Whatever your marketing goals, your strategy could be improved by developing a mobile app. But the reality is not that simple. You don't just need one: you need one for each platform your customers use - Apple and Android. This is because the market is fragmented with different languages, platforms and access points. Until now, that meant investing at least twice the work, twice the time and twice the cost to create 'one' app because there wasn't anything that worked across them all.
There are a number of major benefits to using this technology. React Native doesn't need any special software or platform. It's also open source with no special licenses so you can adopt the latest innovations. This lets smaller companies take advantage of developments teams make at organisations like Facebook Instagram and AirBnB. Open source is like having a huge development team you don't have to pay for.
They have tried! Titanium ionic and phonegap are all past attempts at creating cross-platform developer tools but it's not easy. You've got to look at the history. App development has been an evolution. From the start lots of providers were pushing different solutions so if you wanted to use those tools you needed different experts to create them. That's why you see products targeted to single platforms - it's expensive. App building has been something that takes too long and needs too many people to implement. So it's unsurprising that small and medium enterprises haven't explored the app market much until now as that's a lot of investment. React Native could be the solution they need.
This isn't the absolute Utopia of cross-platform tools it's about 80% of the way there. But that's actually enough. Think about different users - they expect different things and they're not going to be happy if you try to change that. For example menu locations and other interface aspects are different between Android and iOS. Start moving things around and you're degrading the customer journey. So you need to add about 20% in each version. But that is still a massive improvement over creating unique apps for each market.
The other factor to consider is that while open source gives small companies access to the latest solutions bigger companies come up with if they want to do something completely new they will still struggle. You need someone to invest in creating the new solutions first. But if you want to create a simple app it could do up to 100% of the work.
The key here is to look at who else is using React Native. When big players like Facebook AirBnB and Instagram are involved you can be fairly confident your investment is going to deliver for some time. Programming languages and tools come and go so investment in such a changing landscape can be a big risk but now everyone can take advantage of the work done by Facebook and others through open source.
January 29, 2020
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