It’s a common dilemma: Do you develop a native app that will only work on one platform or a hybrid app that plays well with multiple platforms and devices? While a hybrid app reaches more users in one fell swoop, in the past, the performance and user experience could be lacking. Hybrid apps used to cause a learning curve for mobile development teams that only had experience with native environments.
React Makes Hybrid Mobile Apps Better
Recently, there’s a new way to develop hybrid apps that are faster and offer better overall user experience, faster: Facebook’s open-source framework React Native. The platform allows you to build a hybrid app with impressive performance for both iOS and Android quickly and simultaneously. Major companies such as Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb, Skype and Tesla have all created apps using React.
The framework addresses many the common shortcomings of hybrid mobile app development, including a slew of user interface (UI) and performance issues that often bog down programmers. Here’s how React Native for hybrid apps is transforming the development process:
React is the new standard coding language for hybrid apps, replacing Apache Cordova. When the framework was first launched, it could only support iOS app development. However, Facebook added extensions for Android as they evolved and perfected the platform. As such, React allows you to develop a hybrid mobile app for both platforms at once with none of the sacrifices required by Apache Cordova. With React Native, you can write a single, unified codebase that can be implemented simultaneously across various mobile platforms, operating systems and devices.
The platform is also open-source, which means it is compatible with platforms besides iOS and Android, such as Windows or tvOS. In other words, React Native solves the long-time conundrum of whether to develop a native or hybrid app since you can essentially develop a hybrid app by undergoing a very similar process as you would when developing a native app – and do it in a fraction of the time.
Improved Compatibility and Fewer Buggy Plugins
React Native is relatively new, as it was released in 2013, but it has come a long way since its inception thanks to the constant rollout new updates and plugins. The platform can easily be combined with components written in a variety of coding languages, including Objective-C, Java and Swift.
React also allows you to easily add third-party plugins. Adding a functionality that’s already available – such as a mapping and GPS feature – is easy to do. Simply link the map up with the device’s functions for the feature. This can be accomplished using less memory, ensuring the app runs smoothly.
Streamlined User Interface Development
Due to its compatibility with multiple platforms, React apps have a quicker load time and a smoother feel than other hybrid apps. Creating a seamless UI in hybrid apps can be challenging and tedious, but React lets developers optimize the performance of an app without sacrificing functionality.
The platform does this by following agile development guidelines and focusing on Document Object Model (DOM) abstractions, a simplified programming process. In other words, the APIs and documentation are delineated in a logical and flexible manner while retaining the simplicity of a native app’s design.
React is all about having a dynamic, fluid UI that puts the users’ needs first. Apps can be rendered across multiple platforms quicker while ensuring the features and functionalities are consistent.
Faster Development Cycles and Time-to-Market
Since React is open-source, it doesn’t have the same compatibility issues that many programming frameworks deal with. Mobile developers can access the platform for free, allowing them to enter any APIs into their code without facing any operability issues.
As such, React allows you to develop an app and put it on the market much faster than other platforms. The cost of development is also lower since the code can be adapted to both Android and iOS.
The Benefits of React for Hybrid Apps
All in all, React makes it easier to develop hybrid apps by considerably reducing the time and complexity associated with building an app. Some of the biggest names in tech and retail are adopting the platform due to its compatibility with multiple platforms, devices and languages. Ultimately, it offers a good way to save time and money when developing a hybrid mobile app.
You can develop a hybrid application in a shorter period of time by partnering with a development team that understands React. That’s precisely what you’ll find at SevenTablets, where we specialize in hybrid mobile app development. We’re also familiar with various emerging technologies, such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence, blockchain and natural language processing.
Shane earned a B.S. at Texas A&M (whoop!) and studied mathematics as a graduate student at Southern Methodist University.
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