Software Development

React in name, planned in nature: Why React Native can’t be ignored

15 March 2022 • 4 min read


At AND Digital, we are technological agnostic. This allows us to work with clients to create the solution that is right for them. One trend that can’t be ignored is the increasing number of clients choosing React Native as their tech of choice for mobile apps. One of these clients is Missguided. We’ve been working with their team for the past 18 months and have just launched their brand-new app built in React Native, now available in the app and play stores. The new app replaces their native-built Android and iOS apps, bringing everything together into a single codebase. 


If you’re considering your mobile strategy or thinking about building a new app, join us on March 22nd for our webinar, How Missguided unlocked growth through modernising their digital strategy. We’ll be discussing Missguided’s digital transformation journey with AND Digital, and the steps that led to the launch of their brand-new app, now available in app stores. We’ll be hosting John Rignall, Missguided’s IT Director, who’ll be sharing honest reflections on their journey and the lessons learned along the way. 


What is React Native? 


For Missguided, React Native was the perfect solution to help them scale and grow their business at speed. But why is React Native key to this approach? 


To answer this, we should explain what React Native actually is. Developed by Meta, React Native is a cross-platform framework for mobile app development. This means teams no longer need to develop and maintain two separate native apps (eg. Android and Kolin, or iOS and Swift), they can build for multiple devices from one codebase. 



Learn more: Why are so many people moving from Native to React Native app builds?



How have cross-platform frameworks changed? 


Cross platform has always offered the advantage of a single build – but historically, this benefit has come at a cost; lack of control and a constrained user experience. In the past, most cross-platform frameworks created terrible user experiences. The look and feel was significantly off-brand compared to building native apps, adding an edge of cheapness and an air of distrust. 


Depending on the purpose of your app and your audience expectations, this inability to build a consistent and comprehensive user experience can be non-negotiable for your brand – which was the case for Missguided as leaders in the fashion industry and a household name. 


Making strides in what’s possible


React Native represents a significant step forward for cross platform. Both the framework and integration partners (such as payment gateways) are making rapid improvements to what’s possible. You can now deliver a near-identical user experience to that expected from a native app. This means you’re still able to achieve high levels of performance – which is essential for mobile apps that are often running on lower signal strength – as well as improved user experience. 


Shaping your appdev team for the future


Another key benefit of working in React Native is that the root language is JavaScript. Historically, you likely would have needed to hire mobile developers with specific skills to complete your development project. However, React Native is much more universal, so it’s possible for developers to upskill their knowledge of the React.js framework to build in React Native. Working alongside native mobile developers, this can be a successful way to add capacity to your mobile team and get the most from both web and mobile skill sets – ensuring you’re building for the future. 


Is React Native a silver bullet? 


This all sounds too good to be true. Surely you don’t even need to consider building apps natively in either operating system? Not quite – but it’s getting that way. 


React Native still has some constraints compared to building purely native mobile apps, but the gap has significantly narrowed over recent years. There are competitors in this space offering similar advantages as React Native – such as Google’s Flutter. Flutter uses Dart as its language, which is more akin to a Java-JavaScript hybrid. As such, it’s an increasingly popular choice and a worthwhile consideration for cross-platform mobile development. 


As always, tech choices need to be considered according to your individual circumstances, which is why it’s imperative to have a good mobile strategy in place that underpins any development you do. React Native is suitable for the vast majority of everyday apps, allowing you to get the job done, go to market quicker, and run your app team in a leaner way. However, working with a digital delivery partner who understands your goals and shares your vision will help you decide which option is right for you. 


If you’d like to hear about how React Native fits into the wider context of Missguided’s transformation, don’t forget to sign up to our free webinar on March 22nd, How Missguided unlocked growth through modernising their digital strategy. We’ll be discussing React Native and sharing some behind-the-scenes insights into the app, our ways of working and the journey Missguided and AND Digital have been on together. 

Software Development

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