Become a React Native Mobile Application Developer

Md. Jamal Uddin
DevsOrigin
Published in
12 min readAug 13, 2023

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This guide offers a detailed roadmap for newcomers to become React Native Mobile Application Developers.

Photo by Lanju Fotografie on Unsplash

If you're interested in becoming a mobile application developer, starting with React Native could be a great option. This framework is incredibly powerful, as it enables you to build high-quality mobile apps using just one codebase. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced developer, React Native is an efficient and effective choice. Additionally, with its increasing popularity and dedicated community, there are plenty of resources and support available for those looking to learn. Why not give React Native a try? With its user-friendly interface and limitless potential, the world of mobile app development is within reach.

Formidable Lab has a detailed article about Why choose React Native

Curriculum:

· Intro to Mobile App Development
· Fundamentals of the Mobile OS
· Basic HTML & CSS
· Basic JavaScript Programming Language
· JavaScript for React/React Native Developers
· Learn the essentials of React
· Intermediate JavaScript features
· Environment setup for React Native App
· Fundamentals of React Native
· Learn custom hooks in React
· Navigation
· State management
· API Integration to use External Data
· Enhance performance and state management with modern data-fetching
· Learn to use third-party tools
Backend as a Service:
Maps and Other Services:
Social Media Integration for Creators
· Build, Test, and Publish
· Conclusion:

Intro to Mobile App Development

To become a mobile application developer, you must first understand the evolution of mobile applications, the basics of mobile app development, including the process of turning an idea into an app, the required tools and technologies, and the steps involved in publishing on vendor stores.

Fundamentals of the Mobile OS

To embark on a successful mobile app development journey, it is crucial to have a solid grasp of the fundamentals of mobile operating systems. Understanding how they are similar and different in terms of their design and architecture will help you keep in mind the possibilities and limitations, enabling you to build a robust app. Mostly iOS and Android knowledge is fine to get started.

Basic HTML & CSS

In the context of React Native mobile app development, a foundational understanding of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is crucial for structuring content and creating well-organized layouts. Additionally, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) plays a significant role beyond traditional web pages, providing valuable insights into designing visually appealing and responsive user interfaces within React Native.

Since React Native utilizes JSX for components, a grasp of HTML becomes essential for rendering and interacting with views. It’s noteworthy that acquiring HTML and CSS skills transcends React Native, offering transferable competencies applicable across diverse web development domains and contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the broader web development ecosystem.

To get started as a mobile app developer, it's essential to have a good understanding of Semantic HTML, the ability to build Forms, and a strong grasp of CSS box model, display, and positioning systems with responsive layout design using Flexbox. Once you have these skills, you can continue to learn and enhance your capabilities to grow as an experienced mobile app developer.

Having a solid understanding of HTML, CSS, Responsive Web Design, Form Building, Image Usage, and building content platforms maintaining Privacy, Accessibility, and Performance are crucial and versatile skills in the software development industry today. Therefore, investing in these areas will pay off in the long run.

Basic JavaScript Programming Language

JavaScript is a versatile and widely used programming language primarily employed for web development. Here are the basics of the JavaScript programming language:

Variables:

  • Variables are used to store and manipulate data.
  • Use var, let, or const to declare variables.
var name = "John";
let age = 25;
const PI = 3.14;

Data Types:

  • JavaScript has dynamic typing, meaning variables can hold values of any data type.
  • Common data types include strings, numbers, booleans, arrays, and objects.
let message = "Hello, World!";
let number = 42;
let isTrue = true;

const myArray = [1, 2, 3];
const myObject = { key: "value" };

Operators:

JavaScript supports various operators for arithmetic, comparison, logical operations, and more.

let sum = 3 + 5;
let isEqual = 10 === 10;
let logicalAnd = true && false;
let logicalOr = true || false
let isNot = !true

Control Flow:

  • Use if, else if, and else statements for conditional execution.
  • Employ loops like for and while for repetitive tasks.
if (condition) {
// code to execute if the condition is true
} else {
// code to execute if the condition is false
}

for (var i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
// code to repeat 5 times
}

