An overview on development of Video Consultation Healthcare App in React Native Using Twilio

An overview on development of Video Consultation Healthcare App in React Native Using Twilio
Healthcare app development
Since the introduction of mHealth apps, healthcare organizations have witnessed a sea-change in the way patients relate to doctors. Now the patients have more control over their medical decisions and the overall system has become more patient-centric. Owing to this, a variety of mHealth apps have emerged in the market and a video consultation healthcare app is one such innovation. This app enables the patients and doctors to communicate instantly in case of an emergency or when it is not possible to visit the hospital. The doctors can send ePrescriptions online and provide medical assistance. So, having an Online Medical Consultation App with a video calling facility can always be a lucrative decision for any medical body or even an individual practitioner.
So, today’s topic is about creating a video consultation healthcare app. We will consider the React Native framework for this purpose since React Native development services are a perfect pick for developing native-like cross-platform apps. Also, we will talk about Twilio as a cloud communications platform that is being widely used in video calling apps. Let’s get started with what Twilio is and then the process to create the app.

What is Twilio?

Twilio is an American cloud-based service or cloud communications platform as a service (CPaaS). It acts as a powerful communication tool and bridges the gap between various mobile devices, other systems, services, etc., and telephony. In React Native development, APIs offered by Twilio enable the developers to implement several communication services like making and receiving audio/video phone calls, sending and receiving text messages, etc. These services also include AI bots, emails, etc. In this process, in addition to audio/video calling, other features like account recovery, phone verification, in-app calls or in-app chats, etc. can also be worked upon.
To integrate Twilio into the app, React Native developers will need existing knowledge on Cocoapods, React Native Navigation, React, etc. Twilio

Here are a few top benefits of using Twilio

  • Twilio is quite easy to learn and so, there are a plethora of developers available.
  • It follows a standard method of communication: HTTP.
  • Switching between technologies is also much easier.
  • Owing to Platforms as a Service (PaaS), capital costs are somewhat lower. Even the deployment costs are lower and they increase gradually as the company grows.

Key Steps for Creating a React Native Healthcare App with Video Consultation using Twilio WebRTC

While using Twilio WebRTC for the healthcare video calling app, a React Native app development company should follow the step-by-step procedure as given below. This procedure is divided into two major parts where the first part is about generating a token using Twilio and the second part talks about installing dependencies using a React Native starter kit. Also, we will consider a React Native Android app for now. So let’s get started with the first part.

Part 1: Token Generation with Twilio

Twilio provides both IOS/Android SDKs and JavaScript. But for React Native, Twilio does not provide any direct support. So, the React Native developers can use the JavaScript SDK for a few services but this isn’t possible for other services, because to a great extent it depends on browser APIs. There is one more alternative and that would be by porting the native Android/IOS SDK to React Native. So here, we have used this combination: Twilio Video (WebRTC) for React Native.
Firstly, create an account on https://www.twilio.com/. Sign-up for a trial and verify your credentials such as phone number, email, etc. You will now be directed to the Dashboard.
You will need an ACCOUNT SID along with an API key and a Secret key for generating a token. For generating an API key, navigate to API keys through the settings. The creation of the API key here will give both the Secret key and the API key. It is now possible to generate a token by using npm install which uses npm package. The tokens can also be generated in multiple languages as well. The identity value should be changed for every token as the same token cannot be used at different places.
There is one more way to create a token by the use of Twilio tools. Click on Twilio tools and write an identity and a room name. This will generate the access token. Securely save these keys for the later part.
The Twilio part of the video consultation healthcare app ends here. Now let us start with the React Native development part.

