React Native for Android, promised in March as "coming soon," was announced today by Facebook.
"React Native brings what developers are used to from React on the Web -- declarative self-contained UI components and fast development cycles -- to the mobile platform, while retaining the speed, fidelity and feel of native applications," said Facebook engineers Daniel Witte and Philipp von Weitershausen in a blog post today. "Today, we're happy to release React Native for Android."
In bringing the technology to the native mobile space, Facebook engineer Tom Occhino said the company eschewed the typical cross-platform approach wherein one code base can be used to target multiple platforms.
"The focus of React Native is on developer efficiency across all the platforms you care about -- learn once, write anywhere," the project's GitHub page reiterates. "Facebook uses React Native in multiple production apps and will continue investing in React Native."
In today's blog post, Witte and von Weitershausen described how they built the first cross-platform React Native app, called Ads Manager.
The duo detailed several complicated obstacles they encountered and how they were overcome, sharing lessons learned.
The Facebook coders also emphasized the importance of testing on both platforms, which they said was fraught with human error. But testing-related obstacles were also overcome, with testing pitfall risks outweighed by development efficiency afforded by the React approach.
That goal can now be pursued by the developer community at large, which can get started here.
"I'm extremely excited about the possibility of developing future functionality for our Android app using React Native," said one developer on a Hacker News post. "It's not about the language (I find using dynamically typed languages for large systems frustrating, despite how expressive they can be) or even the iOS/Web reusability for me -- it's the fact that the React way of seeing the world just makes so much sense. Describing views as a (pure, as long as you're careful) function of state feels so clean to me."
David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.