How to Convert Your Existing Mobile App to React Native Quickly? [UPDATED]

how to convert your existing mobile app to react native quickly itechnolabs

It was the year 2015. The digital world was not doing as well as it is doing today. The community of web wizards were particularly distressed. There were many hassles in their way to technological advancement. But one hassle bothered them the most – they had to create different codes for different platforms for a single application. 

Life was devoid of any hope. But then something spectacular happened. The greatest of the great, Facebook, invented a cure for this problem of the web wizards. It was React Native – an open source framework that enabled the use of a single code for web, mobile, android, or iOS. 

The wizards readily converted their existing mobile apps to React Native. Some started creating new ones with it. With its Midas’ touch, React Native transformed the digital world forever, for good. To all the web wizards out there, who have not used React Native yet, what are you waiting for? Just try making an app with React Native or convert your existing mobile app to React Native. We are 100% percent sure that you are going to do so right after you finish reading this blog.

What is cross-platform development?

We are well aware that React native is the talking point right now. However, we can not understand it thoroughly if we skip discussing what cross-platform development is. 

Let’s assume you are a developer who has an advanced proficiency in Java language and refined experience in making apps for the android operating system. It is safe to say that you can easily build powerful android mobile applications

But if you were to build the same application for the iOS operating system, things won’t look as simple as they looked earlier. You will have to learn Swift or Objective-C, gain a working knowledge of the iOS operating system and then create another codebase for the same application in Swift or Objective-C. Ages will pass, surely. 

But do not worry. Here comes the ground-breaking concept of cross-platform development to your rescue. With the help of cross-platform development, you just have to write a single codebase in a programming language that is platform-agnostic. Platform-agnostic languages are the ones that are not specific to a single operating system, i.e. they are not native. JavaScript, Dart and C# are languages that are platform-agnostic. 

All you have to do is to write a code in one of these languages using the underlying structure of a cross-platform framework and boom! You have an application that runs smoothly and native-ly on multiple platforms without a single hitch. We can not think of anything even slightly superior than cross-platform development right now. 

What is React Native?

In very simple words, React Native is one of the very few cross-platform frameworks that offers an already-established set up to build cross-platform applications. It has been built using JavaScript programming language and JXL, a markup language. 

If you want to build a mobile application that runs effortlessly on android as well as iOS devices, React Native framework is the essential key. It is an open-sourced framework available on Github. Therefore, accessing it is not at all a hindrance.

You can use its Java Script library to fetch the already-written code to build and add UI to the framework. If you want, you can always access some external UI library, only if they are compatible with the React Native framework.

On a very fundamental level, React Native framework is a bridge framework. It creates a sleek bridge between the JavaScript code and the native code of the device. Doing so, it provides an authentic mobile experience to your users and enables them to smoothly use device APIs. 

The history of React Native framework

There is hardly any doubt that React Native framework is the present and the future of the mobile application development domain. Let us take a sneak-peek into the history of React native before we move ahead. 

  • It all began in the year 2011 when FaxJS came into existence
  • FaxJS was a mock-up for a sophisticated framework for web applications that Facebook was in desperate need of
  • In the very next year, FaxJS evolved into React Framework
  • In 2013, React became an open-sourced framework, i.e. anyone can use it and modify it to build their websites
  • In 2012, Facebook was determined to release a mobile application
  • Facebook tried using HTML5 for rendering mobile applications, but failed miserably
  • Doing so with the web-based framework posed many hurdles as mobiles and computers have very distinctive differences
  • With a highly talented team, Jordan Walke of Facebook came up with React Native in the year 2015
  • React Native became a framework for developing mobile applications and became open-sourced that very year
  • React Native has not looked back since then and is evolving year after year

How does React Native framework work?

If you want to get the basics of the working of React Native framework, you have to understand it in terms of domains. 

In React Native framework, there are two distinct domains – 

  • One domain is built of JavaScript threads
  • The other domain is built of native threads

Both the domains are written in distinct languages. First one is written in JavaScript. The native one is written in Java or Kotlin, if native operating system is Android, or Swift or Objective-C, if native operating system is iOS. 

