Next to Flutter and Ionic, React Native has been hailed as a breakthrough in cross-platform app development, promising an exceptional mobile user experience. A shared code repository across platforms? Reusable components? It’s an enticing proposition indeed.

React Native is lauded for its “Learn once, write anything” approach, ensuring your app maintains a native look and feel on iOS and Android while allowing platform-specific modules. For developers proficient in JavaScript and React, adopting React Native and commencing development is a seamless process.

We’re immensely proud of the app’s outcome and eagerly anticipate creating more like it. Our developers and several clients are wholeheartedly embracing the React Native platform. In this post, I’ll elucidate why, from both a business owner’s and a JavaScript developer’s standpoint and explore some of React Native’s strengths and limitations.

What is React Native?

In 2015, engineers at Facebook developed React Native. This technology expedites mobile application development and decreases production costs. It’s a framework enabling the creation of cross-platform applications compatible with both Android and iOS.

By utilizing JavaScript, the predominant programming language according to the StackOverflow survey, developers can write code for a native Android and iOS application. Upon completion, the resulting file mirrors one produced using the platform’s native language.

Business Perspective on React Native

In contrast to platforms like Ionic, the Facebook team emphasizes understanding the distinctions among various platforms, a philosophy reflected in React Native. Consequently, developers can integrate platform-specific modules for iOS and Android, such as status bars, navigation components, and access to native features like cameras and contacts.

By utilizing libraries like React Native for Web or ReactXP, developers can create cross-platform applications compatible with the Web, eliminating the need for separate development efforts. In a project we undertook, employing ReactXP felt akin to effortlessly obtaining a web version of the application, which was remarkable.

It’s essential to note that adopting React Native does not prevent the need for assistance from native developers, mainly if the application incorporates numerous native functionalities, which may necessitate their expertise.

Developer’s Perspective on React Native

When starting your journey with React, it’s common to opt for a bundler like Webpack and spend time selecting the appropriate bundling modules for your application. React Native, however, operates differently yet shares similarities with React. It provides all the necessary tools for immediate coding without a lengthy setup.

Hot/Live reload, similar to Instant Run on Android, is a popular feature enabling developers to instantly view changes without rebuilding the entire app. It eliminates the need for constant result checking, significantly enhancing productivity and saving compilation time.

React Native offers an efficient approach for tasks such as scrolling, animations, buttons, text inputs, and other UI elements, streamlining component usage compared to native development. This simplification dramatically facilitates basic tasks for developers.

Pros of React Native

What advantages does React Native offer? Developing a mobile app with the React Native cross-platform framework brings numerous benefits. Here, we highlight the most notable pros of utilizing React Native.

Faster App Development Process

The primary benefit of React Native lies in its capacity to develop applications for two platforms simultaneously using a single codebase. Consequently, when working on a specific feature or update, we can implement them for both mobile platforms concurrently. This approach can result in significant time and cost savings, up to 30%, for products released on multiple platforms.

It’s important to note that due to community support and React Native’s extensibility, the range of supported platforms continues to expand. Users only need to install additional libraries to leverage this functionality.

Reduce App Development Cost

Utilizing a shared source code facilitates the creation of the application by a single development team proficient in Javascript. It significantly aids in reducing app development expenses. React Native development requires fewer individuals compared to native development, as there’s no need to duplicate teams for each platform.

Operating with one team and one programming language also streamlines the resolution of issues that may arise during development across platforms. Challenges can arise during React Native development, such as difficulties adapting the app to a specific platform or unexpected events like team member illness.

Developing with React Native often leads to a situation where one platform’s application is finished, but the other requires further work. Typically, developers face challenges transitioning between platforms when working with native languages. However, with React Native app development, such situations are non-existent, ensuring uninterrupted workflow and optimal team planning.

Ensures Sustainable App Growth

One advantage of React Native is its shared components that understand how to present the app on various platforms. This abstraction allows developers to concentrate on app development without delving into platform specifics. Consequently, the app development process is more consistent and less susceptible to platform disparities than separate native teams. It enhances the ability to plan application releases with new features or upgrades.

Rich Ecosystem

Due to its foundation in Javascript, React Native benefits from a vast array of libraries and tools that streamline developers’ tasks and expedite software development.

As of the time of writing, a search on the Javascript npm library repository yields 29,352 results for the term “react-native,” whereas a similar search for Flutter returns only 12,900 results for supporting libraries. Consequently, the selection of 3rd party libraries for Flutter is 44% smaller than React Native.

