Case Study: Walmart React Native Pharmacy
Going Hybrid

Walmart React Native Pharmacy


Building native applications with JavaScript and React - Just what the doctor ordered

The Challenge
A. What is React Native?

React Native is an exciting technology, allowing you to to write native mobile apps in JavaScript. Rather than using a wrapper to port your mobile web code to a native app, it *renders* actual native code. This means that your app feels… like an app, and is far more responsive to the user. This differs from all related predecessors because it isn’t just a website inside of a web view; it’s a real native app.

Game changer.

The Approach
B. Solving the Unsolvable

Walmart is huge. Really Huge. And, like most companies of that magnitude (which are far and few between), the company’s deep-rooted systems make legacy codebase issues one of the greatest challenges.

They had existing websites, apps, code, and a general way of doing things. So, when looking to improve their Pharmacy App, step one would entail building confidence in the React Native solution for building applications in JavaScript and React.

The Challange

The Right Choice

Walmart had already been down the road of trying to create a hybrid native + web view version of their app. But, no one loved the results. The end product was sluggish and simply lacked that native app “feel.”

After successfully moving and battle testing other portions of the web experience to React.js, we knew that React Native would be a great fit for their mobile apps.

Show and Tell

Before embarking on a giant rewrite, we started by creating a prototype of their Wellness app. The speed and ease of this process gave both teams confidence in this new technology. Walmart loved the initial results, so we began moving portions of the Pharmacy app to React Native.

The Results
C. The Results Are In

The Project was a success on multiple levels. Performance, speed, management, scalability, and end user experience were all dramatically enhanced. Native React proved itself as an integral part of the Walmart stack and will set the tone for future mobile architecture.

Highlights

Snappy & responsive

In comparison to webview based solutions, the React Native bits of the Pharmacy app dramatically improved speed, performance and overall user experience. It feels like a native app, because it is native code.

Updates are easier

With React Native, we can push updates to those portions of the app without the long review process that comes with traditional iOS development. This means things like templating, layout, and certain bugs can be addressed in real time, without having to wait for people to update their apps.

More people can work on mobile

Since Walmart’s web team has been working in React.js, it isn’t a far step for them to learn React Native. With more resource inoperability, more people will be able to contribute to the mobile apps, making it easier to recruit, hire and train new people.

One codebase, more platforms

With React Native you are able to write the code once and then the code can be compiled into the various different mobile platforms – iOS, Android and Windows.

Lasting Impact
D. A True Team Effort

When React Native was released, an internal developers’ summit was held at Walmart. Formidable presented it there, which is pretty unusual for someone seen as a ‘consultant’ to do – but we like to work closely with our clients because it results in better outcomes). Everyone was very excited about React Native.

Formidable along with Walmart Labs employees are coming up with the rules, library, and architectures together. It is collaborative and cooperative. When you work with us, you are getting a team that not just knows React – we live it and breathe it, and more importantly, can work closely to make sure the efforts of the project are successful.


We Are Formidable

Formidable is a Seattle-based consultancy and open-source shop, with an emphasis on Node.js and React.js. We deploy a mixture of consulting, staff augmentation, and training to level up teams and solve engineering problems. Whether it’s transitioning walmart.com to React, moving speedtest.net off Flash, or helping a startup build and scale an MVP, we’re ready to help teams of any size.

Interested in hiring or working for us? Get in touch or view our Careers Page.