Karolina Samorek

Oct 6, 2017 - 

5 min read  - 

Tooploox at React Native EU

The beginning of September, Tooploox team had a chance to attend the first edition of React Native EU Conference. Organizers assured that this will be:

“First conference in the world to focus on anything and everything React Native. No web, backend or general purpose talks. We’ve seen them already. Community, core contributors, insights, networking and tons of knowledge – that’s all waiting for you in one of the most beautiful cities in Central Europe – Wroclaw.”

And after speakers were announced we were even more excited.

DAY 1

The conference was organized in IBIS Styles Wroclaw Center. There was only one talking section, so everything took place in the same conference room. From a technical perspective, it was very well organized. However, room was very big and it was difficult to see a presentation from the back rows. Another thing that was very distracting was the light. There were some spots in the room where the lights dazzled the audience. Besides the conference room, the organizers prepared chillout for attendees with sunbeds and pillows. A good place to relax after lunch or during a coffee break.

After the registration and keynote given by Mike Grabowski, CEO of Callstack, organizer of the conference Gant Laborde took the stage. His talk was about Rapid React Native. He had an accurate observation namely that one of the biggest advantages of developing in React Native is that it is supposed to be fast. Still, it forces you to customize things for the specific platform more often and this is slow and boring. So he introduced Ignite – the great tool that generates all boilerplate code for you. I haven’t got a chance to use it yet, but I am definitely going to.

The second talk was given by Emil Sjölander, one of the Facebook employees. He doesn’t write javascript on a daily basis. He works on Yoga, cross-platform layout engine, so he shared some insights about translating javascript code to native mobile UI.

During a coffee break, we walked to Etno Cafe, near Main Railway Station. We have some coffee freaks in Tooploox for whom getting drip coffee is everyday must have.

“When “Good Enough” Just Isn’t Good Enough” was a great Jani Eväkallio’s talk that was mostly directed to developers without mobile background. He spoke about user habits and expectations and how this should affect our apps.

The next talk was about building “Home automation with React Native and Raspberry Pi”, where Ville Immonen explained how he rebuild the 25-years-old heating system in his parents’ house.

After delicious lunch and relaxing time in chillout zone there was an excellent talk – “Going Over The Speed Limit – Synchronous Rendering in React Native”. Tal Kol started with highlighting the difference between React Native and native UI rendering and explained that this is the cost of Javascript thread and Main thread communication and synchronization. He also introduced some hacks that help to reduce such differences.

Next, the stage was taken by Florian Rival. He showed how we can build a native module and use it in React Native. Then, there was time for lightning talks. First Guillermo Orellana Ruiz told a story about experimenting with React Native in Badoo. Then Johannes Stein introduced his library for creating native modules, called react-native-create-library. Next, Pavel Aksonov explained “What is RNRF (react-native-router-flux)” and introduced its advantages. Then Sanket Sahu introduced the React Native Builder. It is something similar to Interface Builder for iOS. This was followed by Yoel Gluschnaider talk about how they test React Native Bridges in Skyscanner. And last but not least, Kristijan Ristovski. He showed “Why Does Component-Based Styling for React Native Make Sense”.

After the second coffee break, Andre Staltz had a talk called “Composable Native APIs” where he spoke about declarative (coming from React) and non-declarative (native mobile) APIs that we use writing React Native code.

The last talk of the first conference day was given by Michael Haberman – “React developer? Great! How Are Your Production Skills?”. He showed some tools that are helpful when you finally release your app and want to reproduce users’ problems.

The first day ended with a party. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it but it seemed to be well-organised.

DAY 2

The second day started with “Practical Hacks for Delightful Interactions” by Eric Vicenti. He had a very good point (valid not only for React Native) that a lovely user interface comes with dirty code hacks!

The next talk was supposed to be given by Ken Wheeler, but he couldn’t make it so early. So Nader Dabit took his place with Cross Platform & Beyond” with a very nice concept of Cross Stack Engineers.

Then finally the time came for Ken Wheeler with “Reasonable React Native” explaining why ReasonML is great and why we should start to use it.

The presentations lasted a little bit longer than planned, so the coffee break had to be shortened and we didn’t have time to go to Etno for drip coffee, so we enjoyed delicious cakes provided by the organisers.

After the break, Eloy Durán had a talk about “Integrating React Native Into an Existing Native Codebase. He was one of few people on the conference with native mobile experience. His talk was about using React Native in ARTSY.

Next, Martin Konicek introduced how the products are built in Facebook and told his story about building the simple screen in Facebook app. The most surprising was the one about how they measure conversion and validate if the new version of a feature is better than the previous one.

Alexey Kureev had a speech called “Network Layer in React Native”. He explained it with the amazing illustrations. Very deep look at HTTP Request and a way to debug it.

After lunch, Vladimir Novick showed how to play with Bluetooth Low Energy and Beacons with multicolour bulb and gave called “Getting Into Physical Web with React of Things”.

Then Aaron Greenwald with an excellent sense of humour explained how they scaled mobile development in WIX. He focused on architecture and disconnected teams.

The next talk was about “Offline First Applications in React Native Done Well” given by Adrien Thiery. It was mostly about how to inform the user that his data will be shown in a moment with less annoying way.

After the last coffee break, the stage was taken by Naoufal Kadhom from Netflix. Following introduction and internet payment history, he introduced React Native Payments library and explained how to use it.

The last presentation was given by Philippe Trépanier. He basically showed how to use fastlane to automate mobile builds.

The conference was completed by Q&A panel with Mike Grabowski (Callstack.io), Tal Kol (WIX), Eric Vicenti (Facebook), Andre Staltz and Ville Immonen (Reindex).

CONCLUSIONS

The conference gave me a better understanding of React Native problems and how to tackle them to become a serious alternative for native mobile development.

I had never seen such a lineup in a mobile conference organised in Poland. So, congratulations to the organizers for bringing so many excellent specialists in one place!

If you are more interested in specific talks – all videos from the conference can be found on youtube.

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