React Native is the first framework that completely fulfils the promise of cross-platform native app development. Although it’s fairly recent, it’s been already successfully utilised by companies and startups of various sizes and from different industries.
To put it simply, React Native combines the advantages of native and hybrid apps. On average, iOS and Android versions of the same app share 60-70% of the codebase, which speeds up the development process significantly. On the top of that, it gives a native-like user experience.
But why big players like Discord or Walmart decided to leverage React Native in their mobile apps? Read their stories to find out and to get inspired!
Want to know even more about React Native? We put together this all-in-one guide about our favourite mobile development framework 👇
For obvious reasons, Facebook has to be mentioned first. React Native was created by this social media giant during one of their hackathons and they are the main force behind the development of this framework.
The goal was to bring advantages of web development, such as short iterations into mobile development. Originally, React Native was used in the iOS version of the Facebook app but now it provides UI for Android as well. The idea of having one React developers team instead of two also played a significant role.
React Native based parts of the app are constantly being optimized. For example, Event Dashboard performs twice as fast than at the beginning.
Facebook app wasn’t the first one created with React Native – it was Facebook Ads app. Initially released on Android (then on iOS), it was the first cross-platform app in the history of React Native development.
Facebook Ads app allows users to run and overview paid marketing campaigns from the smartphone level. It is an extremely useful tool for online marketers around the world.
React Native was a perfect match for this app. It's extremely complex, as it deals with various ad formats, currencies, forms of payment and time zones.
Overall, the dev team delivered a delightful user experience and proved that React Native can be successfully used in cross-platform development. You can read more about it on the Facebook Dev Blog.
Instagram needs no introductions as well. After Facebook acquired this photo-sharing social media platform in 2014 it was just a matter of time before their dev team starts rewriting the app. And when they developed React Native in 2015 it was pretty obvious which framework will they choose.
In early 2016, Instagram team started exploring the possibilities of implementing React Native into existing native apps. They started slowly with the simplest view: Push Notification. Due to satisfying results, they moved further and started working on other parts of the app.
React Native allowed Instagram dev team to ship features faster to both iOS and Android version of the app. The percentage of shared code is extremely high: from 85% in Comment Moderation view to 99% (!) in Post Promote view.
Discord is a voice and text chat app that works on both your desktop and smartphone as a mobile app. It is extremely popular among gamers but plenty of millennials also use Discord for non-gaming purposes as a social media platform.
Discord app was one of the first on the market built with React Native. The company decided to use this technology for their iOS app even before the official release of the framework in 2016.
Taking it from Fanghao Chen from their app development team, React Native has proven to be extremely successful at Discord. It allowed to write reusable code and iterate quickly and efficiently with just a two-person team.
Discord made an attempt to go with React Native on Android. Although they managed to rewrite it in TWO DAYS (!), finally they decided to go with Kotlin. But they went along with React Native on iOS.
No introduction needed here. This retail giant is one of the biggest corporations in the world. With over 500M $ revenue last year, it currently is at the top of the Fortune 500 list.
Walmart's app has plenty of different features. It allows to do shopping online, find products and check prices in-store, as well as use the Walmart Pay mobile wallet system. Developing such a complex app was quite a challenge for Walmart's dev team. React Native came in handy.
95% of the Wallmart’s codebase is shared between iOS and Android apps — cross-platforming worked amazingly well for the company. Working on apps was going on simultaneously for both platforms and allowed to cut the costs of labor in half.
Initial development, as well as the development of incremental features, is very quick and therefore you can satisfy your customers’ needs faster than your competition. As icing on the cake, applications written in React Native generally speaking have comparable or even potentially superior performance to those written as native applications.
Keertimaan Tenneti, Senior Engineering Manager @ WalmartLabs
Ubereats is yet another service from Uber. The idea is to make food delivery process from restaurants easy for the users and to provide delivery partners with a flexible way of earning money. The tricky part was to seamlessly connect three parties: restaurants, drivers, and customers.
Uber dev team faced a challenge of translating the existing restaurant dashboard from web to mobile, both to iOS and Android. They decided to go with React Native.
Although React Native constitutes for just a part of the mobile app, Uber dev team was very positive about the change. Chris Levis, software engineer from Uber, stated that they are very optimistic about the framework capacity in scaling up end expanding the service.
Discovery is another brand that does not need further introduction. Their mission is to bring the world closer to the people and show them things that were beyond their reach. High budgets, original programs, and great scripts – that’s Discovery in a nutshell.
Their app is something equally worthwhile. With the simple VR set, users can travel to the most distant and the most beautiful parts of our planet. The app provides you with a huge variety of surroundings and activities, such as hiking, skiing, or base jumping.
The whole user interface was developed in React Native and gives users seamless VR experience. All you need to have is a mobile device and a VR set. It works with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Daydream and even… Google’s Cardboard!
Wix is an online tool that allows creating websites for free without knowing any coding. It is also a web hosting service with web analytics features.
Wix took a bet choosing React Native as a mobile app framework for their 80 million users. Production of this scale came with a set of challenges. Thanks to React Native, Wix’s dev team managed to go from zero to stores in six months, with the development process taking 3 times less than usual.
As Tal Kol, Head of Mobile Engineering in Wix stated, React Native was a true game-changer for Wix.
You can check the project on Github.
Gyroscope is an amazing app that helps its users in achieving their life goals, such as losing weight, being more productive and improving overall well-being. It can track user’s physical activities, sleep, heartbeat, and so on. Based on the data collected, the app can recommend the right diet, suitable workout plan, or the perfect amount of rest.
Gyroscope is an extremely complex app. It deals with different types of data and provides numerous integrations, both with software and hardware (such as FitBand). Using React Native allowed the Gyroscope's dev team to speed up the development process significantly and deliver an amazing product for both Android and iOS.
