React Native for iOS: Build apps faster and scale easier
Choosing a technology stack for an iOS application is not as easy as it may seem at first sight. Though native development languages have proven to be reliable, this option might not be the most profitable for some businesses. In trying to reduce the project cost, a lot of startups go for React Native for iOS instead. But is it as good as Swift or Objective C? If you’re considering building an iOS app for your business and wondering if React Native app development is the right choice for your vision, this article can give you some answers, as we’ll provide valuable insights about the technology, explain how it can be helpful to your project, and compare the framework with other tech choices.
What is React Native?
Which technologies are used for iOS development?
Launched in 2014, Swift stands as a robust and approachable coding language, ingeniously designed by Apple for the explicit purpose of app development on iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS platforms. Swift has gained immense popularity due to its modern syntax, high performance, and security features. No wonder, many businesses have adopted Swift for their native app development.
Objective C is an object-oriented programming language that was the leading development language for iOS and macOS before Swift appeared. Although it has gradually been replaced by Swift, Objective C still maintains a strong presence in the iOS development community, especially for maintaining and updating older applications.
Using React Native for iOS development is possible, as it enables creators to construct applications across both mobile platforms. You can write a single code and adapt it to either operating system, and the app will have a native look and feel. The framework is more affordable than native technologies, and still it gives high-quality results.
Other cross-platform frameworks can also deliver decent performance and cost savings, but each has its limitations and trade-offs. Xamarin uses C#, while Flutter uses Dart, both of which may have steeper learning curves or narrower community support for specific needs. Compare these options thoroughly and ensure they align with your team’s expertise and goals.
Benefits of using React Native for iOS
The primary objective of any startup is to launch the product to market as fast as possible, without compromising on quality or user experience. These are some of the benefits of React Native that help entrepreneurs achieve these goals:
React Native lets you create native-like apps and doesn’t compromise users’ experience. It provides a set of native components that map directly to the platform’s native UI building blocks. Hence, users won’t be able to see any differences between a native app and one built with React Native.
React Native facilitates the development of a unified codebase and tailor-made component variants for each platform, ensuring smooth functionality on both iOS and Android devices. If you decide to expand and create an Android version of the app too, it will also require much less resources, since you won’t need to build it from scratch. You would only need one React Native team to maintain multiple platforms.
Speed of development
React Native’s shared codebase, hot reloading, and reusable components significantly decrease the time it takes to develop and deploy iOS apps. This means you can get your app to market faster and quickly iterate based on user feedback or new feature ideas.
Lower development costs
In general, React Native development costs 30% less than building apps using native languages. Developers charge for hours needed to create the product, and since React Native allows us to build apps faster, it also reduces the price.
Strong community support
Given its widespread popularity and backing from tech giants like Facebook and Instagram, React Native boasts a vast and active community. This means that you can expect continuous updates, improvements, and access to a wealth of knowledge from peers who have faced similar challenges.
React Native vs Swift
In this article, we would like to compare React Native with Swift, as it’s the most popular native technology for iOS development. Objective C is used less frequently and mostly in combination with Swift. It’s difficult to choose between them, so let’s figure things out. For clarity, we have made a table with the differences:
|Native look and feel
|Suitable for enterprise apps
Swift is tailored for iOS, so it offers higher performance and better responsiveness. It also allows developers to create broad functionality. With Swift, the app will have access to native APIs and all the device’s features like contacts, camera, push notifications, etc. Swift also enables you to make iOS apps compatible with other Apple products like Mac, Apple TV, iPad, and Apple Watch.
On the contrary, Swift has concise syntax and it’s more suitable for enterprise-level apps. In other words, you’ll write less code with Swift, making it more manageable — a crucial factor for a large app. Plus, Swift comes with some handy features perfect for enterprise projects, such as efficient memory management, flexible data types, well-organized architecture, and a robust error-handling system.
