In the mobile world, split into two main operating systems, choosing a right technology for an app is almost half the battle.
The aim of this article is not only to brief on stories of success of popular apps using React Native but also to reveal the potential of this technology.
So, we invite you to take a look at the top React Native apps list and conclude whether this framework is a good idea to use for building an app for your business.
What is React Native: a Short Intro
Here are a few React Native features to help you get acquainted with this framework before diving deeper into the React Native app examples:
- Faster development. When we speak about the development process, everything that is able to speed it up is highly appreciated, isn’t it? Thanks to a number of pre-formed elements and copy and paste approach the development time can be considerably shortened.
- Code reuse. Code on React Native can be applied to both iOS and Android platforms, meaning you can have more than one app with a one-time effort.
Famous Examples of Apps Made with React Native
Among thousands of React Native apps available both on iTunes and Google Play Store, we have selected the most trendy and respectable ones. You surely may have half of these apps in your smartphone.
Facebook Ads Manager and React Native
No wonder that we start with the creator of the main character of the article. Ads Manager by Facebook is considered to be the first cross-platform application completely made with React Native.
The goal of the company was to build a new app for people advertising on Facebook and enable them to manage their accounts and create new ads.
React Native was still a new technology and developing an app with it was quite risky.
Anyway, Facebook team selected this framework for a number of reasons:
The team built iOS version of the app in 5 month, and 3 months later released an Android version. As a result, the Facebook Ads Manager app is characterized by:
- Fast loading (the app is lightning fast: you can access the data, switch the account, load the charts in a few seconds).
- Smart navigation (it was quite a challenge to build a breadcrumb navigation helping the users to display the hierarchy of ads in their accounts)
- Perfectly operating animations.
Skype and React Native
The latest Android version of the world-wide known tool for communication has joined the React Native showcase.
Additionally Microsoft team open-sourced the library, which was developed along the way, and named it ReactXP, a “thin abstraction layer built upon and bridging React JS and React Native”. It is a tool that improved the cross-platform potential of React and React Native and works for Web, iOS and Android.
The absolutely remade app is now characterized by:
- Good performance (the app feels fast, booting up takes a few seconds and the running application works faster than before)
- Better facilities (with more features and options: ability to share GIFs in conversations, react on messages etc.).
According to Microsoft, Skype Preview for iOS has already been available via Apple’s TestFlight for Skype Insiders (in limited capacity).
Pinterest and React Native
Another popular app using React Native is Pinterest having 175 million monthly active users. It is an online pinboard that allows posting different images, photos, infographics from other websites to your Pinterest account or board by means of “Pin it” button.
Pinterest has integrated React Native into their Android and iOS versions of the app.
Technical evaluation process showed that shared code would be beneficial to developer velocity.
The initial implementation on iOS (with bootstrapping integrations into current infrastructure) took 10 days. It was needed only 2 days afterwards to port over to Android.
It resulted in 100 percent shared UI code and a saved week of implementation time. The initial tests showed no critical metrics or performance regression.
As a result:
- Topic Picker view, the RN-based version, is delivered to the end users. This view is displayed to Pinners after signing up and is considered to be a critical part of their onboarding process.
- Business Signup flow was built on RN.
- Pinterest is exploring opportunities of further use of React Native and evolving its foundation in the company.
DiscoveryVR and React Native
It is hard to find a person who has not watched Discovery Channel just once in a lifetime.
DiscoveryVR app proposes a new level of investigating the world. Thanks to virtual reality you can visit the most interesting places and experience natural emotions.
DiscoveryVR app has been made with React Native. The development team didn’t talk openly about the reasons they selected React Native to build the user interface of this app – instead, the result speaks for itself:
- The app delivers 360 degree views that might be reinforced by a VR headset.
- Apart from everything else RN enabled the developers to built in gyroscope and player using the native APIs.
AirBnb and React Native
The next follower of the React Native euphoria is a hotel-killing service Airbnb which turned the world of accomodations upside down. It enables the tourist to travel without the need to stay in hotels by creating a society of renters and tenants.
In time, Airbnb realized the role of mobile to their business and tried to improve their service for both guests and hosts.
However, the company has insufficient mobile engineers.
After investigating alternative options it was decided to take risks and invest in React Native.
The company pursued the following agenda when choosing RN:
- Allow moving faster as an organization.
- Maintain quality standard specified by native.
- Write code for mobile once, not twice.
- Amend the developer experience.
As a result, RN helped them to built a strong integration into their apps to enable complex native features.