Part 2: Installing Dependencies using a React Native Starter Kit

Here we will be using React Native starter kit that can be copied from the GitHub link- https://github.com/flatlogic/react-native-starter. You need to run the command- “npm install https://github.com/blackuy/react-native-twilio-video-webrtc –save” in the terminal project directory and then write the required code in App.js file.
Make sure that all the required dependencies are installed by the execution of the command- “npm install” in the project directory. Also, you need to make some configurations for utilizing Twilio and also use audio, camera, etc.
For making the goto Android folder, you should add the following code lines in settings.gradle file-
include ‘:react-native-twilio-video-webrtc’
project (‘:react-native-twilio-video-webrtc’).projectDir = new File (rootProject.projectDir, ‘../node_modules/react-native-twilio-video-webrtc/android’)
Now, go to Android > app > build.gradle file and search for dependencies. After that, add the below-mentioned code in the block.
compile project (‘:react-native-twilio-video-webrtc’)
Also, add the below-mentioned code in Android > app >SRC> main >JAVA> com > reactnativestarter > MainApplication.java
import com.twiliorn.library.TwilioPackage;
After this, replace the getPackages() method with the required code.
Now for requesting the permissions from the user, it is essential to modify AndroidManifest.xml by adding the required code in this file. Also ensure that in your Twilio account, the client-side room creation is enabled.

Running the Application

Finally, when all the steps are implemented and code is executed, run your React Native healthcare app by the execution of the command- “react-native run-android” from the terminal window.

Final Verdict:

Here we have developed a simple React Native app to demonstrate the video-calling capability of Twilio. But we just need to remember that a few things like user connections, user access token generation, room creation, etc. must be very diligently handled on the backend.
Would you like to develop a Video Consultation healthcare app with Twilio implementation in React Native as outlined above? We hope the aforesaid steps will be helpful to React Native developers. For any technical assistance in creating a customized doctor-on-demand video consultation healthcare app, Contact Biz4Solutions, a highly proficient Healthcare app development company with 11+years of experience in this domain.

Want To Optimize React Native Performance? The Dos And Don’ts

Want To Optimize React Native Performance? The Dos And Don’ts
react native app development services
Native apps are the way to build mobile applications; however, back in 2015, Facebook (now Meta) saw the opportunity for a React-based framework moving towards mobile development and created React Native to help businesses build hybrid apps.
Created by Facebook in 2015, React Native helps develop iOS, Android, and Microsoft UWP applications. Many businesses are confused or struggling to decide whether to build native or cross-platform apps.
Based on a 2019 Stack Overflow survey, it was found that React Native was the sixth most popular developer framework and many well-known companies use React Native for their mobile apps.

Now, the question is why many companies use React Native for their mobile app?

Let’s see why React Native app development services providers or companies use React Native:
  • It is Fast: It is less time-consuming as the same codebase can be used for both Android and iOS apps except for few changes that needs to be done independently for individual platforms.
  • Apps have Native-like look: React Native developers can get native like look and feel for Android and iOS apps even though single codebase is used.
  • React Native Performance: The apps built with React Native have good performance as this language is optimized well for different mobile devices; also these apps take support of GPU instead of CPU, which enhances their speed and performance.
  • Reliability is not a concern: With big companies such as Airbnb, Instagram and Uber Eats using React Native, you can mark it as tried and tested.
  • It is developer-friendly: React Native is community-driven, and you can go to Github React Native Community for some solid discussion. There’s also a huge chat server named Reactiflux, where developers can solve their problems.

What matters? The User Experience and React Native Performance

The user experience is the only thing that makes or breaks the app. However, React Native gives almost everything a developer would need to develop an app with great performance.
Most mobile devices come with a 60hz display; a developer gets 16.67 milliseconds to display a frame for the app to deliver great performance. If the app falls short of this, it will result in poor performance, and the UI may even become unresponsive.
Do you want to improve React Native performance? If yes, you should know the dos and don’ts of React Native?
Yes, then let’s help you with that;

