The popularity of React Native is increasing at an astronomical rate. That’s because the platform focuses on easy-to-use tools and rapid development. An excellent performance, quicker development, and a timely release are all sought by business owners. 

Regarding mobile applications, developers must choose between the user experience and development speed on the two major platforms – Android and iOS. There are many approaches to overcoming this obstacle. But React Native is by far one of the most popular ones. The extensive capabilities of React Native app development make it possible to create a cross-platform app with a fantastic user experience.

If you are a company that wants to build mobile apps in 2023, you should look into React Native. However, we will also look at what alternatives have to offer.

When should you use React Native in 2023?

React Native is a JavaScript-based mobile app framework that allows React developers to develop natively rendered iOS and Android apps. Using the same codebase, you may build applications for multiple platforms. This popular framework was created and launched by Facebook in 2015.

When React Native first came out, many thought it was a waste of effort and money. As a result, “native-like” apps could not be built or supported on the platform. However, times have changed. For mobile apps, React Native is fantastic. The user experience is enhanced with a fast, fluid, and responsive user interface. In addition to being more cost-effective and time-efficient, developing apps in React Native means you won’t have to sacrifice quality or functionality in the process. More advanced capabilities can be implemented by writing the code in an OS-native language (Kotlin and Java for Android and Swift for iOS).

Cross-platform or native? Making the right choice in app development

Whereas native mobile apps are designed to run only on a specific operating system, cross-platform apps, on the other hand, can run on any operating system. Even though cross-platform mobile applications can now run on any platform, they still lack native apps’ adaptability and performance on a given operating system.

To make an accurate decision, you should compare the pros and cons of a cross-platform development vs. a native application development, especially if you want to create a game, AR (Augmented Reality) software, or other high-demanding design. React Native is slowly but surely gaining ground on native applications regarding performance. Be also aware that performance differences are only noticeable in extreme circumstances; thus, React Native may seem like a better idea from a business and development perspective if native performance is not absolutely important to your business.

Pros and cons of React Native in 2023

Developers appreciate React because they can reuse and recycle components built by them and the broad React Native ecosystem. This allows for faster and cheaper mobile development. You don’t need to recruit two separate development teams for native code. From a business perspective, a lot of CEOs and Product Owners also appreciate the following:

  • Great user experience – beautiful native-like design can be built with high performance, as long as you don’t utilize complex design ideas.
  • Rapid MVP development – your MVP may be tested, feedback obtained, and improvements made without spending a lot of money upfront.
  • Maintenance costs – not only will you reduce software development time and save the costs of hiring separate teams, but also you can reduce upkeep costs because you only have to deal with one set of files.
  • Backed by a powerful community – the future of a framework appears bright, especially given how quickly it has taken over the industry and its straightforward approach to solving development challenges.

React Native framework, like any other technology, has its drawbacks that you should be aware of before making a final decision.

The performance is lower than that of a native app because it can’t take advantage of all of the platform’s advantages and capabilities. If your business relies on complex designs or interactions, you should choose native development. Although many custom modules are currently available, there may also be a requirement for some specialized native components that you will have to design yourself.

Examples of React Native apps

React Native is being used by a wide range of businesses, from Fortune 500 corporations to up-and-coming startups. A whopping 7.69% of the top 500 US-installed applications are React Native-based. Here are some of the most popular React Native applications:

The growing popularity of React Native: a 2023 overview

More than two-thirds (68.0 percent) of the world’s population already use a mobile phone, with unique users reaching 5.44 billion by the start of 2023. Over the past year, the global total has increased by 1.8%, with 95 million new mobile users since last year. 

The most popular cross-platform tools are Flutter and React Native. With 8.43 percent of the votes in the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2023, React Native is ranked 12th in popularity. It’s constantly updated, and the newest React Native 0.72 brings several notable improvements and changes. It introduces beta support for Symlink, which is significant for monorepo setups and pnpm users, and will likely have default support in 0.73. Another beta feature is the Package Exports Support, offering a modern alternative to the package.json “main” field.

This version also sees changes in the Metro configuration loading setup. It introduces enhancements to the developer experience: better error handling, improved Hermes error messages, and enhancements to the React Native CLI. The Hermes JavaScript engine has faster compilation and JSON parsing capabilities and added support for ECMAScript new features. Some deprecated components have been removed and are now recommended to be replaced by community packages. There’s also been a restructure of package names under the react-native namespace for clarity. All these changes result from extensive community feedback and collaboration.

The React Native developers’ talent pool is evolving just like technology itself. The more reliable version of the framework, backed by Facebook, is preferred by many newcomers when deciding on a programming language to learn. Consequently, you may expect to find a large number of suggestions if you are looking for a new project or a new job.

Top competitors to React Native in 2023

React Native, of course, isn’t the only cross-platform option out there; there are many others.  Since there are so many variables to consider when selecting a technology for product development, asking “Which one is the best” will not yield a conclusive answer. React Native’s main competitor is Flutter, possibly the most widely used cross-platform technology in the world. Google developed Flutter, and it’s still less mature than React Native. The code is written in Dart, a language invented by Google and not even near JavaScript’s popularity. Microsoft-developed Xamarin, in addition to Flutter, is also worth highlighting for its adaptability and scalability. But the lack of a large and active user base makes it less ideal for UI-heavy applications.

Regarding frameworks’ future, Flutter will not be able to outlive React Native for now. As React Native has been the best choice for the past few years, one technology won’t make another disappear. Even if Flutter has become a hot topic in the tech industry, JavaScript-based technologies will not disappear overnight.

At Applover, after doing a thorough technical analysis of the project, we advise our clients on whether a specific technology is appropriate for their needs. For each project, we evaluate the technical specifications, deadlines, and financial resources that our clients are willing to commit.


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Navigating the Mobile App Development Landscape in 2023

React Native is fast and simple to learn, and it builds modern and professional-looking mobile apps with its flexible, powerful, and easy-to-use UI architecture. It will satisfy a startup or a company that is aiming to develop powerful and high-quality digital products. The framework makes it possible to work on projects for iOS and Android users at the same time, saving both time and money throughout the development process. The technology has been around for a while and isn’t going anywhere any time soon, as we know.