Analyzing The Various React Native Limitations

There is no doubt that React Native is claimed to be one of the hottest frameworks today. But that doesn’t make it free from limitations. React Native is yet to cover some distance in order to be a limitation-free framework. Here, we talk about some limitations of React Native like multi threading, parallel processing, Animations,and others.

Analyzing The Various React Native Limitations

Developed and released by Facebook initially in 2015, React Native has been recognized as a framework used in mobile application development, fully open-source, to build mobile applications on platforms like iOS apps. Today, we will talk about React Native Limitations.

The company released the stable version of the React Native platform on the 8th of April, 2020, i.e., two months back. The framework is mainly developed using JavaScript, followed by C++, Objective C++, Objective C, Java, and Python.

Why react native is bad

The React Native platform had gained so much popularity due to its ability to develop the cross-platform applications which had been working efficiently with the native operating system on the mobile devices.

Due to this, the number of mobile apps developed using the React Native framework increased day by day.

Also, it carried an advantage of simplicity, and hence it became an easy to learn platform for the new developers.

React-Native-Google-Trend

As it is said, every coin has two sides, it is the same with the case of this framework. Apart from its pros, React Native also has several cons that cannot be overlooked.

Hence, you can easily be a professional in React Native if you are very well aware of the React Native limitations and can reduce the possibilities of errors to a maximum extent.

Being a popular framework, React Native has several fundamental issues that include performance, serialization, and asynchronous communication.

Adding a note, kindly take into the observation that this topic is not meant for proving that the React Native framework is inefficient.

This article is purely meant to draw the developers’ attention regarding the react-native issues they might face during mobile application development.

So let’s have a brief regarding what limitations React natives have to work smoothly on it.

Requires Native Developers

Starting with the first limitation, it is very well known that it is a cross-platform framework, although it may require some portion of development using the native app development too. Hence, the efforts of native app developers might be required.

This might happen due to the Javascript applications’ tendency that might need the native code for execution. Generally, this need arises when you are trying to develop a heavyweight mobile app through reacting native framework.

If this is the case, to continue with the react-native framework, you will need to remove some of the functionalities and hence make the application lightweight. To carry out these tasks, you might need the help of native app developer.

Discussing another case, if you are trying to integrate external libraries with your hybrid mobile application, say, for example, Google Analytics or something similar to that. This is one of the most common React Native Limitations.

Then it becomes a compulsion for you to study the structure of your platform, on which you are planning to develop the application, in detail, so that you can integrate it without any problem.

Some of the tools like the Expo provide react-native support for faster and smoother execution of the framework.
react-native-cta-first

Different Behavior Of the Same Component

Another limitation, which might create a hindrance in the hybrid mobile app development, is that some components defined in the framework might be platform dependent. Hence, this may result in the different working of these components on their native platform.

This generally happens due to the common perception that if react native framework is being used to build the hybrid mobile applications, it will give the same results on both the platforms, iOS, and Android.

This perception has proved to be right with the majority of hybrid mobile applications. However, there might still be some exceptional applications that might run differently with the platforms’ change.

Need Developer Expertise

It is still discussed as a limitation because developing efficient mobile applications using React Native requires expertise in three different platforms.

While executing the application, the developer might face a situation where he needs to switch over the requests from Native code to the JavaScript code and vice-versa.

Hence in this situation, the developer needs to take care of the platforms on which the application is going to run and, therefore, will need to have sound knowledge of Android mobile app  development, iOS, along React.js, ie., the developing language used by the React Native Framework.

Abstract Layer Limitations

An abstract layer was formed above the native platform to generalize the React Native framework’s functionalities.

While executing the code, even if a single error occurs in this abstraction layer, then it might create unavoidable errors and warnings in the whole application.

These errors might prove so complicated that finding it out and solving it might become a tedious task. So, that is a noteworthy React Native Limitations.

Your dependency on the external or third party libraries might increase so that you can keep your application updated and compatible with the platform’s changes and, hence, prevent your use from crashing.

Custom Design In Native Language

Pre-designed templates on the internet helps the developer to go ease with the design part of the application. All one needs to do is purchase or download the design template, perform some modifications as per the requirement of the use, and then continue with the application’s actual logic.

