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.
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.
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!
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.
Devs have added support for new Bluetooth permissions in preparation for Android 12 and plan to update targetSDKVersion to 31 in the next release.
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 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.
A lot of work by the Hermes team went into this. https://t.co/RvKVjfCrCk— Tzvetan Mikov (@tmikov) October 27, 2021
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The first phase will focus on native modules for cross-platform applications.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alright, if React Native is as good as we write here, are there any interesting companies using it at all? Of course there are.
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.
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.
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 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.View all author posts
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