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Building iOS and Android Apps with React Native

Mobile app development is an integral part of the modern world, with millions of apps accessible on both iOS and Android platforms.

Previously, when creating mobile applications, developers had to make separate apps for each platform using platform-specific languages and tools, a process that was time-consuming and expensive.

However, with the use of  React Native, developers can now easily build cross-platform mobile apps.

In this article, we will explore what React Native is and provide a detailed overview of the things you need to know before starting to build apps for iOS and Android platforms using this versatile framework.

What is React Native?

React Native, created by Facebook, is a JavaScript open-source framework that allows building mobile apps with a rich, high-quality, native-like UI.

It’s free, offers ready-to-apply elements, and is sufficient to develop appealing apps for both platforms.

Here are the main reasons to choose the React Native app development:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: React Native uses a single JavaScript codebase across multiple platforms, which shortens the development time and eliminates the need to hire iOS and Android developers.
  • Native-like UI: React Native utilizes all the capabilities of the UI-focused React library, which means the ability to build interactive and user-friendly interfaces.
  • Native-like Performance: React Native apps render their UI using native APIs, providing the end-users with native performance and experience.
  • Scalability: React Native framework allows adding new features and making necessary updates fast and easy. The changes appear right after you save them.
  • Faster app development: React Native is a good choice when you need to create a small app like a promo without complex features. Start-ups, in turn, can benefit from using it in order to test drive their MVP or app on the market to get some feedback from real end-users.
  • Support: React Native has the second highest number of contributors for any repository in GitHub. It is supported both by Facebook and individual contributions.

Things to Know About React Native Before Getting Started

Before you dive into React Native development, here are some important things to keep in mind:

Getting Started with React Native

JavaScript Knowledge

React Native primarily uses JavaScript for app development. Therefore, developers you work with should have a good grasp of JavaScript fundamentals to work effectively with React Native.

Familiarity with React

React Native is built on top of React, a JavaScript library for building user interfaces. Therefore, JavaScript developers must also understand React concepts like components, state, and props to maximize the project’s outcomes.

Platform-Specific Code

While React Native allows for sharing code across platforms, it may still require writing platform-specific code for certain features or optimizations.

Native Modules and Libraries

React Native provides a rich ecosystem of third-party libraries and native modules to improve your app’s functionality. These resources help developers significantly save development time.

Debugging Tools

React Native offers many debugging tools like React Native Debugger and React Native Developer Tools that help identify and resolve issues during development.

Community and Resources

React Native has a large community worldwide. Therefore, there are numerous online forums, tutorials, and documentation resources at your disposal. You can always take advantage of these resources to consult or seek advice.

Building a React Native app for iOS

Building a React Native app for iOS is a straightforward process and normally requires these steps:

Writing React Native Code

The heart of every React Native app lies in the code it’s written with. By using JavaScript and React, developers can create a captivating user interface and implement the functionality of your app.

React Native provides lots of pre-built components and libraries to help streamline development.

The development team can also incorporate third-party packages to extend your app’s capabilities, further accelerating development.

Testing in iOS Simulator

React Native offers a built-in tool to test your app on an iOS simulator. The iOS Simulator allows for running your app on various iOS devices without the need for physical hardware.

This is invaluable for guaranteeing that your app looks and behaves as expected on different screen sizes and resolutions.

Debugging and Troubleshooting

During development, your app will likely encounter bugs and issues that must be addressed.

React Native provides excellent debugging tools to help identify and resolve these problems.

Developers can use tools like React Native Debugger or the built-in developer menu to inspect elements, view console logs, and access various debugging options.

Handling Device-Specific Features

One of the most powerful aspects of React Native is its ability to access native device features using JavaScript.

Developers can integrate device-specific functionality, such as accessing the camera, GPS, or sensors, smoothly into your app.

React Native provides a unified API to interact with these features, allowing for writing cross-platform code that leverages native capabilities.

Preparing for App Store Submission

Once your React Native app is polished, thoroughly tested, and ready for release, you and your development team can prepare it for submission to the Apple App Store.

Apple has specific guidelines and requirements that you must adhere to, including providing detailed app descriptions and high-quality app icons and following their review guidelines.

Fortunately, React Native offers tools and resources to help streamline the submission process.

Building a React Native App for Android

Developing for Android with React Native is also quite similar to the iOS process. Here’s how the process goes for a React Native app for Android:

react native android tutorial

Writing Your React Native Code

Much like iOS development, building an Android app with React Native starts with writing the code.

Your developers will tackle the power of JavaScript and React to create the user interface and implement the functionality of your app.

React Native’s extensive library of pre-built components and third-party packages also provides a wide array of tools to expedite the cross-platform app development process.

Testing on Android Emulator

React Native simplifies the testing process by providing an Android Emulator to run the app on various Android device configurations directly from the development environment.

Testing on th