24.09.2018

Top 5 React Native Advantages Over Native App Development

Article by
Konrad Budek, Copywriter
7 min read

As building the mobile app is currently more a necessity than the opportunity, companies are looking for smart ways to leverage existing technologies in choosing the app. That’s why the popularity of React Native development is rising.

From this article you will know:

  1. What is React Native and how it compares with native apps.
  2. What are the key benefits of React Native development.
  3. Why using it is the agile way of doing business.
  4. How to save on app development smartly.

Mobile apps development became one of the major concerns of modern marketing and sales specialists. According to The Appannie data, USA users have spent two hours and 15 minutes every day using the mobile app. That cumulates to over one month out of a year. In Brazil, South Korea and Mexico users spent even 3 hours a day interacting with apps on their smartphones. In fact, it is not really surprising that 77% of people prefer to use a smartphone over a computer.

The top of mind interpretation of spending most of the time using the most popular social media apps like Facebook or WhatsApp may be misleading. The report states that over 80% of the mobile time is spent in the apps that are not the top ones in the country.

According to Google data, the average user has 35 apps installed on a smartphone. What’s more 58% of users declare that they use a smartphone for shopping-related activities and 66% do that at least weekly.

That’s why companies invest in building their presence on mobile both by building apps and delivering more sophisticated web services.

Truly native development vs. React Native development

The most intuitive way to build the app is to develop it using the native technology. Be that Java and Kotlin on Android or Swift and Objective-C for iOS. With two dominating operating systems and hardware diversity, it’s no surprise, which developers and are looking for ways to simplify presence on both platforms and various devices without the need to develop two parallel apps.

The React Native framework is the answer to this challenge. It enables developers to use JavaScript to build apps that work on both platforms. Unlike previous approaches that were based on delivering the simplified browser to show the user the mobile page, React Native is a real app and user is unable to distinguish if it is a React Native or a native app. What’s more, the framework is flexible enough to incorporate the native code into the app and integrate it smoothly. If there is some challenge to solve with the native code, be that integration with unsupported or exotic API or leverage the device-specific function, using JavaScipt and React Native development is not an obstacle.

The technology was designed by Facebook engineers and is used by world giants, including Instagram, Bloomberg, and Discord. They had at least 5 good reasons to choose the React Native over the native app.

1. Faster development

Faster deployment and delivery is the obvious advantage when it comes to building one app instead of two. However, it is not the only factor that makes development faster. Using the JavaScript makes app development more like web development, with more iterations and flexibility.

What’s more, React makes the code used for website building reusable. As the developer states, up to 90% of code may be taken from web apps and used again in React Native environment.

Last but not least when it comes to speed of development, the team may be smaller and consisted of people sharing the web-oriented mindset. Sharing the competences and the processes with the web developers is another time saver not to overlook.

The faster development also means faster time-to-market. With an app, the company is ready to build up the competitive advantage and acquire new users.

In this context, a great feature is Hot Reloading – instead of making a new build, the engineers can rewrite the app “on the go” and reload it instantly, in the same manner, it is done with the website.

2. Real cross-platform development and experience

There is a great illusion in building “one” app for two systems native. It is going to be building two apps, that need to work in the same way, share resources, functions, and databases. Moreover, considering the crucial differences between the platforms, it is a challenge itself. In fact building, even a simple button in the app requires to use two different functions within the code.

React Native allows developers to build only one app and share it between the platforms, effectively sharing up to 70% of the code between the platforms. There is no risk that the separate teams and codes will interact in an unsuspected way. Everything is done in perfectly the same manner. If developers reused the code as mentioned above, it is also possible to deliver cross-channel experience connecting the iOS and Android app with the website.

Also, that may be crucial when it comes to delivering the omnichannel experience. According to Monetate study, up to 65% of all customers switch between devices during the purchase journey. That means one particular customer may use the app on the Android phone, then switch into iPad and later continue his purchase journey with the desktop.

