Mobile application development is the process of creating software applications that run on a mobile device, and a typical mobile application utilises a network connection to work with remote computing resources. Hence, the mobile development process involves creating installable software bundles (code, binaries, assets, etc.), implementing backend services such as data access with an API, and testing the application on target devices.
This article includes how to develop mobile applications using react-native. There are two platforms in the modern smartphone market. One is the iOS platform from Apple Inc. The second is Android from Google. The Android operating system is used not only by Google devices but also by many other OEMs to build their own smartphones and other smart devices.
Although there are some similarities between these two platforms when building applications, developing for iOS vs. developing for Android involves using different software development kits (SDKs) and different development tool chains.
How to Develop a Mobile App?
There are a couple of dependencies needed to be installed before developing mobile applications using react-native. Those dependencies are Node, Watchman, the React Native command line interface, a JDK, and Android Studio. For IOS, Node, Watchman, the React Native command line interface, a Ruby version manager, Xcode and CocoaPods are required.
Installing Android Studio Download and install Android Studio. On Android Studio installation wizard Android SDK, Android SDK Platform and Android Virtual Device boxes are checked.
Configure the ANDROID_SDK_ROOT Environment Variable In order to build apps with native code the React Native tools require some environment variables to be set up. Need to add the following lines to $HOME/.bash_profile or $HOME/.bashrc (if zsh then ~/.zprofile or ~/.zshrc) config file:
React Native Command Line Interface React Native has its own built-in CLI, So it is recommended to use built-in CLI to get the current version at runtime using npx rather than installing and managing a specific version of the CLI globally.
CocoaPods Required for IOS. We need Ruby to install Cocoapods and using Bundler will make sure that all the dependencies are aligned and that the project works properly and ruby versions are managed using ruby version manager. Some of the common Ruby version managers are: rbenv, rvm, etc.
Xcode Installing Xcode will install IOS Simulator and all the necessary tools to build an IOS app.
Creating a New Application Built-in CLI for React Native can be used for generating new react-native projects. New project can be created using following command:
npx react-native init ProjectName
Running React-Native Application
- Use a physical device by plugging it into a computer using a USB cable.
- Start a Metro server using the following command.
npx react-native start
- Open a new terminal and inside the project folder run the following command to run applications in the physical devices.
npx react-native run-android - for android
npx react-native run-ios - for IOS (or can be run directly from Xcode)
Getting Started Designing your App
After successfully running the application now we can modify the application to design. The purpose of an application design is to deliver seamless and effortless user experiences with a polished look.
Design an App Idea
The concept of the app is the foremost important part of creating a successful application. A great app idea can take our business to a new height of success in a minimal period of time span. So, the idea must have the features which can penetrate the market easily.
The next step is to integrate our business app idea with the suitable technology in order to gain fruitful results. Next, you must have a good marketing plan to penetrate into the market and promote consistently until reaching the targeted numbers of customers. Chat app, Booking app, Food delivery app, News app, etc are the best app ideas that can be created using react-native.
Compare the App Market
After completion of the app idea, the next step we need to conduct is comparison in the market. Technically, the comparison may be done in two ways. Firstly, a similar app might already exist in the market and may compete with similar features, and secondly it might be a new application to the market which may require an intense level of promotion.
Contrasting of the apps may be divided into various factors which can be listed as ‘‘Downloads’, ‘Revenue generation’, ‘Target ‘Audience’ etc.
Downloads: This is the most beneficial way of comparing mobile applications. Depending on the numbers of downloads we can identify how successful the app was and the number of people using it.
Revenue Generation: After all the most important thing is the revenue that is generated from the application if it is for commercial purpose. Comparing the total revenue that can be generated from the prospective app with the app running in the market could be a good way of comparison. Target Audience: A target audience is a group of people that have been identified as the most likely potential customers for a product because of their shared characteristics such as age, income, and lifestyle. So, figuring out the people to reach out can be good means of comparison.
Create Application Features
A well premeditated app will make your phone “smarter”.The trending technologies are put together to provide an enthralling experience to the user. So, in competition in today’s era the mobile application must have the following listed features:
1) User Authentication 2) Search Feature 3) Enable reviews and feedback 4) Push notifications 5) Responsive app design 6) Security 7) Performance 8) Easy navigation
Design the Visuals
App design combines the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). A large number of users abandon the smart choices you made with navigation or interaction design after seeing it for the first time.The better the design, the better the chance that a user will engage with it and thus keep using it.The application must follow the principle of unity, balance, contrast and clear distinctions between the sections to please the eye of the viewers. Visual designs are created through the popular apps like Figma, Adobe XD, Invision etc.
Built the Application
The process to build the application differs in perspective to their platforms(IOS & Android). In order to build the application in Android we need a simple command to run using react-native as
npx react-native run-android
This will generate a compile version of an application(.apk) file for the user.
Building an application in IOS needs to be done from Xcode(one of the ways) where we need to choose the device first. Device should be “Any IOS Device or Generic IOS Device”. Then we start building the application using Xcode. This will generate an archive file as a build.
Test & Market Your App
For android users, the compiled version of application(.apk) file should be installed into the tester mobile running the application to test.
For IOS users, the generated archive file should be uploaded in TestFlight. The tester should have an apple developer account to test applications in IOS. Need to add the tester’s developer account into the build that we have uploaded to TestFlight in order to test the application by that Tester.
Application Development - Common Issues
Finding Application Developers
It may be difficult to find reliable app developers. If found then some of them might deliver a project with bugs and cannot handle those bugs in desired time, some may abandon the project after a certain timespan for a better offer. Well experienced developers are very expensive, thus it may be very difficult for companies to hire them.
Fundamentally, developers are the ones who operationalise application features. The sooner and more effectively they address the issues, the more secure applications will be. Hence, there must exist consistent coordination between the developer and client. Professional Application developers must have the abilities which are listed below:
a. Solid technical expertise. b. Maintains an end user focus. c. Fast self learner. d. Strong communication skills. e. Dependable time and task management.
UX & UI App Design
There are countless applications which are ready to use today. Some apps have succeeded whereas some have failed in this highly competitive market. This mainly depends on the look and feel and user experience.
A well designed user interface will instantly create attraction in the user mind and sound user experience will keep them on the page longer, so it’s very crucial to get them both at the correct point.
Some of the issues faced by the developers while designing are listed below:
a. A lack of time. b. No knowledge about the target audience. c. Enough people are not using the app to get the feedback. d. The product is too complex for a user to understand without help.
Thus, regularly engaging with the designers while development plays the crucial role to deliver the app with perfection.
Maintaining Mobile Applications
Developing and launching an app isn’t the end. Apps require a lot of maintenance to keep up its quality standard. Separate budget allocation is required for app maintenance.
So, frequently participating with developers while building applications and informing them to be aware about the continuation of maintenance of the application could help to acquire customer satisfaction and business satisfaction at the same time.
Chat to the reinteractive Team Today About Your Next Mobile App Project
reinteractive can help you with your next app / mobile development project. We are the largest Rails dedicated firm in APAC and now specialise in React Native for mobile. All of our developers are senior with years of Rails experience. [Contact us here (https://reinteractive.com/enquiries/new)