Why React-Native: Part Two

From Windows to Mac to Apps, my journey to mobile development.

The first iPhone was released on June 29th, 2007.  I was a Palm Trio user and an Apple hater at the time.  The Palm Trio was a color Palm Pilot phone that I loved, and, therefore, I wanted to, no, I expected to hate the iPhone. But then I saw it, and the screen really was amazing.  It had a full web browser, great camera, and a bunch of other things I didn’t even know I wanted.  It did, however, lack a few features I wasn’t willing to give up: a physical keyboard, GPS, and tethering (now called hotspot) were my main deal breakers.  So, I snubbed my nose and turned back to my Windows XP machine and carried on with life.

About one year later (July 11th, 2008) the iPhone 3G was released with built in GPS and the possibility of tethering.  In addition, iPhone OS 2 was released (which would eventually be renamed to iOS).  This was different than iPhone OS 1 in that it allowed developers to write native code instead of mobile web pages that iPhone OS 1 was based on.  In a life changing coincidence, my Palm Trio met a watery end at this exact same time.  A few days later, I found myself in line for an iPhone 3G.  Once I had the phone in hand, I wanted to know how to develop for it and quickly discovered I needed a Mac.  I begrudgingly bought the cheapest MacBook I could find (remember when they made MacBooks with white plastic?) and started my journey to the dark side (remember, I’m an Apple hater).  After two learning curve laden weeks working on the Mac, and the realization that the machine never crashed, never needed to be restarted, and did everything my Windows machine did (after all, it could run Windows too if I ever wanted to play games), I was a full convert.  In more recent years, Mac OS seems to be getting less stable and crashes a bit more, but I have still never regretted leaving Windows behind.

Around this time Android OS was released by Google and, as we tend to do, I instantly hated it because I was now an Apple fanboy.  But I also liked Google, so I was a bit torn.  The real issues with Android were performance, feel of the interface, and the fact it was based on Java – and I really, really hate Java (and still do).  That explanation is for another time because Objective C is certainly an acquired taste.  Fortunately for me though, most of the smart phone market agreed that Android was lacking and the app market on the iPhone took off while Android was left playing catch up.  My investment in an iPhone and MacBook changed the direction of my career into a mobile application developer (formally a game developer) specializing in iOS.

Throughout my career, some of the apps I’ve been a part of include the first Dora the Explorer game, the first Diago game, my own game, Valet Hero, that went to number 2 on the app store, the Sears and Kmart apps, Bloomberg Fantasy Football, TDAmeritrade, Scottrade, Comedy Central, Beauty.com, Adult Swim, Stratalgoica, McDonald’s, and others.  At some point during all that I became the one overseeing both iOS and Android teams and found myself answering the same question from every client, “Can’t we use <insert product of the month> to develop for both platforms at once?”  In part three, we’ll tak a look at the promises of hybrid apps.