Mobile Application Development: Overview of Native and React Native Approaches

Technical decisions such as choosing whether to develop two Native iOS and Android apps or whether to go with one cross-platform React Native application can be quite a struggle.

While both options empower to develop highly functional mobile apps for two platforms, they are quite different from each other. We prepared a brief overview to help you understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Native app development.

Native applications are developed for a particular platform taking into account the specifics of this platform and access to all its resources.

Android requires coding in Java or Kotlin using Android Studio and iOS requires coding in Swift or Objective-C where integrated development environment is Xcode. These are strict, statically typed languages with exact rules which at first glance may seem like an obvious downside. But in fact, it is what creates a real value of native development. And makes it easier to detect hidden errors and prevent unexpected effects.

Moreover developing in a native environment gives direct access to all APIs. It helps to get access to the features or data of an operating system, application, etc., and Third-Party libraries (ready-made solutions).

The Native platforms are being supported by Google and Apple. This makes it easier to keep up with hot mobile trends like Face ID and immediately implement new updates.

Native development is ideally combined with IOS and Android design guidelines. It is often used for highly complex UI, sophisticated animations or advanced hardware integrations.

Going native is always a great choice when it comes to performance, speed, and security. That’s why businesses tend to stick to this option while creating banking, IOT or other complex applications.

However specific platform rules and features make IOS and Android app creation completely different processes. Therefore it involves separate teams to build two applications and makes apps development/maintenance cost-consuming.  


Native app development

Direct access to APIs and Third-party librariesDeveloping two separate applications
Strict languages
Best for implementing complex features
The safest option for long term

React Native app development.

React Native is an open-source framework for developing cross-platform applications for iOS and Android. Being first introduced in 2015 by Facebook, this approach gained its popularity by having an almost native performance but spending less time and efforts on development.

React Native uses JavaScript web programming language and JSX markup syntax.

Mobile application development is a complicated process that includes a number of revisions before an actual release. When developing in React Native programmers can use hot reloading and apply changes in real-time mode, which helps to make the debugging process faster.

The codebase is almost completely reusable for both IOS and Android. Except for some native modules such as push notification, deep linking etc. Which should be written in the native languages and then included into the rest of the code. That, in turn, requires knowledge in native languages.

Cross-platform approach and particularly RN works best for prototyping or MPV products. This allows fast product launch on both Google Play and App store. Which gives an opportunity to test and validate the new idea, shape the initial concept based on real user feedback.

React Native is constantly growing and improving. However, there are some concerns about long-term support of the framework by Facebook and emerging of new powerful cross-platform solutions like Flutter. Still, it has proven to be a smart choice for applications without a need for the highest level of nativeness and complex functionality.


React native app development

One code base – two appsLack of third-party libraries and APIs
Hot reloading Requires some experience in native app development
Simple migration from the web to mobileIssues with implementing complicated interface components and animations
The cross-platform framework with the largest audience in the Internet.

To sum up

Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. There are many examples of successful Native and React Native applications on the market. Of course, the ultimate choice should be based on your resources and the kind of end product you are looking for. That’s why it’s important to clearly define, a core purpose and key functionality of your application. Once the major features and the results you want to get are determined it’s easier to understand which approach suits best for your needs. KeyToTech developers have rich experience in both Native and Cross-platform development. We always consult our clients on the most reasonable and suitable solutions for startups or enterprises. You can see our latest work here:

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