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State Of React Native Development In 2022

Jan 4, 202211 min read

Vitalii Danylov

Senior Frontend Developer at Ideamotive.

To help our clients grow their businesses and give their customers experience they look for, we often choose React Native. Naturally, we also follow the news about the solution we use and recommend to our clients.

 

In this article you’ll see the latest React Native development trends, its current state, as well as some newly built products. Also, you will have a chance to see what is planned for the upcoming year and what the future will bring.

 

Let’s start!

React Native 2021 Summary

The good news is that hybrid app platforms are evolving to balance the web development cycle and user experience. Among them there are big failures, and there are winners. React Native has become the best-known name for building complex hybrid apps that provide a natural user experience due to its advanced features and the ability to dive into native ones on each platform.

 

The statistic below is clear enough to understand that React Native is not only alive but thriving.

 

 

Cross-platform mobile frameworks used by software developers worldwide in 2019 and 2021 (source: Statista)

 

 

Also, according to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2021, RN takes the 6th spot in the ranking with 14.51% of all respondents' votes. Talking about only professional ones, here React Native places 5th with 16.48%.

 

And of course RN is still one of the most loved product among frameworks, libraries, and tools.

 

As for the popularity, React Native has been showing relevant growth during the last 5 years.

What has been released?

First and foremost it is a long-awaited React Native 0.66.

 

The dev team recently announced the release of a new major version of react-native (0.66). Delightfully it is now compatible with Android 12 and iOS 15. On top of that, it features fixes and general updates we've all been waiting for! 

 

So, what is the current state? What are the new features and support tools that have been added to the new versions of React Native (throughout the whole of 2021)? Let's see!

Handling clicks on child views outside of parent boundaries on Android

Thanks to hsource now we have interoperability support for children rendered outside the bounds of the parent view via overflow: visible. This is a common use case that brings React Native on Android closer to web development standards.

New Bluetooth permissions on Android

Devs have added support for new Bluetooth permissions in preparation for Android 12 and plan to update targetSDKVersion to 31 in the next release.

Better support for Apple Silicon, Xcode 13 and iOS 15

This release provides a number of solutions to improve the reliability of Xcode for iOS builds on Apple Silicon (M1) Macs.

 

Notably, the new app template now includes a CocoaPods workaround. To apply, make sure __apply_Xcode_12_5_M1_post_install_workaround (installer) is added to your app Podfile during post_install.

 

Also the devs updated RCT-Folly.podspec to prevent the arm64 linker from crashing.

Hermes 0.9.0

Hermes 0.9.0 is primarily intended to bridge the gap between the Hermes release clipping point and this React Native release.

 

Out of ~ 400 commits, common bugs have been fixed, and memory and size have been improved.

 

Nightly and “Commitly” Releases

From a recent RN blog post, we found out that one of the goals in the second half of 2021 was to improve the release process to be faster and more stable. As part of this effort, RN engineers were working to make the technology more stable on the mainstream platform and to reduce the bugs found during the release candidate creation process.

“Although we have been publishing React Native nightly releases for over a year, these releases have not been used effectively in most projects. They are now easier to access and we hope to use them as release candidates in the future. Nightly releases are published on npm under the "nightly" tag.”

To improve the testing process for individual commits, CI React Native will now create an archived artifact for every commit in the main and release branches, as well as for every PR. They are called “commitlies”. These commitlies will not be published to npm, but they can be downloaded directly from CircleCI. 

Introduction of React 17

The big update is an updated version of React under the hood. The new version of React Native uses React 17. One of the changes in this version is a new JSX transform.

Inline require

Inline require is a compile-time converter used by Babel - it transforms your code at compile-time. This feature has been available in options for several years now. 

 

Inline require converts file imports to inline. This significantly reduces startup time as it delays the execution of the JavaScript module. This way, modules will only be imported if they are going to be used. You may notice better performance as a result of this change. Since version 0.64 it is enabled by default.

Other fixes and improvements

Another interesting change in 0.65 is the onPressIn and onPressOut properties added to the Text component. This will allow eg. to add custom logic for highlighting text on click. A new prop appears in the ScrollView, which looks interesting - stickyHeaderHiddenOnScroll. This will cause the sticky header to hide when scrolling down and slide up when scrolling up. What I liked the most is the many new examples with existing components. This will help new developers dive into React Native and build awesome apps.

What To Expect From React Native in 2022?

During React Native EU in 2021, Emily Janzer laid out a complete roadmap for the phased changes to the React Native framework in the near future.

#1. Native Modules

 

The first phase will focus on native modules for cross-platform applications.

  • Type safety is an improvement in the security of the codes you share between JS and native frameworks.
  • Less overhead - This will help reduce callback overload between JavaScript and the native environment.
  • Faster startup - By default, the initialization of native applications is shortened for faster application loading.

#2. Fabric

Fabric is a Facebook project. This will change the future of React Native. Fabric is a project that aims to make the React Native community and its tools more interoperable with other platforms than regular iOS and Android.

 

This will help reduce the overload of application architectures, and your applications will run faster than older cross-platform ones.

