Like many startups we were faced with the debate on how to go about building our mobile apps. We faced a fairly typical set of tradeoffs.
We further settled on the Ionic framework as our way forward.
However, very soon it was evident that despite huge improvements by the Ionic team, the app still did not quite ‘feel’ native. On top of this the app was somewhat sluggish. The uncertainty around the move from Angular JS 1.3 to 2.0 was not helping either.
We were probably further biased by our love of the ReactJS approach (which we use on parts of our Web app). The biggest benefit we saw from ReactJS was its inherent component nature, the vastly simpler mental model and the resultant productivity boost. The superior performance was just icing on the cake.
So, we had reached a sort of an impasse. Not too happy with how things were going but not having an obvious alternative either.
After some debate we decided to take the plunge and scrapped our Ionic-based app.
So, how has it turned out? On balance we are extremely pleased with our decision. The app is fast, fluid and native feeling. Working with the React paradigm was also (not unexpectedly) a pleasure.
Now, not all was a bed of roses. We slogged through a huge number of bugs especially in the third-party plugins. On a positive note, the community is fixing bugs (and releasing new components and plugins) at a staggering rate. And lately a lot of the more egregious bugs have been fixed. Dealing with the keyboard in particular proved to be quite buggy and painful.
The good news for a startup starting with React Native now is that it would be starting on a much more mature platform (all of 6 months old!). With the recent release of React Native for Android, the timing to bet your startup mobile strategy on React Native couldn’t be better.
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