When the world is hyper-connected in this day and age, offering mobile apps as a business seems hardly ground-breaking. In fact, it is more of an obvious choice.
Plus, with the total number of mobile apps for Android and iOS being 3.48 million and 2.22 million, respectively, it is customary to build apps supporting both platforms.
If you are looking to build a highly efficient mobile app, look no further than React Native. Developed by Facebook in 2015, the framework enables developers to build a mobile app on two platforms simultaneously.
Some benefits include:
- It saves time and money as 95% of the codebase is cross-platform. That means companies do not have to prioritize the launch of their apps on one platform. They can be built and launched at the same time. Updating React Native apps is also fast.
- React Native apps are fast because the framework uses Graphics Processing Unit (GPU).
- Different native developers can jump in to upgrade or maintain the apps even when the original team is not around. The increased flexibility ensures uninterrupted app performance for the users, and saves maintenance costs for the companies.
- The framework offers "hot reloading" that enables developers to view the changes made to the application's codebase in real-time.
- One can simply augment an existing React Native app without rewriting it and only inserting React Native UI components into an existing app.
Top 23 React Native libraries to use for cross-platform app development
If you want to simplify the development process, you must utilize specific libraries for both Android and iOS apps. Yes, there are too many options to choose from and that can get confusing. Fret not — we have done our homework. Here is a solid list of 23 tools:
A. User interface libraries
Simply defined as a dynamic set of ready-made UI components like dialogs, buttons, and so on, such libraries serve as the building block of layouts. They are modular in nature.
Meaning, the developers can arrange them in different ways to achieve unique effects on the frontend. In the following section, we will discuss five component React Native UI libraries that you can use for cross-platform app development :
React native Lottie is a free and open-source mobile library available on both Android and iOS. It allows you to pick animations for your React Native application either from the library. You can also create your own using Adobe After Effects.
- Easily develop high-quality animation effects for apps.
- A few tools that can easily integrate with Lottie include Android SDK, Cocoa Touch (iOS), ProtoPie, and Haiku.
- All the animation effects present in the library are in JSON format.
- Lottie animations enhance the app's user experience since they are in vector format.
Elements is a popular cross-platform toolkit comprising several open-source UI components such as avatar, badge, pricing, divider, and so on. It assembles these React Native components in a single place along with consistent APIs for a stellar look n' feel. It is maintained by developers all around the open-source community.
- It offers consistent design across every platform, such as mobile (Android, iOS) and web.
- It gives you complete freedom to customize any of its components according to your requirements.
This particular library contains more than 3000 icons which you can use to develop your applications. It specifically helps you build your NavBar/ToolBar/TabBar for Android apps.
- React Native Vector Icons support regular icon fonts SVG via Fontello.
- The library allows you to deploy your own custom icon sets where you do not have to define height or width styles.
- All the icons in the library come armed with user accessibility settings.
React Native's Material Kit is fully coded and built over Expo, React Native, and Galio.io. It enables you to create the apps of your dreams! The Material Kit has an extensive collection of cards, personalized buttons, navigation, and so on, similar to Google's Material Design.
- The toolkit has 200 different components maintained by a strong community on GitHub.
- It also provides customizable pre-built example screens (such as onboarding and discovery), which shortens the prototyping process.
The MapView library provides a range of highly customizable map components for both Android and iOS. In addition, it helps the API to control the features on the map, which is fantastic.
- You can easily customize the map style, change the map view region and experiment with elements like overlay and markers.
- Easily create animations using the Animated API to create a better user experience.
- There is also a function called getCurrentPosition that allows the app to request access to the user's location.
B. Navigation libraries
Playing on the word's original meaning, Navigation is a framework that helps navigate between the app and 'destinations' via a consistent API. The following section discusses three such cross-platform libraries for React Native app development :
The framework supports navigation patterns such as tabs, stacks, and drawers, and it is typically written in Objective C, Java, and TypeScript. As a result, it is easy to set up and significantly boosts the app experience.
- React Navigation offers enough features to developers to make all the configurations inside a component itself.
- Its 'Themes' feature allows you to change the colors of various components.
- It supports time-travel debugging.
7. React Router
React Router is a group comprising navigational components that form declaratively with your Android and iOS apps. It lets you specify pass layouts and named components and enables you to build layouts.
- The components present in React Router simplify the integration process with third-party DOM libraries.
C. App testing libraries
One cannot simply develop an app and launch it in the market. You must write bug-free code so that your app is a success. Thankfully, React Native has many testing tools and libraries that are effective. Here are the top few:
- Jest has snapshot testing support, which means it runs focused tests on app areas previously changed or improved. This shortens the testing cycle and saves time.
- It offers a CLI tool to control app testing.
- Jest has easy-to-understand documentation, complete with examples, and thrives due to a supportive community.
