8 Things to Consider Before Building an App With React Native

React Native, Facebook’s (now Meta) cross-platform development framework has revolutionised the world of mobile application development. It enables developers to efficiently build highly-scalable, cross-platform applications for iOS and Android. Instead of having to learn a programming language such as Java or Objective-C, developers can use JavaScript. With this single-language approach, React Native has enabled true-native app development on mobile to become possible. The result is that React Native is on the radar of almost every mobile app developer. The tool is incredible at streamlining mobile app development and is most certainly a framework worth investing in. 

That said, React Native isn’t something any developer can pick up and run with. More to the point, it’s helpful to have a full understanding of the tool before embarking on a project in order to avoid costly development mistakes. To help you get the most out of it and avoid unnecessary mistakes, here are eight things to ask yourself before building an app with React Native:

1. Are You Familiar With React Native Components? 

As apps are different to websites, so are the components. React Native has its own components that are unique to the development framework and provide specific attributes, which improve the overall functionality of an app. To effectively use React Native, it’s vital to understand these components. After all, they give you more control over HTML elements and allow you to access pre-existing tools that can speed up development time. 

2. Do you Know How to Organise Components?

Once you’ve got your head around the components within React, you need to work out which ones you’ll use and how. While the level of control offered by the framework is a clear advantage, apps can also easily become disorganised. To avoid this problem, it helps to understand how components interact with each other. Component patterns such as stateful and stateless do just this and can help you to properly segregate components in your project based on their role. 

3. Have You Learned React Native Commands? 

React Native has a unique way of styling apps and is different from other CSS frameworks. While React JS uses universal HTML elements, React Native uses unique components. If you’re used to using the CSS syntax, you can easily use the wrong components, leading to a style element not working. It’s important that you take the time to learn or refer to the React Native syntax equivalent of commands if you want to avoid this happening. 

4. Have You Chosen a Styling Library?

To develop the user interface, a lot of basic styling is required. When it comes to styling each component, this can become extremely time-consuming and take time away from more important tasks. To avoid the problem, a styling library that contains the basic styling for components is extremely popular. NativeBase is one such open-source UI library that can help you to get up and running with user interface components such as buttons, cards and input fields a lot more quickly. It’s essentially like a CSS framework for building mobile apps with React Native. With styles out of the box, you can hit the ground running. Meta recommends either using Expo CLO or React Native CLI, both of which offer distinct advantages and will help you to quickly move forward with your project. 

5. Do You Know How to Optimise for Different Devices?

Unfortunately, there is no universal hardware when it comes to mobile devices and there are a multitude of screen sizes, form factors and requirements to consider. However, it’s vital that developers build applications so that they are fully responsive regardless of the type of mobile hardware. There is no automatic optimisation for responsiveness with React Native, which means you need to know how the various devices work and be able to do it yourself as part of the development process. 

6. Do You Know How to Use State and Props?

State and props are fundamental to the data management within React apps. Props are used for components to communicate with each other and to pass data down from a parent to a child component. State, on the other hand, is what components use to track information that is required every time an app renders. If these are new concepts, then it’s vital to learn more about them before getting involved in more complicated ideas during a development project. 

7. Are You Prepared to Write Unit Tests

If you’re going to work with React Native, writing properly documented unit tests is fundamental. After all, fixing bugs once an application is ready for launch will require a lot of effort. With a well-documented unit test, developers can access different parts of the app separately, test every element at the correct stage, ensure the app runs smoothly and avoid disturbing the development process. 

8. What Features Do You Need to Implement?

You can develop amazing apps using JavaScript with React Native. However, if you want to implement unique functionality, an average JavaScript developer might not be able to do so. Likewise, while libraries can help with many functions, they can still result in some native problems. Depending on the complexity of your app, it helps to have the experience of native developers on hand to ensure that everything runs smoothly across all your target platforms. 

Are You Ready to Start Your App Development Project?

The transition from web to mobile can be a daunting prospect for developers. There are new concepts to learn and every framework has its own intricacies. While React Native can help to make that transition much easier and facilitates efficient app development, there are still things that need to be considered before jumping in feet first. By getting your head around React Native prior to your app development project, or working with a team who are experienced in working with the framework, you will be able to leverage the many benefits it has to offer and have confidence in creating a successful application. 

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