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Why Use React Native for Mobile Development?

React Native is essentially the JavaScript React framework for native applications. React Native can be used for cross-platform development. It enables front end developers to build native applications (apps) for Android and iOS using React – a JavaScript library. 

React Native is written in JavaScript but rendered in the native platform’s user interface (UI) so you can easily write your app in a language you know but use the same native platform APIs that other apps use. 

A native app is installed through an application store such as Apple’s App Store or the Google Play store. They are developed specifically for that platform, Android or iOS, and they can use all device features including the camera, microphone, GPS functions, processing power, and storage. 

You can create platform-specific versions of each component in your React Native app so that you can build a complex, multi-platform app with one codebase, making debugging more centralized. One team can maintain the app across all platforms using one technology instead of needing one team for each technology: iOS, Android, and Web.

What is React Native used for?

React Native is used to create native apps for mobile devices using JavaScript. React Native provides developers with user interface components that can be compiled into a native app in JavaScript and render it to be launched on iOS and Android systems.

What is the difference between React and React Native? 

It’s a common misconception that React Native is a newer version of React. React was released by Facebook in 2013 and React Native followed in 2015. React Native is actually a JavaScript framework that runs on the JavaScript library, React. It was created to bring all of the benefits of web development to mobile app development. 

React Native enables developers to create mobile apps for multiple platforms with one codebase. React provides user interface components in JavaScript for web developers. 

React and React Native use JSX, a JavaScript markup language, to render text elements. Because it’s built for the web, React also uses HTML and CSS. Similarly, React Native is compatible with mobile UI elements.

Who uses React Native?

React Native quickly rose to become one of the most popular solutions for mobile development. It’s now used to power the world’s top mobile apps across multiple platforms. 

Learn more about how each company uses React Native:

Why use React Native?

Cross-platform development and responsive application design is quickly becoming best practice for software development. Being able to build your codebase just once and run it on multiple platforms is efficient and useful with so many native platforms out there. 

React Native is an accessible solution for organizations both large and small who want to create applications for multiple platforms. React Native empowers front end developers to build mobile apps when they previously could only work on web apps.

The time between a minimum viable product (MVP) and a product that is ready for market is far more efficient with React Native. Because React Native primarily relies on one technology and one codebase, one front end developer can work with one mobile developer to create a complete web app and mobile app instead of needing a single person who is skilled in each mobile platform’s language. Plus, cross-platform development ensures a wider audience and brand consistency for all users. 

Facebook still maintains the React library and there is an active online community offering up support and innovative ideas. Bugs are consistently getting fixed, updates launched, and organizations can trust the security of the library.

While these benefits are all useful for both organizations and developers, cross-platform development does require some mobile development knowledge including understanding the nuances and exceptions of each platform, understanding how to design and build a mobile app, user experience and user interface design basics, and an understanding of mobile app programming languages such as Java, Swift, or Objective-C. 

How does React Native work?

React Native bridges the gaps between JavaScript and Native code. If there is already an Android or iOS version of the app you’re trying to build, you can use the code you already have with React Native to shift to a multi-platform application from one source code. React Native runs on actual native components, unlike Cordova or PhoneGap which render WebViews

What you need to know before learning React Native

While knowledge of React Native is useful, it won’t be enough for a full mobile app development skillset. Similarly, while knowing how to use React is useful, it’s not a full web development education. 

Before learning React Native you should have a fairly good knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and React. Before diving into React Native, it helps to get comfortable with React as a web framework and study other people’s React Native code on GitHub.

You’ll want to understand JavaScript concepts such as higher-order functions, mapping in arrays, closures, recursion, promises, the ES6/ES7 syntax, the $PATH variable, and aliases. In addition to JavaScript and web development skills, you should understand how a mobile application works. Having some knowledge of native modules, understand distribution and post-deployment crash fixes is important to develop an app without bugs. 

As a front end developer in general, you should get comfortable in your development environment. Know how to open and use your Command Line, Terminal for Mac users or Bash for Windows. You probably have a handle on web servers and local hosts, but if you don’t brush up on that too. Knowing how to use CSS to make your app beautiful or at least minimalist is a must in the modern world of emphasizing user experience as well.

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