Enzyme is a testing tool created by Airbnb. It provides API wrappers that assist developers in asserting, manipulating, and traversing the outcome of React components. As a result, it is often considered a straightforward testing library, unlike other examples in the market.
- Enzyme's API is flexible and intuitive and mimics jQuery's API for DOM manipulation and traversal.
- It is compatible with all prominent test runners and libraries.
Mock is a brand new third-party app testing solution specifically designed to test React Native apps. It works on Node.js 4+.
- It offers an entirely mocked and test-friendly version of the application to developers to make changes on.
- The library is designed to work with the most recent version of React Native.
- Mocha offers in-browser support and executes tests in series.
- The mature testing tool highlights all the areas that need attention in yellow.
D. Fitness sensor libraries
Such libraries are beneficial to companies building iOS and Android app development platforms in the healthcare sector. Let us study two fitness sensor libraries:
As the name suggests, it is a library that connects your React Native iOS application with Apple's Health Kit.
- It allows developers to use the same code across all devices, saving time and money.
- Its documentation is thorough and extensive. iOS developers maintain the library.
Just like the above-mentioned kit, this one is for Google and allows you to connect your React Native mobile application with Google's Health Kit.
- Easily access intelligent analysis and sensor data to develop new innovative features for your application.
- Its documentation is thorough. Google developers maintain the library. So finding a fix in case of any difficulty would not be a problem.
E. Form-building libraries
Why build a form element from scratch for an app when you can customize it with a library? Such libraries comprise components for selects, inputs, and buttons along with others. If you are currently facing any problem working with forms in React Native, check these out:
Formik is a library that helps developers create forms in React and validate different form fields accordingly. Creating forms is literally a breeze with Formik.
- It facilitates form building and allows developers to get values in-and-out of a firm state.
- It makes debugging, testing, and reasoning about the forms simple.
- Since it manages wiring up-state and change-handlers, you can focus more on solidifying the business logic.
15. Redux Form
Redux Form offers the best way to manage different form states like field values in the form in Redux. It is essentially a short piece of code that integrates the state container into your application.
- It is easy to use. Meaning, you can create input components of the form fields and reuse them as you like.
- You can develop different validations for different kinds of form-filling circumstances.
- It is the perfect choice when forms get too complicated.
F. Networking libraries
Setting up a networking workflow for all your React Native projects will make your life easy. Fortunately, many networking tools can help you with that. This section discusses four popular networking libraries that you might like:
- In Axios, you can intercept, cancel and transform requests.
- The data can automatically transform into JSON data.
- It also supports the Promise API.
17. Apollo Client
To use GraphQL on Android and iOS app development platforms, you will need to use Apollo Client. This library will help you quickly develop a user interface that pulls data with GraphQL.
- Apollo Client offers all the latest React features, so you do not need to worry about upgrading the app.
- You can use any build setup and any GraphQL API on Apollo Client. It is highly compatible.
As the name suggests, it is a lightweight layer developed above native Firebase libraries. It aims to mirror the official Firebase Web SDK as much as possible.
- React Native Firebase lets you use the iOS GameCenter for authentication.
- It supports all Firebase services on both Android and iOS apps.
It is a communication module or plugin that enables connection and data transmission between a mobile phone and BLE peripherals.
- It scans devices, connects with them, and reads and writes their characteristics.
- It supports all the new platforms — iOS 8+ and Android (API 19+).
G. In-app purchase libraries
Developers need to use specific libraries for adding the facility of in-app purchases to iOS and Android apps. There are two such libraries in use:
This framework is used to add in-app billings to your Android apps. It comes with extensive documentation available on GitHub.
- It has a simple interface and is easy to use.
- It works as a bridge by wrapping anjlab's InApp Billing library.
This is used to add in-app purchase features in iOS apps. The only drawback is you have to test your in-app purchases on an actual device. Working on a simulator simply would not fetch you any results.
- It has a small library which is easy to install.
- Its documentation is available on GitHub.
H. React Native Augmented Reality library
Are you looking to build something like Pokemon Go or want to give your end-users the AR experience? Use this library to empower your application:
ViroReact is an open-source third-party cross-platform for building AR and VR apps using React Native. It is easy to learn.
- ViroReact supports all mobile AR and VR platforms.
- It uses a single codebase during the development process.
I. Localization library
To add the localization capability to your apps, you can use the following library:
- It comes in handy when you need to internalize and localize your apps.
- React Native i18n is best suited for server-side rendering.
The beauty of React Native is that you can develop almost any kind of mobile app with it. Therefore, it is a good fit for most apps using the native Android or iOS codebase.
The React Native framework is used by famous names like Adidas, Tesla, Walmart, and Airbnb. That shows that it has the potential to take your app goals to greater heights. Do you want expert mobile app developers to create one for you?
Call us on +1 650.451.1499 or request a callback to find out more about the React Native app frameworks and our mobile app development process.