Discover the main types and features of video applications and ways to build them in React Native.
There’s more than one reason why mobile developers praise React Native. Its ability for cross-platform development, over-the-air updates, and the native feel of apps are just some of them. And because it allows creating unique mobile solutions quickly, React Native has become the top cross-platform framework in only a couple of years.
But the best thing about React Native is that you can build any kind of mobile app with it, including video apps. Let's take a look at their main features and types.
React Native video apps and their main features
Though videos have been booming long before the pandemic, the lockdown has unlocked the full potential of video platforms. This isn’t surprising: video apps allow us to have fun, meet loved ones, boost personal brands, work, study, and even see doctors.
As app providers are trying to meet this demand, new video apps keep mushrooming. And React Native lets you implement all this diversity.
Video calling apps and video chats
Video calling apps made social distancing bearable. Their main features are a contact list, one-to-one and group video calls, text messaging, and screen sharing. This is what an average user needs to connect with other people. As for React Native video calling app examples, Facebook Messenger, Skype (till 2020), and Bunch are the most prominent ones.
Aside from apps for everyday communication, you can also find some decent solutions for business use, such as Zoom and Google Meet. These offer a broader spectrum of features and allow for larger people groups. On top of that, there are niche-specific solutions for teaching and studying, corporate meetings, healthcare, and beyond.
Video editing apps
Banuba Video Editor Timeline Demo
Video editing apps in React Native allow users to modify and rearrange video shots while enhancing them with filters, visual effects and sounds to create a new product. Mobile video editors vary based on their specializations, from Filmmaker Pro or KineMaster for professional-grade editing to Quik designed for creating “Instagram-friendly” fun, short videos.
The latter ones are particularly popular, with TikTok being the fastest-growing social media platform. By adding video features like TikTok, you empower users to create entertaining content in a few taps, thanks to features like beautification, video effects, color filters, and AR masks.
Besides, with modern mobile video editing apps, users can capture videos, so you don’t have to upload anything before editing. Some even go further and offer sharing capabilities, enabling their users to show off their talent and build personal brands.
AI video editing features are also becoming more popular.
Video streaming apps allow users to watch videos over the web without downloading them. They are typically extensive libraries of TV shows and movies available on a subscription basis. The basic functions include playing, browsing, and sharing videos using integrations with social networks, downloading them to watch offline, and creating video playlists.
Netflix is a shining example of a video streaming platform. Based on traffic volume, it remains the leader in the global video streaming market, followed by Apple TV, Hulu, and CBC.
Video sharing apps
Source: Search Engine Journal
Also known as video hosting platforms, these are technically streaming apps that allow users to browse and watch existing videos, upload and share their own ones. With the number of active users equivalent to a quarter of the global population, YouTube remains the most popular video sharing service and video platform in general. It offers the largest catalog of videos available you can watch non-stop.
Besides, some video sharing platforms have built-in live-streaming functionality. Users can capture, stream, record, and share live-streaming content.
React Native video app development solutions: Open source or proprietary?
Given the popularity of video content, today’s mobile development market is brimming with tools for building video apps of any type. That’s why, if you’re not a tech enthusiast willing to code everything from the ground up, the first thing you should do is find an SDK.
And that’s where the eternal “open source vs. proprietary” dilemma comes into play. How should you approach it in the case of React Native development? Let’s find out.
Proprietary SDK for React Native video apps
A commercial SDK legally belongs to those who built it and is available only after buying the license.
Let’s take Banuba Video Editor SDK, for example. It’s a fully functional React Native-friendly software kit that provides TikTok video editor features. It includes a set of libraries for video editing like trimming, cutting, Duets, video filters, background remover, stories, and Snapchat-like filters.
Proprietary SDKs come with lots of advantages:
- An extensive variety of features
These might range from basic video processing and simple React Native video overlays to mind-blowing AI-powered experiences.
Commercial SDKs have well-planned roadmaps. Each update is made with the entire system taken into consideration. As a result, as opposed to open source solutions, they typically have stable, bug-free code with all the necessary security safeguards in place.
- Regular releases
Proprietary SDKs boast frequent updates and new functionalities added. As a result, your video app value will increase as you add more features.
- Prompt support
This often goes beyond guides on how to install and use the SDK. Reputable providers can also support you throughout the implementation process.
These benefits are hard to beat. Still, the main caveat is that proprietary SDKs are paid solutions, and this fact keeps some app owners from choosing them over open source options. However, the price pays off in the long run. A proprietary SDK lets you save a bunch of time and effort on feature development, effect design, and device compatibility testing.
