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Six React Native Apps Worth Watching in 2021

Five years ago, in 2016, React Native was presented to the mainstream audience. Released by Facebook and based on already popular React, the framework made a massive impact on the development world. React Native’s way of creating native mobile apps for multiple platforms using only one JavaScript codebase took the world by storm back then, and still is relevant today. Let’s shortly examine six apps built with React Native worth following in 2021.

1. Coinbase

In 2020, Coinbase developers rewrote its Android app from scratch using React Native. Although they encountered some challenges, they decided to go through with the project and continue to be optimistic after the updated version launched in late 2020. Coinbase is a digital currency exchange, brokering exchanges of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tezos, and many more. The company started in 2012 with an ambition to simplify Bitcoin trading, so anyone could buy and sell this cryptocurrency. Today, they're one of the most trusted crypto-economy platforms with 43 million verified users, 10 million app downloads on Android, and #15 place in the Finance category on iOS with more than 1 million ratings.

According to their own account, rewriting the whole Coinbase app in React Native started out great, with everything going smoothly until more features were added. That's when issues with performance, particularly on Android, started. The development team later found out that a library they used caused unnecessary re-rendering, slowing the app down. After finding the root cause of the issues, they managed to reduce the total time spent rendering by over 90%.

2. Flipkart

Flipkart is the largest e-commerce company in India with over 100 million app downloads and 400 million visits a week. The company, founded in 2007, initially focused on selling books online, but before long they expanded to more categories, like consumer electronics, fashion, and groceries. Today, they're a Walmart-controlled eCommerce giant and the biggest competitor for Amazon in India.

They started using React Native back in 2016 to ease the development effort, back then heavily divided to create every feature for every platform Flipkart was on. One codebase, access to each system’s native components, and ability to send the JavaScript code over the air seemed to resolve the challenges the company faced. Today, Flipkart developers use React Native (and React-Native-Web) in combination with native languages to unite the best of both worlds and share their React Native journey online.

3. Nerdwallet

NerdWallet started as a credit card comparison website. Today, the company offers a holistic approach to understanding one’s finances via web and mobile apps. The NerdWallet app is built on React Native, TypeScript, and GraphQL, with React Native being most transformative and instrumental in increasing efficiency, time-to-market speed, and leveraging developers’ abilities.

In a recently featured story, Nerdwallet developers explain their decision to develop their app with React Native and why they stick with their decision up to this day. By 2016, the Nerdwallet website was already rewritten from an old PHP code to an ecosystem of 12+ separate apps built on React, among others. But the only mobile presence they had was an iOS-only app that connected users with their financial advisor via chat. With some previous knowledge of React and impressive React Native use at company-level hackathons, the Nerdwallet engineers decided on choosing React Native to create their brand-new mobile experience.

The big advantage of choosing React Native was the ease with which web developers using React became effective in React Native code. It worked in the other direction too, and Nerdwallet could reuse a lot of mobile application code on their website. For example, now both the mobile app and web app share the same context-based analytics infrastructure.

4. Foreca

Foreca is a company providing digital weather services for consumers and developers alike, in the form of websites, apps, and data interfaces. To create global weather forecasts, Foreca uses a combination of traditional meteorological expertise and advanced data science. To provide this forecast straight to both Android and iOS users, they decided to use React Native.

In 2018, Foreca decided to invest in a big mobile app update. Up to this day, the Android and iOS apps were created separately in native code, meaning they were basically different apps, both in terms of functionality and customer experience. To unify that experience efficiently, the development team chose Facebook's React Native.

Although they met their fair share of challenges during development, including the need for quick post-update fixes and management of accumulated dependencies, Foreca is still satisfied with switching from two native codes to one RN codebase.

5. Guild

Guild is a secure messaging app built for professionals and businesses for iOS, Android, and the Web created with React Native and Node.js. Monterail developers tasked with delivering a secure app with an exceptional user experience decided on going with React Native and React XP. Results? This cross-platform app that shares 99% of code between mobile versions and has 80% shared code between all platforms was recognized by Red Herring's 2019 Top 100 European Startups.

Guild mobile app

Choosing the right technology stack was a fantastic way to achieve a balance between performance and cost. With the recent increase of public interest in WhatsApp alternatives, Guild is definitely worth observing in 2021.

6. Instagram

Writing about React Native without mentioning Facebook would be impossible, but when it comes to apps to watch in 2021, the app to watch from Facebook’s family of products is definitely Instagram. Since 2012, when Facebook bought the app, it changed in a lot of ways and introduced various new features. This continuous change is in part enabled by React Native. Instagram developers started using it back in 2016 to accelerate its development speed by allowing code reuse. Since they integrated React Native to an existing native app, instead of rewriting the whole thing from scratch, the company encountered unique challenges on its way.

With fresh features, like the COVID-19 Information Center and Live Rooms feature debuting in early 2021, Instagram feels fresh again and will make some more waves in the current year.

Conclusion

React Native apps, mobile and desktop ones, are here to stay. Not all developers are still in love with the framework, but on the other hand, the collective knowledge vastly expanded, with more issues and challenges being documented regularly, since React Native launched in 2016.

We at Monterail know that developing your app in React Native in 2021 is a perfectly valid choice. All you need are the developers who encountered their share of framework-specific issues.. Build your software with us.

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