The React Native framework is fundamentally a bridge through which information is exchanged between the two domains and tasks are accomplished on the mobile app. 

Therefore, converting your existing mobile app to React Native is a very easy task because of the bridge approach. 

What mobile apps have been developed using React Native framework?

  • Facebook 
  • Instagram
  • Shine
  • Skype
  • Pinterest
  • UberEats

The applications are one of the biggest hits in the mobile app development domain. They are the critical testimonies for one of the greatest inventions of developer-kind which is React Native framework. 

Why use React Native App Development Services?

Why would you not, when you already know that so many hit and super-hit mobile apps have been made using the one and only React Native framework? Nothing other than the working application of the framework can be the biggest testimony to its success. 

Also, we cannot dare to forget how React Native is endowed with an undying support from the giant of the giants, Facebook, and an enormous community of developers who attempt to enhance the framework from time to time. Not just the React Native framework itself, even JavaScript, the programming language of React Native, enjoys immense popularity amongst the developers. 

Last, but not the least, and definitely not so unobvious, React Native framework is going to significantly cut short your expense sheet by enabling the development of android as well as iOS applications using just one codebase. A huge reason to celebrate! 

When to use React Native for Mobile App Development?

We have lined up below all the different contexts in which choosing React Native framework is the most sane decision you can ever make for your app. Take a look – 

  • React Native should be your first choice in case your potential mobile app does not rely upon the peculiar features of a specific operating system
  • Obviously, it would take far less time and efforts to develop a mobile app using React Native when your website has been created using React
  • If your mobile app has a simple and sweet design and involve no tricky animation to design, trust React Native with closed eyes
  • Do not overthink and just go for React Native when highly scalable enterprise apps are in question which needs more than frequent upgrades

Are you ready now to convert your existing mobile apps to React Native framework? We bet that you are. Let’s go. 

How to move your existing application to the React Native Framework?

We know that you keenly want to know how to convert an android app to iOS or iOS to android using React Native framework. We are going to talk about it in our next segment. But before we do so, migration to React native is easier said than done and an end number of variables have to be taken care of when doing so.

Keep that in mind and things will be easier for you when you read our upcoming segment. 

Are you ready now to convert your existing mobile apps to React Native framework?

How to convert your existing Android (Kotlin/Java) mobile app to React Native?

  1. Firstly, set up a directory structure for your React Native project and copy your existing android project to it 
  2. The next step is to install JavaScript dependencies to it
  3. You have to configure your dependencies and project setup 
  4. The next step in this conversion will be to enable the autolinking of native modules Autolinking allows your project to find the code and use it
  5. Get you internet permission ready and keep an eye on the configuration of other permissions too
  6. Enable the ClearText traffic which is disabled by default in android operating system
  7. Now, engage in code integration by following the steps given below
  • You have to build an index.js file
  • Now, simply add the React Native code
  • Obviously, seek permission for development error overlay
  • RenderRender JS component

8. Test your integration by running the server first and then the application.

Important Article: Why is React Native Framework Best for Mobile App Development?

How to convert your existing iOS (Objective-C/Swift) mobile app to React Native?

  1. For your React Native app, set up a directory structure and copy your iOS project to it
  2. Next, install JavScript dependencies to it
  3. As you are converting your existing iOS app to React native, you will need to install CocoaPods which is a tool for package management in iOS operating system
  4. Using CocoaPods, add components to your code and configure the dependencies
  5. The next step is code integration which has to be done by following the steps mentioned below 
  • You have to create a index.js file
  • Now, add your React Native code to it
  • Add a RCTRootView to your iOS app

6. Add a window reference to the app file if your iOS app is built using Swift language

7. Now, you have to add an App Transport Security exception 

8. Test your app by running the server and application

What are the benefits of using React Native Framework?

  • Many Platforms, One Solution
  • Intuitive User Interface (UI)
  • Huge Community –
  • Quick Reload –
  • Big Money Saver

Uncountable, if you ask us. Who would not want to convert their existing mobile apps to React Native framework? We doubt that there would be any. Only the name of React Native echoes in the air when we talk of mobile app development. The reason is not one but many, which we have listed below –

  • Many Platforms, One Solution –

Let’s just talk about the obvious reason first. With React Native framework, you only need a single codebase for your iOS as well as android devices. No need to squander time, money and developers into writing different codebases, when your mobile application can function well with one on different platforms. 

