It’s Saturday and I’m back en Vancouver after spending 2 days in sunny Portland and also, my new favorite conference “Chain React”.

2017 was a year where I spent lots of time and worked on 3 projects with React Native. Even though I really liked the framework, I wanted a better developer experience and richer interaction without too much setup.

In 2018, I demanded more from React Native and most of this year, I’ve been catching up with Swift and some Laravel/PHP stuff.

I must say (and after Airbnb’s article), that I was hopeless. React Native is a great framework to launch stuff quickly (or so I thought), but it runs short for more complex features and interactions.

I was lucky enough to attend “Chain React” (thanks Two Tall Totems) and at this moment, I feel refreshed and ready to start learning more and deep about React Native.

First off, I was astonished by how well the conference is organized. All friendly staff, perfect timing in session continuance and awesome content (food and catering were great as well, but I feel guilty of how many treats I got in such short time).

But let me tell you all the reasons my hope came back, after listening and chatting with some people.

  1. Unique community: My first reason for hope, is that RN’s community is a mix between frontend people (you could say they’re mostly between 20 and 30 years old) and native (iOS & Android) people (higher age range, and more experienced as well). Discussions around architecture and things to improve are addressed by a broad set of opinions. RN is becoming more mature and more hybrid because of this. I really enjoyed Robert Scarano’s keynote about how you can now organize your code to have the same business logic for a web and a mobile app.
  2. Hybrid is not good enough: We all know React Native is a hybrid framework, but after listening to some keynotes and having a conversation with Jamon (Infinite Red founder), in 2019 we’ll see hybrid apps becoming even more attached to the native side. There are decisions been taken about what architecture changes are needed in order to achieve this, and they’re happening! (check “The State of React Native” by Ram N).
  3. Big players still betting hard on React Native: If Airbnb is ditching RN, doesn’t mean the world ends. The framework is being used by a LOT of big companies, and they’re betting hard. I enjoyed a lot Detox’s testing framework keynote by Rotem Mizrachi-Meidan. Artsy, Pinterest and Wix are a few examples of companies contributing to the open source community. A better list to be found here.
  4. Third party winners: The set of third-party tooling for RN in 2018, is also surprising. Reactotron demoed their 2.0 version, which made me smile especially because of the automating features. Apollo is another tool to create faster backend structures and to solve the never-ending real-time/local data problem in apps. BuilderX is another prominent tool to recreate interfaces (they were also part of Chain React’s sponsor group). This is only the tip of the iceberg.

Again, kudos to the Infinite Red team. You did a great job and you don’t settle with “good enough”. I’ll be back next year!