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React & React Native Development

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OpenBionics mobile app screenshots showing example of React Native development
An example of Calvium’s React Native skills used in Open Bionic’s Sidekick app.

Calvium is a full stack company who can deliver everything needed to run an app or website – both the server-side backend services (hosted on cloud services such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud) and the front-end user interfaces that users interact with.

Calvium uses the React library for all user interface development – React.js for web apps and React Native (with the Expo framework) for native mobile Android and iOS applications.

Ben Clayton is Calvium’s founding Technical Director. He specialises in system architecture, tools and mobile technologies. Ben has deep expertise in developing software platforms as well as native mobile apps, and is highly skilled in React, iOS and Android development. Ben has answered a few FAQs on React and React Native Development below for those interested in learning more.

Why React?

React is the most-commonly used front-UI library (Source: State of JS 2022 Survey). It’s ideal for creating beautiful interactive responsive web & mobile applications, but can also be used for company homepages or other content.

In React, the developer creates components, which describe the look-and-feel and behaviour of parts of the user interface. These components can be as simple as a button or as complex as an entire dashboarding user interface. Developers can then combine and reuse these components to build up the whole application.

In Calvium, all front-end developers become expert React developers, so they can put their skills to use on both React Native iOS and Android native mobile apps and websites.

Read more about our app creation process

Why React Native?

React Native is a cross-platform technology originally developed by Facebook that allows our developers to build one application that runs on multiple platforms. This means we can build the application once and publish iOS and Android apps to the Apple App Store and Google Play respectively.

The alternative to cross-platform technology is to build the app from scratch twice in different programming languages. Once with Java/Kotlin for Android and then again in Swift for iOS. They also each have different ways of creating the user interface, even if the end result looks almost identical.

This requires two development teams which adds complexity and communication overhead for the UX designers, project managers and client reviews. This can mean more resources are required which would increase costs.

For ongoing maintenance, you will also need to retain expertise in both platforms as the skills are not easily interchangeable. As all Calvium front-end developers are expert in React we can offer clients an assured level of maintenance and quality across both platforms with less risk that a critical resource moves on.

Cropper game
Cropper, an example of Calvium’s React and React Native development for desktop and mobile

 

What's the Expo framework?

Expo extends React Native with a series of capabilities such as using the Camera, logging in via Google or FaceBook, using maps, printing documents and much more. It also allows developers to push small changes to apps – such as bug fixes directly to apps without needing to go via the App Store. Apple reviews all app updates – and can introduce 24-hour plus delays before they’ll allow updates to ‘go live’.

But doesn't cross-platform mean a second-class user experience?

No, not at all. React Native is used by many high-profile apps including the Mobile Versions of Microsoft Office, Shopify, Tesla and Sony’s Playstation App.

Are there some things you can't do if you use React Native?

No. There are a few features you cannot easily do directly with React Native, such as creating iOS Home Screen widgets. As you can mix and match React Native and native code it’s possible to develop that one feature with native code (Swift/Java or Kotlin) and add that to the React Native project.

Why would React development be better than a 'no code' solution?

A ‘no code’ solution is intended to allow non-programmers to create applications by using a tool to snap together pre-built components.

No code solutions can be effective if the application you have in mind conforms to the restrictions and use model of the chosen service (of which there are many, targeting different markets). As soon as you want to do something slightly different or distinctive it can be hard or sometimes impossible to make it work or look the way you wish.

When choosing a no code solution, it’s always worth checking the pricing model. For a large organization with 10,000 employees even $10 per user per month becomes expensive ($1.2m a year).

Calvium creates your application bespoke with React, so you have full control over the functionality and look-and-feel of the whole application. We are also passionate about the role of good UX and design in making applications used, loved and efficient. A no code solution interface will have to be a compromise as it is auto built, with React development we can make sure the application is just as it should be and we think your users deserve that!

React projects that Calvium have worked on:

openbionics case study
Calvium delivers the Sidekick mobile app for the Open Bionics Hero Arm Read more
Envirocrops Case Study
Innovative clean energy technology to meet net zero goals
Read more