Functions:

  • Functions encapsulate a block of code and can be reused.
  • Functions can have parameters and return values.
function greet(name) {
return "Hello, " + name + "!";
}

const greeting = greet("John");

I have a detailed blog about Different types of Functions in JavaScript

Objects:

  • Objects are collections of key-value pairs and are fundamental to JavaScript.
  • Access object properties using dot notation or square brackets.
const person = {
name: "John",
age: 25,
isStudent: false
};

const personName = person.name;

Arrays:

  • Arrays store ordered lists of values and are a type of object.
  • Access array elements by index.
const colors = ["red", "green", "blue"];
const firstColor = colors[0];

Events:

  • JavaScript allows you to respond to user interactions (events) on web pages.
  • Common events include clicks, keypresses, and form submissions.
document.getElementById("myButton").addEventListener("click", function() {
// code to execute when the button is clicked
});

DOM Manipulation:

  • The Document Object Model (DOM) represents the structure of an HTML document.
  • JavaScript can manipulate the DOM to change the content and appearance of web pages.
document.getElementById("myElement").innerHTML = "New content";

I delivered a presentation on comprehending the manipulation of the JavaScript Document Object Model (DOM) at ShellBeeHaken Ltd. office premises back in March 2023

Error Handling:

  • Use try, catch, and finally blocks for error handling.
try {
// code that might throw an error
} catch (error) {
// code to handle the error
} finally {
// code that runs regardless of whether there was an error
}

Scope:

Closures:

  • Closures allow functions to “remember” the scope in which they were created, even if they are executed outside that scope.
  • Useful for creating private variables and functions.
function outer() {
let count = 0;
return function inner() {
count++;
console.log(count);
};
}

const closureExample = outer();
closureExample(); // Output: 1
closureExample(); // Output: 2

JavaScript for React/React Native Developers

As a React or React Native developer, it’s important to have a solid understanding of JavaScript, as it serves as the foundation for both frameworks. Here are some JavaScript concepts and features that are particularly relevant for React and React Native development:

ES6+ Features

React heavily leverages modern JavaScript features introduced in ECMAScript 6 (ES6) and later. Familiarize yourself with:

Template literals

Template literals are a way to create strings in JavaScript, providing a more flexible and readable syntax compared to traditional string concatenation.

  • Template literals use backticks (`) instead of single or double quotes.
  • They allow for multiline strings without the need for concatenation or escape characters.
  • Expressions inside ${} are evaluated and included in the string.
const name = "John";
const greeting = `Hello, ${name}!`; // Hello, John!

Arrow Functions

Arrow functions provide a more concise syntax for writing functions, especially when the function body consists of a single expression.

  • Arrow functions don’t bind their this value. They inherit this from the enclosing scope, which can be beneficial in certain situations.
  • They are often used in React for concise event handler definitions and functional components.
// Regular function
function add(a, b) {
return a + b;
}

// Arrow function
const add = (a, b) => a + b;

Promises

  • Promises are used for asynchronous programming, providing a cleaner alternative to callback functions.
  • We are introduced to handling asynchronous operations in a more readable and manageable way.
const fetchData = () => {
return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
// Asynchronous operation
if (/* operation successful */) {
resolve(data);
} else {
reject('Error');
}
});
};

fetchData()
.then(data => console.log(data))
.catch(error => console.error(error));

Async/Await

  • Async/Await is built on top of promises, providing a more concise syntax for handling asynchronous operations.
  • Makes asynchronous code appear more like synchronous code.
const fetchData = async () => {
try {
const data = await fetchData();
console.log(data);
} catch (error) {
console.error(error);
}
};

fetchData();

Destructuring

  • Destructuring allows you to extract values from arrays or properties from objects and assign them to variables in a more concise way.
// Array destructuring
const numbers = [1, 2, 3];
const [a, b, c] = numbers;

// Object destructuring
const person = { name: 'John', age: 30 };
const { name, age } = person;

Rest and Spread Operators

  • The rest operator (...) allows you to represent an indefinite number of arguments as an array.
  • The spread operator (...) is used to expand elements of an array or object.
// Rest operator
function sum(...numbers) {
return numbers.reduce((total, num) => total + num, 0);
}

// Spread operator
const arr1 = [1, 2, 3];
const arr2 = [4, 5, 6];
const combined = [...arr1, ...arr2];

Classes

Classes in JavaScript provide a way to define object blueprints with a more structured syntax. They are often used in React for creating components.

