Differences in iOS and Android App Development using React Native

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What makes Smartphone’s smart, are the various apps that are used to run them. Thousands do mobile apps are developed daily with the sole purpose of making life easier. Mobile app developers (both iOS and Android) use different frameworks to develop these apps. One such framework is the React Native. This is a framework initiated by Facebook that allows developers to develop native mobile apps for iOS development and Android using a single JavaScript codebase. It was created as an open-source framework in 2015. With the growing number of mobile apps (such as Uber, Facebook, Instagram, Discord, Skype, and Pinterest) that use React Native partially or completely, questions are raised whether it’s is proper for developers to it in developing apps or use the full native way with Java or Swift. 

Before we dive into language and framework comparison, let’s explore how React Native develops a mobile app. React.js library is used by the React Native framework to create a truly native mobile app. The difference between the React and React Native is that React uses web components to create the user interface instead of native components. React Native, on the other hand, uses native components and JSX — a syntax that is used to embed XML with JavaScript to create the user interface. Meaning that you can write mobile apps similarly to how you write web apps. 

One would say that it is fast, easier, and cheaper to write mobile apps in React Native instead of native iOS and Android which is far from the truth. To establish facts, here is a detailed explanation of the pros and cons of each approach in different developing environments. 

Codebase

Mobile app developers can use a single JavaScript codebase in React Native for 2 different platforms, making it not only easier to maintain the app using the same development process on both platforms, but little resources are used. There is no need to separate iOS and Android app development teams. This, however, comes with a price. It’s a known fact that iOS and Android don’t have the same design guidelines. iOS follows Human Interface Guideline while Android has Material Design Guideline. This is a very big difference. Therefore, if the app development process requires these OS guidelines followed for each native platform, a platform-specific code will have to be written if a developer is using React Native. This renders the single codebase useless. iOS developers will have it hard since Apple updates its technologies regularly. On the other hand, Android offers more freedom since apps have more control over the system. If there are no restrictions in the app development process, React Native would be the best option. It’s impossible to write an app without platform-specific code even when you are allowed to write apps that look the same on both platforms. This may lead to weird-looking Android or iOS apps. 

The programming language

React Native is based on a JavaScript written language called React.js. JavaScript is a popular and extensive language used by developers at one point in their development career. JavaScript is often regarded as an untyped language, meaning that your variables can be anything at any time. This makes it hard for a compiler to help you. If you are not cautious while developing your apps, JavaScript may unleash all sorts of horror. With all these complexities, JavaScript remains the most popular app developing language in the world. This makes it easy to find an Android development company due to its thick community that is well acquainted with the programming language. 

Hot reloading and live reloading

If you’ve ever worked with X-Code or Eclipse / Android Studio then you know how long and hectic the building process takes. This is frustrating essentially if you are working on a feature that is multiple screens away from the launch screen. Easy tasks such as changing a label text or changing a view color take a lot of time. Hot reloading is a React Native solution to this problem. It saves the state while keeping the app running and only injecting changes made in the code. Although this feature is not so perfect, it saves a lot of development time. App build time is significantly reduced when using React Native compared to native iOS and Android, with or without using hot reloading. Live reloading mechanism, on the other hand, is used to reload the app automatically when code is changed. 

User Interface

The popular Flex box is what structures UI in React Native. It helps web developers to build responsive websites or mobile UI easily. Therefore it competes with XML which uses constraints layout approach for Android and Storyboard XIB for iOS which uses the Neon approach. One benefit of using native mobile apps is that it allows you to use native APIs such as Camera, Touch ID, and GPS. As a mobile app developer, you can also use animation creating tools and a complex user interface. The beauty of it is that you are free to use everything offered by the mobile platform since there is no middle layer. React Native is not gifted in creating animations and complex UI. Its API offers a neat solution but it is not enough to complete with native capabilities. 

Conclusion

If you ask me whether React native is worth it, I will tell you that it depends on the project. If you want to make an iOS-only or Android-only app the best solution will be native. For a small team and limited resources and you want to create an app for both platforms the best option would be React Native. Highly complex apps that require a large portion of platform-specific code will have to be written in native. React Native is also good if you want to build an app first using the hot reloading and live reloading. For app maintenance over a long period without fearing Facebook quitting React Native, the native will work best for you. All in all, it’s good to work with reputable IOS Development Company for perfect results.

 

About the author

Naman Modi is a Professional Blogger, SEO Expert & Guest blogger at NamanModi.com, He is an Award Winning Freelancer & Web Entrepreneur helping new entrepreneur’s launches their first successful online business.

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