What’s more, 62% of users expect consistent brand experiences. Considering that, delivering an awesome iOS app and its poor brother for Android devices may be as deadly for the brand as not delivering an app at all.

3. Reduced debugging headache with React Native development

Delivering the same app on two platforms dramatically reduces the time and effort with debugging and optimization. What’s more, delivering only one app instead of two parallel ones implies that a bug is either present in both versions or solved.

One app to build means one backlog to monitor, one version to update and one set of bugs to fix up. In the end, the user sees no difference and both platforms are treated equally.

Another advantage is the fact that JavaScript is a relatively easy language, where bug tracing requires much less effort, even if it is not as automated as in Java, where the compiler spots many bugs. On the other hand, those unseen are usually hidden deep enough to cause real pain for the team looking for the reason of java-coded-app failure.

Another great feature of React Native framework is hot reloading mentioned above. There is no need to deliver new builds and updates, as the company can embrace the rolling release paradigm. As devs fix bugs faster and solve minor issues on the go, app maintenance gets cheaper and more comfortable.

4. More accessible skills

Behind every app and every commitment, there is a higher purpose or a goal to achieve. From this point of view, the developing process should be seen as a whole project, with all the challenges including HR and management issues.

According to the Github data, JavaScript remains the most popular programming language with over 2.3M pull requests, followed by Python with 1M pull requests. Java. The first Android-native language holds third place with 986 pull requests.

Considering that, the company that decides to develop the application with React Native gets the access to the biggest group of programmers, which are potentially ready to support the effort. What’s more, it is much easier for a technical specialist to get to know new framework than to build up the skill from scratch.

Within most of the companies that run the website, the web development team with at least one JavaScript specialist on board usually already exist. Considering that, it would be easier to build up the app team or evaluate the skills of the chosen partner – the React Native development company. Ability to establish the dialogue with a more considerable amount of understanding on each side leads to building the much better business relationship. That means longer and better cooperation with the app developing partner or establishing better bonds with the development team.

A side benefit of React Native development of the app may be a need to provide the web development team with training on the new technology. According to Udemy data, 42% of the employees declare that self-development is the most essential benefit to earn their loyalty. In the age of war for talents and job-hopping providing the team with training on the new, exciting an exciting technology may be the best option to keep them in the company.

5. Lower cost

All the benefits mentioned above sums up into the greatest one – the lower cost of building the app. Instead of developing two independent applications designed for most popular devices, the team prepares only one and may reuse code already prepared for the web service. Thus, it is possible to run the project with the smaller team, cutting the payroll and administrative costs.

These reductions apply both to in-house app development and outsourcing the process. Most of IT companies, including mobile app developers, work in agile methodologies and insist on budgeting the project in the time-and-materials model. It means that by hiring fewer developers for a less amount of time results in a significantly lower fee for the app.

Another saving comes from the MIT license under which the React Native framework is distributed. It means that:

  • Users do not need to publish the source of the code
  • Everybody can modify the software
  • Users do not need to report the changes in the source in any way

There is no need to pay or share anything done with the framework – totally license free and will not be closed or revoked in the future. So that means the project is secure from the legal point of view. Another benefit of using the open-source framework is the lack of vendor-locking, as the company owns or can use all the code and technology freely within the application.

Summary – smart savings, lean development, agile delivery

Mobile apps are one of the most significant channels to acquire new customers and retain old ones. By delivering the brands message straight into the pocket of the user, the company can provide better experiences.

When it comes to optimizing the costs, it is crucial to do it in a smart way. It is not a challenge to make cuts and reduce the customer satisfaction and quality. On the other hand, leveraging the power of React Native development allows the company not only to save the money but also deliver new quality faster and in a more agile way.

That basically means delivering the product in a cheaper, faster and more flexible way. So what are we waiting for?

Ideamotive is a React Native development agency. We build custom cross-platform apps suitable for your needs. Our main goal is to help you grow and scale up your business. Looking for mobile app development services? Drop us a line!


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