I had one anternaltive to React Native, and that would be Cordova. Cordova is a wrapper for a web application, so that it can be installed on a device and run like a native app. My issue with Cordova apps is: You will never get a good native feel, you can do a lot, but the native feel will suffer at some point. The main benefit with Cordova is; If you have a website that scale fine for mobile, you can now deliver it as an app.
I like the idea of React Native, you can write web-like code, and share a lot of business logic. React Native makes a lot of sense for a lot of people because of this. The quick development mentioned earlier is also a major benefit. But something has changed for me, and seemingly for a lot of other people on /r/reactnative. The reasons I abandoned hybrid apps for react native is starting to show themselves again.
Recently I dipped my toes into native mobile development. Yeah, I know react native is also native, but now I’m talking swift. After working on a side project for a couple of weeks, I see I enjoy swift more. Yes its slower to develop, I dont have hot reloading and other niceties of React Native development, but still it feels better to me as a developer. I feel the developer experience is better with Swift then with React Native.
I read the Crisp.chat blog post, and it dawned on me. Im not alone in feeling this. I’ve tried to avoid Native languages, and get the quick wins. I still think this is the way to go for many people, but now I want to look more into iOS and Swift. It seems like it is the way to go for me. When reading the article by Crisp, I ignore the numbers of downloads and increase of users, what I do find interesting is the “time spent in app” numbers. They are growing with “tech upgrades”.
For myself I also learn Swift to stay viable in the future. React Native will probably not live forever, and not as long as Swift. Swift is Apples programming language, and we see it more and more on other platforms as well. And I would guess that Swift will stay around in some form for longer than React Native.