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Android Java Or React Native JS Framework- What To Pick | Touchstone Words

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Native Android App Design with Java versus React Native JavaScript –What to pick

By Editorial Team on 2017-10-10

Designing a native Android App can be done using either JavaScript or Java programming language. In particular, you can use React Native JavaScript framework which is much easier than Java programming to deploy an Android App. This article discusses the differences between this two platforms.

Many developers need to develop Apps quicker, and in the past have turned to a few solutions. One of them is using an application to run a WebView and show a website optimized for a mobile phones. Another was to use slow cross platform engines that would run the application on top of its own very slow virtual machine. Later, the React library was extended to allow for native access using similar React code.

React was first developed at Facebook to allow developers to use JavaScript  code to develop performant web applications. It utilized JavaScript  and JSX, an XML templating language, to create views for websites and add business logic. React Native was an extension to the library by creating bindings for React code to be compiled to either iOS or Android APIs. React Native enables developers to write an application once in JavaScript  and then port it to a mobile platform of their choosing.

React Native has an inherent advantage over native development for both platforms. While native Apps require the compilation of large codebases, React Native allows developers to hot swap code for a faster development process. This gives developers more time to prototype and less time waiting for their App to get built from source code. React Native also enables more efficient code reuse in the form of components and allows developers to write less code for vastly complicated logic.

Nearly 88% of smartphones nowadays use the Android Operating System created by Google. Android has risen to popularity due to the wide range of devices it can run on. This is due to the open source nature of Android suggested by its developers and managers. However, this can present a problem. Because there are so many Android users, the variance in device speed is much higher. This can cause developers a lot of unnecessary stress when trying to determine if their software application can aptly run on both newer and older Android devices which can have vastly different performance specifications.

React Native has an advantage over Android in this situation. Because Android developers are given so much control over how their applications use resources, it can often become inefficient. React Native allows developers to more easily create applications that efficiently allocate both memory and computing resources and allow for a much smoother and elegant user experience.

React Native also has a similar templating language as Android. While Android Studio gives a user interface for its views, the Android platform does, in fact, allow its developers to create an XML document to represent a view. This enables developers to more easily port their views from Android XML notation to the JSX code used by React. This makes the learning curve less steep for new developers switching from Android development to React Native.

Nonetheless, React Native does offer a good solution for developers. Developers can convert React Native applications to Android applications that they can open in Android Studio and keep developing. This allows them to create a base App in React Native and then add more functionality once the application has been ported to Android Studio. Companies like Uber, Airbnb and Tesla all use React Native in some part of their development process.

Programming Languages and Resources for App Developers
Here are a brief summary of coding languages and resources for developing web Apps or native Apps without using Java. In general, you need to know common web programming languages such as  HTML, CSS (or HTML5 & CSS3) JavaScript (or JS frameworks like jQuery, Angular, React Web, Node, React Native, Ionic, jQuery Mobile or Express) and  a database  like MongoDB. Knowlege of a back-end coding in language such as PHP, MySQL, Apache or Ruby on Rails is useful but not required. For those interested in learning more about web design and development, here are a list of step-by-step training guide articles: i- Become CMS specialist, ii- Become front-end specialist, iii- Become expert SQL developer, iv- Become expert PHP developer. Lastly, you can use Swift to design iOS Apps. 

Android coding is well suited for those interested in pursuing a career in mobile App design and development; however, other options are, system admin, web design and development and software engineering. It is advisable to consult with an IT career counselor to understand what career options best fits your skills. For instance, if you want to be a software engineer, learning HTML and CSS might not fit the bill. Here is an excellent article for learning more on coding and technology career roadmap. Once you know what career path you wish to pursue, you can make a plan on what, when, and how to learn. There are lots of online resources for learning coding and technology in general. For teenagers and high school students, High School Technology Services offers variety of hands-on training. For adults and professionals, Coding Bootcamps and DC Web Makers Companies offer basic to advance project-based programming and technology classes.

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