Top 10 React Native Development Tools
It's all about making your life easier as a mobile app developer- whether for Android or iOS. If you have already developed an app earlier, you might have experienced how difficult it is to debug a tricky issue. In such a scenario, it’s apparent that you are looking for a quicker way to prototype, test, and deploy your mobile applications. Isn’t it? And if you are a newbie wanting to build your mobile app, you should hire react native developers. Their preferences to select the proper app development framework, React Native has let them build dynamic apps like Instagram, Facebook, and others.
In this blog, let’s discuss the top 10 tools that the professional developer of React Native consider to simplify their development approach. So, reading this article will give you a clear insight into the following parameters.
- Tools that cut your debugging time by 50%.
- How to ensure your code stays clean, efficient, and error-free.
- The secret to rapid prototyping and immediate feedback.
Why Should You Not Skip Learning React Native Development Tools?
As a developer, React Native needs to be your go-to choice if versatility and efficiency are some of your traits. Given that this framework resonates well with your characteristics look no further. Here are why you should not want to know about React Native development tools.
The ‘Problem’ of Efficiency
Do you love those late nights when you often feel stuck debugging errors and questioning your choice to become a developer? With the React Native framework and its tools, bid adieu to those marathon coding sessions and your doubts about choosing the profession of development! Selecting the correct React Native tools might make your work so efficient that you wrap up before the deadline.
One Code, Two Platforms? Really?
There's a charm in managing two separate codebases for iOS and Android. Isn’t it? Why would you want to streamline that with a primarily unified codebase?
OK, in case you change your mind and want to streamline your development process. Reach out to the developer of React Native. A bonus? Save your time during the process.
Too Many Helping Hands
The vast React Native community is always bustling, offering solutions even before you encounter a problem. If you're a fan of solitude and wrestling with challenges solo, this over-enthusiastic community might contradict your development style.
For those who find joy in the jigsaw puzzle of mismatched app development configurations, React Native's smooth integrations are not something you would prefer.
The Instant Gratification of Rapid Prototyping
React Native tools might just offer feedback on your changes immediately. But where's the suspense in that? Why not keep guessing, enjoy the unpredictability, and waste time? However, if you believe ‘time once lost never returns’, hire React native developers and get your app development journey on track.
Budget-Friendly? Do You even Want that?
With all the money saved by using a smaller, unified team, you might run out of things to spend. Who needs cost savings anyway?
The Thrill of the Bug Hunt
Are you an adrenaline junkie who loves the unpredictable thrill of bugs popping up in app production? React Native tools that minimize bugs might not allow you of your favorite pastime.
No Surprises with End-to-End Testing
Not knowing how an app will fare on the user's device is a mystery. But React Native's testing tools, like Detox, might reveal all those secrets upfront, simplifying your mobile app development.
Top 10 React Native Development Tools To Look For
The following section is for those who want to know how tools can make you a professional developer. React Native and its top 10 development tools are enlisted below.
React Native Debugger
Struggling to optimize your code? Give a try to React Native Debugger. Here are some other benefits of this React Native debugging tool.
Keeping Track of Unforeseen Error
A Developer's Insightful Companion
LogBox presents warnings and errors inside the app. You can access these notifications even during the development phase. These notifications, represented by yellow or red badges, give developers an immediate reminder about issues. The efficiency of LogBox lies in its customization capabilities. However, you can focus on the most critical issues, ignoring those from third-party dependencies.
Moreover, React Native's in-app Dev Menu offers quick access to debugging choices. Activating the menu is as simple as a keyboard shortcut or a physical shake of the device. This suits iOS Simulators, Android emulators, or an actual device. However, Dev Menu is exclusively available in development builds, not production versions.
Expo is your ally in the journey of React Native app development, enriching the app-building experience. Wondering how? Consider the below-mentioned parameters.
Simplified Server-side Development
Expo introduces server-side logic directly into the React Native framework via API Routes. This unifies client-server development, reducing the friction of context-switching between different environments. To add it further, the API Route's syntax is developer-friendly. You just need to add +api.ts suffix to a file to define server-side functions corresponding to HTTP methods.
What's the result? A Structured server-side endpoint.
Swift Kick-start with Expo Go
Expo Go is meant for those eager to initiate projects without much dependencies. It's a go-to tool to test ideas, instantly visualize changes, and share work with minimal barriers. Or, you can refer to it as a client app for Android and iOS that has the entire Expo SDK.
