Adventures in Brownfield: Integrating React Native to an Existing App

Changing a part of your tech stack is a daunting task, especially if you already have a successful product.  After all, if something ain't broke, why fix it?  At Ovia Health, we had three successful apps, all built using native tools and languages.  Our apps had great ratings, they weren't broken, and they had millions of downloads.  But was there a better way to develop our apps?

With the increasing cost and complexity of native mobile app development, the allure of a cross-platform hybrid tool like React Native is undeniable.  And yet, even with the promises of a shared code base and reduced development time, there are good reasons and cautionary tales for not using hybrid tools.  But do the pros outweigh the cons?

Join me as I talk about why I believe every company with successful mobile apps should take a good hard look at React Native, as well as the steps I took to integrate React Native into our apps.

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Outline/structure of the Session

First, I will briefly present some of the reasons you would want to use a cross-platform framework, including shared code base and faster development time.

Second, I will compare the various cross-platform frameworks that are available and how I decided on React Native over the other ones.

Third, I will present the two different ways of integrating React Native into your apps and why it’s worthwhile to consider both of these ways.

Fourth, I will share the steps I took to integrate React Native into our app, on both Android and iOS.

Finally, I will present a demo of our app running with React Native.

Learning Outcome

Determine whether to integrate React Native as part of their own tech stack.

Be able to begin integrating React Native with existing apps.

Target Audience

mobile and front-end developers. Anyone who is on a team with existing mobile apps on both iOS and Android platforms.


Basic understanding of native and hybrid mobile application development.

Some familiarity with Android Studio and npm would be helpful as well.

schedule Submitted 7 months ago

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