In recent years, an increasing number of IT companies have been focusing their services on cross-platform development. According to reputable statistics, React Native is the leading tool for implementing cross-platform solutions. The question arises - is this renowned framework really capable of outrunning its competitors in native development, or is it a utopia? This is what you should know about React Native vs native development.
What is React Native: Quick Reference
So what is React Native? It is a popular JS framework for building natively rendered iOS/Android apps. It is based on the React JS library developed by Facebook and designed to create user interfaces. Nowadays, the library is efficiently used to build not only web applications but also high-quality mobile software. Instagram, Skype, and Airbnb mobile apps are built on React Native.
React Native was created by Facebook in 2013 as an open-source solution. Unlike the larger MVC frameworks, this framework solves a widespread problem: interface rendering. On top of that, it is lightweight but provides high performance, which is important for creating pages with dynamically updated content. Plus, thanks to its module structure, React Native encourages you to write almost 90% reusable code.
Once you've written your app code in React Native, you can deploy it to different devices and platforms without worrying about incompatibility issues. This is one of the major advantages of React Native that helps save lots of development time and budget.
Should I choose React Native?
Let’s summarize the benefits of React Native development:
- The low budget of the created solutions. Apps built with React Native can actually have a significantly lower cost than the two native apps built for iOS and Android. However, it’s not like you get to actually cut your budget in half.
You can save about 30 percent (since some of the code still has to be reproduced for each platform separately). If we talk about applications that must interact with the hardware of mobile devices (a camera, GPS, and other sensors), you can save no more than 10% of native development costs.
React Native is also famous for its optimized debugging process. Hot reloading and live reloading features allow you to either connect new code blocks during runtime, saving the current state of the app, or to reload/update the entire application when the file changes, respectively.
- Reduced staff resources. Finally, you only need one development team instead of two (for two different platforms) to build an app with React Native. Moreover, today the market is satiated with good JS developers. And this means that you can choose the best ratio between rates and level of expertise.
But When Do I Need a Native Approach to Mobile Development?
Native applications are developed for a specific hardware and software platform and are written in languages created specifically for this platform. Both iOS and Android have their own SDKs and their own technology stacks, tied to a specific programming language. For instance, the native languages for Android are Java and Kotlin, and for iOS - Swift and Objective-C.
Should I choose native frameworks?
As you can imagine, React Native helps product owners when there is a need to cut the budget and speed up the application release time for all platforms. However, there are a number of reasons that lead developers to prefer the traditional - native approach - to mobile app development.
- The need for maximum performance. Native applications easily boast the highest performance rates that significantly surpass cross-platform solutions (this is about, first of all, gaming apps, as well as apps that need a playback speed of more than 30 fps and/or the active use of the touchscreen). So if you want your app to be a powerhouse, React Native development may not be the right choice. For the sake of fairness, we note that the slowdown is not specifically a con of React Native, but a general con of cross-platform development.
- Providing enhanced security. Cross-platform solutions rarely provide secure communication with the server. Thus, they are rather vulnerable to hacker injections and may be exposed to some code configurations. In turn, native applications use approved security tools that help protect private user data (for example, payment bank card data).
- Compliance with the nuances of a platform-specific design. Design development for native applications allows you to take into account the smallest nuances of the UI design of a particular platform. For instance, recent versions of iOS use an ascetic Flat Design, with its straight lines, absence of shadows, and simple forms. In turn, the Android interface, inspired by dynamism, uses a different stylistic direction - Material Design, which is fundamentally different from the native iOS design in its shadow effects. As a result, since native apps integrate directly with the mobile operating system, perceiving and using all the available hardware capabilities of mobile gadgets, users can navigate the familiar interface without much hassle, resulting in a positive user experience (UX).
- The need to use native SDKs. Using a personal platform’s SDK and other specific tools to create applications for native platforms provides more opportunities for implementing the functionality of the future application. Thus, native applications perfectly match the hardware capabilities of devices including Bluetooth, NFC, camera, GPS, and more, helping to leverage data such as physical and geographic location, and more.
React Native vs Native Development: What Is Better?
So which one should you choose: React Native vs native development tools?
As we can see from the React Native pros and cons, cross-platform development is a perfect choice for applications with constantly updated content (that is, where high-quality rendering is needed), for example, newsfeed apps. But in the case when the application exploits a sufficiently large amount of hardware resources of the user device, it is better to give preference to native development.
Whatever you choose - React Native vs native development, you definitely cannot do without the help of experienced specialists. If you are seeking it at the moment, check out our portfolio and contact our experts to discuss the details and budget of your project. We have years of expertise under our belt to implement a full-cycle React Native or regular native app development project of any complexity.