What is React Native?

Academind by Maximilian Schwarzmüller
A free video tutorial from Academind by Maximilian Schwarzmüller
Online Education
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Lecture description

Let's dive into the most important question first: What is React Native? This lecture takes a closer look!

Learn more from the full course

React Native - The Practical Guide [2021 Edition]

Use React Native and your React knowledge to build native iOS and Android Apps - incl. Push Notifications, Hooks, Redux

32:29:01 of on-demand video • Updated May 2021

  • Build native mobile apps with JavaScript and React
  • Dive deeper into React Native
  • Develop cross-platform (iOS and Android) mobile apps without knowing Swift, ObjectiveC or Java/ Android
English So what is React Native? Let's start with the React part, also known as React.js which is the name of that library and I do expect that you know what React.js is. You don't have to be an expert in React.js but you should know what React.js is. Nonetheless, let's briefly summarize what it is so that we're on the same page. It's a Javascript library for building user interfaces, that's the official definition, that is what React does in the end. It runs on Javascript and it's good at building user interfaces. Typically, we use React in web development for building web apps but it's important to understand that React itself, the library actually makes no assumption about what we're building with it because it's actually another library which you'll also use when you're building web apps with React that is responsible for rendering something onto the screen and that's the React DOM library. Now in every React for web project you're working on, you will call ReactDOM.render at some point of time and hand off the React app to that method to actually render something onto the screen and that's the library that knows about the web and knows how to render HTML elements and so on. React itself is platform-agnostic, it's just a library that's good at building trees of components, of finding out whether something changed, if something needs to be re-rendered, of managing state, of passing data around but it does so in an abstract way which is why you can use React on any platform. You're not restricted to the browser, to HTML, to the web, you can use the logic React gives you anywhere, it's the React DOM part that then knows how to work with HTML and so on and that is super important to understand because that's important when we think about React Native. React Native is a separate library which in the end is a collection of special React components it gives you, so a collection of components you can use in your React app and these components are special because React Native actually knows how to translate them, how to compile these components to native widgets for iOS and for Android. So React Native kind of is like React DOM, it knows how to talk to native platform, to Android and iOS and how to render native widgets and it gives you a bunch of these widgets as React components so that you can build a user interface with these compilable components so to say because you won't be able to use your regular divs and h1 and paragraph tags in React Native apps because there are no direct equivalents for that in native code but I'll come back to that. Now besides giving you these components, React Native is a bit more than that, it also gives you access to some native platform APIs, for example it helps you use the device camera, so things like that, common tasks you would want to do in native apps and in general, React Native gives you tools to connect Javascript code to native platform code because you typically build a React Native app by mostly writing Javascript code or depending on the app you're building, by entirely writing Javascript code. Now I say mostly, at least that's a possibility because you can also write native code for iOS or Android and React Native gives you the tools to connect your Javascript code to that native code, though that's a bit more advanced and in many apps, you will never need that and therefore, React Native gives you full flexibility, it gives you a way of connecting Javascript to native code and it also gives you a lot of pre-built native features which are conveniently usable from inside your Javascript code. So if you then combine React Native and the features that gives you with React.js which knows how to update a user interface and how to control a user interface, then you get everything you need to compile a real native mobile app and that's also what React Native gives you, it gives you everything you need to then take your Javascript code and compile that to a real native mobile app which you can then ship to the App Store for iOS or to the Google Play Store for Android, so you get a real native mobile app as a result in the end.