The Widlarz Group Blog

Our React Native toolbox: 24 essential tools for developers in 2024

January 15, 2024

react native tools

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Introduction

As 2024 unfolds, React Native remains a pillar in mobile app development, offering efficiency in creating cross-platform applications. Originating from Facebook, this framework has significantly influenced the tech world by enabling code reusability across iOS and Android platforms, thereby revolutionizing development processes.

At The Widlarz Group, we’ve embraced React Native not just for its foundational capabilities, but also for the rich array of tools it supports. These tools are instrumental in streamlining our development process, enhancing application performance, and ensuring a seamless user experience.

In this article, we share our curated toolbox – a collection of essential tools compiled by 4 developers from our team. Whether you’re starting your journey in React Native or looking to elevate your existing skills, this guide will illuminate the key tools that are at the forefront of mobile app development in our company and the wider React Native ecosystem.

Content

Why tools are key for React Native developers?

For React Native developers, tools are more than just conveniences; they are essential for efficient programming and successful app development. These tools simplify coding, automate tasks, and enhance workflow, making app development more streamlined and error-free. As we reflect on the evolution of React Native tools up to 2024, we see a shift from basic utilities to advanced, AI-assisted environments. This progression not only mirrors technological advances but also aligns with the complex needs of modern mobile app development. In our toolkit, each tool is selected for its ability to meet current trends and future challenges, enabling our developers to craft sophisticated applications effectively and accurately.

Visual Studio Code

As a leader in the development arena, Visual Studio Code offers a compelling mix of efficiency and versatility. Renowned for its user-friendly interface, it provides a robust plugin ecosystem, enabling developers to customize their environment with tools like ESLint for code quality and React Native Tools for streamlined development. Its IntelliSense feature is particularly beneficial, offering intelligent code completion, parameter info, and quick navigation, which significantly boosts coding speed and accuracy for React Native projects.

Visual Studio Code

WebStorm

WebStorm by JetBrains stands out for its sophisticated features tailored to React Native development. It excels in offering smart coding assistance, detecting potential issues in real-time, and suggesting best practice solutions. Developers appreciate its powerful refactoring capabilities, which simplify code restructuring without changing its external behavior. Additionally, WebStorm integrates seamlessly with other tools in the development process, including version control systems and package managers, making it a comprehensive solution for complex React Native applications.

The choice of development tools is largely a personal preference, shaped by individual work style and requirements. In our team, we value this diversity, recognizing that it fosters a culture of innovation and adaptability. By allowing developers to choose the tools they are most comfortable with, we not only enhance individual productivity but also contribute to the collective strength and creativity in our React Native projects.

Leveraging Visual Studio Code plugins for React Native

Given Visual Studio Code’s popularity among React Native developers, it’s crucial to explore the plugins that significantly ease and enhance the coding experience. These plugins are not mere add-ons; they are pivotal in optimizing development workflows.

React Native Tools

This plugin provides an enriched development experience, offering debugging capabilities and command palette integration. It’s a go-to tool for streamlined React Native commands and efficient troubleshooting.

ESLint

A must-have for maintaining high code quality, ESLint ensures adherence to coding standards and helps in the early detection of potential errors, making it indispensable in collaborative project environments.

ESLint

Prettier - Code Formatter

For automatically formatting code, “Prettier” is widely used. It ensures that code is not only functional but also clean and readable, which is vital for maintainability and collaborative reviews.

GitLens

GitLens supercharges the Git capabilities built into Visual Studio Code. It helps developers visualize code authorship at a glance via inline Git annotations, providing a clearer understanding of code changes and history, which is particularly helpful in a collaborative environment.

GitHub Copilot

GitHub Copilot takes coding assistance to the next level. Powered by AI, it suggests whole lines or blocks of code as you type, based on how similar problems have been solved by other developers. This plugin can significantly speed up coding, offer creative coding solutions, and help navigate through complex code structures more efficiently.

