The Appflow team recently attended Chain React, the largest React Native conference in the United States. Industry leaders shared the latest in mobile development trends and technologies, including key takeaways and learnings you can apply for your own team.

Here are some of the main mobile development trends highlighted at Chain React, along with resources for implementing these for your own React Native app development.

Cross-platform apps are just as performant as native

One of the long-standing myths of mobile development is that cross-platform apps aren’t as performant. Educator and senior engineering leader Ankita Kulkarni busted that concept in her talk, “The performance myths of React Native.”

Her presentation addressed the arguments we’ve all heard before, but from experience know aren’t necessarily true, including:

  • “JavaScript isn’t enough”
  • “You can’t animate correctly”
  • “Performance issues such as high CPU, etc.”

She demonstrated that React Native apps can be just as performant as traditional native apps when developed with performance in mind. This includes paying attention to when renders occur, leveraging performant animation libraries, and using performance profiling tools to identify optimizations and measure on different types of devices. You can check out the entire talk on YouTube here.

Here at Ionic, we’ve known for years that cross-platform apps provide the performance and experience that users expect from a mobile app. In a recent blog post on performance with Ionic and Capacitor, analysis showed that performance metrics exceeded Lighthouse standards, even when running a video streaming application.

Colin Gray, principal developer at Shopify, also talked about performance and the journey of moving Shopify’s native iOS and Android apps to React Native in this talk “Default to Performance.” He shared techniques for measuring performance, as well as performance best practices for state management, React hooks, and using components with built-in performance enhancements. You can view his talk on YouTube here.

Both of these talks showcased the performance capabilities of cross-platform apps – an important takeaway at Chain React. Get started building your own performant cross-platform apps using Capacitor by learning more here.

Automation and tooling eases the complexity of mobile deployments

Mobile deployments aren’t easy, and deploying cross-platform to Android and iOS makes it even tougher. Another trend at Chain React was how automation and tooling can help with the complexity of mobile deployments.

Cecelia Martinez from the Appflow team (hi, that’s me 👋) covered how to incorporate automation into the deployment process in “Signed, Sealed, Deployed: Shipping React Native Apps.”

The talk walks through the entire process of shipping a React Native app, including configuration, building, testing, uploading to app stores, and even maintaining your app. 

It also included how Appflow, the mobile CI/CD platform built by Ionic, can help you automate deployments. Appflow takes care of the more complex aspects of mobile deployments, including signing certificate and build stack management.

Check out the full talk on YouTube here, and get started for free with Appflow today.

Superapps can help teams scale mobile app dev quickly

Finally we come to one of the newest and most exciting emerging trends in mobile development from Chain React: Superapps.

Superapps let you integrate multiple different services or mini apps – developed and managed separately – into a single user interface. Michal Pierzchala, head of technology at Callstack, discussed how superapps can be a boon for developer autonomy and productivity in his talk “Scaling teams with federated superapps.”

In his talk, he covered the organizational issues that exist for large teams that superapps can address. These include ownership conflicts, interdependent release schedules, and shared deployment resources. Superapps allow teams to build and ship independently so they can move faster for a better developer and user experience. Michal’s talk focused on Re.Pack, a Webpack-based toolkit for superapps on React Native, built by Callstack.

Ionic’s solution for superapps, Portals, allows developers to build superapps for native Android and iOS, as well as React Native. Portals provides secure, standardized tooling for integrating web mini apps into native superapp, so developers can move fast without compromising on user experience or app performance. Get started with Portals here for your own superapp.

Capacitor developers aren’t left out either – they can use Federated Capacitor to build a new superapp or modernize an existing Capacitor application. Learn more about Federated Capacitor in the blog post here.

Check out Michal’s full talk on YouTube here.

The future of mobile and web

These key trends and takeaways from Chain React show that cross-platform apps are the future of development. Leveraging the best of both mobile and web is key to building performant apps, deploying them quickly, and scaling your development teams fast with superapps.

Ionic is leading the way on all these mobile development trends with solutions for every type of team, so make sure to stay up-to-date on everything Ionic to leverage the latest and greatest for your own apps.

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