Popular applications in React Native
It seems a little odd that technology developed by one company for one application (or service, if you prefer) has become a platform that developers from all sorts of companies are using for their own apps - but that's what's happened with React Native.
Developed by Facebook to fulfil a need that the company's mobile development team recognised, React Native allows apps to be built quickly, using React and Relay's programming model, for iOS and Android. The Facebook team wanted concise code that was easier to understand and could be developed with quick iterative cycles.
Recognising that others faced the same problems, Facebook decided to release React Native as an open-source project, meaning anyone can develop apps with it, without charge. And they have - thousands of React Native apps are now available on both iTunes and the Google Play Store.
Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Could you get any more popular than AirBnB? The hotel-killing service has turned the accommodation world upside down and there are apparently 60 engineers working on the app, gaining benefits from the easy way that React Native code can be quickly repurposed.
Another very popular service, it's no surprise that Instagram uses technology developed by Facebook as it was bought by Facebook a few years ago. The Instagram interface is pretty simple, so moving over to the new platform was relatively easy. Now the team faces lower maintenance overheads as new functionality can easily be developed simultaneously for iOS and Android platforms.
From the Discovery Channel, well-known for documentaries and other fact-based programming, the Discovery VR app allows the TV company to repurpose its massive library of content for easy consumption on mobile devices. With a user interface written in React Native, the app delivers 360 degree views which can be further enhanced by a VR headset.
Now owned by Microsoft, Skype's latest Android client was written using React Native. The team also released the libraries it developed along the way to the open-source world, under the name ReactXP. The initiative further enhances the cross-platform capabilities of React Native and was crucial for enabling the team to develop features and functions once only, rather than repeating the work for each platform.
The use of React Native, a platform that cuts down repetitive tasks and encourages a 'code once, implement many' philosophy, fits well with Elon Musk's endeavours and Tesla is no exception. The app that controls many of the cars' functions uses React Native to produce iOS and Android apps from one core code base.
Where to now?
React Native has risen quickly to the top of the tree when it comes to mobile app development. Results are faster and the ongoing overhead of maintaining and enhancing apps across all platforms is seriously reduced. The fact it's been adopted by so many top technology companies shows that React Native has a bright future.