React Native Build Status

Our first React Native implementation is React, targeting iOS. We are also working on an Android implementation which we will release later. React apps are built using the React JS framework, and render directly to native UIKit elements using a fully asynchronous architecture. There is no browser and no HTML. We have picked what we think is the best set of features from these and other technologies to build what we hope to become the best product development framework available, with an emphasis on iteration speed, developer delight, continuity of technology, and absolutely beautiful and fast products with no compromises in quality or capability.

Requirements

  1. OS X - This repo only contains the iOS implementation right now, and Xcode only runs on Mac.
  2. New to Xcode? Download it from the Mac App Store.
  3. Homebrew is the recommended way to install node, watchman, and flow.
  4. New to node or npm? brew install node
  5. We recommend installing watchman, otherwise you might hit a node file watching bug. brew install watchman
  6. If you want to use flow, brew install flow

Quick start

Get up and running with our Movies sample app:

  1. Once you have the repo cloned and met all the requirements above, start the packager that will transform your JS code on-the-fly:

    npm install
    npm start
    
  2. Open the Examples/Movies/Movies.xcodeproj project in Xcode.
  3. Make sure the target is set to Movies and that you have an iOS simulator selected to run the app.
  4. Build and run the project with the Xcode run button.

You should now see the Movies app running on your iOS simulator. Congratulations! You've just successfully run your first React Native app.

Now try editing a JavaScript file and viewing your changes. Let's change the movie search placeholder text:

  1. Open the Examples/Movies/SearchScreen.js file in your favorite JavaScript editor.
  2. Look for the current search placeholder text and change it to "Search for an awesome movie...".
  3. Hit cmd+R (twice) in your iOS simulator to reload the app and see your change. If you don't immediately see your changes, try restarting your app within Xcode.

Feel free to browse the Movies sample files and customize various properties to get familiar with the codebase and React Native.

Also check out the UI Component Explorer for more sample code: Examples/UIExplorer/UIExplorer.xcodeproj. Make sure to close the Movies project first - Xcode will break if you have two projects open that reference the same library.

Troubleshooting

  • Xcode will break if you have two examples open at the same time.
  • If npm start fails with log spew like: 2015-02-02 10:56 node[24294] (FSEvents.framework) FSEventStreamStart: register_with_server: ERROR: f2d_register_rpc() => (null) (-21) then you've hit the node file watching bug - brew install watchman should fix the issue.
  • Jest testing does not yet work on node versions after 0.10.x.
  • You can verify the packager is working by loading the bundle in your browser and inspecting the contents.

Please report any other issues you encounter so we can fix them ASAP.

Basics

<View> is a container that behaves similar to a <div> element on web, but renders to a UIView. <Text>, <Image>, and <ScrollView> are other basic components and there are several more. You can compose these elements into component trees just like normal react or HTML elements, and they can be styled with the style property, which supports a subset of flexbox layout. Check out the UIExplorer examples for more sample code.

Native events come in as you would expect via onChange, onScroll, onTouch and other props. TouchableHighlight makes it really easy to build nice buttons via onPress, which plays nicely with scroll views and other interactions via the responder system.

FAQ

Q. How does debugging work? Can I set breakpoints in my JS?

A. We are going to add the ability to use the Chrome developer tools soon. We are very passionate about building the best possible developer experience.

Q. When is this coming to Android/Windows/OS X/etc?

A. We're working on Android, and we are excited to release it as soon as we can. We are looking forward to the community helping us target other platforms as well :)

Q. How do I create my own app?

A. Copy the entire Examples/TicTacToe folder, rename stuff in Xcode, and replace the TicTacToeApp.js with your own. Then, in AppDelegate.m, update moduleName to match your call to AppRegistry.registerComponent(<moduleName>, <componentName>) at the bottom of your JS file, and update jsCodeLocation to match your JS file name and location.

Q. Can I submit my own React Native app to the App Store?

A. Not yet, but you will be able to soon. If you build something you want to submit to the App Store, come talk to us ASAP.

Q. How do I deploy to my device?

A. You can change localhost in AppDelegate.m to your laptop's IP address and grab the bundle over the same Wi-Fi network. You can also download the bundle that the React packager generates, save it to the file main.jsbundle, and add it as a static resource in your Xcode project. Then set the jsCodeLocation in AppDelegate.m to point to that file and deploy to your device like you would any other app.

Q. Do you have to ship a JS runtime with your apps?

A. No, we just use the JavaScriptCore public API that is part of iOS 7 and later.

Q. How do I add more native capabilities?

A. React Native is designed to be extensible - come talk to us, we would love to work with you.

Q. Can I reuse existing iOS code?

A. Yes, React Native is designed to be extensible and allow integration of all sorts of native components, such as UINavigationController (available as <NavigatorIOS>), MKMapView (not available yet), or your own custom component. Check out RCTUIActivityIndicatorViewManager.m for a simple example.

In Depth

React renders these component trees as normal, but instead of applying the result to the DOM, it sends a batch of create, update, and delete commands for native views. Everything in the React tree ultimately composes down to core components that are mapped to their native counterpart. The diff is first applied to the shadow tree where layout is calculated in a background thread, then the minimal changeset is applied to the native views on the main thread.

There are two key elements to making these apps feel great. The first is the 100% asynchronous communication between the native engine and JS application code. This means that slow JS operations never block the main thread, so the app can always be responsive to scrolling, image loading, and the like. Second is the powerful bridging API that let's us wrap any native components and APIs we want, allowing us to use the native navigation system, tab bar, maps, blurs, or any other existing native components standard on the platform, from another open source project, or custom built. These deep hooks also allow us to do very high fidelity touch processing, capable of driving continuous gesture feedback and animations at 60 fps.

Beyond performance, there are some exciting new concepts that make the development experience a delight:

  • React JS - React is a unique and powerful way to structure apps that makes them easier to reason about, and thus develop more quickly with fewer bugs. React Native takes the same core React engine with JSX and ES6 and plugs straight into the native view layer. Some React components and most JS libraries can easily be reused.
  • Instant reload - See the effect of your changes right away without compiling. the React packager efficiently transforms, bundles, caches, and serves your source code seamlessly.
  • StyleSheet - A simplifying evolution of CSS. padding, margin, position: 'absolute', left, right...the list of support attributes goes on, but no more selectors or complex precedence rules - StyleSheets are just JS, and can be merged, shared, and manipulated just like any other JS object.
  • Flexbox layout - Views stack up based on the flex direction of their parent, and can be configured to wrap tightly around their children, expand to fill their parent container, or something more custom. The layout algorithm runs asynchronously as well, so scrolling and other animations can stay buttery smooth, even while computing complex layout.
  • Responder events - Get that perfect touch interaction, even with extremely complex, hierarchical trees of components.
  • Component Library - TouchableHighlight, ListView, TextInput, and more provide a powerful library of pre-built, high quality components you can easily drop into your apps. Check out Examples/UIExplorer/UIExplorer.xcodeproj to see example usage.

React Native is not in any way the first step to building a write-once, run- anywhere solution. One goal is simply to unify the developer experience, so that a developer does not need to become a deep expert in every different platform they want to deploy to - the future vision is for the development tools, concepts, frameworks, programming language, and many of the APIs to be as similar as possible across the web, iOS, Android, and maybe more, without compromising app quality on any platform.

Testing

Run example app tests with:

npm test

Note: Jest testing does not yet work on node versions after 0.10.x.

Static Analysis

Lint the example apps with:

npm run lint

If you have flow (version 0.1.6+) installed, you can do type analysis by running:

flow