Building React Native Apps — Expo or not?

Adhithi Ravichandran
7 min readApr 27, 2020

Are you thinking of using React Native to build cross-platform apps? When you set out on a path to build apps using React Native, you come across the question, should I use Expo or not?

React Native Background

Before we talk about Expo, here is a quick background on React Native.

I have been developing React Native apps for the last four years and I must say that things have evolved drastically in React Native, and Expo has a big role towards its success as well.

React Native is a cross-platform library that builds native mobile apps (iOS and Android) using JavaScript and React. The reason owing to its success is the fact that it uses the popular language JavaScript, in combination with the most sort after web library React to build mobile apps natively.

What is Expo?

Expo is a framework that is used to build React Native apps. It is basically a bundle with tools and services built for React Native, that will help you get started with building React Native apps with ease.

So there are two ways to build React Native apps. One using expo, and the other just using plain React Native, without Expo.

When and Why Should I Use Expo?

When you start building React Native apps, you have to make this decision early on. You have to decide whether you will be utilizing Expo for your project or not. This is because the architecture for your entire project relies on this decision.

Here are some good reasons to use Expo to build your React Native app.

1. Fastest way to build React Native Apps

If you are given a project that needs rapid development, and you have picked React Native to build the cross-platform app, Expo is the best fit for you. With Expo, you can build and deploy React Native apps for both iOS and Android with ease.

2. You don’t need to know Native Mobile coding

Adhithi Ravichandran

Software Consultant, Author, Speaker, React|Next.js|React Native |GraphQL|Cypress Dev & Indian Classical Musician