The only thing you have to execute to make Expo SDK modules usable is installing the required package using npx expo install. Most importantly, you don’t have to wait in the queue while your app reloads, eliminating the native configuration steps.
Better in Keeping Sensitive Data Safe
Expo promotes best practices in security by supporting environment configuration through .env files. This includes securely referenced sensitive data (API keys), preventing potential data leaks.
End-to-end (E2E) testing is critical to mobile app development, ensuring maximum user experience. However, E2E tests for mobile apps have been a major hurdle for the developer of React Native. The challenge has been persistent, notably due to their ‘flakiness’. Tests aren't always deterministic. Detox emerges as a game-changer in such a scenario.
Here’s how Detox can be a helpful tool for you:
Gray Box Testing
Unlike traditional black box testing, where the internal workings of an application are unknown to the tester, Detox adopts a gray box approach. By allowing partial visibility into the app's internals, Detox can significantly reduce test flakiness, making tests more reliable.
Synchronizes with your app’s activities, Detox ensures actions are only executed when the app is idle. Besides, it waits for app tasks like animations, network requests, and React Native loads to complete. This reduces the chances of tests failing due to asynchronous operations or unexpected delays.
In an era where continuous integration cannot be overlooked, Detox seamlessly integrates with CI platforms. Some of it includes Jenkins, Travis CI, and Circle CI. Hence, E2E tests become a part of the regular development cycle, catching issues early.
Strong Support from Community Developers of React Native
Detox is meant to be compatible with a wide range of React Native versions. However, the community's backing guarantees that you are left alone. The active Discord server and the approach to address issues with unsupported versions show their strong commitment.
Reactotron is a versatile desktop app for Windows, macOS, and Linux that simplifies debugging. Also, consider this tool as an ally while struggling with React Native app inspection. Let’s get a closer insight into its debugging capabilities.
State Management Inspection
Get an understanding of various state management libraries like Redux and MobX. For Redux-based apps, use Reactotron to:
- View dispatched actions and their payloads. Hence, creating an immediate feedback loop, the tool accelerates the debugging process.
- Monitor changes to the Redux store in real-time.
- Dispatch custom actions directly from Reactotron.
- Rewind and playback actions to notice the evolution of your app's state. This is often called ‘Saga Tracking’, where the tool allows you to detail steps from initiation to execution.
Error Tracking with Clarity
One of the features that the dedicated developer of React Native considers is its ability to trace global errors. With source-mapped stack traces, including detailed saga traces, developers can easily trace the root of problems.
API Request Monitoring
With Reactotron, you can monitor all network requests your app makes. This includes:
- Viewing HTTP requests and responses.
- Observing response times.
- Monitoring content types and payloads.
- Keeping an eye on potential errors.
The efficiency of Reactotron lies in its non-intrusiveness. Integrated as a development-only dependency, it ensures zero impact on production builds.
TypeScript is an extension (or a tool) based on JS that supports type definitions. With TypeScript integrated into the React Native ecosystem facilitates modern app development. For a developer, React Native is a toolkit with TypeScript as a tool offering the strengths of static typing.
Using this extension, you can PREDICT different aspects of app development, such as locating type errors. The synergy of React Native and TypeScript works in the following manner.
Type Safety in Component Development
Developers can define interfaces for a component's State and Props through React.Component<Props, State>. This introduces a relevant type-checking mechanism and enhanced auto-completion in editors, elevating the development experience.
TypeScript-based code sources undergo a transformation by Babel during the bundling process. While TypeScript has its compiler compatible with the React Native ecosystem, it's predominantly used for type-checking. On the other side, Babel manages the code transformation. This individuality of tasks between bel and typeScript compiler ensures efficient builds and compatibility.
Quick Integration with Different Templates
Whether be it React Native CLI, Ignite, or Expo, you get a choice of an effortless TypeScript integration.
Flame AI is an innovative Command Line Interface (CLI) crafted for React Native developers. Its primary function is to leverage the power of OpenAI's GPT-4 for swift code generation and effective code alterations (codemods). Flame AI isn't just a tool; it's a philosophy.
Being a new React Native tool, you may want to know its cost considerations. It comes in the pricing or subscription of OpenAI's API. Preliminary tests indicate that a complete React Native upgrade would cost around USD 0.05.
You can access its features using the Node package runner with commands like npx flame --help. Find detailed insights into other commands associated with this tool in the Command Reference.
Signature Feature: Upgrading React Native
With a simple command npx flame upgrade react-native related to Flame AI, you can upgrade React Native apps. For a more engaging experience, consider the interactive mode with the npx flame upgrade react-native --interactive. Now, upgrading has become a breeze.
