React Native: Javascript for Rapid Native Mobile Development

Discover the fundamentals of Facebook’s React framework with Mike Ebinum


This is part of a series of notes from from YOW! Connected conference where leading experts presents their thoughts on all things mobile and IoT.

This is going to be a brief summary, as I have also covered another talk on React Native by Ben Teese.


Up until now, the hybrid mobile app approach tends to fall under two camps.

  1. Cordova/Adobe Phonegap hybrid app approach, where the ‘write once run everywhere’ method falls short: user just don’t get the native app feel, performance, not addressing the different UX expectation on each platform.
  2. Appcelerator Titanium/Xamarin/Embarcardero FireMonkey approach using a cross-platform tool that creates native apps. Write logic once, define custom UI/API for each target system. There is vast difference, in particular, to the degree/extent in which they abstract the user interface.

React Native is different in that it adopts a ‘learn once write everywhere’ approach to hybrid app development.

The syntax JSX looks like HTML, is JS, compiles into objective C code.

React’s declarative programming and UI makes the UI stateless and reusable.

A lot of basic components have been written to bridge JS syntax, or if it’s not available out of box there is an option to write your own component.

The component structure or architecture is great when implemented correctly. Can use lot of boilerplate coding. Rewrites are easier to manage.

Team adopting this technology needs to factor in the learning curve, and be open to doing things the react way.

Mike showcased an app the SEED Digital team built in React Native. The iluku app focuses on making engaging, empathic and accessible learning experience through multimedia.

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