What is React Native?

A revolution in native app development, React Native (RN) is a JavaScript framework used for building mobile apps for both iOS and Android. Unveiled by Facebook in 2015, it quickly became one of the most widely used solutions in the world of mobile development. Find out why with Double Yolk.

I’m new here…tell me about React Native for beginners

React Native (RN) is an open-source UI software framework created by Meta Platforms, Inc. It uses JavaScript to enable developers to create multiple native mobile apps (including for Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, tvOS, Web, Windows and UWP) using one singular codebase. That means there’s no need to build out separate teams to work on your iOS and Android apps; one React Native team will do the job.

React Native can be used to build entire apps from scratch or to update and tweak existing ones. Developers can use the React framework along with native platform capabilities to create versatile apps.

Because it can create native apps with great user interfaces (UIs), React Native adoption is spreading quickly amongst developers and organisations.

Vocab check-in!


Native mobile apps are specifically developed for one operating system – Android or iOS – using a specific programming language. Because the app is native to that system, it delivers faster, better performance and enhanced reliability. Native mobile apps can also access the mobile phone’s other features, such as the camera and contact list, so can usually be operated without an internet connection.

What are the benefits of React Native?

With the tagline “learn once, write anywhere” RN promises to deliver seamless cross-platform capabilities that every developer can tap into.
While other methods of writing mobile apps that call for a mix of JavaScript, HTML and CSS can yield results that don’t feel quite right (since these apps can’t access the host platform’s set of native UI elements), React Native translates your markup to native elements for you.

Other key benefits of React Native include:

  • Since the vast majority of code is cross-platform, businesses save time and money that might otherwise have been spent building separate apps.
  • Developers can RN apps perform just as well as a native app that was specifically built for a certain platform.code, and so can build iOS, Android and web apps at pretty much the same time.
  • Since apps are optimised for mobile, they’re fast and provide a streamlined user experience.
  • Apps can easily be moved to a new development framework without the need to start over. And, thanks to the interface, multiple developers can seamlessly jump in and out of a project for maximum flexibility.

What do we use React Native for?

The RN framework has evolved so much in such a short space of time that it’s now possible to access it without the need for native code. The handy tool of choice for organisations that want to capitalise on the growing mobile market, React Native gets you there faster by taking one set of code and deploying it to both Android and iOS.

We can use the RN open-source software framework to develop apps for:

  • Android
  • tvOS
  • Android TV
  • Web
  • iOS
  • Windows
  • macOS
  • UWP

What’s the difference between React vs React Native

They say competition is healthy, and React Native has some competitors offering similar solutions in slightly different ways. Flutter, Ionic and Cordova are some other notable frameworks, but React vs. React Native is where the big comparison is at.

Both were born from that little social media company, Facebook. Facebook initially released React.js for the web, later bringing out React Native to improve their mobile app without the need to maintain two codebases.

Around the same time, Mark Zuckerberg said:

The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML as opposed to native.

There’s no doubt that both React.js and React Native are two of the most powerful frameworks out there, but what are the real differences you want to know about?

  • React.js is JavaScript.
  • React.js builds web pages that will render in a web browser.
  • To use React.js, developers need to know JavaScript for multiple systems.
  • React Native is the framework.
  • React Native focuses on native mobile apps.
  • With React Native, developers can reuse the common logic layer to build the same app for iOS and Android, for an agile, fast approach to development.

Say I’m building an app with React Native… how does it work?

In the simplest terms, RN apps are written in JavaScript and then rendered using native code.

React Native uses a “bridge” technique to facilitate communication between JavaScript and native app threads. Since they’re naturally written in different languages, this bridge is needed to take components from one app and shift them to RN development.

In order to create an application, React Native uses native building blocks; it’s not an overlay to the operating system. As a result, apps consist of fully native components that are structured by JavaScript.

Can anyone learn React Native?

React Native boasts a huge community of loyal fans. Existing JavaScript developers that want to build native apps using RN have a headstart – you won’t need to get your head around a new language or framework first.

Similarly, those that already know React will be able to build apps for any platform using RN. You already have the skill set needed and as long as you’ve mastered HTML, CSS and JavaScript, picking up React Native should be a breeze.

Like any technology, just investing in the theory isn’t enough. Create some mini projects, practice and solve problems to get a better grasp of React Native.

Some of the major companies said to have React Native firmly in their tech stack:

  • WIX

Our Yolkers have this covered

With native app development with code that can transfer across platforms and changes you can iterate at lightning speed, there’s no denying the capabilities of React Native. If your organisation has been searching for a fast way to create robust mobile applications for more than just a single platform, you’ll want to connect with a team that understands React Native.

Discover how easy it can be to set up a remote team of software developers with Double Yolk.