React Native

When building a mobile app, the choice of framework is a bit like selecting the blueprint for your app’s architecture. React Native has garnered a lot of attention in recent years due to its ease of use and its ‘write once, run anywhere’ promise. It’s the preferred framework for a substantial number of apps in the market, from start-ups to big players such as Instagram, Amazon, and Airbnb, to name a few. At DreamWalk, React Native is our go-to framework for most app projects.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the pros and cons of React Native, how it compares to alternative frameworks, and what makes it a favourite with developers. Let’s dive in!

What is React Native?

React Native is an open-source framework developed by Facebook that allows developers to build native mobile applications using JavaScript and React. One of Facebook’s biggest pain points was managing two different code bases for such a big app, and so through their ‘Hackathon Project’ back in 2015, React Native was born.

One of the biggest advantages of React Native is that it allows developers to create apps for both iOS, Android and web platforms simultaneously, using a single codebase. Only a small part of the codebase needs to be customised for each operating system. Not only does this save a lot of time, but also allows for faster development cycles, and saves on development and maintenance costs.

Benefits of Using React Native for Mobile Apps

React Native’s cross-platform compatibility is a game-changer. But there’s plenty more reasons developers love using it:

Ease of Use: One of the key advantages of React Native is its use of JavaScript. This language is widely known, making it easier to find skilled developers and facilitating a smoother learning curve for those new to the framework.

Native-Like User Interface: Leveraging native components, React Native ensures that the user interface closely resembles that of native apps built using Swift or Java. This results in a visually appealing and authentic user experience.

Performance Optimisation: By rendering components directly to native APIs, React Native bridges the gap between web and native app performance. This approach delivers a smoother and more responsive user experience compared to traditional hybrid frameworks.

Code Reusability: Developers can write a substantial portion of the codebase once and deploy it across multiple platforms, saving time and resources. This not only speeds up development but also ensures consistency across different versions of the app.

Efficiency: With React Native’s hot-reload feature, developers can quickly build and test different features, and implement code changes and updates in real time. This feature allows for quick changes without having to rebuild or restart the app every time.

Live Updates: Developers can push updates directly to the app, rather than making users go through the App Store update (and waiting for App Store approval), so users always get access to the latest features. This capability is also great for dealing with bug fixes and feature enhancements swiftly.

Robust Debugging Tools: React Native provides developers with efficient debugging tools, such as Chrome DevTools, making it easier to identify and resolve issues that may arise during the development process.

Community Support: React Native has a vast and active community ensuring continuous improvement, updates, and a wealth of resources for developers. This makes it easier for developers to find solutions and stay updated on best practices.

Downside of Using React Native for Mobile Apps

OK, so we’ve made a pretty strong case for choosing React Native for your app project so far. But where does it fall short?

Performance Concerns: while proficient in many scenarios, React Native may encounter performance issues for highly complex, graphic-intensive applications, or CPU-intensive tasks. The bridge between JavaScript and native modules might introduce a slight lag compared to fully native solutions.

Potential for Custom Code: In cases where specific native modules are lacking in React Native, developers may need to resort to writing custom native code or relying on third-party libraries. This dependency can lead to compatibility challenges or maintenance issues.

Version Compatibility: React Native’s rapid evolution may sometimes result in version compatibility issues with existing codebases. Whilst staying up-to-date with the latest releases is crucial, developers should be careful to avoid potential disruptions in ongoing projects.

React Native

Alternative Frameworks to React Native

Choosing the right framework depends on your project’s requirements, and developer preferences. Let’s take a look at some of the other popular cross-platform frameworks available, and the pros and cons of each:

Flutter: Developed by Google, Flutter is a strong competitor to React Native, providing a unique combination of expressive UIs and high performance. While React Native uses JavaScript, Flutter employs Dart, a language specific to the framework.Flutter’s emphasis on pixel-perfect design and animation makes it an appealing choice for delivering a consistent and visually appealing UI across different platforms.

On the flipside, Flutter apps may have larger file sizes compared to those built with other frameworks, impacting download and installation times. It’s also still a relatively new framework, meaning third-party libraries and community support is not as extensive as more established frameworks, like React Native.

Xamarin: Owned by Microsoft, Xamarin is another alternative to React Native, particularly for developers well-versed in C# (the programming language it uses). One of its key advantages is its ability to deliver native performance. Xamarin allows developers to share a substantial amount of code between iOS and Android platforms, providing the efficiency of a shared codebase without compromising on performance.

While Xamarin presents several advantages, it does come with a few downsides. One drawback is the learning curve, as the framework’s complexity may pose challenges for developers who are new to the language. Additionally, Xamarin’s file size can also be on the larger side, impacting app download and installation times. Another consideration is that certain Xamarin features might require additional licensing or payment, potentially affecting the overall project cost.

Cordova: Apache Cordova takes a different approach by utilising web technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), making it appealing for web developers transitioning to mobile app development. Cordova’s primary strength lies in its cross-platform compatibility, allowing developers to write code once and deploy it across various platforms. It also provides access to a wide range of plugins, facilitating the integration of native device features.

On the other hand, Cordova’s reliance on web technologies can result in performance issues, especially for graphics-intensive applications. Cordova apps often don’t achieve the same level of native performance as those built with React Native or other frameworks. Additionally, its reliance on plugins for accessing native device features can introduce compatibility challenges or delays in incorporating the latest platform updates.

When choosing a framework for an app project, it’s crucial for developers to weigh these factors against the benefits.

Popular Apps Using React Native

There are plenty of well-known apps leveraging the power of React Native – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, Shopify, Wix, Klarna, Tesla, and Airbnb are just a few examples that showcase the framework’s versatility and capability to handle diverse requirements.

At DreamWalk, we specialise in building React Native apps. One shining example of ours showcasing the framework’s capabilities is the B&D Smart Garage Access App by Dulux Group. This smart device controller allows you to monitor and control your garage door while you’re at work, or even on holidays – all from your smartphone or Apple Watch, and is compatible across iOS, Android & Web.

It can be used from multiple devices and locations, includes an activity log, camera control, and has voice control for hands-free use. Taking into account the app’s unique requirements, React Native was the framework of choice for providing a seamless and intuitive user experience.

Is React Native the Best Choice for Mobile Apps in 2024?

React Native stands as a compelling choice for mobile app development in 2024, offering a blend of cross-platform efficiency and native-like performance. Its advantages, including a shared codebase, native UI, and robust community support, make it a popular framework among developers. However, it’s crucial to weigh these benefits against potential downsides, such as potential performance concerns for compute-intensive apps, and the need for custom native code.

Choosing the right framework for your app project ultimately comes down to your specific project requirements, desired user experience, development speed and budget.

If you’re still not sure, it’s best to speak to an experienced mobile app developer. At DreamWalk, we’re always across the latest trends and advancements in app development, and understand the evolving strengths and weaknesses of different frameworks so we can guide clients on the most suitable options for their project.

DreamWalk is an award-winning Australian app development company. We pride ourselves on our ethical and transparent app development process and operate by our unique Ethical App Development Charter. To learn more about us and the work we do, head to


About the Author

Karl Graf is an award-winning app designer and Managing Director of DreamWalk. Karl has helped hundreds of businesses and startups plan, design, develop and launch successful apps.

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