Pros and Cons of React Native: Why is React Native a Good Choice?


Mobile app development has become a cornerstone of the modern digital landscape. Two primary approaches dominate this field: native development and cross-platform development.

Native development involves creating separate apps for each target operating system, like iOS and Android, using platform-specific programming languages like Swift and Java. Cross-platform development, on the other hand, allows building a single codebase that can be deployed on multiple platforms.

This article explores the advantages and limitations of React Native app development and highlights scenarios where it might be a compelling alternative to native development.

What is React Native?

React Native’s origins are closely tied to React, a library created by Facebook for building dynamic web interfaces. Recognising the potential for a similar approach in mobile development, Facebook introduced React Native in 2015. React Native developers can build mobile apps for iOS and Android using JavaScript and React concepts.

At its core, React Native utilises native components, the building blocks of user interfaces specific to each platform. This ensures a native look and feel for the app. However, the core logic and functionalities are written in JavaScript, enabling code reusability across platforms.

Advantages of React Native

React Native offers numerous advantages that make it an attractive choice for mobile app development projects. Let’s delve into some of its key benefits of opting for React native apps:

1. Cross-Platform Development

The most significant advantage of React Native is its ability to create cross-platform mobile apps.

Developers can write a single codebase using JavaScript and React concepts that can be deployed on both iOS and Android platforms. This eliminates the need to build and maintain separate native apps, significantly reducing development time, cost, and maintenance effort.

2. Faster Development and Prototyping

React Native boasts a powerful feature called hot reloading. This allows developers to see changes made to the code reflected in the running app almost instantly. This rapid feedback loop significantly accelerates the development process and facilitates efficient prototyping of app ideas.

It means developers can experiment with different features and functionalities quickly, leading to faster time-to-market.

3. Large Developer Community and Abundant Resources

The extensive React developer community is a valuable asset for React Native development. Developers can leverage a vast ecosystem of libraries, tools, and tutorials readily available online. This extensive support system reduces the learning curve for new developers and streamlines the overall development process.

4. Leveraging Existing Web Development Skills

If your development team already possesses expertise in React for web development, React Native offers a significant advantage. The core concepts and syntax of React are largely similar, allowing developers to leverage their existing skills for mobile app development. This reduces the time and resources required to learn a completely new native programming language like Swift or Java.

5. Cost-Effectiveness

Due to factors like code reusability, faster development cycles, and potentially requiring a smaller development team, React Native can lead to lower development costs compared to native development. This makes it a particularly attractive option for startups and businesses with limited budgets.

6. Third-Party Integration

React Native integrates seamlessly with various third-party libraries and native modules. This allows developers to extend the app’s functionalities without rewriting native code from scratch. This not only saves development time but also simplifies the process of incorporating advanced features into the app.

Limitations of React Native

While React Native offers numerous advantages, it’s crucial to understand its limitations before making a decision:

1. Performance Considerations

Although React Native utilises native components, there can be a slight performance difference compared to truly native apps. This is because React Native relies on a JavaScript bridge to communicate with native components, which can introduce some overhead. Performance might be a concern for apps requiring high responsiveness or complex animations.

2. Limited Access to Native Features

Certain cutting-edge device features or functionalities specific to iOS or Android might be limited or require more complex workarounds in React Native. Developers might need to write platform-specific native code to access these features fully, negating some of the benefits of cross-platform development.

3. Debugging Challenges

Debugging issues in React Native can involve understanding both JavaScript code and native components. This can add complexity to the debugging process compared to native development, where developers are dealing with a single codebase and programming language.

4. Maturity and Platform-Specific Nuances

While React Native is a well-established framework, native development might still have an edge in terms of maturity and handling platform-specific nuances. Native developers can leverage the full potential of the platform’s capabilities and APIs, leading to a potentially more optimised user experience.

When to Choose React Native

The following are some of the conditions where it is okay to consider the react native framework over native development.

Building MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) or prototypes

When the goal is to quickly validate an app idea or gather user feedback, React Native’s rapid development and prototyping capabilities make it an ideal choice. Developers can build a functional prototype with a basic feature set in a shorter timeframe compared to native development.

Developing apps with a focus on core functionalities and a standard UI across platforms

If the app focuses on core functionalities without requiring highly customised user interfaces, React Native can be a great fit. The cross-platform development approach ensures a consistent user experience across both iOS and Android while reducing development time.

Leveraging existing React development expertise within the team

If your development team already has experience with React for web development, their existing skills can be readily transferred to React Native development. This reduces the learning curve and allows them to become productive quickly, accelerating the development process.

Prioritising cost-effectiveness and faster development cycles

The cost of developing an app React native app is surprisingly cheap. When budget constraints are a concern and getting the app to market quickly is crucial, React Native’s cost-efficiency and rapid development capabilities become significant advantages.

When to Consider Native Development

While React Native offers numerous benefits, native development remains the preferred choice in some situations. They include but are not limited to the following:

Apps require top-tier performance and complete access to the latest native features

Native development offers a clear advantage for apps that demand the absolute best performance or rely heavily on cutting-edge device features specific to iOS or Android. Native apps can leverage the full potential of the platform’s hardware and APIs, leading to a more optimised and responsive user experience.

Situations where a highly customised and platform-specific user experience is crucial

If the app requires a highly customised user interface that leverages unique platform features or interactions, native development might be a better choice. Thanks to platform-specific features, native developers have more control over the UI and can create experiences.

Project Complexity

For applications with intricate functionalities and high-performance demands, native development might be the preferred path. Native development allows for optimal performance by taking full advantage of the underlying capabilities of each platform (iOS or Android). This is because native apps are written in the platform’s specific programming language (Swift for iOS and Java/Kotlin for Android), enabling them to leverage device-specific features and hardware for a more responsive and fluid user experience.

Team Skillset and Learning Curve

Suppose your development team is proficient in languages like Swift or Java and has experience with native development for the target platforms. In that case, this approach might offer a smoother development process with a potentially shorter development timeline.

Long-Term Maintenance and Code Reusability

React Native offers a significant advantage in terms of code reusability. A single codebase can be used to develop the core functionalities of your app for both iOS and Android, leading to faster development times and potentially lower initial costs. However, maintaining a single codebase over time can become challenging, especially as native platforms evolve and introduce new features. Keeping the codebase compatible across both platforms may require additional development effort in the long run which can be ultimately avoided by developing native apps instead.


React Native offers a compelling solution for cross-platform mobile app development, enabling developers to build apps for both iOS and Android using a single codebase. However, it’s crucial to understand its strengths and limitations. By carefully considering project requirements, development team expertise, and desired functionalities, you can make an informed decision about whether React Native or native development is the better fit for your project.

It’s also critical to note that there’s no single “perfect solution” for mobile app development. The ideal approach depends on your specific project requirements and team skillset.

For complex applications where peak performance is paramount, native development might be the better choice. For less intricate projects with a team more comfortable with JavaScript, React Native can be a compelling alternative, offering faster development times and the benefit of code reusability.

Ultimately, carefully weigh the trade-offs between initial development speed, long-term maintainability, and team expertise to make an informed decision that aligns with your project goals.