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React Native: Advantages and Risks

Imagine that you have an all-in-one solution to your app development problems. It saves your time and money without compromising quality. Sounds incredible, right? Well, you don’t have to imagine it since this solution already exists in the face of React Native.

One of the popping app development trends is the cross-platform approach. This concept allows building a fully functional app on iOS and Android with a single codebase. Instead of building two codebases, cross-platform development needs only one written in JavaScript (JS). React Native (RN) is one of the popular solutions for cross-platform development.

Purrweb is a top-notch React Native development agency. It has the experience and knowledge needed to build a cross-platform native application with minimal time and money expenses. In this article, we are going to discuss the main benefits of using RN, as well as its weaker points.

What Is React Native and How It Works?

RN is a framework that uses JavaScript for developing native applications. It was created by Facebook in 2015, and is now a go-to coding resource for developing multiplatform apps.

You can use your JavaScript skills to build real native applications. With RN, you will get a truly native app. All you have to do is write your application’s codes in JavaScript and share them across iOS and Android. That is why a lot of companies prefer to build their app with React Native.

CSS or HTML are not used in RN. Instead, it utilizes messages from the JavaScript thread to manipulate native views. React Native uses JS and its user interface paradigm to interact with the app’s existing native APIs.  

A common misconception is that you cannot build a professional app using RN. Here are some of the apps built with it:  

  • UberEATS;
  • Walmart; 
  • Pinterest;
  • Instagram; 
  • Skype. 

Being a Facebook-affiliated company, RN gained wide adoption at first. Companies enjoyed its strong sides, such as faster development time and lower cost. As time went by, some flaws such as difficulties with debugging and program upgrading started appearing on the surface. After reading this article, you can decide for yourself whether React Native is your cup of tea.

Benefits of React Native

Here are the reasons why you should consider RN as your development framework.

Faster Development Time

One of the main reasons why companies love React Native is increased developer productivity and faster time to market. RN allows developing an app for more than one platform on one codebase. It brings significant time savings. 

You can speed up the development process by utilizing already created components available on the net. The RN community is growing by the hour, and you can find multiple ready-made solutions for free.

Lower Cost of Development

Besides saving your time, React Native will spare your finances. With RN, app development is much cheaper since you don’t have to hire two separate teams to build and maintain Android and iOS codebases. For most companies, saving money is the best benefit of RN.

Consistency Across Platforms

React Native ensures that the user experience and user interface will be the same on both platforms — Android and iOS. Thanks to RN, the application interfaces are rendered to fully native components. It makes the application operation identical to those created natively for both operating systems.

Pre-Built Components

React Native offers numerous already existing components to save you time. Developers can make use of hundreds of libraries created by RN contributors and posted on GitHub. Here are resources you can find for free.

ResourcePurposeNumber of contributorsNumber of users
React Native ElementsSharing of UI elements between React and React Native apps326 114,000 developers
React Native Maps Integration of maps into React Native apps428122,000 developers
Lottie for React NativeCreation and shipment of animations9583,900 developers
NativeBaseA collection of customizable UI elements211 59,500 developers

The amount of ready-made elements enables fast MVP creation to test your ideas and put them to work.

Handy RN Features

React Native provides you with a handful of valuable features such as Hot Reload, Live Reload, and Fast Refresh.

Hot Reload vs. Live Reload

React Native uses Live and Hot Reloading. These two features might seem identical at first, but there is a difference between them.

RN’s Hot Reload feature allows users to see the result of their coding on their phones or in the simulator. With native development, you have to compile your code before you can see the changes. Depending on the app size, it might take from several seconds to a minute. With the Hot Reload feature, it can be done instantaneously. 

Live Reload feature compiles and reads the changes made by a coder. It also furnishes a new file to the simulator, which automatically reads the app from the start.

Fast Refresh

The RN team seems to be listening to their community. They noticed a lot of complaints from the developers about bugs in the Hot Reload feature. As a response, the team released the Fast Refresh feature. 

It fixed all the issues with Hot Reload. It provides other benefits such as: 

  • adding “debugger;” or “console.log” during edits;
  • preservation of React local state in function components by default;
  • automatic re-rendering after you save edits to the component. 

Community Support

The React Native community and the number of developers are constantly growing. With the RN community, you won’t be left behind in case any development issue appears. Here is the list of RN support resources.

ResourceNumber of users/followers/posts
Stack Overflow106,320 questions
React Native Community on GitHub Over 755,000 users 
React Twitter accountOver 518,000 followers
Reactiflux on DiscordOver 167,000 users
React Native Community on FacebookOver 46,000 followers
React Native subsection on 2,180 posts 

The React Native community is growing fast. The only way to feel its friendly atmosphere is to become a part of it.

Drawbacks of React Native

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages, and RN is no exception. Facebook is constantly working on improving its product, but it still has its not-so-strong sides.

Performance Issues 

While RN apps are fast, they still can’t outperform some native solutions. The problem is in the React Native architecture itself. RN is a combination of two threads. One is the JavaScript thread and another one consists of native code parts.

The JavaScript thread is responsible for the app’s domain logic. It controls which views to display, which APIs to call, and how to do it.

The second is the UI thread. It manipulates render views, UI components, and corresponds to user actions such as swipes, taps, etc.

The two threads interact via the RN Bridge. The bridge connects JS and native codes, making it possible to swap data in JSON objects. 

While the threads may showcase stunning performance, the bridge sometimes creates delays. The performance issues become especially evident when touchscreen interactions and animations are used.

Complexity of Coding 

Learning React Native can be complicated. Newbies might find building apps with JSX — the JavaScript syntax extension — extremely complex. Besides, RN libraries with native bridges need developers with in-depth knowledge of different platforms. Developers who don’t know multiple platforms can find fixing some inconsistencies in Android and iOS platforms quite challenging. 

Upgrading and Debugging Difficulties

The RN upgrading process takes too long and requires too much effort. Don’t forget that a minor change or a step missed may also result in a long debugging process. 

Scalability Problems

RN can scale for most companies. However, some companies had to revert to native programming when their apps could no longer smoothly service the size of their user base. 


React Native is a complex framework that has a lot to offer when it comes to app development. Despite its disadvantages, React Native is used by multiple companies and app developers. With such strong support on social media and other platforms, we can only expect React Native to improve and unleash new grounds of cross-platform application development.

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