React Native

Exploring the Limits: Native Features Not Directly Supported by React Native

April 29, 20243 min read
Phone with fingerprint biometric scanner
Photo by Onur Binay

Exploring the Limits: Native Features Not Directly Supported by React Native

React Native provides a wide range of built-in components and APIs that cover many of the common functionalities required for mobile app development. However, there are still several native features and functionalities that React Native cannot handle directly without using a bridge to communicate with native modules. These features typically require direct interaction with platform-specific APIs that are not exposed through the default React Native framework. Here's a list of such native features:

  1. Advanced Camera Controls and Operations: While basic camera functionality can be handled by React Native libraries like react-native-camera, more advanced features like manual focus, exposure settings, or using multiple cameras simultaneously often require custom native modules.

  2. Background Tasks: Performing background tasks, especially those needing execution at specific intervals or in response to system events when the app is not active, typically requires native code. React Native does not have built-in support for true background processing or services like fetching data in the background or performing tasks on location changes.

  3. Bluetooth API: For apps that require interaction with Bluetooth devices, whether for data transmission or media streaming, React Native lacks direct API support. You would need to use or create native modules to manage Bluetooth connections, data handling, and state changes.

  4. NFC (Near Field Communication): React Native does not provide built-in support for NFC, which is used for things like mobile payments, reading RFID tags, or interacting with smart devices. Native modules are necessary to access and use NFC capabilities.

  5. Customizable Push Notifications: While basic push notifications can be handled through libraries like Firebase, advanced features such as interactive notifications or notifications with custom UI elements require native development.

  6. Deep Linking with Advanced Handling: Basic deep linking can be implemented in React Native, but more complex schemes, particularly those that need to interact deeply with app states or require advanced routing, might need native code enhancements.

  7. In-App Purchases: React Native does not natively support handling in-app purchases; this requires a bridge to native code or third-party libraries that expose this functionality through native modules.

  8. Complex Animations or Graphics: For complex animations, graphics, or interactions that are GPU-intensive, you might need to extend React Native with native code, especially when leveraging technologies like OpenGL or custom animation libraries.

  9. File Handling and Access: While React Native can handle basic file operations, more complex tasks like accessing specific system directories, handling large files, or performing high-performance read/write operations typically require native modules.

  10. Advanced Audio and Video Processing: Tasks like audio or video editing, complex manipulations, or using custom codecs often need native libraries and bridging to React Native.

  11. Biometrics: While some support exists for basic biometric authentication (like fingerprint or face recognition), integrating with more specific security features or newer biometric methods usually requires native development.

  12. Sensor Data Management: Accessing and managing raw sensor data from gyroscope, accelerometer, barometer, etc., especially at high frequencies or with complex processing, might require native implementations.

React Native's architecture is designed to make it possible to bridge these gaps with native code, allowing developers to extend the platform's capabilities by writing their own modules or using third-party libraries that connect React Native to native APIs. This flexibility is one of the key strengths of React Native, enabling it to cater to advanced app development needs while maintaining a primarily JavaScript codebase.

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