Native App Development

Improving Development Quality: Factors That Affect React Native App Development

How to improve the React Native app quality: Common issues across iOS and Android platforms 

React native provides a truly effective and robust solution for building cross-platform apps. Launched in 2014, just within a short period, React Native has surpassed leading platforms such as Xamarin and Ionic. Everyone in the developer community is ready to jump in to explain why React Native for cross-platform app development. The framework is leading in popularity now. But React Native apart from offering several advantages for building robust and powerful apps we also exposed to several performance issues. 

One important aspect noticed by many is that increasing the number of images, navigation, third-party libraries, tabs, animation, and controls result in slower speed or unsatisfactory app performance. Question is, how to improve the React Native app performance with assured results in both iOS and Android platforms. Well, that is exactly what we are going to unveil in the due course of this blog post. 

React Native on Android: Key issues and solutions 

App size and loading speed 

The most common problem is the increased app size that can drastically slow down the app performance. The issue is particularly faced by apps relying too much on third-party libraries and resources. 

In some countries with an emerging pool of developer talents and app startups, this common issue is being addressed by some innovative tools apart from best practices. App developers in Belgium prefer using a tool called Proguard for reducing the app size by compressing code and other heavier elements.

To solve the issue one can take other measures such as the ones mentioned below. 

  • Reduce the size of the APK files before using them in particular CPU architectures. 
  • Use a compression tool to reduce image file sizes. 
  • Instead of storing raw JSON files, compress the same. 
  • Reduce the size of the native libraries.

Leakage of Android memory 

Another grave issue of concern is the frequent leakage of memory from the React Native app built for the Android platform. As the scrolling action to browse a list of content in an Android app involves passing of information between Android native and the React Native by using a bridge, this results in slower performance at times.

The solution to this issue is preventing the use of ListView and instead of using FlatList or VirtualizedList. This is particularly helpful for apps involving infinite scrolling and a lot of listed content requiring frequent refreshing. 

Fast-paced rendering of Native Views 

Another key way to optimize the performance of React Native Android apps that developers often miss is utilizing the Virtual DOMfeature of React Native. Virtual DOM by optimizing the JavaScript components for rendering reduces the data size being handled by the bridge and thus ensures easy and smooth syncing of React Native and the Native Android platform. 

Boosting the app launch time

Slower launch time or loading speed is a frequent issue of many Android apps built with React Native. 

To solve this issue first of all is to reduce the use of Objects. finalize element that running on a single thread makes other objects wait in the pipeline. By minimizing finalizers you can reduce this dependency and resulting performance issue to a great extent. 

Navigation issues 

The inconsistencies in navigation between JavaScript and native layer is still an issue causing navigation problems in Android apps built with React Native.

There are few solutions to address this problem. You can use the ReactNavigation component instead of the Navigator JavaScript component when you need to share the code corresponding to navigation between iOS and Android. NavigatorExperimental is also a good choice especially because it allows a lot of custom configuration, but it involves some learning curve according to some developers.

React Native on iOS: Key issues and solutions 

Multi-threading issues 

By following the core javascript principle, React Native doesn’t offer support for small concurrently running multiple threads. In React Native iOS apps other components have to wait in the queue when one is being rendered and this is a major source of performance issues. 

Developers found a solution to this problem by creating their –extension code for facilitating multi-threading in React Native apps. iOS developers also opined in favor of optimizing system architecture and design to allow multi-threading. Developers can easily write these extensions with Swift, Java, or Objective-C. 

Issues with default Infinite Scrolling 

React Native implements infinite scrolling by default and resulting creates a major performance issue, especially for apps offering a newsfeed kind of interface. The particular performance issues caused by 3 ways of infinite scrolling implementation are the following: 

  • ScrollView method by loading everything at one shot consumes more memory resulting in slower performance. 
  • ListView despite offering a relatively better performance isn’t completely free from the problem. 
  • FlatList loads a list as a UI component just when users require it ad hence it called Lazy Loading as well.

As of now, a comprehensive solution to the problem is yet to come. Some developers experimented by introducing a sliding window alongside the list so that the scrolling action moves the slider window up while all items stay fixed in positions. By preventing the movement of the items, reduces memory usage and boosts performance. 

Issues with React Native image components 

React Native image component only offers a very bland and plain user experience which is not great for different user contexts and app usage. 

For addressing this, major React Native apps make use of progressive loading mechanisms. This involves using small thumbnail images in the placeholder position to help the browser fetching the image quickly. To optimize this further, you need to use the progressive loading logic so that the thumbnail is loaded first. 

Problems in rendering animations 

React Native comes equipped with the API for implementing stock animations such as the simple transition of layouts. For more animated effects iOS React Native app projects need to rely on third-party libraries that can slow down app performance. 

To address this issue, make sure the animation issue doesn’t dip the frame rate of the app below 60fps.

Conclusion 

React Native continues to get better and more equipped to solve issues and optimize performance thanks to its robust developer community. The above-mentioned problems and their solutions provide testimony to this. 

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