Top tools to boost mobile app development with React Native

React Native is one of the most reliable and efficient technologies for cross-platform mobile app development. Backed by Facebook, this popular framework offers businesses a unique opportunity to create high-end projects for both Android and iOS. 

By choosing React Native for your next app, you will achieve multiple goals in one shot.

  1. You need only one team of Javascript developers to reach all your potential clients, regardless of the operating system they use on their smartphones. 
  2. The speed of development increases dramatically, as you don’t have to build two different apps for every mobile platform from the ground. 
  3. React Native apps have a native-specific look and feel, so you won’t compromise quality or user experience. 

Couldn’t be better, right? Well, there is always room for improvement. In this article, we’ll share the list of tools our React Native engineers use to enhance productivity, accelerate the speed of development, and increase code quality.

Redux

Makes your code more predictable,  and easier to understand and debug. 

redux

This tiny (only 2 Kb) state container is excellent for writing consistent and easy-to-test JavaScript code that runs in different environments. Of course, for a while, you can successfully proceed without Redux. But when your app grows and is required to handle large amounts of data, it becomes too difficult to keep track of data flow and deal with all the events properly. That’s where Redux comes in handy.

Roughly, Redux helps you manage the state of the application or, in other words, control the data your app displays and the way it responds to user actions. React Native (as well as its web counterpart, ReactJS) fails to provide state management by itself. Redux is the only efficient solution to this issue. The key idea behind Redux is to arrange unidirectional data flow, which makes your app more predictable and easier to grasp. 

The trade off is that ensuring predictability requires developers to write a lot of boilerplate code. We use redux-actions to reduce boilerplate and make the code easier to read. 

Ignite CLI

Accelerates the initial stage of the project development.

ignite react native

Starting a new mobile project takes time, but you can get everything done faster by using Ignite, a powerful tool to generate boilerplates for React Native. It allows engineers to choose from different out-of-the-box templates, and, moreover, these boilerplates will run on both iOS and Android by default. On top of that, the toolchain supports multiple plugins, so all it takes to install any of them is simply typing one line.

Expo

Accelerates the speed of cross-platform development. 

expo react native

Expo is a set of React Native components, tools, supporting services, and native APIs that speeds up mobile app building and deploying. This open-source toolchain provides multiple out-of-box solutions (like push notifications, location tracking, analytics, and more) that fit both Android and iOS platforms. Additionally, engineers don’t even need to open native development environments — Android Studio or XCode  — to link libraries containing native code. Expo handles this and many other tasks, saving developers much time and effort. 

On the downside, Expo doesn’t support some popular features — for example, Bluetooth, Web RTC, Apple and Google Pay integrations are not available yet. The technology is relatively new and still evolving, with new APIs being added all the time.  As such, you should have a look at the actual Expo’s SDK to make sure that it includes the solutions you need. Keep in mind, that Expo doesn’t work with OS versions older than Android 5 and iOS 10.  

Flow

Facilitates creating clean, error-free code.  

flow type checker

Flow is a static type checker for JavaScript that helps engineers prevent bugs and write a robust app. Due to built-in support for React Native, it is easy to integrate into your mobile project.  

Moving through your code, Flow infers types, tracks data, and provides you with fast feedback. It facilitates early error detection which results in avoiding runtime failures. The tool is also helpful for refactoring as it lets you focus on major changes instead of worrying about possible errors.  

TypeScript

Facilitates creating clean, error-free code.  

typescript with react native

Alternatively to Flow, you can use TypeScript with your React Native app. Until recently, this typed superset of JavaScript was associated with Angular. But starting with version 0.57, React Native also supports TypeScript, so you can activate it with just one command. 

TypeScript serves the same purposes as Flow — it adds static typing to JavaScript code and thus improves code quality. Which of the two options will fit your project better? It mostly depends on the preferences and expertise of your developers. However, TypeScript continues to step up a presence within React Native ecosystem. For example, the above-mentioned Expo moved from Flow to TypeScript in 2018. 

ESLint

Allows the location of errors in JavaScript without executing the code.

eslint javascript linter

Being a loosely-typed and dynamic language, JavaScript is especially prone to programming mistakes. The good news is that there are linting tools that enable developers to reveal shortcomings without executing their JS code. ESLint is one of these linters, designed for JavaScript and JSX. 

