Startups go through a lot, especially when it comes to building a globally-recognized mobile app under a tight budget. However, discussions are rife on the web about the efficacy of React Native web and how it has transformed businesses that are currently shifting their sights to mobile app marketing.
So, is React Native a good choice for startups? How can this cross-platform framework save you money while delivering what you designed your mobile app for? Read on to find answers to these questions and even more helpful information about the React Native app and web.
What is React Native?
This means that developers don’t need to know Objective C/Swift (for iOS) or Java/Kotlin (for Android) to write native-like mobile applications.
This is a big step forward, especially when compared with Cordova, Ionic, and other HTML-builders that replace the native application with WebViews and as browsers within the app. This results in poor performances and does not provide users with a native feel.
React Native was developed and launched as an open-source toolset (MIT-licensed) in 2015 by the Facebook Team. No one really knows whether the aim of creating this cross-platform framework was to turn the world of mobile application development – as we know it – upside down.
But somehow it caught on in the tech universe as a dynamic framework, and there’s hardly anywhere you turn to that you will not come across discussions about one React Native app or another.
In simple words, React Native is a cross-platform mobile development framework that allows you to create apps and deploy them successfully to iOS and Android platforms.
React Native vs. Traditional Native
Tradition native applications remain the gold standard when it comes to application development. Other approaches may have gotten tremendously close in terms of usability, performance, and interactivity; however, platform-specific native applications still have an edge.
The traditional native method of building mobile applications require that Android and iOS mobile apps are built separately or independently using different codebases. This implies that the cost to build, test, and maintain a mobile app, the traditional native way is almost twice as much compared to cross-platform app development.
Startups will have no choice but to hire at least two developers or development teams to complete the entire project. It is highly unlikely for one developer or development team to be very proficient at native Android and native iOS development. And even if you are lucky enough to come across a development team or developers who are skilled at the two, the entire process would still take them twice as long.
Most startups don't have the budget to fund such a mammoth project and turn to other cost-effective alternatives. And that is how the rise in the number of startups that create React Native apps shot through the roof.
Some startups are even tempted to only focus on a single platform and build natively for that particular platform while completely ignoring the other operating system. This approach looks more cost-effective and acceptable, but justifying it keeps getting harder.
You will be leaving a lot of money on the table because most customers expect to be able to use any mobile app on whatever mobile device or smartphone they own. Early marketing efforts could also be rendered far less effective if half – if not more than that number – of your target audience cannot use the mobile application.
Of course, these short-comings of platform-specific approaches can generally be overcome by larger organizations. But the timeline challenges and cost is way too much for a startup to take on. Hybrid or cross-platform solutions become the best option for startups looking to cut costs when creating a mobile app.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mobile Development Framework
When picking a mobile development framework, several factors must be kept in mind for your choice to pay off in the end, and that is if you make the right choice. Here are 4 of the most things to bear in mind:
Money is the #1 factor that must be considered when starting your mobile application project. If your goal is to create a mobile app for both iOS and Android platforms, a cross-platform framework is an excellent choice. It is far cheaper to develop a single mobile app for two platforms using one codebase than to build two separate ones for the two platforms.
Availability of Skilled Developers
Skilled or talented mobile app developers are in extremely high demand. If you are very lucky enough to find one, you will be charged exorbitant amounts of money that you cannot afford.
This is why business experts highly recommend that you go for a relatively popular technology and utilized by many organizations. It will be easier to find contractors or developers who can handle your cross-platform mobile app project without paying through the nose.
Time to Market
Do you want to enter the market as soon as possible? Building a minimum viable product (MVP) and confirming its validity can significantly determine your business's success. Using this cross-platform framework will have your React Native app out there in no time, and you can be in business as soon as possible.
Maintenance (post-launch) and Development
Do you have some extensive post-launch maintenance plans? Then you should consider native development. But having a mobile app that is up to date, thanks to the innovative framework as well as third-party packages, you will not experience that challenge.
Examples of Successful Startups that Use React Native
Great and innovative technology is just one aspect of great business. Is React Native a good choice for startups? You can decide for yourself when you go through the following few examples of companies or startups that have used this cross-platform framework to build and use React Native apps as a marketing or business tool:
Uber Eats: Uber Eats is a food delivery React Native app from Uber. It connects drivers, restaurants, and customers seamlessly. Uber's mobile app developers met and overcame the challenge of translating existing restaurant dashboard from web to mobile – i.e., Android and iOS – using React Native.
