Ultimate Guide for Using Redux With React Native
Ultimate Guide for Using Redux With React Native
In this article we are going to learn how to use Redux with React Hooks by building a real React Native app.
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Redux is a popular React and React Native state management library, meant to be used in complex React and React Native apps where sharing state between multi-level components can get extremely difficult to manage. In this article we are going to learn how to use Redux with React Hooks by building a real React Native app.
This is how the final app will look like:
React Hooks provide us the ability to use functional components in React or React Native apps. Their ability to provide support to manage a component’s state and handle side-effects offers an alternative to
In this tutorial, let us take a look at some of the hooks provided by the
react-redux library that provides a way to avoid writing boilerplate code when using the
connect() High Order Component (if you’re not familiar with connect(), don’t worry, that doesn’t matter that much anymore).
1. Create a New React Native App
To shorten the amount of time spent on configuring a new React Native app, I am going to use
expo-cli with a
blank template to generate a new app. You can also follow this complete tutorial using
react-native-cli to generate a new app.
After the project has been generated, please navigate inside the directory and install the following dependencies.
I am going to use Stack Navigator from the
react-navigation library for two different screens in this demo app.
If you are using expo-cli, run the following command to install required dependencies for the navigator to work.
If you are using a project generated with
react-native-cli it is recommended to follow the instructions from here to install the required dependencies and any other configuration with native OS platforms.
2. Create Two Mock Screens
In this section, let us create two screens that the app is going to use to display a list of items and allow the user to add to each item. Create a new directory called
src/screens and then create two new files:
Each of these screen files is going to have some random data to display until the stack navigator is set up.
Here is the code snippet for
3. Set Up a Stack Navigator
A Stack Navigator allows the app to transit between different or multiple screens and manages the navigation history. Create a new file called
AppNavigator.js inside the
src/navigation directory. This file is going to contain all the configurations required to set up a Stack Navigator.
With the recent release of
react-navigation version 5, the way to configure a stack navigator has changed. The major highlight of these new changes is the component-based configuration. Some of the other highlights, which the team of maintainers enumerated in a blog post, are that the navigation patterns are now more component-based, common use cases can now be handled with pre-defined Hooks, the new architecture allowing you to configure and update a screen from within the component itself. There were a few other changes as well.
NavigationContainer is a component provided by the
react-navigation library that manages the navigation tree. It contains the
navigation state and wraps all the navigator’s structure.
createStackNavigator is a function that implements a stack navigation pattern. This function returns two React components:
Navigator, that are going to allow us to configure each component screen.
App.js file and import the
MainStackNavigator in the root of the app as shown below:
Now, go the terminal window and execute the command
expo start. In the simulator or the real device you are running the Expo client, you are going to notice similar results as shown below:
The first screen in the Stack Navigator is
ListScreen which is shown as above.
4. Create an Overlay Modal With Transparent Background
modal can be easily configured with a stack navigator with an overlay of transparent background on the screen it is displayed. In the current app, since the
ListScreen is going to be the first screen and will display a list of items, the
ModalScreen is going to be a dialog that appears by clicking a button from the
ListScreen. This dialog, when opened, adds a transparent layer on the screen behind it. The previous screen will be visible underneath this dialog.
This can be done by configuring
screenOptions on a Stack Navigator. The
react-navigation library provides a way to enable the overlay with a property called
AppNavigator.js file as following:
Nothing will happen as of now. You still have to configure the styles of both the screens and add a way for the modal dialog to open from the
5. Navigate to the Modal Screen
To navigate to the modal screen, let’s add a floating action button with an icon to the
ListScreen.js screen component.
This button is going to be touchable and on a single touch is going to navigate to the
ModalScreen. The navigation is going to be handled by the
navigation prop that can be passed as an argument to the functional component
ListScreen. This is only possible because the
ListScreen is part of the Stack navigator.
Any screen in a React Native app that utilizes a
react-navigation library is a route or a part of a navigation pattern that has access to
ListScreen.js file as below:
Go back to the simulator device, and you are going to notice the changes. The first thing to notice is the action button floating at the bottom right corner.
On pressing this button, a full-screen modal will open.
6. Add a Custom Modal With a Transparent Background
In this section, let’s change the behavior of how the modal appears on the
ListScreen right now and how we want it to be. As an overlay, we also want it to take the only 1/3rd of the current screen.
This modal is going to have an input field in the future to let the user add items to the list. However, for now, it is going to display a text and a close button.
The close button is going to dismiss the modal when the user wants to go back to the List screen without taking any other action. The close button is going to be placed using
position: absolute property and is going to use
navigation.goBack() pre-defined method to go back to the List screen.
Here is the complete code for the modal screen at this point. Open
ModalScreen.js and modify it.
Here is the output you are going to get in the device after this step:
7. Adding a Text Input in the Custom Modal Screen
In this section, let’s add a text input component from the
react-native core. This is going to allow the user to enter the name of the item they want to add to the list. For now, since we haven’t configured the Redux to manage the app state, let us use the hook
useState to manage the component state locally.