The free linting utility comes with the set of default rules relating to the possible logic or syntax mistakes in JavaScript. However, regarding that all the rules are pluggable, developers can turn off any of them or create and load their own rules at any given time. 

The ESLInt team is proud (and rightly so) that their product is being used by such tech giants as Netflix, Microsoft, MongoDB, Facebook, and PayPal. At DA-14 we also apply this tool to make our code cleaner. 

TSLint

Reveals errors in TypeScript.

tslint react native typescript

When we create React Native apps with TypeScript, we use TSLint, the standard linter for TypeScript,  to discover flaws that impact readability, functionality, and maintainability of the code. Similar to ESLint, it features built-in rules to start with, but allows for customization. 

React Native debugger

Enhances debugging on Mac OS.

React Native has a built-in option to connect with Chrome DevTools and debug your project remotely. But you can expand the possibilities for inspecting your code with React Native debugger, a standalone desktop app. It is based on the official RN debugging tool, but offers more functionality and includes React Devtools, Redux DevTools, and Chrome DevTools, all in one place. 

The major disadvantage of the tool is that it supports neither Windows nor Linux. It is currently available on Mac OS only.

Reactotron

Enhances debugging on Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. 

Reactotron is another open-source debugging tool for React Native projects. Unlike React Native debugger, this desktop app is easy to install on all major platforms such as Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. It features an Event Timeline that enables developers to track events in real time and solve problems as they occur.  

Among other things, you can use Reactotron to inspect and modify the application state, conduct quick performance benchmarks, inspect and modify an application state, track global errors, check API requests and responses, and more. 

React Native UI toolkits

Help to create a native-specific look and feel without extra effort.

React Native sticks to the same design as ReactJS, allowing you to create a rich UI with isolated components. Instead of building UI elements like icons, buttons, tabs, and forms from scratch, you can use React Native UI libraries. Below, we list our favorite sets of pre-made elements, which help us build mobile projects faster. 

React Native Elements

react native elements ui library

The open-source toolkit built by the React Native community is available on iOS, Android, and web. It supports Expo as well. 

One of the very best things about this library is the ability to have full control over component design. Developers can style elements as they please, and reuse the same style across all the components. This is very convenient if, for example, you want all the buttons to be red or if you want to use the same font across the whole app. 

NativeBase

nativebase ui library react native

NativeBase boasts a rich ecosystem and offers dozens of cross-platform UI building blocks for React Native apps. The library also allows using any third-party native libraries, which significantly boosts productivity. Similar to React Native Elements, it is open-source and supports iOS, Android, and web. 

The platform contains all essential components: badges, buttons, icons, thumbnails, cards, swipeable lists, tabs, search bars, etc. Thanks to the fact that NativeBase follows a modular pattern and provides a separate set of files for each component, the elements are easy to style and customize. 

React Native Material UI

react native material ui

This open source library allows you to bring Google’s Material Design to Android and iOS through React Native. All the components are highly customizable — you can easily change everything (fonts, color, etc.) by using a single JS object called uiTheme.

Material Kit PRO React Native

material kit pro react native

This is one more UI library for React Native, inspired by Material Design. Built on top of Galio.io and Expo, it facilitates building e-commerce mobile applications with minimalist, intuitive interfaces. Material Kit PRO uses Google fonts, offers a wide selection of pre-built screens, and helps you to organize everything, from user profiles to blog posts, in the form of unconventional, fresh-looking cards. On the downside, the library is available only on a paid basis (you still can try a free demo, though). 

UI Kitten

ui kitten react native library

UI Kitten is a free React Native version of Eva Design System. It contains about 20 components that are similar in style, and a convenient theme system that enables you to style components or easily build them yourself. The greatest feature of this open-source library is the ability to change themes in runtime, so you don’t even need to reload your app. 

Let’s build innovative mobile apps together

The React Native ecosystem is rapidly evolving, with new efficiency tools arising all the time. We keep track of all advances emerging in the world of React Native app development, constantly adopting the best technologies to create competitive and innovative apps. Contact us  — our developers will consult you about the latest, most effective solutions to build your mobile project within the shortest term possible. 

↑ Go up

Similar post