The decline of React Native? What are the alternatives.

A colleague recently mentioned to me that React Native use was decaying a little bit, or at least slowing down. He mentioned that after Spotify dropped the cross platform framework the hype for React native started to wind down, or as others call it the time of “Sunsetting for React Native”.

Comparing the alternatives popularity in Google Trends

  • Ionic
  • Flutter
  • Xamarin
  • Cordova
  • React Native

We can see that Ionic started strong and then got stable, Flutter is clearly having its moment, and React native has stayed under Ionic.

Evolution and State of React Native

React Native was introduced by Facebook (now Meta Platforms, Inc.) and has grown to support not just iOS and Android but also other platforms like Android TV, macOS, tvOS, Windows, and UWP . After its release, React Native quickly became popular due to its ability to enable developers to use React along with native platform capabilities​​​​. The framework has seen considerable contributions from the community, with a large number of contributors on GitHub, reflecting its growth and adoption​, at the same time, many large-scale applications by leading tech companies have incorporated React Native into their tech stacks, demonstrating its scalability and reliability​​. This was the moment of hype for the framework… and despite rumors to the contrary, React Native is not dead. It remains relevant and apparently is still being used by big companies… but it is worth mentioning that some of these companies have dropped React Native, for example their creators, Facebook:

“Facebook, the social media giant, recently announced its decision to pull out of React Native, the open-source JavaScript framework that was developed and maintained by Facebook… Facebook’s decision to pull out of React Native was driven by a combination of financial and technical considerations. The company had been spending a significant amount of money on the project and was not seeing a return on its investment. Additionally, the company encountered several technical challenges while working on React Native, including performance issues and difficulties with maintaining a consistent codebase across different platforms. – Source

So, if you area managing a new software project for mobile, what would you use? React Native ? Or maybe Flutter?

Performance Issues

React Native has been known to have performance that is slightly lower than native applications, which can be a significant factor for companies aiming for the highest possible performance in their apps​​.

Specific performance issues cited include slow app speeds due to factors such as the need to reduce re-rendering, ineffective memoization, and the absence of lazy loading and pagination​​.

Technical Limitations

Navigation has been a challenge in React Native applications, with difficulties in moving smoothly between screens, which can deter users from using the app altogether​​.
There are also challenges in maintaining performance as the complexity of the application grows, which can lead to developers seeking more natively focused solutions​​.

Development Challenges

While React Native allows for a single team to handle both iOS and Android platforms, the ecosystem is still relatively new, and official guides for many add-ons are lacking. This can lead to a trial-and-error approach in development, which can be less efficient and more frustrating for developers​​.
Additionally, React Native’s reliance on JavaScript and the React framework can be a double-edged sword. It’s advantageous for developers familiar with these technologies but can present a steep learning curve for those who aren’t​​.

Evolving Alternatives

The landscape of mobile development is constantly evolving, with new frameworks and technologies emerging that may offer better performance, more features, or easier development processes compared to React Native.
As the industry continues to innovate, some companies may transition to newer frameworks that better meet their specific needs, which can contribute to a decline in React Native usage.