React-Native is not a silver bullet.

This post is meant to be read in the context of its parent post "Lessons Learned on a React-Native Project". If you've stumbled on this particular page randomly, I'd recommend jumping over to that post and starting from there.

To be honest, this lesson applies to any cross-platform library, and is my biggest takeaway from this project. Going into it I'd built up React-Native in my head as the solution to all my cross-platform problems. I mean, come on, we're just writing JavaScript! And it's a simple compile to get it working across both platforms! Amaaaaaaaazing!

... Yeah nah mate.

Cross-platform development is bloody hard. Here's what cross-platform framework developers are trying to accomplish;

  1. Present something familiar (JavaScript/React, C#.NET/XAML) and map it to concepts relevant to mobile development.
  2. Write APIs to essentially map the things we're familiar with into the underlying native components that will actually be rendered.
  3. Abstract away several build and/or dependency systems, and have it all magically "just compile".
  4. All while being performant.

This shit is hard. Having spent a bit of time with both React-Native and Xamarin I have a huge amount of respect for what these developers are trying to do. I get super frustrated with both of these platforms (and show no bones about letting those around me know it), but that doesn't mean I don't admire what the developers have managed to do up to this point.

As a result of this complexity, you're probably going to hit some pretty crazy stuff... Incorrect dependency resolution, broken builds (that worked locally I swear!), inconsistent rendering between platforms and things you would never think can happen. I have a story on this last bit, but I'll save it for later in this post.

Next Section -> "React-Native does not shield you from needing to know about the native aspects of the project"