform, it gives developers access to use libraries and frameworks free of charge.  It imposes a few restrictions on the software reusability but also provides legal protection for developers as well. 

  • 6. Hot Reloading Feature

The hot reloading feature is one of the most useful and attractive to developers. It allows the developer to implement changes in a code and see the effect on the app in realtime. Therefore, it makes it possible to update an app that is already live.  All that is required is to edit the source code, and the update goes live after saving the file.  Therefore, developers can create updates without a single downtime. 

  • 7. Active Developer Community

The Statista website shows that React Native is the most popular cross-platform app development framework today with 42% market share and 90k  Github starts. It’s not surprising because if provides immense value for mobile app developers. 

  • 8. Excellent App Performance

Native apps indeed have the best overall performance, but React Native apps also show impressive performance comparable to native apps. Thanks to native mobiles and controls in React Native apps that leverage native OS components to create codes for the native API without hassles. 

  • 9. Native-Like Appearance

More often than not, users find it hard to differentiate native from React Native apps. This is because React Native UIs have a similar appearance to those from native apps. Thanks to the power of JavaScript that interacts seamlessly with the native environment. 

  • 10. The Modular Design

React Native leverages modular programming technology to offer functions in the form of free blocks called modules. This approach provides a flexible app development environment and also enhances collaboration among developers.  It allows the easy creation and integration of app updates through the easy-to-use modules, which are reusable for both web and mobile APIs. 

The Top Cons of React Native 

The Following are the demerits of React Native.

  • 1. Debugging and compatibility challenges

Despite all the excellent features, React Native is still in the Beta version! That is why it still has some apparent issues, such as the complexity of debugging apps, among other limitations, including compatibility issues.  Bear in mind that working with React native might become painful when the need for debugging arises. 

  • 2. You still need Native Developers

Although JavaScript expertise can take you far in React Native development, you still need the service of native developers to implement certain app functions. So, if you need to implement some unique features, the average JavaScript developer won’t be able to pull it through. 

While developers can take advantage of libraries to perform many functions, they won’t help much when faced with native issues. Bear in mind that you would need the help of native developers in some app projects. 

  • 3. Depends on Facebook

The fact that React Native was developed by Facebook is impressive, and one of the platform’s shortcomings. Suppose Facebook stops providing backup for the platform it would crumble like a pack of cards. However, many other platforms offer similar functions as React Native.

  • 4. Memory Management is not outstanding

React Native creates apps with excellent features. However, React Native might not be the best platform for creating apps that manage the hardware resources efficiently.

Since the memory management of react native is not the best around, it would not be a preferred platform for creating great performance apps. When you need to create an app that makes intensive computation, you are better off looking for an alternative development platform.

  • 5. Issues With License and Patent

Issues with licensing and parents are another significant shortfall with React Native. In 2017, Facebook updated the licensing policies for its opensource projects. It states a user’s access can be blocked on Facebook if a product created with the opensource projects for a patent issue. 

  • 6. Slow Adoption of Latest Functions

The innovation in mobile technology is hot; almost every new model introduces novel functions that need new software updates to use them efficiently. While React Native has a track record of providing support for new hardware features, it often comes late. At other times, native support is required to use such features. 

  • 7. JavaScript Security Challenges

JavaScript is well known for its lagging security. That is why JavaScript is not used for creating apps that must have excellent security. Notwithstanding, React Native uses JavaScript for core development tasks.  In light of this, React Native should be used to develop projects where security is not paramount. Alternatively, native support should be applied to secure vital data, such as payment information.

  • 8. Performance Vs. Features Issues

React Native is great for creating simple apps with attractive visuals.  However, it becomes challenging to achieve excellent performance when you need to add complex features.  So, you may have to settle for one of the two.

  • 9. Knotty Device-Related Issues.

Since the React Native codes are not natively generated, it can become complicated to resolve device-specific challenges. Such issues lead to complicated challenges without a feasible way of resolving them. 

  • 10. Third-Party Development Components.

The components required to create some kinds of apps are missing in React Native. So, you must use third party resources to add these components to your app. While using third-party components is acceptable, you can get stuck along the line. At such times, you would have to find a way to resolve the issue yourself. That is why it’s tricky to use a third-party component in app development projects.

A Final Note

React Native is the most popular cross-platform development framework with 42% market share.  

Its benefits include native-like performance, lot reloading, community support, and lots more.  Some of the framework’s shortfalls are poor memory management, the need for native developers, and inherent JavaScript security challenges. 

FAQ

What is React Native?

React Native is a JavaScript mobile app development framework used for creating mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms. Such apps have native-like performance.  React Native codes can be sharable across different platforms. In essence, a single code can be deployed for an Android and iOS app.

What are the Pros of React Native?

– Native-like performance.
– Cost-efficient ad time-saving development framework
– Free, opensource, framework and support from an active community.

Are there any Cons to React Native?

– Issues with memory management
– JavaScript-related security challenges
– Need for a native developer


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