Comparing React Native to other Trending Cross-Platform App Development Technologies!

Comparing React Native to other Trending Cross-Platform App Development Technologies!
react native app development
A survey conducted by Statista reveals; “Cross-platform technologies are used by approximately one-third of the mobile app developers as of 2020. Out of the contemporary cross-platform frameworks, 42% of software developers used React Native, 39% used Flutter, 18% used Cordova, 18% used Ionic and 14% used Xamarin”.
The aforesaid data indicates the popularity of React Native framework amongst the trending cross-platform frameworks. Yet, an app creator finds it difficult to select a framework for the next app development project; due to the availability of multiple options. So, despite React Native’s high adoption rate, businesses are curious to know about where this framework stands in comparison to its competitors – Flutter, Cordova, Ionic, and Xamarin. And, to be honest, it is a smart move to analyze all the available options and weigh the pros and cons of the most popular framework before narrowing down on a single option for app development.
This article compares React Native to the other cross-platform frameworks to provide clear visibility to entrepreneurs planning to invest in cross-platform app development. But, before proceeding further; take a quick look at the language and technology stacks used by each of the contemporary cross-platform frameworks.

React native and its Competitors: Programming Languages and Technology stacks used

React Native uses JavaScript, a most popular, dynamic, and high-level programming language. React Native blends the goodies of JavaScript and the web framework ReactJS. It also permits the writing of modules in Swift, Objective-C, or Java languages.
Flutter uses the Dart language. Dart can be compiled into the native code for enhancing the app’s performance. During build creation, Dart gets compiled into the code for ARM and x86 processors (Ahead of Time) and can also be translated into JavaScript as well as support dynamic compilation through the runtime (Just in Time).
Cordova enables one to use web technologies like CSS3, HTML5, and JavaScript for cross-platform app development, avoiding the usage of the native development language for each mobile platform. The applications are executed within wrappers meant for each platform and depend on the standard API bindings for accessing the data, sensors, and network status of each device.
Ionic makes use of web technologies such as JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5 for writing and running applications. The Cordova wrapper is needed for accessing the native platform controllers. Ionic’s core is written in Sass and the chief programming language is TypeScript. The usage of Typescript enables Ionic developers to detect as well as eliminate errors while code typing, and as such enhances the code quality. However, the usage of TypeScript is optional as the entire app can be written in plain JavaScript.
Xamarin uses the .NET framework and C#, a statically typed language; for all mobile platforms. A developer using C# with Xamarin can achieve the same outcome as delivered by Swift, Objective-C, or Java.

React Native Compared to the Contemporary Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks

react native app development company
React Native vs Flutter
  • JavaScript is an easy-going and common programming language than the lesser-known Dart. Besides, Flutter development involves a steep learning curve. So, it’s easier for a React Native app development Company to find the necessary expertise and train professionals. Also, Flutter possesses richer and more organized documentation than React Native.
  • React Native is easy to install and configure. Yarn and NodeJS would be required as Package managers when React-Native CLI is installed globally through the command line. Contrarily, Flutter installation needs additional effort – downloading the binary for the mobile platform, then adding path variable through the command line – that is complex as well as time-consuming.
  • Owing to the JavaScript bridge, React Native can render native components for every platform and hence replicates the look and feel of native iOS and Android apps. Flutter uses built-in widgets to create native-like UI and fares better in case of complex UI creation. Additionally, Flutter apps display more consistency across various platforms.
  • React Native utilizes a JavaScript bridge to interact with the native modules. The bridge tends to lag the UI because the bridge lowers rendering speed. Flutter, on the other hand, doesn’t need a bridge for this task, owing to its multiple in-built components along with frameworks like Skia engine, Cupertino, and Material Design. Hence, Flutter applications are more stable.
  • React Native enjoys a stronger community backing which is an important advantage for an open-source framework. On the other hand community support for Flutter is smaller in comparison to React Native. Find more details about differences in this blog.
React Native vs Cordova
  • React Native apps excel in performance while Cordova apps, being WebViews, are slower and lesser responsive.
  • React Native offers a speedier interaction with core components and better native UX as it renders HTML as native UI in comparison to Cordova.
  • Cordova offers more code reusability across various platforms.
  • React Native provides a finer native user experience in comparison to Cordova
  • Debugging is easier and simpler with React Native.
React Native vs Ionic
  • While React Native follows the principle of “Learn once and write anywhere”; Ionic’s theory is “Write once and run anywhere”.
  • The Ionic developers encounter an easier learning curve due to web technologies as compared to the React Native developers.
  • React Native apps are much faster than Ionic apps and also possess elegant interfaces like native applications.
  • React Native requires an emulator or real mobile device for code testing whereas the Ionic code can be tested using any browser.
React Native vs Xamarin
  • Both are open-source platforms but Xamarin is free only for small firms and individuals.
  • React Native offers some built-in components like buttons and text inputs that are partially adaptive. These components have to be rebuilt in case of advanced features. But, Xamarin. Forms provide a complete cross-platform toolkit having native UI components for Android and iOS that are compiled into platform-specified UI components.
  • React Native boasts of better community support while Xamarin enjoys greater code reusability.

Bottom line

I hope the comparison of React Native and its contemporaries was enlightening and will assist the businesses planning to develop cross-platform apps to decide on the best cross-platform framework that suits their needs.
For technical assistance with any of these aforesaid frameworks; contact Biz4Solutions; a prominent and highly experienced mobile app development company.

New React Native Architecture- Value Offerings and Improvements in 2020!