Recognizing the importance and overwhelming number of helpful VS Code plugins, I am planning to prepare an additional article dedicated exclusively to this topic. This upcoming piece will delve into specific plugins that significantly ease the workload in React Native development, and beyond. It will be a comprehensive guide, aimed at helping developers navigate this vast sea of tools and select the ones that best fit their project needs and personal workflow.

Advanced debugging tools in React Native

In the realm of mobile application development using React Native, the ability to effectively debug is key to success. Debugging tools have become more advanced, offering developers not just the means to quickly detect and resolve issues, but also a deeper understanding of their applications’ workings. In this section, we will delve into three essential tools that every React Native developer should know and use.

React Native Debugger

A standout in the toolkit is the React Native Debugger. This comprehensive solution integrates the functionalities of Chrome’s DevTools with Redux debugging. It enables developers to inspect network requests, analyze application states, and track UI layout issues, streamlining the debugging process.

Flipper

Developed by Facebook, Flipper is a platform-agnostic tool offering extensive features for visualizing, monitoring, and debugging React Native apps. It provides real-time logs, layout inspection, and network inspection capabilities, essential for enhancing app performance and user experience.

You might have heard that starting from version 0.73, React Native is moving away from including Flipper by default. While Flipper will no longer come pre-packaged with React Native, you still have the option to use it by installing it manually. This change allows for more flexibility in choosing the debugging tools that best suit your project’s needs.

Flipper

Reactotron

Reactotron offers specialized functionalities for inspecting React Native components, monitoring global state, and tracking API requests and responses. It’s a unique tool that aids developers in maintaining a clear overview of the app’s internal workings.

Optimizing performance in React Native

Performance measurement remains a critical aspect of React Native development. Efficient performance tools enable developers to optimize app responsiveness and resource usage, ensuring a seamless user experience.

React Native Performance Monitor

A fundamental tool is the built-in React Native Performance Monitor. This tool offers real-time insights into the app’s performance metrics, such as frame rate and memory usage, allowing developers to pinpoint areas that require optimization.

Flipper with React DevTools

Flipper, integrated with React DevTools, provides a detailed overview of the component hierarchy and the rendering process. It helps in identifying unnecessary re-renders and performance bottlenecks within React Native apps.

Flashlight

Flashlight emerges as a novel tool in the React Native ecosystem. It specializes in illuminating the ‘darker’ aspects of performance, such as slow network requests and heavy JavaScript operations. Its intuitive interface allows for easy identification and analysis of performance issues, making it an invaluable asset for performance tuning.

Flashlight

Profiling React Native applications

In the development of React Native applications in 2024, profiling is crucial for ensuring optimal app performance and resource utilization. Profiling tools provide invaluable insights into how applications function under various conditions, allowing developers to fine-tune their performance.

The Instruments app in Xcode

For iOS development with React Native, the Instruments app in Xcode is an indispensable tool. It offers detailed profiling capabilities, including tracking memory allocations, diagnosing performance issues, and analyzing CPU usage. Its intuitive interface and comprehensive data visualization aid developers in optimizing applications for peak performance.

Android Profiler in Android Studio

Android Profiler in Android Studio serves a similar purpose for Android development. It provides real-time data for CPU, memory, and network usage, helping developers identify performance bottlenecks. With its detailed timeline view, developers can pinpoint exact moments where performance issues occur, enabling precise optimization.

Perfetto

Perfetto is a powerful profiling tool. Initially designed for Android, Perfetto has evolved to support other platforms as well, making it versatile across different operating systems. It provides a deep dive into system-level events and app performance, offering a granular view of how apps interact with the system. This tool is essential for diagnosing complex performance issues, especially in large-scale React Native applications.

Flashlight

Flipper for profiling

Flipper, while known for debugging, also offers profiling features for React Native apps. With additional tools, it allows developers to inspect network requests, track Redux store state, and monitor React component performance. Flipper’s profiling capabilities contribute significantly to optimizing the overall performance and debugging process.

Essential API testing tools for React Native

This section delves into essential tools that have become indispensable for developers when testing APIs in React Native environments. Emphasizing practicality and efficiency, we focus on two of the most prominent tools in this domain: Postman and Insomnia.

