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Facebook’s new tool makes it easier to code mobile apps using React Native

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Facebook has finally recognized the complexities involved with the process of building and running React Native project across all the platforms. Thus, the social media giant has today launched a new React Native-based cross-platform tool which enables you to develop Android and iOS apps on any operating system.

The new tool called Create React Native App (CRNA) is an end-result of a collaboration between Facebook and Expo (formerly known as Exponent). It is an amalgamation of the former’s Create React App and the latter’s Expo app, which aims to eliminate dependencies and allows native mobile app development using only JavaScript. This means you can write your code just once, which can be re-used across any platform.

Further, the highlight of using CRNA is that you don’t need platform tools to write code for your mobile application from scratch. You neither require Apple’s XCode IDE nor a Mac to start building your iOS app. Similar is the case with Android, you don’t need Android Studio or any other dependencies required for creating apps for the said platform. You can now carry out your app development both on Windows or Linux, without the need for exclusive tools for each platform — but use only JavaScript.

Talking about the same in an official blog post, Adam Perry, software engineer at Expo said,

Many developers struggle with installing and configuring React Native’s current native build dependencies, especially for Android. With Create React Native App, there’s no need to use Xcode or Android Studio, and you can develop for your iOS device using Linux or Windows. This is accomplished using the Expo app, which loads and runs CRNA projects written in pure JavaScript without compiling any native code.

This was probably one of the biggest headache for developers and Facebook has now eliminated the same with the release of its Create React Native App tool. The said functionality has been implemented using Expo, which makes it possible for developers to run CRNA projects without compiling native code and control native UI components on both mobile platforms. This aims to make mobile app development as intuitive and natural as web apps.

To get started with CRNA, you’ll first need to install the tool using a handful of command-line instructions. Then, create your project and launch the React Native packager. This will show you a QR code that’s automatically generated using the Expo Android or iOS app on your mobile device. You’re now all set to start building your mobile app using any standard React Native APIs or Expo SDK.

Further, you will also have access to APIs for functions such as camera, video, contacts, and more. But, it also bring along support for some popular libraries like Airbnb’s react-native-maps, or Facebook authentication. However, if you want to include any other native dependency in your project then you’ll have to eject the code (similar to Create React App) and carry forward your project in Xcode or Android Studio. This will also be the process if you want to build IPAs and APKs for publishing your app.

To know more about CRNA projects and download, click here to access the Github repository.

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