Wait, wait! If you have a web application also made using React Native framework, your development work for mobile is approximately ninety per cent already accomplished. Just sit back and relax!

  • Intuitive User Interface (UI) –

The React Native framework follows a component-based approach when creating UI for the application. What does this mean to you?

If you are currently leveraging React Native framework for building a mobile application, you are up for a fun ride. React Native framework lets you use React JavaScript library to build UI of your mobile application. The library comprises platform-agnostic components which you can use to design a responsive, native UI. 

The loading time shrinks as the user experience swells. With the component-based approach of the React JavaScript library, designing complex UI becomes a piece of cake for you.

  • Huge Community –

Suppose you are writing code for mobile app development. Suddenly, you stumble upon a glitch in the framework you are working on and you can not find a way to fix the glitch. You need help but you do not know anybody having an advanced knowledge of the programming language or the framework. What do you do?

If React Native is the framework you are using to build your mobile app, then there are thousands of developers you can turn to. React Native has a large support tribe. The tribe is always ready to help you out and build your application.

  • Quick Reload –

No, you need to rebuild your app after you made some changes to its code for the UI. Atleast, you do not have to if you are using React Native.

React Native quickly reloads the app and allows you to see changes as you make them. You save plenty of your man-hours and brain cells because of React Native’s quick reload option. Also, compiling becomes a ducksoup because React Native allows you to reload only those areas which you have modified.

  • Big Money Saver –

This point is really an extension of the first point and demanded a special mention. If you are building an app or converting an existing mobile app to React Native, you are an entrepreneur for sure. For an entrepreneur, money is a limited resource.

When you use React Native, you use one code for multiple platforms. You do not need a separate team of developers for a separate platform. There you save money! A lot of it. Time is also money for an entrepreneur. You get to spend less time and your application reaches the market early. The shorter Time to Market (TTM) is a big-win situation for you.

Do we need to say more? We bet that we do not. We are sure that you are persuaded enough to convert your existing mobile app to React Native or just start with a new one. 

Things that React Native allows you to do While Converting into Android Applications

A lot many things, if you ask us, to pull off an app development process that is no less dynamic and seamless. For your reference, we have listed a few of them below – 

  • Code Reuse – 

How dare React Native framework claim to call itself a cross-platform app development framework, if it does not allow the developers to reuse the code developed for iOS app to develop android app or vice-versa? 

In addition to allowing reuse of the code of a mobile app to migrate to iOS/android, React Native also enables the developers to use almost ninety percent of the React based website code for conversion to React Native based mobile apps.

  • Hot and Live Reloading – 

Nah! You do not have to eyeball the screen for infinity as soon as you make a single minor change to your app-in-progress. At least, when you are building an app using the one and only React Native framework. 

React Native has two absolutely wonderful features – hot reloading and live reloading. As soon as you modify a part of the app, you can reload that particular part using hot reloading and the entire app-in-progress using live reloading (very important!) in no time. 

  • Quick Update- 

Having an app store as a mediator between you and your users, when loads of updates are lined up, could cost you a lot of time and competitive edge. 

But do not worry! Here comes React Native with code push, which allows you to modify your app and make those modifications directly available to your users without the intervention of the concerned app store. Believe us when we say that you save plenty of your precious time with code push.

  • Third-Party Plugins – 

A plugin is simply an addition to the software to enhance its functionality and React Native framework does not have any. However, the framework allows you to readily use a third-party plugin for your React Native app. 

As already discussed, React Native framework has two modules – one in the native language and the other one in JavaScript. It goes without saying that the plugin has to be in one of the two languages for hassle-free integration with the React Native app.

  • Native UI Design –

You already have a very clear idea that React Native framework harnesses the dynamic ReactJS library. You already know that the ReactJS library uses a component-based approach that speeds up the designing process. 

But what you do not know is how React Native framework allows you to blend the ReactJS components with the native UI components to create a mobile application with a very native look and feel.   

Do we need to say more? We bet that we do not. We are sure that you are persuaded enough to convert your existing mobile app to React Native or just start with a new one. 