  • Classes encapsulate data and behavior related to a particular object.
  • The constructor method is called when an object is instantiated.
  • Class methods can be added to define the behavior of instances.
  • In React, components are often defined as classes or using functional components with hooks.
class Animal {
constructor(name, sound) {
this.name = name;
this.sound = sound;
}

makeSound() {
console.log(`${this.name} says ${this.sound}`);
}
}

const cat = new Animal('Cat', 'Meow');
cat.makeSound(); // Output: Cat says Meow

Modules

  • ECMAScript modules (ES6) provide a way to organize code into separate files and reuse it across multiple files.
// Module file (module.js)
export const add = (a, b) => a + b;

// Main file
import { add } from './module.js';
console.log(add(3, 4)); // Output: 7

Functional Programming

  • React encourages a functional programming approach, especially with the introduction of hooks. Concepts like pure functions and immutability are important.
  • Pure functions: Functions that always return the same result for the same inputs.
  • Immutability: Avoiding direct mutation of state or props.

Map, Set, and WeakMap/WeakSet

  • Map and Set are data structures that allow you to store key-value pairs and unique values, respectively.
  • WeakMap and WeakSet are similar but allow the garbage collector to collect the keys if they are not referenced elsewhere.
// Map
const map = new Map();
map.set('key', 'value');

// Set
const set = new Set();
set.add('value');

// WeakMap and WeakSet
let obj = {};
const weakMap = new WeakMap();
weakMap.set(obj, 'value');

Learn the essentials of React

React is a popular JavaScript library for building user interfaces, developed and maintained by Meta. Launched in 2013, React has since gained widespread adoption due to its efficiency and flexibility in creating interactive and dynamic web applications.

React also embraces a declarative programming paradigm, enabling developers to describe the desired outcome of their user interfaces, and React takes care of efficiently updating the DOM to reflect those changes. This approach simplifies the process of building and maintaining UIs, making React an excellent choice for both small-scale projects and large, complex applications. Let’s discuss it’s core principles and their usage:

Components

React relies on a component-based architecture where components serve as reusable, self-contained building blocks for the UI. Components can be either functional or class-based, each encapsulating specific UI elements. This modular approach enhances code organization, promotes reusability, and simplifies the management of complex user interfaces. Components can manage their state, communicate through props, and contribute to a more maintainable and scalable React application:

// Functional Component
const MyComponent = () => {
return <div>Hello, World!</div>;
};

// Class Component
class MyClassComponent extends React.Component {
render() {
return <div>Hello, World!</div>;
}
}

JSX

JSX is a syntax extension for JavaScript recommended by React. It looks similar to XML or HTML and allows you to write HTML structures in your JavaScript and React code:

const element = <h1>Hello, JSX!</h1>;

Props

Props (short for properties) allow you to pass data from parent to child components.

// Parent Component
const ParentComponent = () => {
const name = "John";
return <ChildComponent name={name} />;
};

// Child Component
const ChildComponent = (props) => {
return <p>Hello, {props.name}!</p>;
};

State

State is used for managing the internal state of a component. Class components have a state, while functional components can use the useState hook to achieve the same.

