Why Choose React for Mobile App Development

Mobile development with React

Software for portable devices is needed in various domains, and the demand continues to grow. To meet this demand, programmers require reliable tools and technologies that ensure a rapid development life cycle and high quality of mobile solutions. React is one of those tools.

This article provides an overview of React and explains why this tool can perfectly meet your business needs.

What Is React?

In 2013, Meta (formerly Facebook) released its proprietary library named ReactJS to meet the development needs of its social network. More precisely, the aim of React was to create dynamic user interfaces for web apps. This is a declarative and flexible library with an active community behind it. Since it’s maintained by Meta, the view layer of WhatsApp and Instagram are also based on React.

In 2015, Meta announced React Native — an open-source mobile app development framework aimed at creating native mobile applications.

Since then, React has become a widely used web and mobile app development tool in the world. Currently, there are more than 1.2 million websites built with React.

Is ReactJS a framework or a library? The two terms are often confused because both libraries and frameworks are a set of reusable code that any developer can take and insert into their project for solving common tasks. The difference is that a framework contains everything you may need to create a large-scale application, including tools for development, testing and network connectivity. This is like building a house from modules. On the other hand, a library focuses only on particular tasks. We can say that a framework is a collection of specific libraries.

With ReactJS, you can create a vibrant user interface, but it is usually insufficient to build a complete application. You’ll need to select other tools independently to build the entire project. Hence, we tend to call ReactJS a library.

Note!

It’s essential to distinguish peculiarities of mobile app development with React:

  • React (ReactJS) — a library you use to build websites that can work in the browser of any mobile device, regardless of what operating system the device is running.
  • React Native — a framework you use to build native apps for Android and iOS, i.e., cross-platform solutions for mobile devices.

Features

Let’s look at the essential features that make this library so popular among developers.

  • Components — the main building blocks of React applications. These are reusable pieces of code similar to JavaScript functions, but they work independently based on their own logic and controls. There are class and functional components. All React-based applications consist of multiple components.
  • JSX (JavaScript XML) — an extension of the JavaScript syntax that developers use when they need to explain to React what the UI should look like. JSX is like a templating language with the power of JavaScript. With JSX, you pass a function as an event handler instead of as a string. You can use this library without JSX, but most programmers appreciate it for the visualization it provides when working with UI.
  • One-way data binding — connecting a user interface element with related data, which goes in one direction (either from view to component or from component to view). For example, if there is a change in the component, it will be seen in the view, and vice versa. This approach ensures better control over the application, since one change doesn’t impact the entire code.
  • Virtual DOM — a virtual copy of every DOM object with the same properties. It reflects all the modifications done in the app, compares a new version with the previous one, and then the real DOM updates only actual changes. This way, the application works faster, and the memory is not wasted.

React Benefits

Frontend developers worldwide choose React and/or React Native for a range of benefits it provides for mobile app development. Let’s look at its advantages.

1. Simplicity

React is easier to learn than other frameworks such as Angular or Vue. Developers with a basic knowledge of JavaScript can start using the tool within days. This is helped by the excellent documentation and various tutorials and training materials that are available to the public.

The tool is also easy to use. Coding is simple due to the JSX syntax that makes XML/HTML-like text co-exist with React code, and components that developers can use multiple times across the project, saving time and effort.

2. High Performance

In mobile app development, the framework performance plays a crucial role. As already mentioned, React uses virtual DOM that ensures fast rendering. It works the following way:

  • Developers use JavaScript to create a virtual HTML representation — i.e., a virtual DOM.
  • Any changes in the upper layer (user interface) are rendered virtually. For example, when developers create new components, these are virtual components. They are not added directly to the DOM and don’t slow down the app.
  • Then, the corresponding individual elements of a real DOM are changed, but there is no need to update the entire DOM.
  • This way, the rendering process goes faster since modifications don’t impact the entire user interface and the lower layer.

In addition to the virtual DOM, React offers JSX with code shortcuts that also contribute to fast application performance. A similar solution is used in React Native.

So, one of the main reasons developers choose React for mobile app development is that this library ensures fast UI performance and flexibility.

3. Reusability

The efficiency of software development with React lies in the fact that software engineers can reuse code components as many times as they need to, and don’t have to write them again. This helps developers save time while building complex solutions, and makes app maintenance much easier.

4. Cross-Platform App Development

React Native and APIs ensure the creation of cross-platform solutions for iOS and Android platforms with no hassle.

