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Business Value of React Native versus Native Development

Let’s assume you are a startup that has just nurtured some promising idea and brought it to the level of converting into an application. What are going to do next? Which technologies will you choose to build your app? Jump below to find some answers to these questions.

iOS or Android App: Let’s Make Both!

The largest audience of your application is mobile users, i.e. those using smartphones. Everybody knows that there are only two major mobile platforms now: iOS and Android, which jointly have over 3 billion of active users globally. Just imagine – 3 billion people are twice as much as the population of China!

Google reported in 2017 that they have 2 billion active Android user per month, while Apple just a month ago said there are over 1.4 billion active iOS devices in use.

So, if you want to catch as many people as possible, you need to anticipate developing your app for both platforms.

Cost Price of Building an App and How to Cut It

In order to develop an average iOS application that is not a simple calculator or alike, you need to hire at least 2 developers and one quality assurance expert.

Cropped shot of a group of young coworkers working in a dimly-lit office

Average salary for iOS developer in Europe starts from EUR 50,000/yr, while QA may expect as much as EUR 40 ths per year. Our experience shows that development of an average iOS app lasts about 4-6 months.

Hence, cost price of your app will be somewhere between EUR 50,000 and EUR 75,000.

Android app pricing is basically the same. So, roughly speaking, you will need EUR 100,000 – 150,000 to build your app for both platforms.

However, you are a startup and unlikely to have all this money. How is it possible for you to save your money and route them to the development of your business?

The possible option that may help you here is React Native. Developed and launched by Facebook in 2015, React Native was targeted to make it possible to build native iOS and Android applications using JavaScript instead of native Apple and Java programming languages.

You no longer need dedicated iOS and Android developers to build applications that look like, behave like, and feel like native iOS and Android apps.  You need only one team of React Native developers to build a dual-OS application, and your React Native app will cost you from 1.5 to 1.7 time cheaper as compared to separate Android and iOS applications.

But is is the right time to jump with joy? Go below to see where React Native is better than native technologies and where it is worse.

React Native Benefits for Your Business

The main advantage of React Native for businesses is time and labor saving ensured thanks to the single code base to be written for both iOS and Android app. You may half your labor payments and save a substantial amount of time for your developers.

The core goodies standing alongside React Native are Efficiency, Performance, and Community Support.

Efficiency is ensured by React Native’s open source nature: it means that anyone can offer improvements yet missing in RN, and since there are lots of experienced JavaScript developers, the framework steadily becomes better. React Native is efficient also thanks to the code reusability: a big portion of the source code can be reused and utilized for developing an app either for Android or iOS.

Community support is tightly linked to the open source sort of React Native, meaning that all crucial documentation is freely available and accessible; moreover, you can get highly qualified help from the community and its experts. And thanks to the huge community, you can quickly hire properly skilled RN developer.

RN’s performance results from its unique features, such as support of native components and UX, JavaScript Usage, single workflow and tools.

The framework efficiency and performance are also ensured by hot reloading feature, i.e. you no longer need to update all changes manually as hot reloading provides for instantaneous display of any new modification.

Some of React Native’s Drawbacks We Faced during the Development

DIGIS has multiple React Native projects on our list, one of which is Tedyz. It’s a platform that connects customers who want to invite various performers – musicians, artists, actors, celebrities – to any memorable events such as birthday parties, Christmas celebrations etc. with such talents. Tedyz app hosts a large database of talents and allows appointing the meeting, tracking the route and time, pay and otherwise manage the appointments.

When developing this app, we discovered several drawbacks characteristic to React Native and we would like to share them.

Bridging issues: React Native is not purely native technology and uses a lot of not-native stuff. Everything will go smoothly if your app is simple and plain, but if the app anticipates some advanced functions or computations, RN native needs to be used together with other native technologies such as Swift, Java etc. And here’s where you may experience problems – if the bridging (connecting RN with Swift/Java) is not done properly, you may run into performance problems.

Workflow issues: RN is part of JavaScript language which is kind of free from clear organization, so if you are new to React Native, you may experience problems with elaboration of your workflow.

Security and privacy issues: JavaScript nature of React Native is responsible both for its benefits and drawbacks. JS is known to be quite vulnerable to security threats, so make sure you have thoroughly examined the code for any malignant parts, and double check scripts you take from third-party addons. Especially important this precaution is when you are about to start building any banking or payment app using React Native.

One more disadvantage of React Native is its belonging to Facebook. Facebook has developed it and made it public. But who knows what decision Facebook may take on the RN future….

Conclusion

So, you may ask what we at DIGIS think about React Native and whether it is worth being used for building apps perceived as the native ones. And we have the answer to this question: Yes, it is worth, but the choice depends on the app.

Choose Native (Swift, Objective-C, Java)Choose React Native
You need to build two standalone apps – one for iOS and one for AndroidYou are a small startup with small team and lack of funds but need to cover the widest possible audience
Your app is a highly loaded and sophisticated product anticipating heavy use of computations and platform-specific componentsYou need to build your app in a fast and inexpensive fashion.
You plan to have your app updated during a lengthy time period of time and want not to be afraid of Facebook abandoning React NativeYour team is strong in Web Development and JavaScript
You want and need your app to have the same look, feel and behavior both on Android and iOS platforms

We think that React Native is a young and not fully discovered technology, and it will display its full capabilities in the future. So far, it is not a complete replacement for native mobile development, but it is able to substantially ease the life of developers.

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