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5 Reasons We Like React / React Native

Why React / React Native?

In evaluating technology platforms, we ask ourselves 5 questions:

  • What is our level of experience / capability with the technology?
  • What is the cost of building in the technology relative to other technologies?
  • What is the cost of maintaining in the technology relative to other technologies?
  • What is the projected future for the technology?
  • What are the technical advantages or limitations of the technology?

We’ll use this framework to evaluate React and React Native as our preferred development technologies.

1. Pop Art’s React / React Native Capabilities

React is at heart a JavaScript technology, which gives us an immediate boost, as every developer at Pop Art is proficient at JavaScript.  JavaScript has become the lingua franca of web development, meaning it’s impossible to build a modern web application without it. Any company in the web application space therefore has to have significant JavaScript capabilities.  Node, React, and React Native allow us to capitalize on those capabilities, eliminating the “resource distraction” of additional languages (Objective C, C#, Java). It also allows more flexible resource coverage, allowing resources to move between projects more easily, enabling us to be more nimble and responsive.

React Native in particular is attractive because traditionally it’s been very difficult to move mobile developers to web and vice versa.  Because of React Native’s unique correspondence to React, it is now much easier to move between web and mobile.

2. What is the Cost of Building in React / React Native?

React and React Native compare very favorably to other platforms.  As mentioned before, the ubiquity of JavaScript allows for more flexible resource allocation, knowledge transfer, and collaboration.  Additionally, React Native allows us to easily target both iOS and Android with almost identical code bases, significantly reducing the cost of building cross-platform mobile applications.

The market for React / React Native programmers is currently strong, meaning it is easier to find very high-quality resources and there are excellent training opportunities and development resources.

React and React Native have an extremely robust “component architecture”, meaning that commonly used components can be effectively re-used within an application and between applications, reducing the cost of “re-inventing the wheel.”

3. What is the Cost of Maintaining React / React Native?

For all the reasons React / React Native applications are cost effective to develop, they are also extremely cost-effective to maintain.  In addition to those advantages, React and React Native applications support very robust test infrastructure and development tools that reduce the danger of regressions.

4. What is the Projected Future for React / React Native?

React and React Native are backed by Facebook, which has not only invested heavily in these technologies, but our actively using them on their own projects, increasing the likelihood that they will be around for a long time, and enjoy an active developer community.

Other industry heavyweights have recognized the technological promise of React and React Native, and are actively using these technologies, such as:

  • Netflix
  • Chrysler
  • LinkedIn
  • Microsoft
  • Atlassian
  • Airbnb
  • Box
  • Capital One
  • CloudFlare
  • Jeep
  • Ram Trucks
  • Lyft
  • New York Times
  • Paypal
  • Salesforce
  • Khan Academy
  • Walmart

While Google’s Angular is still a popular solution, React is on track to outpace it:

(Source: Google Trends)

5. What are the technical advantages or limitations of the technology?

On the React side, very little. There are some challenges inherent in using well-established non-react libraries in a react application (for example, the D3 visualization library or Twitter Bootstrap), but we have been able to overcome these challenges, and there is a lot of community support for providing React wrappers for the more popular projects.

React offers excellent browser compatibility and performance (like any technology, it can perform poorly if used incorrectly, but we know how to use it correctly!)

React Native takes a well thought-out approach to cross-platform mobile application development.  Unlike Ionic and PhoneGap, which leverage device browsers to render applications (essentially embedding a website within an app), React Native actually generates native code, which yields higher performance and a more consistent native experience.  That said, there is always a compromise with any cross-platform mobile solution, and some sophisticated mobile applications may be better suited for native development (especially applications that make use of cutting-edge device features). It should be noted that because of React Native’s architecture (generating native code instead of encapsulated web applications), native experience is sometimes necessary for sophisticated features.  We have found React Native to be the most promising of the cross-platform mobile solutions.

Summary

The following are summaries of our assessment of the most popular web and mobile development platforms:

Web Application Technologies

React   AngularVue     
Development CostsAAB
Maintenance CostsABC
Projected FutureABB
Technical CapabilitiesABA

 

Mobile Application Technologies

React Native     Ionic / PhoneGapXamarin          
Development Costs                                       ABB
Maintenance CostsADC
Projected FutureABB
Technical CapabilitiesBCB

Additional Resources:

  1. We’re hiring! Apply (or refer someone) to become Pop Art’s next React / Full-Stack Javascript Engineer.
  2. Did you know prototyping can lower dev costs and improve your app? Check out 6 Benefits of Mobile App Prototyping.
  3. Want to learn more about how sales enablement helps manufacturers and dealers? Explore Sales Enablement Tools.

 

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