Cost-effectiveness is one of the main benefits of using React Native for iOS compared to Swift. As you can see, the hourly rates of Swift developers can be quite high while React Native development companies can charge you less.
|$100 - #350
|$90 - #300
|$80 - #250
|$70 - #200
|$50 - #150
|$40 - #120
The framework might not be the best option for enterprise apps, but it might definitely suit startup projects better. React Native provides enough scalability and will not let you down at the initial stages. And when your business starts to grow to enterprise scale, you can gradually switch to native technologies without spoiling the user experience.
Moreover, with React Native you can launch your startup for both iOS and Android platforms with fewer resources. It would take a lot more time and be much more expensive with native development, while time and money are the most important factors for any startup.
Facebook Ads Manager
The very first fully React Native-based iOS application is Facebook Ads Manager. The cross-platform app manages users’ advertisement campaigns and delivers a seamless experience for tracking the performance of their ads. The app is built with a focus on user experience and reliability, showcasing the prowess of React Native when it comes to handling complex data and usage patterns.
Airbnb, the leader in vacation rentals and travel experiences, is yet another example of an app developed using React Native for iOS. The company started with React Native to streamline their development process and reduce the effort required to maintain separate Android and iOS applications. Although Airbnb has since transitioned back to native development, their foray into React Native helped them achieve their scaling objectives and contributed to the enhancement of the framework.
The electric vehicle giant Tesla launched its mobile application using React Native for monitoring and controlling its vehicles and energy products. The app serves as an example of how the framework can handle large-scale and performance-driven applications with ease, delivering an intuitive and user-friendly interface for Tesla owners.
The global sportswear brand Puma has also embraced React Native for its iOS and Android mobile application, PumaTrac. Designed to provide athletes and sports enthusiasts with personalized workout plans, fitness tracking, and real-time insights, the application exemplifies the remarkable performance and user interface prowess offered by React Native. The framework’s ability to handle complex features such as GPS tracking, real-time data updates, and seamless synchronization across devices makes it an ideal choice for Puma’s iOS app.
Bloomberg, a leader in global business and financial news, leveraged React Native for its mobile app to provide an immersive and personalized experience for its users. With its array of financial and news features, Bloomberg needed a powerful, flexible, and efficient framework to handle intricate user interfaces, live data streams, and complex navigation. React Native enabled Bloomberg to develop a consistent and high-performance app across both iOS and Android platforms, ensuring their users gain quick access to the latest market updates and global news.
OddsCrowd is a digital community of bettors that reached out to us for development. Initially, we created a website allowing users to participate in free competitions, share their sports passion, and track their betting stats. As the business started to grow, the OddsCrowd team decided to scale up and build a mobile app.
Our task was to build a robust and expandable app in a short period of time. This challenge led us to choose React Native for its multi-platform compatibility. We ensured a reliable app experience by using proven React Native-based solutions like Expo for tools, development, and testing, Expo-Notifications for push notifications, Sentry for bug tracking, and Firebase Analytics to help OddsCrowd collect usage analytics.
This way, we managed to release the app in 10 weeks, the number of monthly users increased by 10 times, and the app was downloaded more than 2000 times.
Is React Native the right choice for your iOS app project?
Choosing React Native for iOS app development offers multiple advantages, such as a native-like user experience, shorter development time, cost reduction, and easier maintenance across multiple platforms. However, it’s essential to carefully evaluate your project’s specific needs, goals, and future scaling requirements when deciding between React Native and native languages like Swift.
React Native is an excellent choice for startups and businesses looking to build high-quality, cross-platform apps with a limited budget and tight deadlines. Otherwise, if your project demands high performance or broad functionality or if you are working on an enterprise-level application, native development with Swift may be a more suitable option.
The success of your iOS app project depends not only on the technology stack but also on your ideas and both talents and capabilities of your development team. At Ronas IT, we’re always ready to help you choose the right technologies and build a solution to make your business grow. Contact us, and we’ll get back to you in 24 hours to discuss your idea!