/ React Native developers, here are three reasons to reconsider Expo in 2021
Sat Feb 13 2021 - 3 min read
Back in 2018, I took on an existing React Native app from another developer.
The first few days of just trying to make the thing build were intensely frustrating. 🤯
The app was using Expo, so I ejected into vanilla React Native and managed to get it to run. 🎉
"Expo desertion" wasn't unique to me. It's a story common in developer communities. Here is some of the reasons I've heard over the years:
In 2019, I realised I was wrong to reject Expo and have been benefiting from the service ever since. In 2021, the case for Expo is stronger than ever. Here's why 🤓
For the uninitiated, Bare Workflow is a version of Expo that allows you to use any third party module in your React Native app but still access some Expo features such as Over-The-Air (OTA).
OTA allows you to distribute a new JS bundle via the internet. It means you can give your users new features and bug fixes in as little as three minutes. This is a complete game changer.
This is best illustrated with an example...
Imagine your app has a critical bug in the live iOS build. 😢 Users are pissed off, the client/manager is angry, things are not good.
Here is the resolution path in vanilla React Native:
From 'verify fix' to 'user gets fix', it takes anywhere from 3 hours to 3 days!
And here is what it looks like with OTA:
Seems more straightforward, right? The process from 'verify fix' to 'user gets fix' takes just 3 minutes!
With OTA manager, you can even make the UX nice 😎
Traditionally, Expo could only build your app if you were in 'managed' workflow. That meant that if you needed to eject then you had to build your app yourself.
Building your app yourself usually means hours of messing around in XCode and Android studio. React Native is an extremely complicated build environment. The potential for something to go wrong is very very real. 💩
EAS to the rescue 🚑
With EAS, you can have Expo build your app for you even if it's ejected into Bare workflow!
The Expo team have been prioritising web support for Expo apps over the last couple of years. The culmination in 2021:
Expo is the best tri-platform framework available today
If your product needs to run on iOS, Android and Web, then Expo Web is the way to go.
At Morrow, we're using this in production with at least two clients. We have two more Expo Web projects in build right now. This stuff really works.
Even Twitter is built with Expo web.
There are a whole host of reasons to look at adopting Expo in 2021. These three are just the tip of the iceberg.
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