I recently attended Chain React 2023 in Portland, Ore. The conference is a gathering of more than 500 React Native enthusiasts. Because it’s a single-track conference, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in every talk, fostering a sense of community and shared learning. I’ll share some key takeaways from the conference, highlighting significant strides made in the React Native ecosystem.
Embracing React Native
During the conference, I witnessed companies taking bold steps to transition from their legacy codebases to React Native. The motivation behind this shift is the desire to write code once and run it seamlessly across platforms. Many organizations are even open-sourcing their codebases. They’re leveraging bug bounties and community assistance to ensure a smoother transition.
The React Native Package Directory emerged as a valuable resource for finding community-developed packages to enhance application development.
Delivering Exceptional User Experiences
User experience is paramount in mobile app development. Developers must prevent application crashes and ensure that users receive the content they expect, especially content they pay for. Timing is significant in requesting user reviews to maximize their impact and engage with users effectively. For example, ask a user for an app store review right after they’ve bought something or completed a challenge. Rewarded users respond with rewarding reviews.
Fun fact: the average Apple App Store application has a 4.53-star rating with 455 reviews, while the average Android Google Play Store application has a 4.05-star rating with 2,586 reviews.
Unleashing Developer Potential
The conference introduced me to “Outrage Driven Development” (ODD). This concept harnesses frustrations to spark conversations and produce efficient solutions. As a developer, take ownership of your code, learn to be empathetic toward your team and users, and take the time to teach the people around you.
React Native’s cross-platform capabilities have made it easier for companies to hire React Native engineers instead of separate iOS and Android developers. This trend is empowering teams to focus on delivering high-quality applications across platforms.
Discovering New Tools and Collaborations
I found fascinating alternatives to Redux, such as Jotai and Zustand, which provide efficient state management solutions. Expo with React Native emerged as a highly recommended tool, simplifying development and deployment. I’m particularly excited about the recently developed Expo Router, which simplifies deep linking and enables seamless sharing of different parts of an app.
Additionally, I discovered Tamagui, an optimal UI kit for Native and Web. It’s known for its impressive performance compared to popular alternatives like Native Base. The conference also showcased unconventional collaborations of the times, such as Microsoft combining React Native functionality with code from the 1980s, demonstrating the adaptability and versatility of the framework. You can teach old dogs new tricks.
Optimizing React Native apps was a recurring theme at the conference. Attendees emphasized the importance of using FlashList instead of FlatList or ScrollView. FlashLists are designed to efficiently render large lists or grids of data with improved performance by rendering only the visible items on the screen.
Make sure to remember simple things like removing console logs before bundling and thoroughly testing on various devices to enhance app performance. Real-world examples, such as the Facebook Messenger desktop app’s transition from Electron to React Native, highlighted performance improvements and reduced crashes.
Don’t say the F-word
Time to Build
Chain React 2023 provided a deep dive into the world of React Native. The event showcased its potential to revolutionize cross-platform app development. From transitioning legacy codebases to fostering collaboration and optimizing performance, the conference left me inspired by the advancements and possibilities of React Native.