Unfortunately, the React native developers cannot enjoy this ease of designing the applications as the presence of the abstraction layer makes it compulsory for the developers to build their customized designs, using the platform-dependent languages.

Hence, this becomes a React Native Issues of working with a hybrid mobile application development framework.

Dependency On Third-Party Libraries

Using a hybrid mobile application development framework often requires an integration of external or third party libraries as the native platforms do not support the particular feature.

This might sound confusing, but it is true. Let’s take an example of the Tab bar feature. To implement this functionality, you need to look out for some third party libraries for deployment in the android platform.

Some of the example of Third-Party Libraries

  • AntDesign
  • Entypo
  • EvilIcons
  • Feather
  • FontAwesome

As discussed above, the usage of third party libraries and the dependency of the developers on those libraries have been increasing day by day.

But, with this rapid increase, the updates of these libraries have become rare. On the contrary, there are frequent updates available on the React Native Framework and are being updated in very short periodic gaps.

Hence, as a result, the third-party libraries become outdated and cannot be compatible with the existing updated version of the React Native Framework.

In these situations, all the developers can depend on the React Native Support for these libraries and just expect the libraries to stay updated. These are some of the React Native Issues.

No Support For Parallel Threading

Unfortunately, the React native framework fails to support these two robust features in its applications.

It uses a single thread structure in JavaScript, which results in poor application performance, especially when there is a need to perform multiple tasks together.

For example, if the app has been built using the React Native framework, you might not be able to carry on a video surfing and live discussion in the chat box together.

Debugging Style Is Inconvenient

An advantage of React Native Framework is that, it contains a built-in inspector for debugging your applications.

But this built-in functionality of the framework also comes with some limitations. For instance, you might need a chrome debugger along with the built-in inspector to debug your code.

This creates a dependency of the system on the chrome debugger to edit every element and its properties, which seems quite impossible.

iOS Deployment Requires Effort

Unlike Android, deploying an application on Apple’s App Store is quite a complicated and tedious process.

In the case of iOS applications Development and deployment, the developer needs to follow specific steps like testing the app on TestFlight, Apple’s testing toolkit and getting necessary security certifications, profiles, etc.

Hence, for iOS applications, deployment is not a smooth way to go.
react-native-cta-second

Lack of Smooth Navigation

Although the framework comes with a hot reloading feature, it may sometimes face issues in the failure of deployment, incompatible packages, etc.

Since its development, the framework has been used and tested by enormous applications like Skype and Facebook. But still, the update of the structure has not yet entered its alpha phase and hence continues to work in the beta phase.

Thus, dependencies occur between the latest version released and the older version of the framework.

The issues faced by the developers include failure in the tools used for debugging, hot reloading, reducing speed for execution, etc. Mainly these features create problems for the developers who are new to this framework.

Lack Of Custom Modules

The React Native framework is said to be fully-fledged with the modules to develop mobile applications. Many in-build custom modules can be of very much use for developing hybrid mobile apps.

Despite this advantage, there are specific components in the framework that have remained underdeveloped and are not fully deployed to use them in the applications. There are cases where even some must-needed elements might be lacking in the framework.

This situation might result in extra efforts to be paid by the developer to build that particular module by himself, from scratch, or in the worst case, look out for some hacks to crack that module from other applications.

Constant Updates

As mentioned earlier, there are frequent updates introduced in the React native framework in very short periodic gaps. This point is an advantage for the features as an introduction to new updates, improvement in custom modules, debugging, error solving, etc.

However, it still comes with a significant React Native Limitations of the maintenance of the react-native application due to constant updates.

Deploying these new updates in the applications might require platform-specific knowledge, which might convert the react-native application to the native mobile app. This results in the increasing efforts of the developer.

Loosely Typed Language

For defining various layouts in your application, the react constitutional framework uses conventional development platforms like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It’s one of the most common React Native Issues.

Since this can be observed as an advantage as the platforms are more comfortable to learn and understand, the involvement of JavaScript can create some problems.

One disadvantage of Javascript is that it does not support the definition of variable type and also does not allow parameter passing in its methods. Hence, the variables and methods remain undefined and are free to migrate to any kind as and when needed.

