React Native

What is React Native

Initially released in 2015, React Native is an open-source UI software framework that can be used in the development of applications for Windows, iOS, macOS, tvOS, Android, AndroidTV, Web, and UWP.

React Native is a JavaScript framework for writing real and natively rendering mobile applications based on React, which is a JavaScript library developed by Facebook for building user interfaces. In the case of React Native, however, instead of the browser, the targets are mobile platforms. React Native is a front-end framework. In other words, it’s used to code and program the visible layer of the application, the one the end user will actually interact with.

Is React Native Front-end or Back-end?

React Native is a front-end framework. In other words, it’s used to code and program the visible layer of the application, the one the end user will actually interact with. This tool is based on  the JavaScriptCore runtime and Babel transformers and provides developers with native UI elements to build multi-platform applications.

That means that you can use any technology you want to build the backend. Some of the most popular ones used in combination with React Native include nodeJS, Laravel, Django, Ruby on Rails, and even Firebase.

How to use React Native WebView?

React Native WebView is a component that can be used to load the web content or web page that is being developed using the framework.

To use the React Native WebView, the developer must first create the basic URL structure that will serve as the foundation for the application. Then, it’s time to write the basic inline HTML and communicate between JavaScript and Native. The final features can be implemented using a variety of methods, such as the injectJavaScript method.

Learn about React Native components

React Native provides the developer with a fair amount of components and built-in functionalities for the application development process.

Components are bits and pieces of code that can be reutilized and function as building blocks of the application’s user interface. React.js components are similar to JavaScript functions, except they work in isolation and return HTML.

Some of the most versatile and well-known components are:

  • • React Native Modal

    Modal is a component that allows the developer to organically and quickly present the content above an enclosing view in a basic way. With this component, it’s possible to visualize what is being coded and analyze the final result of the application.

  • • React Native WebView

    React Native Webview is a component that allows the developer to load the web content. The advantage of using WebView is the possibility of rendering the web components, which can be a single HTML file or even a whole web page or application, in a React Native app.

What are elements in React Native?

Elements in React Native are JavaScript objects that are the actual building blocks of applications developed with React.

An element is the bit of code that outlines and describes whatever is visualized by the user. Elements are also linked with the use of components since they are the ones that describe the DOM nodes that the components represent.

Most Popular React Native Libraries

There are several React Native libraries to take advantage of when coding an application using this framework.

Here are some of the most popular ones:

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    NativeBase

    Available since the early days of React Native, NativeBase supports a variety of cross-platform UI components providing a developer with support and offering predefined settings for many components that greatly help in the most common cases.
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    React Native Camera

    React Native Camera is a way to gain control of a device’s camera, connecting the native OS and device hardware. It supports functionalities such as photos, videos, face recognition, barcode scanning and text recognition.
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    React Native Paper

    A cross-platform UI library based on Google’s Material Design, React Native Paper provides production-ready components that can be customized and that offer theming support.
  • React Native Bit

    Bit offers functionalities for the development of component-driven applications that are fast to develop, simple to understand, test, and keep. It also offers the possibility to collaborate. Using it, developers can build components outside of an application and use them for as many apps as desired.
  • React Native Ignite

    Ignite is one of the most popular React Native generators, packed with boilerplates and plugins for Expo and React Native, and used on a daily basis to build client applications.
  • React Native Lottie

    Lottie is an open-source component library used to create all kinds of animations and insert them into the application. It was developed by Airbnb and can provide graphic elements for both on iOS and Android applications.
  • React Native Navigation

    A library that allows the application developers to implement a navigation functionality into the project, React Native Navigation is originally written in JavaScript and doesn’t use iOS and Android’s native navigation APIs, recreating some of its subset.

React Native compared

We already covered the many aspects and advantages of React Native that can be leveraged by developers to build applications. But how does React Native fare when compared to some of the most popular alternatives?

  • Flutter vs React Native

    Flutter is newer than React Native, it was created by Google in 2018 and is programmed in Dart. With Flutter, apps behave in a similar way both on iOS and Android, due to a variety of rich widgets. There's a rapid-growing Flutter community that benefits from the excellent documentation and great time-to-market length.

  • Electron vs React Native

    Electron is used for the development of cross-platform desktop applications, supporting the use of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It's open-source and maintained by GitHub with a very active community of users.

  • Ionic vs React Native

    Instead of accessing platform UI controls directly, Ionic implements the native iOS and Android patterns utilizing cross-platform, standards-based web technology. Ionic is web-first, offering the developers a fast and familiar experience directly in the browser.

  • Xamarin vs React Native

    Xamarin recompiles an application to make it native, offering a more native feel for highly customized apps. It provides the possibility to develop an application that is compiled to platform-specific code and it also leverages C# and .NET framework features.

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