Postman

Postman continues to be a top choice for React Native developers in 2024. It excels in testing, designing, and documenting APIs with its user-friendly interface. This tool streamlines sending requests and analyzing responses, making it crucial for confirming API functionality and compatibility with React Native applications.

Flashlight

Insomnia

Insomnia is particularly noteworthy for being an open-source tool, providing an accessible and powerful solution for API testing and debugging in React Native. Its clear interface allows for quick setup and execution of HTTP requests. Insomnia’s features for organizing requests and effective debugging capabilities make it a preferred tool for cost-effectively managing intricate API interactions. It’s a good alternative for Postman.

Deployment and CI/CD tools in React Native

As React Native continues to evolve in 2024, the emphasis on streamlined deployment and CI/CD processes has grown significantly. This section introduces essential tools that have revolutionized these aspects of React Native development. We’ll be focusing on Fastlane and GitHub Actions, two tools at the forefront of automating and optimizing the way React Native apps are developed, tested, and deployed.

Fastlane for automated app deployment

Fastlane has become an indispensable tool in the React Native development workflow. It automates numerous tasks associated with building and releasing iOS and Android apps. From handling code signing to automating app store deployments, Fastlane significantly reduces the complexity and time involved in getting applications into users’ hands.

Flashlight

GitHub Actions for integrated CI/CD

GitHub Actions has grown in popularity for React Native CI/CD due to its deep integration with GitHub repositories. It enables developers to automate workflows directly within their version control platform, simplifying the process of testing, building, and deploying React Native applications.

Expo Application Services (EAS)

EAS is a dynamic addition to the CI/CD and deployment toolkit, particularly beneficial for developers working with Expo and bare React Native projects. It streamlines the processes of building, deploying, and updating iOS and Android apps. EAS simplifies the challenging task of building and compiling React Native apps with its cloud-based build services, eliminating local setup hassles and easing cross-platform builds. It integrates seamlessly with existing CI/CD pipelines, offering customization to suit specific workflow requirements. This makes it compatible with tools like Fastlane and GitHub Actions, enhancing overall CI/CD capabilities. A key feature of EAS is its support for over-the-air (OTA) updates, enabling developers to instantly push updates to users’ devices bypassing app store approvals.

Interested in streamlining your app deployment?

Check out our article, Build and Release Your App with Fastlane for practical insights on configuring Fastlane. Perfect for developers looking to enhance their workflow.

Error detection and reporting tools for React Native

Proactive error management is key to maintaining app quality and user trust. Recognizing this, the section ahead introduces Sentry and Crashlytics, two powerful tools designed to detect and report errors. These tools have become essential for developers, allowing for swift identification and resolution of issues, thus ensuring a more robust and user-friendly React Native application experience.

Sentry for real-time error tracking

Sentry stands out as a critical tool in our React Native development arsenal. It offers real-time error tracking and monitoring, providing insights into crashes and performance issues across both iOS and Android platforms. Sentry’s ability to pinpoint problematic code and provide context-rich error reports makes it invaluable for maintaining high app quality.

Errors handle with notifications

Crashlytics for comprehensive crash reporting

Crashlytics is widely used for its comprehensive crash reporting capabilities. It excels in tracking, prioritizing, and fixing stability issues that affect app quality. Integrated into Firebase, it provides detailed crash insights, helping developers understand the reasons behind app failures.

Summary

This article has highlighted the key tools that our developers utilize in 2024. While we’ve covered significant tools, it’s important to remember that the landscape of development tools is vast and ever-evolving. These tools represent just a snapshot of the resources available to enhance productivity and efficiency in React Native development.

Stay tuned for future articles where we will explore additional useful tools and React Native libraries, further expanding your development toolkit. The world of React Native is dynamic, and keeping abreast of the latest tools and libraries is crucial for staying ahead in the game. Keep an eye on our blog for more insights and updates that will continue to shape your development journey.


Dominik Danielewicz

Written by Dominik Danielewicz.

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