React Native development: pros and cons

Did you know that to develop a native-like mobile app for both iOS and Android you don’t have to hire two teams and pay them a fortune? Actually, you can find just one developer or a single team who will execute your idea and release the first version of the product in 3 months. They will build budget-friendly yet cutting-edge apps for both the Android and iOS marketplaces to increase the reach of your target audience.

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react native development mobile
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If you’re asking ‘How is it possible to perform mobile app development in 3 months on a budget?’ We have two words for you: ‘React Native.’ The cross-platform framework allows us to cut in half the clients’ time and money spent without sacrificing the quality of the development. 

We’ve created the ultimate guide, including React Native development, mobile and web backend engineering, UI/UX design, discussing pros and cons of the framework and describing each stage with a timeline. Welcome!

Why is mobile app development blooming?

Currently more than 70% Americans own a smartphone and for Canadians and Brits, about 60%. Honestly, we would say even 90% of people are smartphone users, but leave it to the official statistics. Even among people who use iPhones and Androids, 90% of their traffic is directed to mobile apps, and only 10% to a browser. Mobile apps also have a conversion rate that’s 3 times higher when compared to mobile sites and even 1,5 times more conversions per session than via desktop.

When it comes to any type of development, including React Native development, mobile and web apps come with it. For example, if you already have a web app on React, it will take a couple of months to scale it up and transform it into a mobile app since parts of the code will be shared.

It works the other way around as well. After releasing your solution on one operational system, you can always come back and request post-launch service to turn your mobile app into a web application. For example, we often help clients convert iOS and Android solutions to web apps reusing parts of codes that are complying with the business logic* of the app. 

*Business logic is the description of business processes of the app from the technical standpoint. 

What is React Native?

React Native is a Java-Script framework introduced by Facebook as a hackathon project in 2013 and officially launched externally in 2015. It quickly gained popularity among developers and built a large development community from all over the world. 

Currently, many big players on the market prefer React Native apps rather than ones created on Java/Kotlin or Swift, such as Facebook, Instagram, Walmart, UberEats and other apps that we use on a daily basis.

As with any product, the framework has its pros and cons from a startup perspective. Let’s dive in and see what they are!

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Pros of development on React Native

#1 It requires a single developer. It takes two for tango, but only one for the React Native mobile apps development. The framework is based on one of the most popular programming languages: JavaScript. Therefore it’s easy to find a developer who can build a versatile solution without going far into the jungles of language specifics for different operating systems. Check out our article, if you want to know how and where to find developers for your project.

#2 It uses a shared codebase. On average Android and iOS solutions built on React Native share around 60-75% of the code, depending on the product, with Windows and tvOS compatibility as well. For instance, Walmart apps were clamed to share up to 96% of their code.

#3 It’s cost-efficient. Following our previous points, a software engineer will spend less time and effort creating your solution, which means less money will be paid from your side even if they charge by working hours or you agreed on a fixed price. According to our estimation, React Native apps development is half the cost of native development.

#4 Faster time to market. With React Native you can launch an MVP in a couple of months, collect feedback and adapt the solution to the audience’s needs to polish your idea.

If you already have an app working on iOS, with React Native you can broaden the audience and reach a wider market by building an Android app and reusing the code. In this case, development will cost you much less the initial maintenance cost.

react native development mobileThis food delivery app is a perfect example of a solution built on React Native.

Find out how we build the app step-by step here:

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Cons of the development on React Native

#1 It’s not a fully native solution, but the thing is that no one will ever notice because React Native code embeddeds in the native code. 

Plus, some parts will still be written in native code, where it is needed. This means you might need the support of a native development to bridge these gaps, but if you hire a team, it’s not going to be your problem.

#2 It depends on community tools (sometimes). The base of React Native components is expanded by its developers themselves. This means that if you want to implement some complex features, like Face ID, to your app, you will need to either download a third-party package for React Native apps with these tools, or write a native code. The good news is that most common tools already exist, so this problem comes up in only rare cases. 

Our experience

At Purrweb, we have worked with React Native for more than 6 years, so here is our honest opinion:

We decided to focus on React Native development, mobile apps and MVP development because it allows us to create two native-like apps for Android and iOS with a user-friendly interface while only involving one team. Moreover, it saves our clients time and money, and happy client, happy developer. So for us, the pros definitely outweigh the cons!

CTO at Purrweb

How to build a cross platform app on React Native

After you make the decision to jump into the React Native development, mobile apps and coding world, you have three options. First, to learn JavaScript yourself and build basic React Native apps. Of course, there are many tutorials on the Internet, but why create so much hassle if you can delegate?

The second option is a freelancer, but then you have to ensure that they complete tasks on time and deal with the unpredictable quality of the work. Also, if you want the solution to be easy to navigate around, you will definitely need to hire a UI/UX designer and supervise them, acting as a mediator between all your freelancers.

Finally, you can hire a full cycle development team. They usually work full-stack, meaning they perform both front end and back end development and they have on-site UI/UX designers, QA engineers to test the solution, and a project manager to control deadlines and supervise the developers. Full house!

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6 Steps of React Native development

If you make the decision to work with a team of developers, the process will consist of 6 steps. We support the transparency of the development process and timelines, so here we describe what each stage means and how it works in general, with the example of Purrweb: 

  • Interview. Our first goal is to get to know your idea better. We don’t require project documentation or papers (save the planet 🌱). Instead, we will ask you to devote some time, sit and talk with us, and explain your views and goals.
  • UI/UX design. We check the design of fellow products, create a mind map and come up with wireframes according to iOS and Android guidelines. When you approve the concept, we start building screens. 

Our approach is to start development as soon as you confirm the eventual visual design. It allows us to shorten the time of development up to 3 months.

  • Feature prioritization. We use the MoSCoW method to sort and prioritize features of your future solution, making sure all must-haves are included in an MVP.
  • Development. To manage projects, we prefer the Scrum method. We split the development process into sprints and present intermediate builds to you to always keep you up-to-date. To check the feasibility, we work with TestFlight and Google Play beta releases, which allows us to run testing on real devices. 
  • QA testing. We perform both automatic and manual testing to find and close every bug possible.
  • Release. We upload your robust app to the App Store and Google Play and get them approved. However, that is not the end! We also provide post-launch support and further scale-up if needed.

Timelines of React Native development, mobile design and other services

Typically, it takes 3-4 months to develop an MVP that you can use for collecting feedback and validating the idea, but every case of mobile app development is unique.  Here is an approximate time frame of every step.

react native development mobile

At Purrweb, we know that a business idea should be validated as soon as possible, so spending more than a couple of months on development is unacceptable. That’s why we provide React Native development services, mobile and web backend engineering, quality assurance, testing and UI/UX design, while our clients take their time developing a marketing strategy, pitching to investors and researching the market thoroughly.

If you are looking for a full stack of developers with wide experience in UI/UX design, we will be ready to help.

If you want to develop your MVP with us on React Native, just drop us a line.

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