You can read more about how they were building Gyroscope here.
Bloomberg is a media company focused on the economy and financial market. They also provide software solutions for the financial sector and for businesses. The list of these solutions includes big data analysis and market reports.
The idea behind their mobile app is to provide users with the same level of information accessibility as if they were using the web version of the platform.
App redesign was a huge challenge – they had to transition the entire team to React Native. But the outcome was worth the effort. With React Native, Bloomberg’s dev team was able not only to significantly rebuild consumer mobile application for iOS and Android, but also to add a bunch of new, innovative features. Let’s just mention live TV access, continuous updating and deep personalization of displayed content.
The timing was also an important factor. Bloomberg team managed to rewrite the app in 5 months. It was roughly half of the time that they would need if they wouldn’t use React Native.
React Native is the best out there. Expect it to appear in other Bloomberg mobile apps in the future.
Gabriel Lew, Senior Software Engineer @ Bloomberg
Myntra is an e-commerce platform from India. It’s the largest online retail store for fashion and lifestyle products in this country hitting over 2 billion worth in sales last year. They provide their clients with a great range of products and deep personalization of shopping experience.
Myntra’s mobile app is simply amazing. It stands out from the crowd thanks to the beautiful design and delightful user experience. Intuitiveness, flawless shopping process and deep offer personalization – that’s Myntra’s app in a nutshell.In our opinion, this mobile product should be a role model for every e-commerce app on the market.
As for the tech stack, currently, more than half of the iOS app and critical screens of the Android app use React Native. They keep adding new screens without the need for updates on the user’s end. As Param Aggarwal, software developer from Myntra put it, choosing React Native for redesigning the apps was completely worth the effort. This framework allowed massive scaling upand supported the rapid growth of the product.
Soundcloud is a Berlin-based startup created to allow musicians to share music with each other. After over 10 years of market presence, it’s now a massive music hosting platform with around 80 million users and 200 million tracks submitted. It attracts especially emerging musicians and rather non-commercial artists. If you look for this amazing DJ set you heard last Saturday at Berghain, you’ll probably find it on Soundcloud.
The Soundcloud Pulse app is dedicated to the artists themselves. It allows them to manage their accounts and keep their communities engaged.
The main challenge during the app development process was having a very little team of just three people. Thankfully, React Native goes well with limited resources – sharing the codebase allowed Soundcloud’s dev team to manage their time efficiently and benefit from fast coding process.
Another reason for choosing React Native for this project was the user-friendliness of the framework Short feedback loop due to automatic live code reloading made the process pleasant for the devs, increasing their overall confidence and happiness with their work.
Happy developers and a faster turnaround are hard to beat. Product managers, decision makers & designers listen up, I’m talking to you here 🙂
Jan Monschke, frontend engineer @ Soundcloud
React Native is a truly universal solution that any developer can use, no matter what market they are working on and for which industry. This is proven to be true by Huiseoul (Trillionaire Inc.), a company with a goal to provide the famous top quality Korean beauty products to Chinese citizens.
Huiseoul’s app was built with the principles of conversational commerce in mind. This means that the big part of the user experience is based on live chats and chatbots. Clients are able to discuss their skin needs with a consultant, making sure they are offered the exact products they need.
The dev team behind Huiseoul’s mobile app did a tremendous job, building the software in just 6 weeks. Interestingly, the app was built by a team of 4 (three engineers and one project manager) with no mobile development experience! The devs were previously working strictly on web apps, but thanks to React Native managed to finish their project in no time!
And while doing this, they also happened to build their own React Native library making static images responsive!
As Johnwook Choi, the dev team’s project manager, concludes:
Although we’ve never wrote native mobile application code, we could build native performant iOS application with React Native.
Pinterest is a social media platform concept approached in a very specific way. Everything there is based on collaboration, sharing and exchanging ideas, usually in a form of some kind of images or videos. Users constantly pass the content further by resharing it and adding to their personal categories or folders.
Huge chunk of interactions done by Pinners (Pinterest’s users) is performed on mobiles. The mobile app can be opened for a minute or two everywhere, be it bed, office, or bathroom, and give you the boost of inspiration you need with a handful of motivational images, a short GIF or a video.
This kind of experience must come with a stable and user-friendly app. In the case of Pinterest, the turn to React Native took some time. The executives and team leads and the company very carefully examined their options and reached out to engineers themselves to hear their feedback. Ultimately, the React Native turn brought fantastic results.
Using React Native, the initial implementation on iOS took about 10 days, including bootstrapping all the integrations into our existing infrastructure. We were then able to port the screen over to Android in two days with 100 percent shared UI code between the platforms, saving more than a week of implementation time.
Vivian Qu, mobile software engineer @ Pinterest
Adidas changed the sneakers and shoes industry multiple times and they tried to do it once again with Adidas GLITCH.
This time, the product was a new football shoe. The revolutionary idea behind it was that each person could build the shoe exactly how they wanted it to be – there is a variety of different modules to choose from, so you can make sure the product exactly matches your requirements.
Because of this unique way of choosing/building the shoe, it was incredibly important to provide the clients with an easy way to get their perfect Adidas GLITCH pair. Finally, the company decided that the shoe should be available for purchase only via the special mobile app created specifically for the GLITCH line.
After careful consideration, the dev team at Adidas decided to choose React Native to create the app for both the iOS and Android. The app for Google’s system has been released slightly later than the one for Apple’s one, but as the UI Developer Istvan Makary summarised:
Actually, it was a nice surprise to see the app looking so “good” when we started the Android development. Despite a few layout issues and a need for improvement in performance, it was working quite well!
Did you enjoy the read? What other React Native mobile apps appeal to you? Let us know and we’ll expand the list!
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