A brief history of React Native

Oct 3, 2016 · 4 min read
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React Native history timeline

The story of React Native is quite fascinating: what started as , in the summer of 2013, has since become one of the most popular frameworks. The first was in January of 2015 at React.js Con. In March of 2015, Facebook announced at F8 that React Native .

The story behind React Native

After a little over a year, React Native’s growth and adoption rate doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The statistics on are impressive: 1002 contributors committed 7,971 times in 45 branches with 124 releases, and it’s . Plus, it’s constantly updated; React Native is following a two-week train release, where a Release Candidate branch is created every two weeks.

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The number of React Native contibutions to master, excluding merge commits
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The number of pull requests opened for React Native

React Native was backed up by two tech behemoths at this year’s F8 conference: both committed to bringing React Native to and Tizen. In the near future, we can expect more Universal Windows Platform and Smart TV apps to be built with React Native.

With the support of both community and tech giants, it’s not a surprise that React Native is a trending topic and framework. For the first time in the past 12 months, search terms for React Native surpassed iOS and Android development according to .

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Google Trends graph displaying framework interest over time where React Native surpassed iOS and Android Development

Falling in love with React Native

Sometime in November 2015, we started to think about the future of Shoutem platform. After 5 years on the market, supporting thousands of individuals, SMBs and big enterprises building their apps, we knew we needed to take our app creator platform to another level. We faced two major problems: technology limitations and customer demand.

With our current platform technology — based on HTML5, Javascript, Cordova, and other solutions — we knew cross-platform could never achieve the level of performance of native apps.

On the other hand, customers wanted greater customization freedom and more powerful apps. If you add the rise of SDKs, frameworks for web developers, high global competition, and automated app maintenance that , it was the perfect time for a change.

React Native was an obvious choice for multiple reasons. It solved our current architectural problems while allowing us to achieve a level of performance that is indistinguishable from .

Another reason is that React Native is a cross-platform solution: we’re planning to open our platform to other developers in order to supercharge development and build beautiful native apps for iOS and Android. Furthermore, React Native is and doesn’t require learning native iOS and Android languages, or native APIs –learn once, write anywhere.

In the end, we also want to open Shoutem platform to other developers and give them the opportunity to extend platform functionalities with new extensions.

Once the new version of Shoutem is officially launched, customization of the apps will be almost endless. Think of it as a WordPress for mobile apps, where extensions behave in the same way as WordPress plugins.

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Infographic displaying history of React Native and Shoutem

Shoutem UI Toolkit

React Native still isn’t at its peak, and in the near future we expect to see more amazing apps and community contributions that will blow our minds. Remember when we said we fell in love with React Native?

After months of intensive work, last week we finally went official and introduced the first part of the new Shoutem platform, for React Native — an exhaustive UI component set with beautiful themes and animations.

The amount of positive reactions and feedback from the community was astonishing — acknowledgment from , a test restaurant example with by , and many others, as well as more than 1000✮ on GitHub means we are on the right track.

We cannot wait to show you a new version of Shoutem, but until we’re ready to officially launch it, we’d like to hear your feedback on our open-source UI toolkit.

Thank you for reading. If you like the article, please click the little empty ❤ below and make it green :)

Who are and ? Well, we are all about Mobile Apps. Shoutem is the leading app maker platform for building apps and Five is a Design Driven App Development Company with offices in Europe and NYC.

This article was originally published at by .

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