If your business is in need of a mobile app, you’ll likely agree that cost and time-to-market are two of the most important factors when deciding what approach to take in getting it built.
This article explains why using React Native to develop a cross-platform mobile app can provide a wealth of advantages for your business over the alternative options.
When you’re planning to build a mobile app for your business or brand, there are a number of key decisions you’ll need to make such as whether you want to deliver apps native to those operating systems, or by taking the cross-platform approach. This choice can be a bit daunting, especially if you don’t have any past experience or don’t have a technical background. Here we’ll demonstrate how and why cross-platform apps are often the best way to go.
React Native is an open-source framework used for developing mobile applications, similar to other names you may recognise like Flutter, Ionic, or Xamarin. It’s generally seen as the leader among those cross-platform frameworks, essentially providing a more cost-effective, faster alternative to building expensive native mobile apps for both iOS and Android separately.
React Native has access to all features present in smartphones, and the framework is in constant ongoing development, so it’s not limited to certain capabilities or specific outcomes.
Many have the impression that cross-platform frameworks don’t have seamless access to Apple and Google’s updates, but Reactive Native consistently keeps up with the pace of change for both operating systems. This means that you won’t find yourself in a position where there’s a crucial feature that’s unavailable to your cross-platform app.
Of course, there are some particular cases in which it might be genuinely better to go the native route, but these will often be very specific to your unique app requirements. If, for example, you need to develop an app which places heavy emphasis on augmented reality, you may benefit from taking the native approach because there is limited support for cross-platform APIs with augmented reality.
But this is just an important reminder of why it’s so important to have an in-depth understanding of your requirements before you make a decision.
If you decide to build native apps, you’ll have to build one for iOS and one for Android. There’s no avoiding that.
This will involve working with two different programming languages, which will require two separate teams of developers, which means your business is investing in double the resource to get the app built. Developing your apps using React Native affords you development economies of scale that far outshine native development.
With a cross-platform app built for both iOS and Android, between 90% and 95% of that app will run on a single codebase, so only 5% or 10% required to be platform-specific. In some cases, it’s even possible to develop React Native apps that are 100% built on the single codebase.
So, in that scenario, you’ll only need to employ one team of developers, creating considerable savings in cost. This approach to development also gives you a much faster time-to-market, which is a crucial point of differentiation you should be seeking in today’s highly competitive digital business landscape.
React Native also provides you with a useful fall-back option, such as quickly and easily releasing a progressive web app (PWA).
For any users or customers who are reluctant to install your app directly on to their smartphones, a PWA is a great alternative for them to be able to use your app within their mobile web browser. This is possible using a library called react-native-web, which is utilised by global tech companies such as Twitter to ensure their users are always able to access the service.
At Filter, we have a background in successfully developing market-leading apps using React Native for some of the most recognisable brands in the UK.
For example, we’ve worked with one of the leading hospitality chains in the UK, helping them to release both an app designed for internal use, as well an intuitive customer-facing app, both operating on a nationwide scale across thousands of locations.
A cross-platform mobile app will give your users the same excellent experience of a native app, while taking less time to develop and coming at a far lower cost to your business.
While a native app may provide benefits such as specific platform features and marginally better performance, that comes at a critical trade-off of requiring twice the resource, twice the development, and often twice the cost.
There are no limitations when it comes to features, functionality, or capabilities for cross-platform apps, so it makes sense to leverage frameworks such as React Native to take advantage of the lower cost and faster time-to-market. And we say that from experience.
If you feel React Native is the right approach for your business’s own mobile application, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions or enquiries and we’ll be happy to chat through them with you.
To discover how our team here at Filter Digital has delivered digital solutions for a range of clients and partners, check out some of our customer success stories here.
To learn more about React Native, you can find plenty of interesting info on their website.