 

Single thread: A thread is a channel through which the system communicates with users. User interface or UI is a medium for interacting with users.

 

For each user request, the UI must go through three different threads. But Fabric will help the UI to communicate via callbacks via JavaScript.

 

Async Bliss: We have seen how amazingly asynchronous rendering works. We've seen this with Node.js in the JavaScript universe. But now with Fabric, this will become a React Native reality in future releases. Fabric will help you enable asynchronous rendering in React Native.

 

Native Bridging: We've often seen cross-platform applications struggle with the gap between shared code and native environments.

 

To better data flow and debug such errors, you need your own bridges. Fabric will provide a simplified native bridge between JS and frameworks.

 

This is a new single-threaded method that will enhance the user experience for better interactions. This will provide:

  • Native bridge between JS and OS platforms
  • Improved user experience through highly reactive user interfaces
  • Better code sharing with debugging capabilities
  • Fast loading of mobile applications

#3. New API

Facebook will use early releases of React Native, such as the new renderer (Fabric) and native modules, to create an init path.

 

This will help speed up applications. This way, React Native will load faster and build fast apps for your business. So, you can say that this is an update that could change the future of React Native.

 

One of the most important updates to look out for in the React Native community is the JavaScript JSI interface. This is a fun way to communicate with the JavaScript engine.

 

This helps developers connect to the engine when writing C++ code. You can even use APIs like JSC and Hermes. You can use it for:

  • Creating the JavaScript runtime
  • JS package download
  • Callback functions for JS and C++
  • Creating JS objects and accessing them through C++

React Native: profits and advantages for business in 2022

Building an application using native languages such as Java, Objective-C and C# will take a lot of time. And if you hire an expert in these languages, it will cost you a fortune.

 

So what can you do in this situation?

 

You may prefer React Native to build the next mobile app for your business.

 

But why are more and more people showing interest in this structure in the past few years?

 

This is simply because it is a powerful cross-platform mobile app development tool that allows you to create them very quickly.

 

Let's find out why React Native is worth choosing for mobile app development in 2021.

Amazing performance

 

It may not be as fast as true native applications built in native languages ​​such as Java, Objective-C, and C#. But you'll get almost native performance as it provides you with native components like Image, View and Text.

 

React Native mobile app is not HTML5, hybrid or mobile web app. Rather, it is a real mobile application.

 

You can take the performance of your React Native app to the next level by optimizing your app with your own code. Yes, React Native also allows you to use native code. For maximum performance, you can create some functionality in your application using native code and some using React Native.

Rich user interface

React Native allows you to create unique, engaging user interfaces with pre-built declarative components like Picker, Button, Slider, Switch, etc. You can also create your own components with TouchableNativeFeedback and TouchableOpacity. There are many iOS and Android components that make it work efficiently on Android and iOS mobile devices.

 

Examples:

  • iOS - ActionSheetIOS, AlertIOS, DatePickerIOS, ImagePickerIOS, ProgressViewIOS, PushNotificatoinIOS, SegmentedControlIOS, etc.
  • Android - DatePickerAndroid, DrawerLayoutAndroid, PermissionsAndroid, ProgressBarAndroid, TimePickerAndroid, ToastAndroid, ToolbarAndroid, ViewPageAndroid, etc.

Rapid application development

React Native provides components for text, images, keyboard input, scrollable lists, progress bar, animation, clipboard, links, and more. These components greatly speed up the app development process, and Hot Reloading also saves a lot of time as it allows you to reload the application without having to recompile all the code.

Simple and easy maintenance

As native frameworks grow, so does the API of each framework. We clearly remember the time before React Native, when we had to update the Android apps to use the latest tools and wasted time deploying iOS. 

 

If your application is built on a native platform, this can be quite time consuming. However, React Native's agile approach makes maintaining app development simple, straightforward, yet cost effective.

State of RN developers market in 2022

RN talent pool is evolving just like the technology itself. Many beginners choosing what language to learn prefer a more stable and FB-backed React Native to other less popular ones.

 

Thus, you can be sure to find a lot of proposals in case you are launching a new project or seeking a job opportunity. However, from year to year, due to the great popularity of the framework, it becomes harder to find a decent and experienced employee. 

The average income of a React Native developer

North and Latin America

Like most developers, React Native developers in the US have one of the highest average earnings in the world. According to Glassdoor, a US RN developer makes almost $90k a year. On the other hand, in Latin American countries, the average wage is much lower in almost every job.

 

It's the same as the average income of React developers. More specifically, a React Native front-end developer in Mexico makes about $21k per year. Thus, due to the low cost of living, countries such as Mexico provide more affordable engineers. Let's take a look at the average income in Europe.

Europe

In Europe, there is a huge difference in income between western and eastern countries. For example, in countries like Germany and the UK, where the cost of living is higher, the basic income of developers is higher. On the other hand, Eastern European countries like Poland offer lower average salaries for React Native engineers.

 

More precisely, as of 2022, UK-based React Native developers have an average income of $50k per year. Likewise, software engineers in Germany earn up to $80,000 a year. In contrast, Ukrainian and Bulgarian React engineers located in the eastern part of the continent earn about $20 and 28 thousand, respectively.