How can iTechnolabs help you convert your existing mobile app to React Native?

When React Native framework is concerned, iTechnolabs is delighted to possess a large pool of talented developers who have a strong background and an exemplary knowledge base. We have delivered some very unique mobile apps using React Native framework and have helped our clients to convert their existing mobile apps to the React Native framework.

We follow an agile approach of development and hence create high-quality mobile apps in less than the stipulated time. We believe in delivering innovative user experiences at reasonable cost, hence making us the first-rate choice for you. Do not hesitate to reach out to us today!

Related Article: Why Should Startups Choose React Native Apps Over Hybrid Apps?

Do You Want to convert your Existing Mobile App to React Native Quickly?

do you want to convert your existing mobile app to react native quickly itechnolabs

Hire a dedicated react native app developer from iTechnolabs to convert your app and ask him to use React Native.

You can also hire an iOS or Android app developer to convert your iOS or Android apps to React Native. To collaborate, however, you will need a separate QA team and other developers.

You can employ a software development team from an established software development company to complete your project. This will ensure you receive the best market times.

iTechnolabs can help you if you don’t have the time to interview and research the best software company for Native development with React.

Frequently Asked Questions to Convert Your Existing Mobile App to React Native (Android or iOS app to React Native)

  1. How is app development different for iOS and Android using React Native?

There are some significant differences between the React Native app development for iOS and android. We have explained them briefly below – 

  • As far as app testing is concerned, React Native-based android apps can be tested on Windows as well as Apple devices. 

However, testing a React Native-based iOS app on Windows is not at all probable because there has not been a testing tool designed to test iOS apps on Windows. 

  • In case of android applications built using React Native framework, some specific UI elements, such as shadowing, fonts, etc., needs to be manually configured after styling in JavaScript is done

       However, manual configuration is not at all required in the case of the React Native-based iOS applications.

  • It is known that iOS follows a minimalistic approach with regard to UI design, whereas Android has an entirely opposite approach.  

      The difference between the design philosophies of iOS and android can be encountered during the UI designing process and have to be taken care of by the developers to maintain uniformity. 

2. Which one is better for app development – React Native or Flutter?

It may be difficult to determine the better cross-platform app development framework for your app. You can look at the key differences between them and decide accordingly – 

  • When compared to Flutter, React Native is endowed with more number of packages which renders it a unique dynamism
  • Flutter has its own large collection of widgets that may or may not be adaptive, whereas React Native uses UI elements from a variety of libraries that are mostly platform-compatible
  • Owing to its invention much before Flutter, React Native enjoys support from a large community of developers and has less number of unfixed glitches as far as comparison with Flutter is concerned
  • Flutter leverages Google-built Skia library for app development and showcases relatively higher performance than React Native which has an architecture based upon the bridging of JavaScript module and native module
  • As far as UI design is concerned, Flutter does not support 3D designing and animation as it is based on a 2D graphic rendering library, named Skia. However, React Native supports both 2D and 3D design elements

3. Which category of apps can be developed better using React Native?

We have defined below the app categories to which React Native app development will perfectly suit – 

  • React Native framework is best for those apps who will function for a very short span of time, but have to be urgently developed
  • When it comes to developing e-commerce apps with very systematic architecture, React Native is the best framework
  • Again, the development of short-term mobile apps for any sort of events, in order to circulate information, can be best done via React Native framework
  • When you need to develop an app which has a very rationalised front end, nothing is better than React Native framework

4. Why convert a react web app to react mobile app?

You should definitely convert react app to react native because – 

  • Obviously, with so many people using smartphones, it is a prudent move to convert your react app to react native
  • A react native mobile app is more likely to engage its consumers and retain them into using their mobile applications for longer, which would be good for your business
  • With a react native app, you are more likely to give your consumers a very native mobile app experience  
  • In mobile apps, you have the option to remind your customers of your presence via frequent push notifications

5. What are some of the Popular Apps Built using React Native Framework?

We have listed below the names of some of the outstanding react native apps that are doing wonders – 

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Wix
  • SoundCloud
  • Walmart
  • Discord
  • Gyroscope
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