Still, if you don’t need all those advanced features offered by commercial devkit, consider choosing from open source offerings.
Open source React Native video libraries
In their attempts to minimize expenses, many developers prefer going with open source options. And this makes sense due to the particular benefits of such devkits:
- A LOT of freedom
The source code of an open source devkit is publicly accessible. This means you can change the parts you don't like (while respecting licenses, of course) and build an entirely new product.
- No upfront costs
As a rule, open source SDKs and libraries are free to use.
Still, open source SDKs are not all roses. After all, where is the dilemma we mentioned earlier coming from? Indeed, non-proprietary solutions have some limitations, including:
- A limited set of features
Most React Native video app devkits offer a set of essential functions. This translates into months of development if you want to release something more complex than a simple video player.
- Stability concerns
Such toolkits tend to evolve organically over time, and many contributions can be made without the entire code in mind. This might entail stability issues.
- Compatibility issues
Even if an open source SDK offers all the necessary features, they can be inaccessible due to compatibility issues. This, again, means additional coding on your side to make the integration possible.
- The lack of support and new releases
Though some open source solutions are backed by powerful developer communities, others are less fortunate. If you’re dealing with the second kind, be prepared to handle all issues and improvements on your own.
- Hidden costs
Though most devkits with open source code are free to use, there’s a huge risk of spending a fortune to make up for the limitations listed above.
With all these disadvantages taken into account, open source SDKs can be an option for simple apps with basic features. However, if your case is different, go with commercial alternatives.
What are the best React Native video libraries?
As you can see, a decent SDK can spare you weeks and months of coding. But with so many video editing libraries on GitHub, how can you find a suitable option? Here’s what we recommend.
First of all, define the type of your app and make a list of features. Keep in mind there’s a huge number of subsets within each app variety.
Say, you’re building a video calling app. Is it going to be a simple solution for informal communication like Viber or a video conferencing platform for corporate use? Or is it a telehealth tool? Answering these questions will help you decide on the features easier.
As you have the feature scope, it’s time to explore the available React Native tools for your app.
Video chats and video conferencing
When it comes to tools for building video conferencing apps, the market is less generous. That’s why we recommend you consider the proprietary segment. For example, our partner Agora provides an SDK for creating unmatched video communication experiences super-fast. It comes with the React Native wrapper and three main components:
- Voice Call
It enables voice-only one-to-one and one-to-many communication. Besides, it offers advanced features like audio mixing, sound effects, voice changer, and beyond.
- Video Call
It provides one-to-one and one-to-many video communication features. Additionally, it allows audio mixing, screen sharing, image enhancement, and other advanced features.
- Interactive Live Streaming
It enables one-to-one and one-to-many audio and video streaming. It also allows for co-hosting, audio mixing, screen sharing, and beyond.
All these features are fully compatible with our Face AR SDK. You can build video communication solutions with real-time engagement features like face filters, virtual backgrounds, and AR makeup.
React Native solutions for video editing apps
Speaking of React Native video apps, our Video Editing SDK is an excellent toolkit for developers. It lets you integrate all the necessary features for creating and sharing fabulous short- or long-form videos, animated clips, and stories.
Visual and color transformation effects, audio editing, overlays, and other advanced features are included. Besides, it integrates with the Face AR module that powers your video app with Snapchat-like filters, animated backgrounds, and beautification.
All this diversity of features comes with React Native wrappers, meaning that it’ll take you a couple of code lines to integrate the necessary functionality. This considerably accelerates the development process.
Video streaming and sharing apps in React Native
Since video sharing apps and streaming services are, in essence, based on the same technology, a React Native video player library will suffice in both cases. So, if you’re building a basic React Native video sharing app or streaming service, the following solutions might be helpful:
This is the most popular library for creating and playing videos on both Android and iOS. Apart from these two essential functions, the package also allows muting videos, playing audio without video, automatically pausing videos during notifications, and beyond.
This package is known for its ease of use. Along with the standard functions of a video player, it also enables you to customize the look of your player.
It’s a fully customizable video player with the play/pause/restart controls, the bottom controls with the video running time, progress bar, and the total duration, as well as the loading function, which triggers during network issues.
Overall, if you’re building a React Native video player project, you’re in luck — the market is full of open source solutions for developers. However, most of these offerings are very basic. So, if you want to implement, say, a recommendation engine like the one offered by Netflix, you’ll need to go with additional solutions or consider proprietary packages.
Given React Native’s unique capabilities to shorten app production cycles, the variety of devkits on the market, and the buzz around video platforms, React Native video app lets you meet user needs without going the extra mile. And hopefully, this article has given you a clear idea of what you’re going to build and how.