What are some down­sides of devel­op­ing apps on React Native?

01 Dec 2022

Many soft­ware devel­op­ers world­wide appre­ci­ate the open-source code and cross-plat­form frame­work React Native for web apps.

React Native is a javascript with many mer­its. write once, run any­where,” sin­gle code­base, and excel­lent user expe­ri­ences to its unique fea­tures of devel­op­ing hybrid apps.

How­ev­er, every frame­work, plat­form mod­ule, and tech­nol­o­gy has some or oth­er lim­i­ta­tions and flaws. React Native is no different.

Before using the default key frame­work for your mobile appli­ca­tion devel­op­ment, you must under­stand its lim­i­ta­tions. Also, check the plat­form you are cur­rent­ly run­ning the app.

Renowned devel­op­ers have expe­ri­enced restric­tions and issues using plat­form-spe­cif­ic code while work­ing with React Native on their projects. 

In this arti­cle, let’s under­stand the lim­i­ta­tions of React Native devel­op­ment ser­vices. It will also help you ask your devel­op­ment team whether to use React Native for your projects.

React Native Has A Tough Com­peti­tor Flut­ter! Will it survive?

With Google-backed Flut­ter begin­ning to gain pop­u­lar­i­ty among devel­op­ers, React Native has tough com­pe­ti­tion (Sta­tista)


Lim­i­ta­tions of React Native Platform

About 1900 pop­u­lar com­pa­nies use React Native as their cross-plat­form frame­work mak­ing it pop­u­lar among firms and devel­op­ers. More­over, React Native plat­form is used across var­i­ous indus­tries to devel­op apps on dif­fer­ent oper­at­ing sys­tems, such as

  • IT
  • Fin­tech
  • Retail
  • E‑commerce
  • Social media
  • Enter­tain­ment and more

Despite its pop­u­lar­i­ty among large cor­po­ra­tions in var­i­ous indus­tries, there are many lim­i­ta­tions of the React Native plat­form for devel­op­ers. You may not know a few until you begin work­ing with this React Native mobile app framework.

1. Require­ment Of Native Developers

Although known for its cross-plat­form func­tion­al­i­ties and user inter­faces, some appli­ca­tion devel­op­ment requires native app devel­op­ers to make extra efforts!

This can hap­pen due to the JavaScript lim­i­ta­tion that must be ful­filled with the help of native app devel­op­ment. This sit­u­a­tion may emerge if the project requires com­plex oper­a­tional computation.

So to make this project work, you must take the help of native devel­op­ers, who can com­plete the task. 

2. Low­er performance

React Native works on the JavaScript frame­work, which can per­form slug­gish­ly on many devices and reduces the appli­ca­tion’s over­all per­for­mance. In addi­tion, anoth­er rea­son is the bridge between JavaScript and React Native, which slows down the speed of the appli­ca­tion. Due to this, the devel­op­ers must use dif­fer­ent inte­gra­tions such as Typescript.

3. Com­plex Structure

React Native has a flex­i­ble frame­work. But at the same time, it comes with a com­plex struc­ture like Angu­lar, which is used for web devel­op­ment. This type of struc­ture can become a daunt­ing task for some developers. 

To design the React Native mobile app, devel­op­ers must have the exper­tise and prac­ti­cal knowl­edge of dif­fer­ent plat­forms. If the devel­op­er lacks an under­stand­ing of JavaScript, it under­stand­ing the struc­ture of React Native would be difficult.

4. Reusable Code Issue

Although React Native allows reusable codes, it has sev­er­al chal­lenges. It might not work for some plat­forms due to sev­er­al com­pat­i­bil­i­ty issues or out-of-date exter­nal libraries. 

The devel­op­er has to fig­ure out the issue and then find a solu­tion for run­ning the appli­ca­tion on that plat­form. Reusable code may take less time to devel­op, but it is not a one-go solu­tion across all plat­forms. Due to this, the devel­op­er still has to export the default and tweak the code for dif­fer­ent platforms. 

5. Com­po­nents Func­tion­al­i­ty Issue

Anoth­er lim­i­ta­tion is that some native com­po­nents may not be com­pat­i­ble with that platform. 

As a result, the appli­ca­tion may not behave the same on both plat­forms, i.e., Android and iOS. 

6. Lack of Mul­ti­pro­cess­ing support 

React Native apps do not sup­port mul­ti­pro­cess­ing as the frame­work con­sists of only one JavaScript thread. As a result, the user will find slug­gish per­for­mance while exe­cut­ing mul­ti­ple tasks simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. That is why users can only some­times use mobile apps to per­form var­i­ous tasks. For instance, while using live chat or video surf­ing, the appli­ca­tion inter­face will not respond.

7. Depen­den­cy on third-par­ty libraries

React Native is not a one-shoe-fits-all frame­work that requires third-par­ty apps. These third-par­ty apps can dis­rupt the nat­ur­al feel of React Native, which may result in low performance. 

