Apr 03 2015

After a week playing with React Native I'm not only amazed by this new take on mobile app development, but also absolutely blown away by how fast the project is moving: 192 pull requests opened this week alone.

I wasn't particularly interested in pull requests and the community efforts until hitting my first blocker: how to render a button?

Turns out we may never see a bridge to native iOS buttons in React, but the primitives to support a button are already there: text, opacity, and a touchable area with hooks.

And you're obviously not going to define all of these things whenever you need a button. React components can be composed and reused easily – even if Button never makes to Native, you can already rely on a pretty solid third-party implementation.

Other external components worth noting are: Navbar, Facebook login, icons and camera, although being a two-day project it doesn't support capturing images yet.

While often simple, these extensions show just how powerful the React pattern is, turning complex iOS primitives like AVFoundation into something you can plug to your app with a simple call to <Camera>. This component in particular also uses another feature I find very compelling in Native: the bridge between JavaScript and Objective-C to render native iOS views inside React apps.

But enough about third-party components; a lot of the changes last week were also in Native itself. They range from cosmetic to helpful to crucial, like the support for different keyboard types and videos.

As for what is next, we might see official support for camera and the camera roll soon. There's some interest in a bridge to Swift objects too, but we'll see how that pans out seeing that Facebook doesn't use it.

Personally, I'd be excited to see:

It's been a great week for Native! If you want to continue following along, make sure to follow the repo, and consider joining the users group at Facebook.

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