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Canonical adds Facebook’s React Native to Ubuntu

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Ubuntu Touch

Canonical has announced React Native support to its Ubuntu platform. The framework is majorly maintained by Facebook to enable cross-platform app development.

Leveraging the new support, developers on Ubuntu platform can now easily port their existing Android or iOS React Native apps. The support also opens an avenue to build Ubuntu native version of ReactJS web apps.

“Based on the web-friendly ReactJS declarative programming model and its strong UI component system, React Native provides an additional layer of system performance using native UI components and platform APIs to deliver a deeply integrated user experience,” writes Richard Collins, Ubuntu mobile product manager, Canonical, in a blog post.

Easy basis for Snap ecosystem

Apart from the app porting support through React Native, a number of development tools by Facebook can now be used on an easy basis to create new snaps. This means that not just Ubuntu but several other Linux-based platforms will support the same framework, and apps will get “greater relevance across devices” such as mobile phones, desktops and connected modules for the IoT world.

“Ubuntu on devices today supports a full range of displays, interfaces and inputs. So a React Native app ported to Ubuntu will also work on converged devices running a full Ubuntu PC interface,” Collins adds.

Developers can test the framework support using the source code for React Native Ubuntu directly through GitHub. Additionally, details about some different app environments will grow with the expansion of the React Native community.

Strategy to mark success in mobile-first world

Canonical already has a presence in the smartphone market through its Ubuntu Touch OS. But the mobile-focused platform is far behind the growth of Android and iOS due to fewer app support. Therefore, React Native support would help the company encourage developers to bring their existing apps to the open source platform.