At the beginning of 2020, the e-commerce platform Shopify announced that the React Native framework would be used to develop all it’s future applications. Among the numerous programming languages, why did Shopify choose React Native in particular, what exactly is React Native, and more importantly, what are the benefits of this language specifically? In this article, we will attempt to answer all these questions.
What is React Native?
The benefits of React Native
- As stated in it’s well known “learn once, write everywhere” slogan, React Native makes it possible to use the same code across different platforms, which reduces the development costs significantly.
- React Native components facilitate development and improvement.
- React Native is able to adjust the interface to the screen size, making the application responsive and providing a better user experience.
Why did Shopify choose React Native?
This question can be answered by the following:
Preference for new technology
It’s not the first time Shopify has opted for a new and innovative technology instead of a more traditional one. In 2004, the company chose to go with Ruby on Rail, which was viewed as underperforming and insignificant compared to other popular languages such as Java. However, afterwards, Ruby on Rail was the one thing that set Shopify apart from its competitors. By sticking to this culture of investing in young technology and becoming one of its main contributors, it was not surprising that Shopify chose React Native.
It is quite clear that Shopify did not make this decision blindly. And the following points are proof of that:
- By purchasing Tictail, a mobile first company that focuses 100% on React Native, Shopify had the opportunity to know more about the progress of React Native.
- React has already been widely used by the company for its web applications, and the e-commerce platform now wishes to transfer this know-how to mobile applications.
- Finally, Shopify has created teams specialized in iOS and Android. As a cross-platform framework, React Native allows Shopify to integrate iOS and Android development onto a single stack.
React Native performance tested by Shopify
Shopify has tested the performance of React Native on three mobile applications: Arrive, Point of Sale and Compass. The results have been quite promising:
- All their applications have or will have an iOS and Android version,
- Developers indicate a greater efficiency and productivity using React Native,
- Fewer crashes occur on the React Native applications than on the original applications,
- There is more commonality in the code in iOS and Android – 95% for Arrive and 99% for Compass.
Next steps to be taken
Despite the great performance of React Native, Shopify is not planning on rewriting all it’s mobile applications using this framework. However, the Shopify team will dig deep into React Native and create platform-specific components.
If you would like more information, you can visit Shopify’s site and be informed about the e-commerce platform’s switch to React Native.
Article written by Aijia Chen.