It’s important to note that this comparison strictly focuses on libraries for cross-platform programming, excluding those applicable to mobile and Web projects. While the number of available libraries may not always reflect their quality, it underscores the community’s dedication to enhancing the React Native framework through tool development.

Additionally, React Native’s alignment with ReactJS functionality contributes to broader access to libraries and tools. ReactJS, a highly favored web development framework, shares common mechanisms with React Native, enabling many ReactJS libraries to be utilized seamlessly within React Native projects.

Seamless Native Integration

React Native possesses mechanisms enabling seamless integration with pre-existing native applications. Consequently, a mobile application may contain both native and React Native-authored views, presenting a multitude of opportunities.

Developers use React Native for specific views, such as account management or purchase summaries, to economize costs. Any functionalities beyond the framework’s capabilities remain in the native code.

Transitioning an application to a cross-platform solution can be accomplished incrementally, mitigating the risk of errors and facilitating expedited deployment of the updated application.

External Toolkit Advantage

Developing applications involves more than just coding; it encompasses repetitive tasks. These tasks include compiling new versions of the application, testing it with automated tests, releasing it to the store, and addressing bugs.

Developers often utilize external tools or services, such as third-party software, to streamline these repetitive tasks. Once configured, these tools handle the tasks, allowing developers to concentrate on implementing new features.

This approach also reduces the likelihood of human error in repetitive tasks. Some of the most popular tools for supporting mobile application development, particularly those using React Native, include:

  • Bitrise
  • CircleCI
  • Code Magic
  • AppCenter
  • Sentry
  • Bugsnag
  • Amplify

Cons of React Native

Developers and app owners encounter various challenges with React Native. While it offers significant advantages, it also presents several drawbacks and hurdles. Considering these factors is crucial when deciding whether to adopt this technology for your application. Now, let’s explore the downsides of React Native.

Not a Native Solution

As previously mentioned, React Native is a cross-platform technology rooted in JavaScript. To achieve this, the framework developers had to establish communication channels between the native environment and JavaScript. Consequently, an application developed using React Native may exhibit slower performance and occupy more space than its native equivalent.

It is essential to highlight that performance issues typically arise in applications characterized by high dynamism, where there are frequent or significant alterations on the display, such as action-oriented games. Engineers at Facebook have diligently worked to ensure that React Native applications maintain a rendering speed of 60 frames per second (following industry standards), thereby delivering a user experience akin to native applications.

Hard to Debug

React Native combines Javascript, Objective-C, Java, and C/C++, which can complicate debugging. Familiarity with the native language of the platform may be necessary, as React Native constantly interacts between the native environment and the thread executing the Javascript code.

To streamline the debugging process, the React Native community and developers have integrated Flipper since version 0.62. This integration offers helpful tools, including bug reporting, log preview, local database access, and performance inspection. In version 0.63 and beyond, they’ve introduced an updated module for displaying errors and warnings.

Not Boost up the Testing Process

Despite the decreasing working hours of development teams, the workload for the Quality Assurance team remains unchanged. The testing duration mirrors that of native development and, in certain instances, may even exceed it. It presents another aspect to ponder when opting for React Native in your app development endeavors.

Testing Complexities

One downside of React Native is the potential introduction of two new error groups due to its cross-platform technology. The first group concerns how the application interacts with native components and how poorly written code leads to errors on each platform.

React Native converts JavaScript components into native counterparts and facilitates seamless communication between them (e.g., a native button signals the JavaScript code upon being pressed for appropriate reaction – learn more here). Hence, thorough testing of a React Native app is essential, as there might be bugs and edge cases within the framework’s components.

However, it’s essential to acknowledge that React Native is a mature framework widely adopted by numerous Facebook products, other companies, and a vast community, ensuring its reliability.

The second error group specific to cross-platform solutions relates to shared source code. Any error within it will manifest across all platforms. Consequently, testers must verify if an error occurs on both platforms upon detection.

In contrast, native development doesn’t propagate errors between platforms. Nevertheless, fixing a bug once it suffices due to the shared source code ensures its resolution across all supported platforms.

Android Support Issues

Initially, React Native exclusively catered to the iOS platform. Although React Native initially focused on iOS development, later releases added support for Android. However, this means that support for Android in React Native is still evolving and might not be as comprehensive or mature as its iOS support.

The Facebook framework development team is actively addressing this issue, with ongoing efforts to rectify it. Nevertheless, these challenges do not impede the development of Android applications using React Native; they necessitate greater precision and thorough testing on this platform.