Africa and Asia

As in countries such as Ukraine, most African and Asian countries have relatively low wages. More specifically, React developers in India have an average income of about $10,000, while a software engineer in South Africa makes $28,000 a year.

Made by Experts

Let's take a look at the connection between React Native, React and JavaScript. JavaScript is obviously a programming language. Then React is a JavaScript library introduced by Facebook to make building and maintenance of user-friendly interfaces easier. Couple of years later Facebook made another step forward creating React Native which is a framework that makes it possible to create native applications for Android and iOS using React.

 

Without React Native you'd have to make one app for each platform using different languages (Java or Kotlin for Android and Objective-C or Swift for iOS). Another option would be to build a hybrid application using e.g. Ionic React (since Ionic decided to support React with their framework), but such an application will never give your users the experience of a native application.

Now you only need to know React and you can come up with an application using device-specific solutions.

Chosen by Experts

Alright, if React Native is as good as we write here, are there any interesting companies using it at all? Of course there are.

  • Facebook/ Facebook Ads/ Instagram — React Native development is obviously mainly linked to Facebook — the place where it all began. Mark Zuckerberg’s company is making use of the framework while preparing most of its major apps, including the basic Facebook mobile app, Facebook Ads app, as well as Instagram;
  • Bloomberg — this media company chose React Native to build its mobile app delivering personalized content varying from articles to videos and live feeds;
  • SoundCloud Pulse — The Berlin-based SoundCloud is one of the most popular websites for musicians, loved by both indie and mainstream artists. Its React Native-powered Pulse mobile app helps creators to keep in touch with what is happening on their profile and make sure they are getting the most out of the platform;
  • Skype — One of the most popular online communicators, now owned by Microsoft, also decided to use React Native for its mobile apps;
  • Tesla — Automotive company that is unlike any other in the industry. Known for their electrical cars, they use React Native for their Tesla app. It gives you the power to control your Tesla car remotely;
  • Artsy — This art collecting marketplace decided to have their engineering de-siloed to make it easier to follow market's challenges. They believe that it would be impossible to deliver so good mobile solutions so quick without React Native;
  • Discord — A rising text and voice chat platform, incredibly popular especially among gamers. The company believed in the success of React Native even before the official release of the library and is using it up until today.
  • UberEats — The crucial parts of the UberEats cross-platform app use React Native. As Uber’s engineers write on the official blog of the company, Reactive Native Development helped them in creating a better mobile experience and revolutionize the food delivery industry.
  • Myntra — One of the best examples of the use of React Native in e-commerce. Myntra is a leader of the Indian e-commerce market, and a big part of their mobile app is based on React Native;
  • Shopify — At the beginning of 2020 this e-commerce platform announced that React Native will be used for its mobile applications. 

If this short list doesn't satisfy you, have a glimpse at our article about best React Native companies and start-up mobile apps. But first, let us tell you, who stands behind the success of React Native.

Supported by Experts

Although React Native was created by Facebook, it is now surrounded by a vast community of enthusiasts and experts working on its development.

A number of React Native components are also created by the developers not working for Facebook. Their sympathy for this framework ended up in many collections of components, widely available around the internet. A great example is NativeBase — one of the most popular components set for React Native Development.

 

NativeBase is fully open source and was used in creating a number of interesting free-to-use projects, such as the basic clone of Twitter. If you are planning to win over the world with a new mobile social media app, it provides a great insight into how React Native can be used for implementing login box or profile management into your program. NativeBase is also supporting a number of paid premium starter kits, that cover very specific topics, such as an Uber-like taxi app. Custom mobile app development is now faster than ever thanks to this love of users for React Native.

 

Microsoft not only owns Skype, one of the companies making use of React Native, but also contributes heavily to the development of the RN ecosystem. It develops a repository that makes it possible to create applications for devices that use Windows 10.

 

Microsoft also supports React Native in its App Center.

There are also plenty of experts who share their knowledge of React Native Development on blogs and social media. Their number and engagement is another proof of the popularity of the library. We strongly encourage you to explore the best React Native experts & blogs to follow. We prepared a list of 20 most valuable React Native experts on our site. 

Summary

All in all, 2022 looks bright for React Native. 

 

Popularity of this framework will probably grow. It's still supported by Facebook and this one factor will be responsible for steady growth. Also, users' problems and community suggestions are quickly addressed. Solutions come regularly as parts of next releases.

 

The team behind the framework is constantly modernizing its architecture. The aim is to make React Native more lightweight by reducing API surface area (and thus migration of formerly built-in WebView, NetInfo and Geolocation into separate, independent projects), and — thanks to this — improve the speed of apps created with the library.

 

The current Fabric project can change the look of the framework. In addition, a large number of developers and support for multiple platforms are also going to attract more users in the upcoming years.

Vitalii Danylov

Vitalii is a veteran frontend developer and mobile developer (with the special <3 for React Native) who likes to explore new technologies, test new tools and discover new approaches.

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