Everything You Need to Know About ReactNative

application development

When we talk about mobile app development, we are normally talking about building applications for one of two platforms — iOS or Android. iOS is software built by Apple that runs all of its products — iPhones, iPads, iMacs, and everything in between. Android, on the other hand, is an operating system developed by Google that has a far broader set of applications. While you can buy Android smartphones, the software is also used to run televisions, digital cameras, gaming consoles, and more.

People often assume that you can only code for one platform or the other. In reality, the two can meet in the middle, using a framework known as ReactNative.

ReactNative was developed by Facebook in order to help companies that had users populating both Android and iOS platforms, saving them from having to develop two separate applications. Whether or not your company could benefit from developing a ReactNative app comes down to a number of different factors and is a decision best made with the advice of a company that provides mobile app development in Melbourne.

iOS, Android — what’s the difference?
You won’t understand the power of ReactNative unless you understand the similarities and differences between Android and iOS application development.

Believe it or not, Android is actually the world’s most popular operating system. Many people assume that Apple takes that title but doesn’t come close to Android’s 71.7 percent market share. There are many reasons for this popularity, not least of all the fact that Android devices tend to be considerably cheaper than their Apple counterparts.

Android is also what’s known as an open operating system, meaning the code used to build your phone is freely available to every developer around the world. For the average user, this doesn’t mean much at all but for those in the development industry, open systems offer increased customisation opportunities. iOS, on the other hand, is completely owned by Apple. The proprietary rights of the software belong to them and they tend to exert greater control over the types of apps that can be built for their platform.

The development process explained
In years gone by, if you decided that you wanted to build a mobile app, your first decision was usually which platform — Android or iOS — you were going to develop for. This is because iOS applications cannot be accessed on an Android device and vice-versa. Making this decision tended to involve a fair bit of user research. Who was your target market? What type of smartphones do they primarily use?

This initial decision could effectively make or break your app, and once you chose a platform, there was no looking back. Unless, of course, you decided you wanted to build two separate apps — at double the cost and double the time.

All of this changed in 2015 when Facebook released ReactNative. To use a bit of technical jargon, ReactNative is an open-source, Javascript framework that utilises the same code base to build both Android and iOS applications. The development of ReactNative actually started during a ‘hackathon’ — a competition run internally by Facebook to try and solve their problem of having to maintain two sets of code for two separate platforms.

Fast forward 7 years and ReactNative is one of the most popular development frameworks used today, enabling efficient iOS and Android application development.

Pros of ReactNative
Without getting too technical, here are some of the reasons that teams that provide mobile app development in Melbourne love using ReactNative.

It saves time and money: Gone are the days of having to build two apps to satisfy customers. Using a cross-platform framework like ReactNative can save you significant time and money.
Performance: ReactNative isn’t actually the only cross-platform framework out there. Xamarin, Codename One, and Flutter are all other options. None come close, however, to the functionality and performance of ReactNative, which is known for creating apps that perform as if they were on a native platform.
Responsive: ReactNative offers real time feedback to developers through a feature known as “hot reloading.” This reduces the amount of time between when a change is made at the backend and when it is visible to developers.

Do I need ReactNative?
This question can only really be answered by a professional developer. There are several factors that will inform the platform you build your app for and the framework that you use. These include some that are relatively easy to understand — cost, and time taken, for example. Others are more technical in nature and will impact the performance of your iOS or Android app.

With that in mind, if you’re thinking about building a new app for your business, reach out to a team that provides professional mobile app development in Melbourne. They’ll be able to answer all your questions and offer a tailored, expert recommendation.

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