License & Patent Controversy

The react constitutional framework comes under the license BSD-style and contains the second version of the Additional Grant of Patent Rights by Facebook.

According to the latest update regarding the permissions of access levied by Facebook, your right to use this open-source framework might get terminated if there are any issues with the Facebook Patents.

Due to this, the rewritable codes available in WordPress on the react-native framework have been abandoned by the WordPress teams.

Also, Apache has been detached from Facebook’s BSD-style patents for their upcoming projects.

Reusable Codebase

Whenever a platform or a framework is defined, it generally tries to develop an application once and run it on any platform, hence making the framework a cross-platform one.

But this advantage does not work correctly for every framework. It may happen that due to the use of an older version of the external libraries, compatibility issues, the developer needs to learn about deploying the application on that particular platform.

Still, not the whole, but almost 75% code remains reusable. The advantage comes in reducing the time taken for development, but again, the solution is never a platform compatible solution, and the developer still needs to work on it.

Size of App

The dimensions of the native applications are smaller than the size of the react-native applications. It can become a real big React Native Issues.

This is because the native apps constitute the code that is compatible with that particular platform. Hence the deployment and the execution time also decrease.

In the case of React Native applications, the apps might take more time for execution. Also, in the case of space complexity, it might occupy more storage than the native applications, which might not become acceptable by the end-users.

Quality Assurance Issues

Due to the presence of third-party libraries, external plug-ins in the applications built using react native framework, the quality of the form might degrade and make the applications complicated. Hence, for a new developer, debugging such complex applications might become a difficult task.

New & Immature

Introduced in 2015, the framework is still considered a newbie in the market compared with the native programming languages for Android and iOS.

Huge Learning Curve

Learning React native from scratch is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is a considerable way to go, especially when entering the mobile application development world with no knowledge and experience.

The complications created in the framework are basically due to the inclusion of JSX inside the JavaScript code. Learning this won’t be easy for a newbie in the React Native framework.

Limitations of React Native by Community Experts

Lealand Richardson, Airbnb

Airbnb

Lealand had categorized the boundaries of the React Native framework into three divisions:

Basic Problems:

The problems that can be diagnosed quickly and can be solved promptly on the architectural level are defined.

Some of these problems include Bridge serialization, no support for multithreading, and initialization issues.

All the data is interpreted by the JSON file while serializing. This might not support memory sharing between the native platform and the javascript code.

No support for multithreading due to the presence of single-threaded javascript code does not allow multitasking among applications.

Parsing and running the code written in the Javascript takes a longer time to execute. So, this is a really bad React Native Limitations.

Problems Faced during Implementations:

These can be categorized as recycling robust views, implementing gestures, etc.

General Problems:

This contains typescript issues, more focus on web, average quality compared to native applications, the theory of writing the code once so that you can run anywhere fails to imply here.

Eric Vincenti, Facebook

Facebook

Along with the graphics, the legacy of degraded performance of the applications built on react native framework continues with gestures and animations.

According to what Eric mentioned, the development community is trying its best to overcome these limitations regarding graphics, gestures, and animations.

Houssein Djirdeh, Rangle.io

Rangle-io

The limitations of the react-native framework, according to Houssein, included:

Uneasy navigation: for native applications, you can easily find libraries for smoother sailing, whereas, for a hybrid mobile app, these libraries fail to execute smoothly.

Performance issue: while performing parallel processing.

Hector Garcia, Xing Barcelona

xing

According to what Hector has to say, the limitations of the react-native framework are not the same for all applications. It merely depends on the requirements finalized by the client to develop the app.

Also, while deploying an application, the only limitation they had faced was the issue of using Blob to save the images in the Firebase.

Leo Le Bras, Getwino

Getwino

Leo also faced the issue regarding navigations, multithreading paradigms, performance, memory management, more support to the web applications, etc.

Martin Konicek, Mozo

Mozo

To implement abstraction on hybrid mobile applications, a reduction in the speed becomes a severe issue.
react-native-cta-third
Developing three-dimensional games could also create speed and performance-related issues, making the framework unsuitable for growing such applications.