New React Native Architecture- Value Offerings and Improvements in 2020!
React Native architecture
React Native, ‘the minimalistic JavaScript framework’, was actually discovered as a side-project while working on ‘React.js’- Facebook’s another important project. The principal motive behind React Native’s discovery was to find a comprehensive solution for creating cross-platform applications with native properties.
But surprisingly, this framework became way more popular than anyone thought, despite having some flaws. To make it more powerful, it was strongly backed by the huge open-source community of Facebook. Also, in the year 2018, the Facebook team announced the re-architecture of this framework for addressing all the existing issues faced by engineers during React Native development. Today, the React Native framework has become one of the most preferred choices of developers for creating modern-day SPAs and mobile apps.
React Native is still progressing and a host of React Native development companies have emerged across the globe, due to a massive demand for this framework.
So what’s new in React Native in 2020? Well, the framework is about to release its new architecture in the market. In this article, we will have a glimpse at React Native’s enhancements in 2019, the basic React Native architecture, and its new update in 2020.

Highlights of the React Native in 2019

In 2019, React Native introduced several versions with some amazing modifications and tools for React native development. Let’s explore them.
Updates in Version 0.60
  • For speeding up the development of the repositories, the team moved the main packages to distinct repositories
  • The start screen was modified and made more informative
  • Android X was introduced. Facebook also released a JavaScript engine which was optimized for React Native, Hermes. Hermes enables Android apps to use lesser memory, faster launching and apps are much lighter in size.
  • The helper was updated too after a long time
  • Auto-linking of the native modules, another new feature was introduced
  • CocoaPods were merged as a section of the React Native IOS project
Updates in Version 0.61
  • The hot-reloading and live-reloading features were replaced by the well-functional Fast Refresh feature.
  • Another significant feature- React Native doctor was launched in this version which ensures that migrations and updates become hassle-free.
Updates in Version 0.62
  • The team announced that Flipper, a feature that enhances the debugging of mobile apps in both- Android and iOS, will be introduced.

Overview of The Old React Native Architecture

Main objective of this framework is to help React Native developers to write JavaScript React code so that UI can be displayed correctly at the same time developer can access the native capabilities in the app. Mechanism for Android/iOS ecosystem typically looks like this:
React Native app architecture
There are 3 threads running in parallel in the React Native apps like JS thread, Native thread and, Shadow thread.
JS Thread is where the code of JavaScript is read fully and then compiled. Here the business logic of the app also resides.
Shadow Thread does the layout calculation. It makes use of Facebook’s layout engine named Yoga for calculating flexbox layout and then sends this information to the UI thread.
Native Thread does handling of the user interface. When the app needs to access native capabilities or UI needs to be updated, communication takes place between this thread and JS thread.
In this older architecture, C++ Module Bridge had to be used to make the communication possible between JS thread and Native. Every time data received from JS thread or Native had to serialized as JSON and then had to be sent to the queue and then after arrival had to be decoded. Due to the bridge that is being used for communication, there was an inherent delay in the synchronization between the native and JS code.

Highlights of Re-architectured React Native Framework in 2020

react native app development
To address some of the existing issues related to the bridge in React Native, Facebook has taken the important step of going for a revamp in the architecture of this framework. There will be enhancements done in some of the React Native Modules. For instance, a Type-safety feature would be introduced for improved safety between JavaScript and Native-side code. There will be default lazy initialization of Native Modules for faster startup. Also, there will be the implementation of a new thread-safe of the React Native UI layer. It will help in better native interoperability, faster startup, elevated UX of core components, etc.
Another update will focus on a new set of APIs for the initialization of React Native. It will be dependent on the new native module system and the new renderer. The overall aim is the improvement of the startup time.
JavaScript Interface- JSI will be another important update that will be useful during native development. For this, the Bridge feature will be deprecated gradually. JSI act as an enabler for TurboModules and Fabric. Now, the JS bundle can make use of any JavaScript engine and is not limited to just JSC. The JSC engine can be replaced with a JS engine like V8 for instance.
JSI helps in the following:
  • In loading JS bundle
  • calling functions between JS and C++, creating JS runtime
  • for creating and accessing JavaScript objects from C++
Also, JS can now hold the reference to C++ Host Objects and call methods on them with the use of JSI. This will ensure that the Native and JavaScript realms will be aware of each other. So we can say that complete interoperability will be possible between all threads. Also, React Native developers will now be able to handle very large panels of systems.
A concept of shared ownership is being introduced in this new architecture which allows the JS code to directly communicate with the native code from the JS thread. So the serializing to JSON the messages won’t be required to pass across and all the asynchronous issues, congestion, etc. on the bridge would be removed.
This new React Native app architecture also allows better control over native modules as developers can use native modules when the need arises instead of loading all of them at the start-up level. Consequently, there is a huge performance improvement during the start-up phase.
Do you want to design a modern-day React Native app for your next project?

Final Words:

Since its inception, React Native has accumulated several features and functionalities that have become redundant today. So, to match the needs of next-gen apps, and other software products, the framework is cleaning away the unnecessary and outdated sections. This new architecture is an attempt to make the React Native development services highly efficient to create performant apps. Some features have even been replaced by their advanced counterparts. The core modules like AsyncStorage and Webview have been gradually removed and changed into the community managed repositories.
Besides this update, the React Native developer tools will make the development process much easier and impactful. All this is going to help the React Native developers a big time in improving the overall work-flow, time-frames, development process, predictability, reliability, and much more.
The re-architecture of React Native is expected to get completed in the coming few years and the future of this technology definitely looks bright.
We hope this blog provided you with some useful insights.
Do share your thoughts on this in the comments section.
We would love to hear from you.