What's So Special About…React Native?

Fastdev React Native deveopler

For many, React Native is an invaluable asset when it comes to developing mobile applications.

To find out more we caught up with Fastdev Frontend developer Gleb Komarov. We discovered why React Native is so in demand and why you might consider using it for your next project.

React Native

Fastdev: So Gleb, what’s so special about React Native?

Gleb: React Native (also known as RN) is a popular JavaScript-based mobile app framework that allows you to create native mobile apps for iOS and Android. Essentially, the framework allows you to create applications for different platforms using the same code base.

FD: What’s the difference between React and React Native?

G: Well, RN powered by React, allows developers to use a set of UI components to quickly compile and run iOS and Android apps.

Both React and RN use a mixture of JavaScript and a special markup language called JSX. However, the syntax used to render elements in JSX components is different between React and RN. Also, React uses some HTML and CSS while RN allows you to use native mobile UI elements.

Hence, although these two frameworks are related to each other, they are used for different purposes. Knowing about React will not be enough to develop mobile applications for iOS and Android. On the other hand, knowledge of RN will be enough to make a site on React or, like Twitter and Uber, on RN Web.

FD: Ok, just to be 100% clear for those of us not deep in React or RN, React is for web and React Native is for mobile?

G: No. You can use RN for developing web applications too.  If we talk only about the React library, then it can be used to develop user interfaces for desktop, web, and mobile applications. That is, this library allows us to make our interface dynamic, which changes depending on our actions.

FD: So what’s the reason React Native is doing so well?

G: There are several reasons for the global success of RN.

  1. With RN, companies only need to create code once, they can then use it to power their iOS and Android apps. This means huge savings in time and resources.
  2. RN was built on top of React*, a JavaScript library that was already extremely popular when the mobile platform was released.
  3. The framework allows front-end developers who previously could only work with web technologies to create reliable, ready-to-use applications for mobile platforms.

FD: So… React Native is great because I can create an application for iOS and Android with one code base, but can I also use the same code base for web? Or would I still use React?

G: Yes, there are ways to create real cross platform apps using RN framework — both for web and mobile… But, It is important to remember that if you are using RN you are automatically using React.

*React (also known as ReactJS) is a library used to create the interface of a website. Similar to React Native, it was also developed by the Facebook engineering team.

All about Gleb:

Well not all, but what you need to know.

Gleb was a trained and practising lawyer who fell out of love with law. While travelling around Vietnam questioning, “what next?” he asked a friend about developing and discovered his new love. He’s most attracted to being able to create something of use to people and finds programming both challenging and enjoyable. Currently residing in Istanbul Gleb plays the guitar, loves his dog and tries to go trekking whenever he can. Beyond guitars, dogs and trekking Gleb is a frontend / mobile developer on React/RN.

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