In addition, by means of React Native Airbnb has launched a number of critical products. For example, Experiences, which was a new business for the company and some other features from reviews to gift cards.
It should be also noted that Airbnb struggled with some technical and organizational challenges that prevented them from achieving their goals.
Among them are problems with initialization and the async first render, the fact that only a part of the app was React Native and great number of bridging infrastructure required better effectiveness from engineers.
That is why on June 19, 2018 they announced gradual sunsetting React Native in the company. They are planning to transfer some features to native by the end of the year.
Despite the failure to achieve some of their goals, 63% of engineers would have chosen React Native again as chance offers and 74% would consider React Native for a new project.
Adidas Glitch and React Native
Adidas GLITCH is a relatively new app (the project started on May 2016) focused on selling Adidas products. Exclusive items can be bought only via the app.
The company has chosen React Native for their app development, despite the fact that the development team had little experience with it.
In half a year after the project starts, the company released firstly the iOS app in November 2016.
Only a month later, in December 2016, they launched the Android version.
RN and OpenGL helped the development team to take care of integration with 3rd parties, as well as create a perfect skin/sock separation effect that shows the user how to pull the foot out of the boots in real life.
The team found a perfect offline caching method and used react-native-fs during implementation that completely met their needs.
After the Android release, the app won 12 awards in 2017, including Gold for Best Customer Experience, Product Innovation, Mobile & Apps Marketing, Silver for Apps and Best Audience Engagement, Bronze for Digital Craft: User Experience Design.
Discord and React Native
Another example of an app using React Native is Discord. It is a free voice and chat app designed for gamers.
The company used RN to build iOS version of the app. Soon after React Native for Android came out, Discord tried to run the Android version of the app too.
After facing the performance issues, they held up the RN development for the Android app.
In fact, React Native did a world of good to the iOS app – it significantly sped up iOS development cycle.
The development team reported the following positive changes:
- It took 2 weeks to build v1.0 on the current front-end infrastructure.
- The style of Flexbox’s code is half as long and it is easier to understand than the Auto Layout’s one.
- iOS and web app share about 98% of the code of store and action in the Fluxdesign pattern.
- React Native lightened the development process and enabled the developers to pay a lot of attention to the key features in each new release.
Uber Eats and React Native
Most people know Uber as a popular taxi-hailing service. Today Uber has a standalone mobile app dedicated to food delivery known as Uber Eats.
The app has a quite complicated structure, React Native was selected as it suited the development needs of this cross-platform tool and the team had experience with RN previously.
Unlike Uber app, UberEats required a separate restaurant dashboard. The existing one didn’t have all necessary functionality like sound and push notifications as it initially was created for the web, so it was upgraded by React Native.
Although the framework covers only the part of the app, it has significantly benefited its UI and UX.
Artsy and React Native
Artsy is a New-York based startup that allows people to buy and sell art online. The app provides access to about 270,000 pieces from top galleries, auction houses and fairs.
The iOS version of the Artsy’s app was initially built on Swift.
Among the major reasons the company opted to React Native framework were:
- Supporting other future platforms (such as Android) without a need to create additional teams.
- Not preventing various business teams from working with an app
- A desire to advance the app architecture and improve programmer efficiency.
As a result, the app made with React Native looks and works wonderful. The Artsy team concluded that RN is a benefit for apps driven by an API and those looking for a unique look and feel.
Instagram and React Native
Instagram is all about communicating by means of visual content to express emotions and share ideas. The app makes little secret of using React Native to power their application.
The development team chose React Native to integrate into their native app because:
- It enabled sharing from 85% to 99% of code between Android and iOS apps.
- Improved developer velocity by allowing product teams to ship features faster.
- Allowed maintaining both Android and iOS platforms easily.
The integration started with Push Notifications view, which didn’t require building navigation infrastructure, since UI of the app was quite simple.
The app’s feature Post Promote was originally created as a WebView, but UX didn’t feel native and start up was slow.
After upgrading with RN, the team got an incredible improvement on startup time and user experience:
- improved time to interact from ~7 seconds in original web view to ~3 seconds for React Native version;
- positive +3.9% increase in ad creation.
An ability to save posts and create a list of saved posts was also implemented with React Native.
The complex approach to improving the app resulted in a fast and multi-featured application loved by millions of users.
Although the above mentioned React Native app examples are a drop in the ocean, they show that RN has a great potential to develop a mobile application with any scope, idea or type of content.
In fact, the latest post from Facebook State of React Native 2018 outlines the plans to improve React Native and make it better, meaning the technology is maturing and perfecting.
Have you ever tried to use React Native to create an app? Would you like to?
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