Metro is a React Native tool or the backbone of React Native’s bundling mechanism. With this tool, you can transform individual JS files and their dependencies into a cohesive file. Being a default bundler for React Native, Metro ensures quick integration and compatibility. Start using it right out of the box without additional configurations or setup.
The Three-Pillar Process
Metro initiates the process by constructing a map or graph of all the modules from the entry point. Here, it is the ‘resolver’, which identifies essential files.
Contrary to a linear flow, the resolution stage operates concurrently with the transformation phase, pacing the bundling process.
Every module undergoes a transformation process. The essence of this phase is the ‘transformer’, which transpiles each module into an executable format for the intended platform, such as React Native.
Most importantly, the parallel transformation of these modules optimizes performance, utilizing the full capability of multi-core processors.
Post-transformation, modules enter the serialization phase. Here, a serializer combines the transformed modules, producing more than one bundle.
Modular Design of Metro
The architectural design of Mtro is modularized, reflecting every step in its bundling journey. This design simplifies the debugging process and introduces a layer of flexibility. Hence, you get a customizable bundling experience.
Fastlane, as a tool of the React Native framework, is dedicated to automating and simplifying app deployment for both Android and iOS platforms. The tool saves the developer of React Native countless hours, with a reported savings of over 39 million developer hours to date.
To utilize it in the best way possible, let’s talk about its features.
Effortless Localized Screenshots
Fastlane automates the creation of localized app store screenshots, serving various languages and devices. Once set up, the tool captures these screenshots without manual intervention, allowing you to multitask.
Smooth Sailing Beta Releases
Distributing beta versions has always been challenging. Besides automating the version, Fastlane supports integration with more than 15 beta testing platforms, like Crashlytics Beta, Hockey, and TestFlight.
The tool’s flexibility is prominent, allowing transitions between different beta services without reconfiguration.
Quick Code Signing
Code signing, often a source of frustration, is handled. Fastlane offers a secure system to save code signing identities in an encrypted git repository. This feature allows the developer of React Native to reproduce signed builds consistently.
For an experienced developer, React Native Redux is a guided tool for state management.
Its design philosophy ensures applications behave uniformly, whether operating on native platforms or the client-server. Here’s a quick detail on why you should become familiar with Redux and use it in your next React Native project.
Centralized State Management
At the core of Redux is a centralized store that holds the entire state of defined apps. The tool’s centralized approach eliminates the oft-encountered problem in the React of prop drilling. Had this option not been available, every state would have to be passed down through multiple component layers. However, with this option provided by Redux, any component can access states from the central store. With Redux, you can quickly build cleaner code and manage data with no added effort.
Structured Data Flow
Redux operates under a unidirectional data flow. Actions are dispatched with data, reducers process these actions and define how the state should change, and then the central store updates, reflecting these changes. This structured data flow ensures predictability, making it easier to trace how and why state changes occur.
Meant for Scalability and Maintainability
Redux's architecture shines when applications grow in complexity. Segregating the logic into reducers and actions, Redux ensures that larger applications remain organized, modular, and maintainable.
Note: You may not need Redux for a simple app with no complex state management operations.
Starting from version 0.38 of react-native, Jest is inherently included, requiring minimal setup. Aimed at simplicity, Jest's philosophy is to be config-free, offering a "zero-config" experience.
Let’s get into the tool’s detailing.
One of its flagship features is snapshot testing, which effortlessly tracks changes in large objects. These snapshots serve as a reference point- embed them inline or place them alongside tests.
What’s the result? Its consistency and easy detection of unexpected changes.
Parallelized, Fast, and Secure Testing
Jest has the ability to run tests in parallel across separate processes, establishing the reliability of tests. With its unique global state isolation, Jest prioritizes previously failed tests and optimizes test sequences based on their execution time.
As a developer, you should be an expert in leveraging frameworks like React Native. Numerous frameworks are available, but how can you choose the best from the rest? Its multi-purpose functionality distinguishes the framework. React Native offers exactly what you want in a mobile app development framework. It's not merely its association with tech giants like Facebook that sets it apart; it's the framework's intrinsic qualities and the toolset that comes with it.
So, if you are not yet familiar with its wide range of toolsets, give it a read to this article. Considering your time reading this blog won’t go wasted, I'm signing off for now.
A science graduate who has a keen interest to lean about new technologies and research area. With an experience in the field of data analytics and content writing, she aims to share her knowledge among passionate tech readers.