ModalScreen.js and import
Next, inside the
View that has the style of
modalContainer add the following
TextInput component as well as a touchable submit button. This touchable button is going to navigate back to the list screen when the user has entered a value in the input field.
8. Add a Custom Header to the List Screen
Create a new file called
Header.js inside the directory
src/components. This functional component is going to display the header title in the List screen.
Add the following code snippet to the file you have just created:
Next, go to the
ListScreen.js and import this functional component below the other statements.
Then, add the component to render before the floating button.
In the simulator, you are going to get a header displayed as follows:
The Status bar doesn’t look good with the header’s background, right?
9. Change the StatusBar Appearance
To change the StatusBar appearance, let us import it from the
react-native core API.
Next, using React Fragment short hand with angle brackets, modify the return statement of
ListScreen component as below:
You will now notice that the Status bar has a white appearance.
10. Add a List view
In this section, let’s implement the main view that is going to display a list of items. In
ListScreen.js, add the following functional component called
Then, modify the
ListScreen to display it below the
Go to the device you are running the app, and you are going to notice a major difference in its appearance.
11. Creating a Root Reducer
Create a new directory called
src/redux/ and inside it, a new file called
reducer.js. This file is going to have the definition of action types, action creators and the only reducer we are going to create in this app. This reducer is going to be called
Actions are similar to events in Redux. They can be triggered in the button press, timers or network requests.
Start by defining an action type as below.
Then define the action creator called
addItem that is going to take an item from the user’s input and add it to the list. This is the action creator function that we are going to trigger later.
Define an initial state which is going to have an empty array called
itemList. Whenever an action is triggered, the state of the application changes. The handling of the application’s state is done by the reducers.
This initial state is going to be passed as a parameter to the
rootReducer. Calling the create action is going to invoke the logic defined for the same action type in the reducer.
Using a reducer, you either want to initiate the current app state or update it, without modifying the whole state on each action trigger. The spread operator returned in the action type
ADD_ITEM indicates that.
To update the state, in our case, to add an item object to the
itemList array, let us use the
contact() that is going to return a new array whenever an item is added to the list. This also satisfies the redux philosophy of not mutating the state directly.
12. Configuring a Store
Create a new file
src/redux/store.js. A store is an object that brings the actions and reducers together. This file is going to implement that.
The store provides and holds the state at the application level instead of individual components. Add the following code snippet to it:
Now, to connect this store to the app, open
App.js file and import the
store from this file as well as the High Order Component
react-redux npm package. This HOC helps you to pass the store down to the rest of the components of the current app.
13. The useSelector Hook
To access state when managing it with Redux, the
useSelector hook is provided in the library. It is similar to
mapStateToProps argument that is passed inside the
connect(). It allows you to extract data from the Redux store state using a selector function.
The major difference between the hook and the argument (the older way) is that the hook may return any value as a result, not just an object.
ListScreen.js add the following import statement.
Then, fetch the
listItems array using the hook
useSelector inside the
ListView component. Also, modify its return statement by displaying a message if the list is empty or not.
Here is the output you are going to get:
14. Adding Items to the List by Dispatching an Action Creator
useDispatch() hook completely refers to the dispatch function from the Redux store. This hook is used only when there is a need to dispatch an action. In the
ModalScreen.js to add an item based on the value of
TextInput, the state has to be updated. This can be done by triggering the action creator method called
addItem defined when creating actions inside
Start by importing the following statements:
Next, inside the
ModalScreen component, create a helper method called
onSaveNote which when triggered on submission of the text input, is going to trigger the action creator as well as take the user back to the List screen.
Lastly, add this helper method as the value of
onPress on the submission button.
15. Adding FlatList to Display the Items in the List
To display a list of items on List screen, open the file
ListScreen.js and import the
Then, modify the
ListView render function as below:
16. Updating the Header
In this section, using the current app’s state, let us display the number of items in the list to be shown in the header as well. This can be done by using
useSelector hook from
Modify the file
components/Header.js as the following:
Here is the updated header bar when there is one item on the list.
17. Removing an Item
Since we have gone through the process of understanding how redux hooks work with React Native apps, try adding a remove item button that is going to delete an item from the list as shown below.
If you need any help, you can come back to the source code below.
Here is the updated
redux/reducer file that has action type
Also, here is the updated
ListScreen.js where you add the button to remove items with corresponding styles.
To trigger an action, you will have to make use of
Here is the final output of the demo app:
The addition to hooks in
react-redux such as
useDispatch reduces the need to write plentiful boilerplate code and also provides the advantage to use functional components.
For advanced usage of Hooks with Redux, you can check out the official documentation here.
Hopefully, you now have a grasp of how to work with Redux in React Native apps using Hooks, as well as a better understanding of the basics of react navigation. If you enjoyed this React Native tutorial, please share it with your friends. Happy Coding!
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