// Class Component with State
class Counter extends React.Component {
constructor(props) {
super(props);
this.state = { count: 0 };
}

render() {
return (
<div>
<p>Count: {this.state.count}</p>
<button onClick={() => this.setState({ count: this.state.count + 1 })}>
Increment
</button>
</div>
);
}
}

// Functional component with State
const Counter = () => {
const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

const handleIncrement = () => {
setCount(count + 1);
}

return (
<div>
<p>Count: {count}</p>
<button onClick={handleIncrement}>Increment</button>
</div>
);
}

Lifecycle Methods

Class components have lifecycle methods that allow you to run code at different points in a component’s life, such as when it mounts, updates, or unmounts.

class MyComponent extends React.Component {
componentDidMount() {
console.log('Component is mounted!');
}

componentWillUnmount() {
console.log('Component is about to unmount!');
}

render() {
return <p>Hello, Lifecycle!</p>;
}
}

Hooks

  • Hooks are functions that allow you to use state and other React features in functional components.
  • The most common hooks are useState for managing state and useEffect for handling side effects.
import React, { useState, useEffect } from 'react';

const Counter = () => {
const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

const handleIncrement = () => {
setCount(count + 1);
}

useEffect(() => {
console.log('Component is mounted or count is updated.');
}, [count]);

return (
<div>
<p>Count: {count}</p>
<button onClick={handleClick}>Increment</button>
</div>
);
};

Conditional Rendering

You can conditionally render components or elements based on certain conditions.

const ConditionalComponent = ({ isLoggedIn }) => {
return isLoggedIn ? <p>Welcome!</p> : <p>Please log in.</p>;
};

Handling Events

React events are similar to regular DOM events but are named using camelCase.

const ButtonComponent = () => {
const handleClick = () => {
console.log('Button clicked!');
};

return <button onClick={handleClick}>Click me</button>;
};

Forms in React

React provides controlled components for handling forms. The form elements are controlled by the React state, making it easy to manage form data.

const MyForm = () => {
const [name, setName] = useState('');

const handleChange = (event) => {
setName(event.target.value);
};

const handleSubmit = (event) => {
event.preventDefault();
console.log('Form submitted with name:', name);
};

return (
<form onSubmit={handleSubmit}>
<label>
Name:
<input type="text" value={name} onChange={handleChange} />
</label>
<button type="submit">Submit</button>
</form>
);
};

Environment setup for React Native App

Setting up a mobile app development environment is much easier with React Native. Just follow a few instructions to set up your development environment. please visit the React Native official development environment setup guide or Expo guide to create your first app where you’ll get the relevant info to get started. I have also published a straightforward guide to Building Your First Mobile App with React Native and Expo

Fundamentals of React Native

  • React Native leverages the core concepts of React, like components, JSX, state, props, Hooks, and other stuff. If you’re familiar with React, you’ve already got a strong foundation for learning React Native.
  • React Native provides platform-specific native components like View, Text, Image, and more. These components map to the native UI elements of each platform, ensuring a smooth and performant experience.

Learn custom hooks in React

  • How to create custom hooks in React

Navigation

  • React Navigation
  • Expo Router

State management

  • Redux
  • React Context API
  • Zustand
  • XState
  • Recoil
  • Mobx

API Integration to use External Data

  • JSON
  • GraphQL
  • RESTful APIs

Enhance performance and state management with modern data-fetching

Learn to use third-party tools

Backend as a Service:

  • Firebase
  • Supabase
  • AWS Amplify

Maps and Other Services:

  • Google Maps API

Social Media Integration for Creators

  • TikTok
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

Build, Test, and Publish

Expo Application Services (EAS)

AppCenter

Bitrise

Conclusion:

Our curriculum strives to give students a well-rounded education in various subjects and equip them with the skills needed to succeed as a React Native Mobile Application Developer. Our program encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which are crucial for success in today's world. We also prioritize ethical and responsible behavior, as it's essential for building a better society. Through our curriculum, students will gain not only knowledge and skills but also a sense of responsibility toward themselves and their community. Our ultimate goal is to create a brighter future for everyone.

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Md. Jamal Uddin
DevsOrigin

Software engineer passionate about building and delivering SaaS apps using React Native. Agile enthusiast who occasionally writes blog posts about life and tech