Our goal is to recreate our best current version of GitExplorer in React Native. By now you might be calling it GitMenu or GitMaterial. Whatever our best React Web App code might be, we want to recreate it in React Native.

State and Props

It is important to think about the the difference between State and Props.

State and Props

Get Started

Create an empty React Native project called GitNative:

create-react-native-app GitNative

Recreate GitExplorer

Begin by copying over the core files from your best version of GitExplorer:

cp ../GitExplorer/client/src/components/GitUser.js .
cp ../GitExplorer/client/src/components/GitUser.ui.js .
cp ../GitExplorer/client/src/components/Micros.js .
cp ../GitExplorer/client/src/components/ElfHeader.js .
cp ../GitExplorer/client/src/components/elf-styles.js .

If your file names or architecture differs in small ways from mine, just make the appropriate changes to the above. Hopefully no one has drifted too far afield, as we want to stay more or less on the same page.


Over time we can develop a good styleSheet for our program. Start by deleting the existing content in elf-styles and replacing it with this:

import {StyleSheet} from 'react-native';

const styles = StyleSheet.create({
    container: {
        flex: 1,
        marginTop: 24,
        marginBottom: 1,
        padding: 50,
        backgroundColor: 'powderblue'
    nav: {
        flexDirection: 'row',
        justifyContent: 'space-around',
        backgroundColor: 'skyblue'
    displayArea: {
        flexDirection: "column",
        backgroundColor: "steelblue",
    centerContent: {
        justifyContent: 'center',
        alignItems: 'center'
    header: {
        fontSize: 20
    navItem: {
        flex: 1,
        alignItems: 'center',
        padding: 10
    subNavItem: {
        padding: 5
    topic: {
        textAlign: 'center',
        fontSize: 15
    buttonView: {
        marginRight: 40,
        marginLeft: 40,
        marginTop: 10,
        paddingTop: 20,
        paddingBottom: 20,
        paddingLeft: 20,
        paddingRight: 20,
        backgroundColor: '#68a0cf',
        borderRadius: 10,
        borderWidth: 1,
        borderColor: '#fff',
        width: '75%'

export default styles;

Start Porting Our Code

It is time to start porting our code from React to React Native. Some things are easy. For instance, a DIV usually becomes a VIEW, and a P element usually becomes a TEXT element. I’ll leave details like that up to you and instead focus on possible sources of confusion.

Open up App.js and try to link in Micros.js:

import Micros from './Micros';

export default class App extends React.Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <View style={styles.getContainer}>
          <Micros />

Don’t do anything else at this time, instead, just run your project (npm start). You will likely get errors about the code in Micros.js. The problem, of course, is that the the code in a React Web Application is not entirely compatible with the code in a React Native. Our goal is to fix those errors.

You might, for instance, get an error like this:

Unable to resolve ../App.css from ./Micros.js

This one is fairly simple to fix because we know that CSS stylesheets do not have a role in a React Native application. So you should delete this reference to App.css from Micros.js.


The next error you hit might look like this:

Unable to resolve material-ui/RaisedButton from ./Micros.js

There are no RaisedButtons in standard React Native, so remove the import for it and for AndroidIcon. Replace them with these basics of the React Native interface:

import  { Text, View, Button } from 'react-native';

Recall that a button declaration in React Native looks a bit like this:

<View style={styles.buttonView}>
        title="Get Data"
        accessibilityLabel="Learn more about this purple button"

Note that I have wrapped the button in a style.

At this point, your program should look a bit like this on an emulator:

Native GitUser and Micros

As for the GitUser component, all you need to do is link it in. I suggest that you leave GitUser.ui out of the mix for now, as it is the most time consuming component to fix up.

import React from 'react';
import {StyleSheet, Text, View} from 'react-native';

export default class GitUser extends React.Component {
    render() {
        return (
            <View style={styles.container}>
                <Text style={styles.welcome}>
                    Welcome to Expo Calvert!

                {/* Eventually we will link in GitUser.ui here, but not yet. */}
                {/* For now, just comment it out, using the syntax I have used here. */}

Don’t forget to comment out the import for GitUser.ui from GitUser. For now, we don’t want GitUser.ui in the mix at all.

An explanation of how to create comments in JSX is found here.

React Router Menu

Let’s start by linking in the version of React Router that works with React Native:

npm install --save react-router-native

Let’s start with the changes we need to make to ElfHeader. The code is much the same as in our Git User Material assignment, but there are differences. Rather than try to detail them, I’ll just ask you to set its content to the following:

import React, {Component} from 'react';
import {Link} from 'react-router-native';
import {Text, View} from 'react-native';
import styles from "./elf-styles";

class ElfHeader extends Component {

    render() {
        return (
            <View style={styles.nav}>
                    <Text>Git Users</Text>
                // You create a /get-file link here.
                // Hint: Just **to** and the **Text** change.

export default ElfHeader;

Go back and look at the code for the ElfHeader in the GitExplorer program:

import { Link } from 'react-router-dom';
  <div className="App">
          <li><Link to="/">Git User</Link></li>
          <li><Link to="/micros">Micros</Link></li>          

The code in React Native follows the same pattern, but instead of LI elements, we use Link elements.

Routes in App.js

In App.js import these items from React Router Menu.

import { NativeRouter, Route } from 'react-router-native';

Now look at the App.js file from GitExplorer. Much remains essentially the same, but instead of a BrowserRouter, we use a NativeRouter and instead of a DIV, we use a View.

At this stage we have a primitive menu at the top. When we click on Git User, we see the GitUser component, when we click on Micros we see this:

NativeExplorer with menu and view of Micros

Clean Up GitUser.ui

Now you need to go through GitUserUi, converting DIV elements to View elements, and P elements to Text elements. There are other changes to make, but I will leave all that up to you.

Send Props

Turn it in

Commit and push your work. Test it again after pushing to make sure what you committed actually works. (We are having a rash of incidents where bits of stray code are inserted into a file, breaking an otherwise clean assignment.)

When you are done, tag it with something like this:

git tag -a v7.0.0 -m "NativeExplorer assignment complete"

If you are using branches, specify which you used.

Further Exploration

Make it easier to use with maybe one of these: