Why Rangle Builds Native Mobile Apps Using JavaScript

With Ranglers setting up shop at Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, it seems like a fitting opportunity to weigh in on a few questions we commonly hear: should brands develop mobile apps in Native code or a JavaScript framework and what implications does this have on business?

When clients come to us looking for mobile app development, it’s our responsibility to educate them on what’s best for their brand. Often, they are unsure of whether an app that’s built using newer JavaScript technologies will live up to their current customers’ needs. They may be comparing NativeScript or React Native to iOS or Android SDKs. Over and over, we have demonstrated the reality that Native is no longer best in all cases, for all projects.

React Native and NativeScript are Widely Adopted

React Native is an open source JavaScript framework developed by Facebook and Instagram. It lets developers build Native-like mobile apps in JavaScript, and was released on Github in 2015. As of March 2017, as per the React Native Github repository, its stats are:

  • 9,717 commits
  • 59 branches
  • 155 releases
  • 1,191 contributors
  • 4th most starred repository
  • Follows a monthly release train

NativeScript is also catching on with developers. As an open source framework for building Native mobile apps with Angular, TypScript or JavaScript, it was developed by Telerik by Progress, and publicly released in 2015. According to the NativeScript Github repository, the stats as of March 2017 are:

  • 4,068 commits
  • 39 branches
  • 24 releases
  • 73 contributors

The Upshot: The Best of Native Experience and Hybrid Flexibility

These frameworks are not your HTML5 or Hybrid technologies of the past (remember Facebook’s HTML5 disaster?). With Native mobile apps developed using JavaScript, our clients receive the benefits of having a Native app experience, while lowering their total cost of ownership by needing only one development team to maintain and repurpose code across their web and mobile apps.

Here are just a few reasons why React Native is one of our preferred technologies for mobile app development:

  • Code is highly performant because it functions as a Native app, not as a web browser in a wrapper; it writes JavaScript, which converts to iOS or Android.
  • It takes advantage of a phone’s features, unlike a web app (eg, accelerometer, GPS).
  • It has comparable security/encryption to Native iOS/Android languages.

Our Clients Choose the Newest Leading Technology

We've developed several Native JavaScript mobile apps for clients in a variety of industries, including Intelex and Kiva.

React Native with React

We worked with a data storage company and one of the largest hard disk drive manufacturers in the world. Our challenge was to build an application for their customers to manage their home storage device. Initially, we built a POC in Ionic and then in React for a compare and contrast. We decided to go with React because we felt its functionality better suited our clients’ needs. Over the course of the project, we provided them with a full team of Developers, BQAs, Designers and a Scrum Master. As a result of this engagement, the client is now proficient enough that they can continue to build out features as needed on their own.

NativeScript with Angular: Kiva

Founded in 2005, Kiva has mainstreamed microlending and pioneered the crowdfunding space by leveraging the power of collective good and new technologies in unique ways. Along with Google and Progress, we approached Kiva to develop better mobile applications for connecting lenders and borrowers around the world. We helped Kiva leverage NativeScript and Angular 2 RC solutions to build their mobile app.

“What we love about the NativeScript solution is native components that work and perform really well without surprises, the ability to use web development tools and workflows, the Native app like performance, and the ability to develop simultaneously for both iOS and Android,” said Nick van Weerdenburg, Rangle CEO, in a press release.

Today, you can achieve Native app results with technology advancements that have been developed over the last few years. Tech giants, including Facebook, have developed new technologies like React, to improve the tech ecosystem and make Native application development efficient, more flexible and highly performant.