How React Native Works: A Basic Guide for Beginners

August 25, 2021

 

Companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Instagram and Tesla have adopted this tool to develop their applications, and for that reason, React Native is one of the most popular frameworks of the moment.

 

React Native is an open source technology developed by Facebook to create native and cross-platform mobile applications from the same code base written in JavaScript and React.

 

What does this mean? This solves the typical problem of creating an app, which can be run on both Android and iOS, without having two separate projects in two programming languages, something that has become typical in app development.

 

React Native allows you to create mobile applications using React but it is not the same React for the web but a React focused on apps, this means that when you develop, although you can use many React concepts such as components, state handlers and others, you will no longer be using HTML elements if not, you will now use them with native mobile interface elements.

 

That is, you will no longer think of doing onClick() in div or span elements, but now you are going to think of doing onPress in Text or Button events, typical elements in native mobile interfaces.

 

How does React Native work?

 

An application created in React Native is written in both JavaScript and JSX, the latter is an XML-based market language. The framework can communicate with both JavaScript and native code, this is possible thanks to a feature called Bridge, which means that while JavaScript and native modules are written in different languages, it allows two-way communication between both parties.

 

One of the reasons for the success of React Native is to allow you to reuse the components or code of applications that you have on Android or iOS.

 

Unlike its alternatives such as Cordova or PhoneGap, React Native does not generate apps within a webview nor does it convert JavaScript code to Java code, instead, it generates JavaScript applications that can communicate with native components on a mobile device.

 

All these characteristics mean that you can focus on writing the code only once and that it can be executed on Android or iOS but without paying with the performance of the application. An example of this is when developing in hybrid apps, all performance drops when the application becomes more complex due to running an application within an application.

 

In the case of React Native, none of this happens since the application is entirely native. This framework is one of the most popular for creating apps and continues to gain followers worldwide.