How React Native Can Benefit Your Agency

Agencies eat, sleep, and breathe in the creative world. After all, it’s your team’s job to come up with that amazing idea that will make your client’s brand the talk of every household. Increasingly, however, agencies play in the software development world, as well. If your agency made this leap, it’s likely that your team’s already conceiving a couple of mobile projects. And while researching development tools, someone in-house probably said, “Hey, we should build this app in React Native.” It’s true, React Native’s popularity has been growing for a few years now. But does it live up to the hype? Will it really help you save your clients time and money while delivering a superior product?

The simple answer to those questions is, “maybe.” So, let’s dive in and see how hiring a React Native developer can benefit your agency.

What is React Native?

Released in 2015 by Facebook, React Native has become a de facto technology for developing cross-platform mobile apps. This open-source framework allows developers to code both iOS and Android apps in JavaScript, as opposed to having to write code in 2 separate languages. Because it connects directly with the native operating system, apps built on the React Native framework have the look and feel of native apps–and, in fact, are native apps.

React Native’s Strengths

  • Shorter development time: React Native’s library is stacked with several components that help accelerate progress. Additionally, based on is JavaScript, React Native gives developers have easy access to npm, the world’s largest package ecosystems. With Facebook’s regular updates and with the npm package base continually growing, these benefits are likely only to get better.
  • Write once for multiple platforms: You might not be able to use the complete codebase once for all platforms. However, React Native will allow you to reuse a good portion of code for multiple platforms. And, with its roots in JavaScript, mobile apps and web sites can be written using the same underlying logic, which can simplify code maintenance.
  • Easy UI creation: React Native uses many of the same tools as ReactJS, which was created to speed up UI development. And iOS and Android will render the code in the same way, which makes it simpler to keep a unified look and feel to your app.
  • Extendability: Allow developers to write native code and create modules that can be used in React Native projects for any unsupported native APIs and third-party SDKs that may be required.

React Native’s Limitations

  • Navigation might suffer: Developers still find some weird problems in its tools, like debugging and hot reloading. These issues can significantly slow down development, especially for inexperienced developers. And sometimes new releases of the libraries break some tools and dependencies between versions.
  • Supporting multiple codebases can get tricky: In many cases, you can reuse as much as 80% to 90% of the code between platforms. Even though you can share large parts of the codebase between platforms, most projects will require you to write some parts in native code. If not enough of the code can be shared, it may be more efficient to build two apps: one in Swift or Objective-C for iOS, and one in Java for Android. If you already have to maintain those two codebases, it wouldn’t make sense to maintain a third.
  • Development still requires native developers: React Native can indeed speed development and simplify the code base for many projects. However, to get the performance users have come to expect from mobile apps, most projects will still require native developers to write some platform-specific code. Because of that, the developer you contract will need to have expertise in multiple platforms to design and build the quality mobile apps your clients will love.

Getting the Most From Your Software Development Project

So, is it a good idea to build your mobile app with React Native? There’s no perfect technology that will solve all your problems. If your agency contracts with a software and web development company that doesn’t have expertise in modern technology or rely on old technologies, your customers ultimately suffer.

Our team dedicates time and resources to researching and vetting the latest technologies and are committed to finding the best technologies for your project. Our 16 years in business have given us the experience to know which tools work best for any given situation. With this experience as our guide, we can help you navigate what tech would be best suited to your projects. We pride ourselves on always delivering on time and on budget. If you’re wondering whether you should bring in an outside production shop to build an app for your agency client, we should talk!