Microsoft's Reactive Native For Windows
Tuesday, 14 May 2019

At Build last week, Microsoft  announced a new open-source project for React Native developers wanting to target Windows and Windows developers wanting to climb aboard the React Native bandwagon. React Native for Windows is on GitHub under a MIT License.



Up until now we've referred to React Native and Facebook in the same breath - and this is still the case. The Reactive Native framework followed from Facebook's React JavaScript library,  open-sourced in 2013. Designed for building native mobile apps using JavaScript by letting developers use declarative components to compose a rich mobile UI it  is still being used at and actively developed by Facebook, although it was open-sourced in 2015.

Referring to the Facebook project that it has forked, the React Native for Windows README states: 

React Native enables you to build world-class application experiences on native platforms using a consistent developer experience based on JavaScript and React. The focus of React Native is on developer efficiency across all the platforms you care about - learn once, write anywhere. Facebook uses React Native in multiple production apps and will continue investing in React Native.

Microsoft's fork, React Native for Windows, adds support for the Windows 10 SDK, enabling devs to build apps for all devices supported by Windows 10 including PCs, tablets, 2-in-1s, Xbox, Mixed reality devices etc. It is described as an "updated, high-performance" implementation which, like the original, is for writing cross-platform code in JavaScript with a native feel.

Its version numbering is in step with Facebook's - so the current version is 0.58. This is a C# implementation but work is underway to re-implement the project in C++ both for better  performance, and also in order to uses the C++ core bridge implementation from Facebook’s React Native and better align with the shared core as both projects evolve.

The Microsoft version READ.ME notes:

Our intent is to provide a compatibility layer that will support existing apps, view managers, and native modules written in C# with minimal breaking changes.

While it seems strange that the project is open-sourced in the middle of a major re-write it does give it the prospect of benefiting from the expertise of new contributors. Of course, the fact that Microsoft now owns GitHub means that its open source projects are almost still in-house. This is turn probably accounts for the very high proposition of Microsoft's development that is now done on GitHub.



More Information

React Native for Windows 

Related Articles

Facebook Releases React Native

Microsoft GitHub - What's Different

The Programmers Guide To React

Facebook Re-licences React To MIT Licence 

Facebook Releases React Native

Microsoft Gives Up On UWP


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 May 2019 )