Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Swift and React Native at Artsy

Orta Therox:

It is pretty obvious that Swift is the future of native development on Apple platforms. It was a no-brainer to then build an Apple TV app in Swift, integrated Swift-support into our key app Eigen and built non-trivial parts of that application in Swift.

We first started experimenting with React Native in February 2016, and by August 2016, we announced that Artsy moved to React Native effectively meaning new code would be in JavaScript from here onwards.


The stricter type system in Swift made it harder to work on JSON-driven apps.


Native development when put next to web development is slow. Application development requires full compilation cycles, and full state restart of the application that you’re working on.


So, you’re thinking “Yeah, but JavaScript…” - well, we use TypeScript and it fixes pretty much every issue with JavaScript. It’s also no problem for us to write native code when we need to, we are still adding to an existing native codebase.


It’s worth highlighting that all of this is done on GitHub, in the open. We can write issues, get responses, and have direct line to the people who are working on something we depend on.

Update (2017-02-12): Ash Furrow:

So when Eloy proposed writing apps in JavaScript – JavaScript! – I was unenthusiastic. However, Eloy is the most pragmatic and level-headed developer I know, and he reached the decision to move to React Native after months of careful study, so I kept an open mind. And I’m glad I did.

I decided to look into JavaScript and started contributing to JS web projects at Artsy last year. And I was surprised to see that the modern JS development workflow is slick. Like, really slick. The tooling has been built with developer experience front of mind, and it shows. Orta goes into more detail in his post, but suffice it to say that compared to Xcode and Swift development, the JS workflow is matured and polished.

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Every time I'm tempted to try React Native, I'm reminded of the "593 dependencies" Orta mentions. Seems like that's bound to become an issue sooner or later. Good to see it's working for them now though.

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