Roman Liutikov, Software Engineer

Pitch

Roman found issues with the modules to be integrated with the hybrid mobile applications. He had to go for the third party developed modules which degraded the performance of the app built under-react native framework.

Daniel Harvey, Software Developer

Facebook

Daniel also faced an issue while using graphics in the mobile applications built under the react native framework.

Somehow he had found a temporary solution in which we can use a web view integrated with a canvas, but still, it failed to give the desired results.

Gaya Kessler, Clevernode

Clevernode

Gaya, Clevernode had faced the issue in hot reloading, where it was mentioned that there is no need to wrap every class and data unless and until the need arises.

Adrien Thiery, OSEDA

OSEDA

Adrien had provided a list of limitations of developing hybrid mobile applications under the react native framework he faced until now. These are:

Background tasks are not undoable: It states that even if you close your application, its background tasks keep on running, resulting in slower execution of other apps on your phone.

Issues with navigation and optimization: This is one of the most common problems the react-native developers face. You must use the already built navigation module of the react native framework.

Management of props and rendering: The setter methods used to set the values to the attributes that are sometimes delayed during the calls. Hence, the render needs to be called, which can degrade the application’s performance.

Read also: 25 Best React Developer Tools For Increasing Productivity

Aaron Greenwald, Wix

Wix

Aaron had also faced issues in animation integration with the mobile application with a react native framework.

Having tried to implement dynamic and attractive animation schemes, Aaron had to stumble upon several issues every time he tried to implement the animation in the application.

He added his struggle when there was a degradation in the performance of the app as the serialized bridge is busy on every instance.

Also, he added that due to the asynchronous communication between the native platforms and the Javascript codes, there had been great difficulties while the interactions of the application with its end users.

Gant Laborde, Infinite Red

Infinite-Red

Whenever a new feature is introduced, it either replaces the older one or makes the space for itself by removing already existing features.

This might depreciate the dependency of the older features on each other by introducing the newer one.

This is what React native framework does. Whenever a new feature is added, the older one either gets replaced or removed.

This breaks the dependency chain of the elements, and hence the dependent features also need to be removed.

Spencer Carli, Web & Mobile Developer

Handlebar Labs

Developing games using react native framework would require heavy graphics.

This might degrade the performance of the application, and the person is not sure whether a game with high-quality graphics can be deployed using this framework or not.

Jarret Moses, Big Human

Big-human

Jarret had also faced the same issue of integrating the animations feature to the mobile application built under-react native framework.

This results in complex applications due to the absence of a built-in driver that for integrating the animations.

Hence a there was a lot of time in fixing this animation issue and that too unnecessarily. In this case, Jarret had to opt for an external configuration to integrate the animations.

Conclusion

From the above discussions, we can conclude that the major drawbacks of the react-native framework are its single-threaded support.

It does not enable multithreading and parallel processing of applications. Integrating high definition graphics, and animations result in poor performance of the use.

Hence the developers who do not have experience in developing applications with react native framework need to keep the above limitations in mind. It’s for a smoother execution of the hybrid mobile application development under this framework.

We hope you had a great experience reading this article and it proves to be of great benefit for any React Native App Development Company. Thank You.!

Frequently Asked Questions

There are some ways through which you can overcome react native limitations. Some of the popular ones are as follows: Implement Native Technologies Optimizing React Native Animations Use Tools Like Redux & Recompose
There are some tips and tricks through which you can easily improve the react native performance. Some of the popular ones are: Reduce Image Size Caching Of Images Avoiding Too Many Renders Using PureComponent Optimizing JSON Data Reducing App Size
The simple answer to this question would be YES. React Native is still relevant in today’s day and age where there are a lot of startups coming up.
The simple answer to this question would be NO. React Native is still improving day-by-day and there will be a lot of new things added to this wonderful platform. It will become mature in the near future.
Harikrishna Kundariya
Harikrishna Kundariya
Harikrishna Kundariya, a marketer, developer, app lover, technology savvy, designer, co-founder, Director of eSparkBiz @Mobile App Development Company where you can Hire Mobile App Developer. His 8+ experience enables him to provide digital solutions to new start-ups based on app development.
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