The Do’s

react native mobile app development
1.Use appropriate navigation strategies:
It’s been a long since React Native teams have been working to address problems related to navigation and have fixed a ton of them, but there is a ton left to be fixed to provide a seamless experience.
Difficult navigation between screens may refrain users from using your app.
  • iOS Navigator: Only for iOS and will not help in Android.
  • Navigator: Works only for small application and prototype development. (doesn’t work for complex or high-performance applications)
  • Navigation Experiment: Works well for complex applications, but it’s quite complex while implementing; not everyone prefers it.
  • React Navigation: Used by many apps and often and widely recommended; it is lightweight and works well for both small and large scale applications.
2. Make sure to Cache Images:
Images are a core component being offered by React Native and used to display an image, but there’s no out of box solution for issues such as:
  • Low performance in general and cache loading
  • Image flickering
  • Rendering too many images on a single screen
However, you can easily resolve these issues using third-party libraries, like react-native-fast-image. This library is available for both iOS and Android and works really well.
3. Make use of Animated Library with nativeDriver:
In React Native, the Animated library is one of the most popular ways to render animations in React Native apps.
With the help of nativeDriver, the Animated library sends animations over the native bridge before the animation starts on the screen. It helps execute the animation independent of blocked JavaScript threads which return a smoother and flicker-free experience with no frame dropping.
You need to set the value to true if you want to use nativeDriver with Animated library.
4. Using Appropriate Image size is the key:
Considering React Native performance when the app relies heavily on images, optimizing images is crucial. Rendering this much image will result in high memory usage on a device if the images are not optimized in size; this can even lead to a big blunder like the app may crash.
Here’s how you can optimize the images in the React Native App:
5. Use the open-source JavaScript engine: ‘Hermes’:
Hermes is an open-source JavaScript engine specifically optimized for mobile applications. Hermes is available for the Android platform since React Native version 0.60.4. The benefit of using it is that it reduces the download size of an App, memory consumption and the TTI (Time to interact) time.
After the React native version 0.64-rc.0 Hermes is also available on the iOS platform.

The Dont’s

1. If you want to Render Huge Lists: Avoid Use of ScrollView:
If you want to display items with scrollable lists in React Native, then there are two ways to implement lists:
  • ScrollView
  • FlatList
Scrollview is easy to implement and is often used to iterate over a list of a finite number of items. This approach is good, but only when the number of items on the list is quite low. Comparatively, using Scrollview with a large amount of data can directly affect the overall React Native performance.
For handling a large set of data in the list format, React Native provides FlatList. In FlatList, the items are lazy-loaded. However, the app does use an inconsistent or excessive amount of memory.
2. Don’t forget to remove all console statements:
Console statements are necessary for debugging JavaScript codes, but they are only for development purposes. If you forget to remove these statements before bundling, these statements could cause serious React Native performance issues.
You could also use plugins such as babel-plugin-transform-remove-console to remove these statements from production. However, you can remove it manually if you don’t want to add additional dependencies to your React Native application.
3. Refrain from Updating state or dispatch Actions in componentWillUpdate:
You can go for the componentWillUpdate lifecycle method to prepare for an update. If you aim to set a state, you can easily do that with the help of componentWillReceiveProps instead, or if you want to play safe, then use componentDidUpdate instead of componentWillReceiveProps to dispatch any Redux actions
4. Unnecessary libraries and features; Remove it all:
Each library comes with a footprint left on your React or React Native application. Therefore, you should only add libraries and features that you need and remove all other irrelevant dependencies. Navigations, Animations, tabs and other features influence the screen load time, so the lesser, the better.
5. Anonymous Functions While Rendering; Avoid it:
What developers call a bad practice is ‘creating functions in render()’ because it leads to serious React Native performance issues. A different callback is created each time a component re-renders, which is not a problem for smaller components.
However, when it comes to PureComponents and React.memo() or when the function is passed as a prop to a child component, it becomes a serious problem.
Instagram: Making the right use of React Native
The creator of React Native, Meta’s owned photo-sharing social platform Instagram, is one great example.
Instagram’s primary operation mode is digital photography and short videos now. Back in 2016, Instagram seriously thought of switching to Reactive Native, post-integration with existing technology was a challenge, but now they can push features faster, smoothly and maintain both iOS and Android App versions.

Conclusion

The open-source React Native framework creates cross-platform mobile applications. JavaScript being the core, it also has components for building interfaces and functionalities. It’s a popular framework that delivers a seamless experience at scale.
React Native offers businesses the ease and opportunity to create mobile apps differently than what seemed possible a decade ago, when you could build native-like apps, but you could just use one programming language like Java.
These days, things are different, companies have made grand improvements on both iOS and Android platforms, but such improvements require the help of qualified React Native developers.