Another drawback of React Native concerning Android is its performance. It prompted the Discord team to opt for native technology when developing their Android application. Nonetheless, they managed to share 94% of the code—albeit not between mobile applications, but between iOS and web applications.

Difficulty in Cross-Platform Teams

React Native serves as a cross-platform technology. The team must be proficient in web technologies (such as React, JavaScript, and its ecosystem) and native technologies (including project configuration, continuous integration, and UX guidelines specific to each platform). Building a team that addresses all potential challenges in cross-platform application development is considerably challenging.

When to Choose React Native?

The framework is well-suited for developing applications on both Android and iOS with a customized design. Working concurrently on both platforms reduces development time, while the tailored design simplifies and speeds up the styling process for views on each platform. Consequently, it is an ideal choice for applications prioritizing time-to-market, like idea reviews or minimum viable product versions, and for those aiming to minimize production expenses.

React Native proves advantageous for applications primarily focused on providing a graphical interface for API communication, such as purchasing or reporting enhancements in manufacturing. These applications typically involve data retrieval, display, and transmission of user changes to servers, yielding significant code commonality, expediting development, and reducing costs.

When developing native applications, leveraging React Native to create individual or grouped views can decrease creation expenses without compromising quality, as evidenced by companies like Pinaster and Facebook.

For web applications, especially those built with ReactJS and offering similar functionalities to a target mobile application, adopting React Native is worth considering. The shared language and ecosystem facilitate seamless code transition from Web to mobile applications.

React Native is particularly well-suited for projects that do not demand intricate animations or deep integration with native technologies like geolocation or Bluetooth modules. While possible, integrating React Native in such cases would necessitate considerable additional effort.

Alternatives to React Native


Google’s Flutter framework has emerged as a leading alternative to React Native. Offering a distinct rendering approach, Flutter enables developers to render components swiftly. Furthermore, Flutter boasts built-in support for Android (Material UI) and iOS (Cupertino) design, enhancing its appeal. Despite being developed in Dart, a less prevalent language than JavaScript, Flutter is continuously evolving, albeit with a smaller library availability and community than React Native.


Of the oldest frameworks mentioned, Xamarin is closely tied to Microsoft’s technology, using the C# language and the .NET framework. According to its website, Xamarin enables sharing up to 75% of the source code and offers support for various platforms, including Android, iOS, tvOS, watchOS, macOS, and Windows.

Xamarin comes with integrated components that facilitate the development of platform-compatible designs. However, its drawbacks include a smaller community and fewer available libraries. Additionally, the high cost of Visual Studio, the required IDE license for application development within this framework, is worth noting.

Hybrid app

Hybrid applications enable the development of mobile apps utilizing web technologies and any framework, then leveraging the Apache Cordova framework for mobile deployment.

This approach offers the benefit of utilizing pre-existing web applications and sharing code across platforms. However, it may suffer in terms of efficiency and require additional effort to achieve a native user experience.

Native development

The final option to consider is employing native technologies for application development. This method is the costliest as it necessitates two teams for coding duplication.

However, its primary advantage lies in application performance. Additionally, it facilitates the seamless integration of native components like GPS or Bluetooth, offering users a more native experience.

Wrapping Up

When considering mobile app development options, utilizing React Native hinges on project needs, financial constraints, and desired features. The React Native community actively addresses issues and offers frequent updates. Additionally, there are educational resources available to facilitate learning of React Native.

21Twelve Interactive, a prominent mobile app development firm, boasts skilled React Native developers capable of constructing straightforward and intricate applications.

For those interested in pursuing React Native for their upcoming project, 21Twelve Interactive offers IT consulting services to validate concepts. Furthermore, their React Native developers are available for hire to craft visually appealing apps resembling native experiences on both iOS and Android platforms.


  • Cost-effective: Develop for both platforms with a single codebase, reducing development time and cost.
  • Faster development: Leverage existing JavaScript skills and hot reloading for more rapid iteration.
  • Extensive community and resources: Benefit from a vast developer community and comprehensive learning resources.
  • Native-like performance: React Native apps provide a smooth and responsive user experience close to native apps.

React Native is a mature and stable framework that numerous companies, including Facebook, Instagram, and Uber, use for their mobile apps. It’s suitable for various applications, including complex enterprise projects.

Consider the specific needs of your project and weigh the pros and cons of React Native against other options. If you prioritize fast mobile app development, code reusability, and a large community, React Native can be a strong contender. Consulting with experienced React native app developers can help you make an informed decision.