Going with React Native

In this article I will not be talking about what React Native is and when to use it and when not to. Neither aim I going to big it up as the best Framework out there. The aim of this is to talk about my personal journey on how I got into it.

My first encounter with mobile App development began using Objective-C during a native programming semester while studying computer science at university. Experiencing mobile app development and seeing my very own app on a phone was somewhat satisfying, even though all I built was a scientific calculator. During these years I began exploring mobile development a bit more and started experimenting with Java for Android and building trivial fun apps for both platforms. But this meant I had to manage two separate code bases and tools.

Long story short this was the beginning of me getting into mobile app development.

Fast forward

Fast forward a few years now, and a professional developer at a high profile charity. I began to enjoy working with various technologies though did very little mobile apps in fact zero apps for a few years. Until one day. I was asked to recreate an existing and important web tool into a mobile app that can be used offline by medical clinicians and it had to be usable offline.

The idea was initially introduced as a proof of concept that would be used to measure appetite for mobile apps in the organisation. The decision was made to aim it at iOS users only as a first test and so the app was developed using Swift (Apple’s brand new cutting edge programming language at the time). The idea of an app quickly proved to be very handy to clinicians and did not take long for it to spark requests from Android users.

In some ways this also proved appetite for apps in the organisation. The quest in building a cross platform native app had began. And so it was…

…decision time.

A choice had to now be made on what the right technology would be to adopt. The chosen path had to be an informed one, the technology had to be one that would deliver the same experience for both iOS and Android users and the idea of having one codebase to manage was massively appealing.

The app needed to behave and feel native to the user so hybrid tools such as PhoneGap and Cordova were out of the question.

React was already adopted as part of the architecture for web apps in the organisation and so React Native seemed the obvious but more importantly the right decision to go with. Looking at the usage and the online community it made it very easy to justify it as the more effective solution for the use case. And so it was adopted.

The rest is history. Since then I have been the core React Native developer and maintainer for two successful apps in the organisation. And hopefully many more to come in the near distant future.

That’s all for now folks and thank you for reading this post 🙂

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