Gyroscope: Gyroscope is a React Native app that helps you achieve life goals such as improving your overall wellbeing, losing excess weight, becoming more productive, and so on. The mobile app can track your physical activities and provide helpful recommendations in order to boost your lifestyle. All of these features have been innovatively implemented in React Native.
Discord: Discord is a cross-platform mobile app for video, text, and voice communication with more than 250 million users globally. It was designed specifically for gamers; however, millions of millennials use this React Native app as a social media platform.
Townske: Townske enables users to locate the best local restaurants, cafes, and places in nearly every major city around the world via breath-taking photography. Townske’s mobile app owes its stunning looks as well as user-friendliness to React Native.
Delivery.com: This React Native app enables customers to order goods online from local businesses, thereby empowering the neighborhood economy. Over one million customers of this innovative company take advantage of it on a daily basis.
Benefits of Using React Native for Mobile App Development
Many startups have successfully used to React Native for cross-platform mobile development. However, if you are still asking yourself the question, ‘Is React Native a good choice for startups?' You need to take a look at some of the benefits of using React Native for building your mobile app:
The development cost of creating a React Native app is lower compared to the cost of creating native applications. This is made possible because only one code that runs on both operating systems is required. This means that one React Native developer can create a mobile application for both iOS and Android.
Reusable UI Components
A versatile mobile app developer knows how to define components that appear in several places within a React Native app. These components are reusable and can be used in several places without spending too much time on them, thereby saving your money. This is possible since the components are written only once.
Complete Coverage of Major Mobile Operating Systems
React Native allows users to release their Android and iOS mobile apps simultaneously. Even if you are so cash-strapped that you can only create a React Native app for one platform, it will be easy to launch the same app on another platform later on since it is written using a single codebase.
Time to Market
You can develop a React Native app faster than traditional native approaches. This means that whatever date you have planned to launch the app or product will not deviate. With native apps, you will experience lots of challenges since you have to create two mobile apps for both major operating systems.
Access to Lots of Available Talent
Developers are even getting familiar with React, a web-based framework created with React Native as its base. This means that finding a developer who knows this programming language like the back of their hands will not be a challenge when the time comes for you to build a React Native app.
React Native is partially new, but it is one of the most stable cross-platform frameworks out there, thanks to Facebook's support. The platform is utilized within Facebook and Instagram.
Therefore, the technology is continuously improved on both by its corporate backers and the large community.
Reusable Native Components
You can seamlessly extend your React Native app with native components. But for this to be possible, you or your IT team must be familiar with native development. This is necessary so that you can take advantage of native features such as GPS, camera, etc.
Since they are written only once, they can be used in several React Native applications.
What are the Risks Involved When Startups Use React Native?
There is virtually no technology without its negative aspect, and React Native for startups is not an exception. The advantages of React Native for startups far outweigh the disadvantages.
However, here are some of the risks of using React Native as the framework for your mobile application:
Android May Require More Work than iOS
Research has shown that Android can be complicated, especially when it has to do with creating mobile apps based on the React Native framework. In most cases, when creating a React Native app for Android, more time is required to ensure that Android UI components look and work exactly the same as on the iOS platform.
The scalability of React Native apps is more than enough to utilize it in big applications that have lots of users like Instagram or Facebook. However, the scalability may sometimes be too low to be of any use. A notable startup company started with a React Native app in its early stages but encountered maintenance problems with its codebase and had to switch over to a native app.
But then, modern React Native, as well as functional architecture, make such issues far more preventable these days.
High risk of Mistakes that May Affect the Overall Performance of the React Native App
When it comes to performance, React Native apps can be as good as native apps. Nevertheless, it is far easier to make mistakes in React Native, which could significantly and negatively affect its overall performance. But if your React Native developers are highly skilled and experienced, the React Native app for a startup will provide native-like performance.
React Native for a startup is definitely worth considering if you have a limited budget. Following the traditional native approach will drain your startup of the little funds you have.
By now, you know the benefits of owning a React Native app and its associated risks. React Native is an excellent choice for creating cross-platform applications if you are concerned about the speed of development and deployment.
So, is React Native a good choice for startups? Yes, it is, and nothing should stop you from joining the host of companies with React Native for startups to grow your business.