For exam­ple:

The table bar case has prop­er assis­tance in IOS, but the same is not avail­able in Android. To sup­port this fea­ture in the plat­form ios android devices, some third-par­ty libraries, such as 

  • Feath­er
  • Fontawe­some
  • Enty­po
  • Antdesings.

The third-par­ty libraries could help to solve the prob­lem, but the issue is they need fre­quent updates. Thus, the third-par­ty libraries get out­dat­ed, so they can­not work in sync with the React Native framework.

Read also: A Com­plete Guide to React Native Navigation

8. Test­ing hassles

React Native does not have prop­er test­ing for the frame­work, which can impact an appli­ca­tion’s devel­op­ment. A lack of prop­er test­ing tools may put a lot of restric­tions on the developers.

As a result, devel­op­ers must devote more time to test­ing and seek­ing alter­na­tive means.

Read more about Debug­ging React Native Tools

9. Abstrac­tion Lay­er Limitation

While the abstrac­tion lay­er improves func­tion­al­i­ty, many devel­op­ers find it degrades per­for­mance. Because if an error occurs while cod­ing, it can crash the appli­ca­tion. These errors are chal­leng­ing to diag­nose, but solv­ing them becomes a tedious task.

This will increase the plat­for­m’s depen­den­cy on third-par­ty libraries to keep it com­pat­i­ble and updat­ed. Due to this issue, many com­pa­nies hes­i­tate to use the React Native plat­form for their mobile applications. 

10. Increas­es the app size

Appli­ca­tions built with the React Native plat­form are larg­er than native apps. As a result, React Native apps might not work cor­rect­ly on old­er devices. More­over, many users pre­fer to avoid keep­ing large-sized apps on their smart­phones. to increase the appli­ca­tion’s user base, devel­op­ers should try to keep the size of the app as small as possible 

React Native Down­side Faced by Renowned Com­mu­ni­ty Experts

You must have heard that sev­er­al com­pa­nies have shift­ed from React Native, like Airbnb, Udac­i­ty, and oth­ers. But does this mean you shouldn’t be using React Native? Not! 

Com­pa­nies like Airbnb and Udac­i­ty are spe­cif­ic cas­es where React Native didn’t turn out well. How­ev­er, sev­er­al apps like Insta­gram, Face­book, and Skype are suc­ceed­ing; in the end, it depends on the app’s require­ments and functionalities. 

Let’s know the rea­son behind this from some renowned soft­ware developers.

#1, Leland Richard­son, Soft­ware Devel­op­er at Airbnb

Here are some of the devel­op­ment process-relat­ed lim­i­ta­tions faced by Leland Richardson 

  • Seri­al­iza­tion — The data get seri­al­iza­tion into JSON and de-seri­al­iza­tion in its own way. This process can be expen­sive for data-inten­sive problems. 
  • Ini­tial­iza­tion — The code writ­ten in the JS has to be imple­ment­ed in the JS VM. This com­plied code can take load time to ini­tial­ize. A bet­ter solu­tion would be to use byte code, but it seems com­pli­cat­ed to imple­ment in the prac­ti­cal world. 
  • Ges­ture — React Native ges­ture sys­tem has a prob­lem where some things remain in JS, and oth­ers remain in the native sys­tem. This may cre­ate prob­lems in the func­tion­al­i­ty of the app. Due to this, the devel­op­ers have to move to com­plete native ges­tures to improve the appli­ca­tion’s interface.

#2. Hous­sein Djird­eh, Soft­ware devel­op­er at

  • Nav­i­ga­tion prob­lem — React Native plat­form does not have a smooth and main­tain­able nav­i­ga­tion flow for Android and IOS devices.
  • Low Per­for­mance — The bridge between React Native and JS can be a lim­i­ta­tion if the inten­sive process runs. It can low­er the appli­ca­tion’s performance.

#3 Mar­tin Kon­icek, Soft­ware Devel­op­er at Mon­zo (For­mer React Native devel­op­er at Facebook)

  • The devel­op­ment of com­plex appli­ca­tions can reduce their speed, which is the main issue with React Native plat­form. 
  • 3D games do not work cor­rect­ly with React Native platform.

The Bot­tom Line

From the above dis­cus­sion, we can see that the major draw­back of React Native is that it does not sup­port mul­ti­thread­ing. Inte­gra­tion with com­plex appli­ca­tions can cause issues with func­tion­al­i­ty for the user.

New devel­op­ers using React Native plat­form should keep this lim­i­ta­tion in mind before using it to devel­op mobile appli­ca­tions. This frame­work, how­ev­er, works best with hybrid mobile appli­ca­tion development.

Despite all its down­sides, React Native is still a top choice for cross-plat­form mobile app devel­op­ment around the globe. We at React Native App Devel­op­ment com­pa­ny help busi­ness­es avoid the down­sides of this frame­work and piece togeth­er a seam­less app.

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