Removing User Interface Complexity, or Why React is Awesome

Write a native mobile app using React. It’s fast because React’s view-diffing magic lets you skip the compile step.


James Long gives an in-depth look at his first impressions using React Native, a framework for writing iOS and Android apps in React.

He says:

Facebook gave all attendees of React Conf early access to the source code of React Native, a new way to write native mobile apps. The technology takes everything that’s great about React.js and applies it to native apps. You write JavaScript components using a set of builtin primitives that are backed by actual native iOS or Android components.

We’ve all heard the promise of cross-platform native apps driven by JavaScript. Titanium, PhoneGap, and other projects allow various levels of hooking in with the native environment. All of them fall short. Either you’re just wrapping a web app in a web view, or they try to mimick HTML & CSS which is hard to build apps with. With the latter, you’re also interfacing directly with native objects all the time, which is doomed to fail performance-wise. React Native actually performs the layout on a separate thread, so the main thread is as free as it can possibly be to focus on smooth animations (it also provides flexbox for layout).

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