Hello React Native! You Are So Cool!

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This article represents a very high level introduction to React-Native platform and, highlights some of the key reasons as to why one would want to try and adopt this yet another mobile apps framework used for building native apps. Please feel free to comment/suggest if I missed to mention one or more important points. Also, sorry for the typos.

React-Native is a framework for building native apps using ReactJS javascript framework. As of current release, it supports building iOS native apps using ReactJS framework. However, the primary objective has been to take the best of web and native platform and create a UIDeveloper-friendly framework that allows developers to write mobile apps for different platforms in a much easier manner without getting bothered about having knowledge to use native platform components appropriately. Mind you React-Native is not based on “Write once, Run Anywhere”. However, it is based on the paradigm, Learn Once, Write Anywhere as also mentioned in this video. Following are some of the key highlights/characteristics of React-Native framework:

  • Native iOS components: One could use React components such as TabBarIOS, NavigatorIOS, MapView, ScrollView, TextInput etc., in place of standard iOS platform components such as UITabBar and UINavigationController and get the consistent look and feel with the rest of the platform ecosystem. React-Native allows developers to write real native code and have access to the full power of the platform.
  • Asynchronous execution: Enhanced responsiveness due to asynchronous operations between the JavaScript application code and the native platform.
  • Touch handling: A guesture responder system like the Responder Chain in iOS platform, to negotiate touches in complex view hierarchies.
  • Flexbox and styling: Simple and easy enough to build the most common UI layouts, such as stacked and nested boxes with margin and padding. Also supports common web syles.
  • Polyfills: One could use npm to install JavaScript libraries that work on top of the functionality baked into React Native, such as XMLHttpRequest, window.requestAnimationFrame, and navigator.geolocation.
  • Extensibility: Supports extensibility in form of allowing developers to build custom native views and modules.

Following are three key areas where React Native platform shines:

  • Touch Handling
  • Native Components
  • Style & Layout

You could read more about why Facebook really built React-Native, read out this blog post on Facebook.

Ajitesh Kumar
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