React Native gets instrumentation, performance boosts

Facebook is investing heavily in the JavaScript framework for mobile app dev, focusing on build tools and source control

React Native, Facebook's JavaScript framework for building mobile UIs on native platforms, is getting a slew of enhancements in performance, instrumentation, and build tools.

Technologists from the company championed React Native and React during a "mobile engineering whiteboard" session in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon. React Native provides "learn once, write anywhere" development capabilities, while React, developed in conjunction with Instagram, provides the "V" in the MVC (Model View Controller) paradigm and is intended to make it easier to build Web UIs. Both were invented by Facebook engineer Jordan Walke.

Aside from improved performance and adding missing features, robust instrumentation is being built, said Tom Occhino, Facebook engineering manager. "We have all of these dashboards and things where you can look and see how many iOS crashes there are per user and how long it takes to start the app."

Occhino noted that "the other thing we're investing heavily in is build tools, source control, all of the ecosystem," around making it so engineers have all the tools they need whether they are operating on a standalone application, a groups application, or the main Facebook application. Improvements are being added incrementally rather than being based on a set product roadmap.

React Native was open-sourced in late March. Facebook has been getting contributions from the open source community around performance, cleaning up code and adding features like showing a camera view, said Occhino. Internally, Facebook has about six or seven teams experimenting with the technology.There also has been an interest in adapting React Native for use in development in the Microsoft realm, said Adam Wolff, Facebook director of engineering.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.