How to build the best hybrid applications: React-native CLI vs. Expo CLI

react native cli

How to build the best hybrid applications: React-native CLI vs. Expo CLI

It would be true that over the past two years, we have witnessed tremendous transformation in the information technology field. Over the last several years, software applications have been incorporated into people’s daily routines in almost every sphere of their lives. During this technological race, hybrid applications are far more competitive than traditional applications, yet they are making rapid progress towards the top of the innovation universe.

The purpose of this article is to provide some value to those confused about the advantages and disadvantages of using React Native for hybrid application development. Whenever someone speaks about developing hybrid applications, a question that might come up simultaneously is: Why should I use React Native to develop hybrid applications? In this blog post, I will overview the main features and advantages of using the react native framework and highlight its downsides that may cause a problem during application development.

Understanding the Key Terms

To better understand the terms we used in this article, let’s first demonstrate hybrid applications, react native CLI, and Expo CLI to help the reader understand better.

Hybrid Applications:

A hybrid application is a software application with seamless features of the mobile native apps and a web application. As a user switches from a web-based application to a mobile native application, he may not find any distinction between the features of the two applications nor any change in their usability.

Developers have gradually become familiar with the development of hybrid applications since the developers only need to write the code once and then integrate it into the platforms they wish to deploy it on.

React-Native CLI

If you are a software developer specializing in building mobile applications, you will want to learn how to use React Native CLI. The command line interface is called the CLI (Command Line Interface). With the help of this interface, it is possible to execute various functions related to software programming. You’ll need to use Android Studio or XCode to make it work, so you can start using it immediately after installing it.

Expo CLI

Aside from Expo CLI, Expo CLI is also an application that is a command line application that facilitates the development of mobile applications. Essentially, Expo works as the primary interface between Expo tools and developers to empower them to build dynamic applications and embed versatile functionalities.

React-Native CLI Vs. Expo CLI

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Advantages of React Native CLI

  1. Prototype-base Software Applications with Complex User Interface

Prototypes of the software applications need to be built on a lighter coding base. React Native CLI is the best choice when working on software application prototypes. A user interface prototyping, also known as UI prototyping, is an iterative analysis technique that refers to the process of actively involving the users in the mock-up of the user interface for the system.

  1. Cross-Platform Applications with Light Weight Native APIs

The emergence of smartphones and tablets has positioned mobile applications as beneficial to several industries, including transport, e-commerce, net banking, travel, retail, and enterprise services. Developers are taking advantage of the state-of-the-art functionality of intelligent devices to provide a revolutionary user experience. React Native CLI works best for cross-platform applications. Researchers found that approximately 75% of the React Native code could be used across both platforms, and it was easy to add platform-specific code.

  1. Reusable Modules Development

Reusability is an essential feature of the software application domain and is being professionally used in the computer science field in the application development process. These functional models are the software product assets of the software development lifecycle. It would be correct to say that developing a reusable software module is a blessing for developers. React Native CLI is recommended for the development of such reusable software components.

  1. Availability of Third-Party Plugin Support

React is a framework that can be used to create any web application. With a bit of care, it can be embedded in other applications, and with a little respect, it can be embedded in other applications that use React. This open-source plugin provides a JavaScript interface for React Native that can be used to access native In-App Payment SDKs. With React Native, you can call native In-App Payments SDK implementations through a JavaScript interface.

  1. Flexibility to handle modular architecture

React Native CLI efficiently manages the flexibility of handling modular architecture in software development. Although few architectures are recommended to be used with React Native CLI like React JS, its scalability and proficiency in managing any software development architecture are unparalleled.

Limitations of React Native CLI

  1. Android and IOS Emulators are required for Cross-Platform Mobile Apps

The gap that exists between the two operating systems includes the significant languages to have the grip upon. React Native CLI developers face that they have to manage Android and iOS emulators separately when developing cross-platform mobile applications. You have to write code once, but separate emulators must be furnished because of the difference in the languages like JAVA Kotlin for developing Android mobile applications. While Swift for the development of iOS mobile applications.

  1. Dependency on Third Party Libraries

Another limitation that React Native CLI developers have to face is the dependency on the third-party tool. Certain native app features can only be provided by a third-party library, which is not available in React Native features. Many features are not available in the React Native documentation (such as maps, for instance) if we refer to the documentation of React Native. The reason for this is that our project needs to include third-party libraries due to this situation.

  1. Limitations associated with the abstraction layer

Using React Native as a platform, a layer of abstraction is created on top of the native forum to generate greater functionality. In the same way that the abstraction layer implies that you would have to use third-party libraries or services to keep your framework up-to-date and prevent it from breaking, it also means that you would have to rely on them to keep it current. There is a possibility that a bug discovered in the abstraction layer could lead to unanticipated bugs within your application as well. It is not only difficult to diagnose these bugs, but it is also challenging to pinpoint the exact cause of them.

  1. Development expertise is needed on three platforms

React Native’s requirement for developers to switch between native and JavaScript counterparts has already been mentioned. It is still necessary, however, for developers to maintain their code by the platform they are using, including React.js, Android, and iOS.

Advantages of Expo CLI

  1. Least Configuration Required

The developer configures the development of an application as per his viewpoints over the development infrastructure. Expo CLI furnishes the flexibility to configure the applications required comparatively least.

  1. Seamless Visualization of Android & iOS Applications

The mobile user interface is mainly managed in such a seamless way by Expo CLI that you can have a UI view easily either by viewing it via online simulators of iPhone and Android. Or you can also view the UIs just by scanning barcodes of the respective platform’s mobile view.

  1. Speedy setup and app development

For speedy mobile application development, professionals usually recommend Expo CLI since it saves lots of time. Setting up a development environment is comparatively much faster and helps to give quicker development results.

  1. It does not require installing Android Studie or XCode to initiate app development.

When working with Expo CLI, you do not need to install Android Studio to develop Android mobile applications. Neither does it require the XCode to be installed to start the development of the iOS mobile applications. 

Limitations of Expo CLI

  1. Limited Configuration of older versions of iOS and Android Versions

Sometimes, developers need to configure the mobile applications in the older versions of iOS and Android. But if Expo CLI is being used, then there will be restricted flexibility to do the same.

  1. Large Executable Files

Minimal code and the most diminutive-sized APK (Android Application Package) for Android applications and the IPA (iOS App Store Package) are ideal for developing mobile applications. But Expo CLI creates large executable files for the deployment of the application.

  1. Compilation of Standalone Applications

The large-sized executable files sometimes create complications for standalone applications. The app is a standalone mobile application when uploaded to the store.

  1. Limited Testing Features

Working with Expo CLI would also lead to limited testing features because few features like Firebase Authentication cannot be tested on the client application of Expo CLI. It is required to build the mobile application to conduct testing.

  1. Image Caching Libraries

Expo CLI also has limitations for image caching libraries. In the tests conducted, we found that the image caching libraries in Expo could not handle apps such as Instagram, which require the caching of images for the best performance.

  1. Plugin Compatibility Issues

During the development phase, Expo CLI restricts the ability to integrate the native plugin with an application if it is required to be combined with that application. 

Concluding Remarks

To build the best hybrid applications, you need to consider which CLI you would choose to advance with development. Expo CLI has multiple benefits, but its limitations restrict the developers at many points while on the other hand, React Native CLI also has its limitations and a few complications, but due to its colossal community guidance available, it furnishes the ideal development of the hybrid mobile applications. 

So, which one would you select to build your hybrid application, or can you have your application developed by the professional and experienced developers at CodeLabs? Get connected with us today!

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