Furthermore, the code for web solutions written in React Native is compatible with the code for mobile solutions because the library follows the same design pattern and vice versa. This is a significant benefit for businesses that need to develop several solutions for various platforms within a given budget and specified period of time.

5. Cross-Browser Compatibility

React is often used to develop web apps that prioritize the mobile version over the desktop version (which can even be omitted). This ensures cross-browser compatibility, as mobile and desktop applications work in different browsers.

6. SEO Friendliness

SEO is an essential aspect of web and mobile development. Unfortunately, many JavaScript libraries and frameworks are not SEO-optimized and have issues with search engines. Many developers see this as an obstacle against using a particular tool.

React outperforms its competitors in terms of SEO friendliness due to its server-side rendering. This means that the library allows developers to run JavaScript code on the server side and return it to the user as a regular web page. As a result, the page loading time is significantly reduced. This makes websites and apps written in React easily crawled by search engines, and helps them attract organic traffic.

7. Solid Community

Strong community support is a key benefit for any development tool. React and React Native have a large and active open-source community. This means that enthusiasts worldwide contribute to this technology and can help you tackle any development problems.

In addition, developers have access to useful blog articles and tutorials created by experienced software engineers, which simplifies the learning process. This fact also explains the popularity of React in the world of software engineering.

8. Testing

An integral part of building an efficient application is testing. What makes React so popular among developers is its scope of testing capabilities.

You can easily test and debug applications using tools such as Jest and Enzyme. Jest is a lightweight JavaScript testing framework, and Enzyme is a library for testing React components. These tools complement each other, allowing you to quickly identify issues in the user interface.

Reasons to Choose React for Mobile App Development

Many companies undergoing digital transformation need to create mobile solutions. The choice of tools and technologies for this purpose is the responsibility of both developers and mobile app owners, as they need to comply with both development and business goals.

Let’s see why React has proved to be the most popular frontend tool, not just among developers but also among business owners.

Reasons to choose React from the business perspective:

  • High app performance and, consequently, better user experience.
  • Cross-platform development with React Native means the creation of apps for mobile platforms (native iOS and Android), so businesses can reach a wider audience of users without exceeding the budget.
  • There are many React specialists on the market, so it’s easy to put a team together.
  • The technology is future-oriented thanks to the large community and Meta support, which makes this a smart investment for long-lasting projects.
  • Most web and mobile applications can be built with React, so it can be the optimal tool for the majority of a company’s projects.

Reasons to choose React from the developer perspective:

  • Short learning curve and reliable community support
  • A library with rich functionality and flexible development opportunities

Conclusion

React is a great choice for building simple and complex user interfaces in web and mobile apps. Many large companies such as Airbnb and Netflix base their digital solutions on React.

If you need a consultation regarding web or mobile app development, don’t hesitate to contact our specialists.

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FAQ

How much does it cost to build a mobile application with React?

There is no fixed price for React app development. It all depends on the project specification, complexity and time frame, as well as on the skills and location of team members.

How long does it take to build a mobile application with React?

React allows you to quickly prepare an MVP version of your application. For a more accurate assessment, don’t hesitate to contact our specialists.

Who is using React for mobile development?

Mobile and web apps such as Instagram, Pinterest, Airbnb, Netflix, Uber and more are based on React.

Why is React so popular?

Among the main reasons for React’s popularity are cross-platform development, high app performance, the short learning curve and a large community.

About the author

Natallia Sakovich
Natallia Sakovich

A copywriter at SaM Solutions, Natallia is devoted to her motto — to write simply and clearly about complicated things. Backed up with a 5-year experience in copywriting, she creates informative but exciting articles on high technologies.

5 Comments

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  • When creating mobile apps with React, developers use the same design pattern as for web solutions, which saves much time. This is also a competitive advantage for businesses, because they can go to market quicker with several solutions.

  • React has obvious advantages, which you’ve discussed in your blog post. They make this tool so popular among developers and companies. I personally like it for simplicity and cross-platform capabilities.

  • React, Angular, Jquery and Vue.js are the top frontend development frameworks for web and mobile applications. Each tool has its amateurs, so it’s hard to distinguish which one is the best.

  • React is one of my favorite libraries for user interface development. I managed to master it quickly, within a couple of weeks, and now I develop complex and dynamic interfaces easily.

  • Mobile solutions are so important for many businesses today. And it’s important for developers to learn about the most efficient tools that help them create successful mobile apps. React is among such tools.

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