The difference between Native App and Native App Development

The difference between Native App and Native App Development


The difference between Native App and Native App Development

Should we learn the native language of each OS (Java for Android, Swift/Objective-C for iOS) when I want to build both Android and iOS mobile apps? Or should we learn JavaScript to use the hybrid framework React Native?

There are many things to consider, such as the coding skills you already have, the purpose of developing your app, and the longevity of your project.

In this article, Hachinet will show differences in development between React Native and Native apps development.

1. What is React Native?

React first appeared as software for building web interfaces using JavaScript.

It's basically the same as any other framework with tools and best practices, except that it was developed by Facebook, especially popular with web developers.

Each framework has its own convenience, but React's convenience is to bring a clean style to UI development based on the simple idea that an interface is a function of data.

React Native first appeared about two years ago, but it brought the same idea to mobile UI development. In other words, it brought the concept of web development into the world of mobile development.

React Native falls into the same category as frameworks like PhoneGap and Cordova, but I think it's technically better than these.


2. Why do developers choose between React Native and Native app development?

There are two main reasons.

- React Native has great benefits. Once you develop an app with React Native, you can deploy it on both iOS and Android. This framework is compatible with two platforms.

This benefit can be enormous, as native app development for Android and iOS is quite different and inefficient. First, the languages ​​used are quite different. Use "Objective-C and/or Swift" for iOS and "Java" for Android. The API is also different. For example, GPS is used, animations are created, and network calls are different.

- For web developers, React Native is an attractive choice because it's easy to learn from mobile development. Web developers will think that writing an app code using React Native is similar to the HTML web development style with JavaScript as the core language and CSS UI-related tags.

The tools and architecture are also familiar to web developers. For example, you can use Chrome for debugging. There is also the concept of DOM. By comparison, iOS and Android native app development aren't quite like web development, which is why React Native is appealing to web developers.


3. How to build an application with React Native

No matter which platform you develop an app for, you need to know three things:

  • Choosing a programming language for each platform
  • Tools
  • API

For React Native, the programming language must be JavaScript or JSX (a JavaScript-like language with a mixture of JavaScript and HTML type syntax).

The main tools you need are a "text editor", a "Chrome debugger", and "other tools for building and testing". And there's a lot to learn about APIs. The API is often OS-dependent.

For example, everything that can be implemented as an operation on today's smartphones is limited to what can be programmed by the API.

However, there are challenges to this. The APIs used by React Native may not be universal enough for you to implement anything.

Also, some knowledge of web development is a prerequisite for React Native. You can get started with React Native without ever touching the Web, but you probably don't understand much about the underlying architecture.

By the time you actually build your app, you need to learn about JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and object-oriented programming.


4. How to build iOS/Android native apps

The language used to develop native OS apps in Objective-C or Swift. The language for Android is Java.

You need to use the IDE (Xcode or Android studio) for each platform, and we recommend that you also learn how the IDE (Integrated Development Environment), debugger, and build system work.

React Native has its origins in software for web development and incorporates many web ideas.

On the other hand, there is no such trend in iOS and Android native app development, they are purely platforms for native apps and you have to learn something specific to them.

However, learning one will make the other much easier.

Finally, the framework, which probably requires as much effort as it takes to develop a native iOS/Android app or learn React Native. You need to learn how to build everything programmatically.

However, React Native alone will not be able to support all the APIs available on iOS or Android.


5. Is it easier with React Native or iOS/Android?

JavaScript, in contrast to Java, Objective-C, and Swift, is easy to learn and debug. However, there are some disadvantages to this convenience. JavaScript is not a robust language, and it can be hard to notice if there are many errors hidden in the code you write.

Objective-C/Swift/Java, on the other hand, is a robust language in the sense that it has a "compile-time type check" mechanism that allows you to remove many potential errors before executing code.

Swift is clearly a very modern language, but Objective-C and Java continue to be modernized, and the functionality and performance required of modern languages ​​are by no means inadequate. However, as you can see from a Google search, JavaScript has various flaws.

Therefore, learning itself is easier with React Native.

However, it can be accompanied by JavaScript flaws. Also, whenever you use a cross-platform framework, you have to deal with the so-called "once you write it, you need to debug everywhere".


6. Which one should we choose to learn?

If you plan to develop an app and want to find a job as an app developer someday, we highly recommend the native language of iOS or Android for a variety of reasons.

You also have the option of learning React Native. This is an interesting technology, but there are some warnings.

- All developers need to learn a strongly typed, compiler-type, object-oriented language. And Java/Objective-C/Swift are all the best choices for this. Whether you want it or not, you'll learn JavaScript anyway.

- React Native is not officially supported by either Apple or Google. This means that new announcements from the OS or Android may not work perfectly with React Native. For example, when it was announced that new features for the iOS 10 iMessage app were added, there may be no way for React Native to write code for such an app. In these cases, you need to know how to develop native iOS apps. But learning native development shouldn't be a problem.

- You need to keep in mind the life cycle of your project. Recall the example of Facebook's Parse outage. At the moment, React Native is running soundly and some major companies support it. However, unlike Apple and Google, which do not support React Native but are expected to continue to support iOS and Android for a long time, Facebook and many other companies will continue to offer React Native services forever. 


7. Both Swift and React Native are new languages. Which is the better document?

Despite being a new language, Swift has very good documentation. So far, we haven't heard anyone complain about the shortcomings of the Swift documentation.

The official React Native documentation is also excellent. In addition to the regular documentation, Facebook offers a number of useful tips and code samples.

Swift may be better off when it comes to community size and Stack Overflow. That's because Swift came out about a year earlier, Apple released it as an easier alternative language for writing iOS app code, and Apple advertised it every time. 

But if you want to compare the number of questions about Swift and React Native, you have to count a huge number. So for now, Swift and React Native are hard to beat.

Swift is the mainstream iOS development language, and React Native is still less specialized and attractive to developers for use in a small subset.


8. Which is the best choice for cross-platform developers?

A cross-platform developer is someone who builds both iOS and Android apps. You should keep the following in mind:

- A typical mobile app has two main components. app and server-side backend. Whether you choose native or hybrid, iOS or Android, the backend often accounts for more than 50% of development. Therefore, platform choice does not affect 50% of projects.

- Suppose you develop a native app for iOS and Android. It may take some time to develop on the first platform (probably iOS), but it will be faster after the second time. That's because if you have the right architecture, the right class abstraction, the right component layout, and code refactoring when changes occur, you'll spend less time typing code.

- When using a hybrid platform, it is necessary to deal with problems caused by adding layers such as bugs and dependencies. Both issues will spread in React Native, in addition to the existing issues with native platforms.

And if you want to leverage existing code, such as open-source C/C++ projects or native game engines-you can also leverage these with React Native, but first, you put off learning. You also need to write the native code that you would have been doing. And only when you realize this kind of utilization will you be able to gain a deep level of native development knowledge.

- Finally, various apps that use React Native (Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb) are often talked about, but these apps themselves were written by iOS and Android experts.


9. Conclusion

In conclusion, if your app is simple, you don't need to incorporate relatively new features like iMessage, you don't need to incorporate existing C/C++ code, or you need elaborate animations. If you don't, it's enough to start with React Native first.

Also, if the app you develop is quite complex and you're an iOS or Android pro and have some web development experience, React Native is likely to solve all the problems you need to tackle. 

However, if you are developing for the first time, we recommend that you first launch your app on one platform using that native language.

If all goes well, then extend your reach to other platforms. This is also the launch method that Instagram has practiced.


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