Chapter 3. Building Your First Application

In this chapter, we will cover how to set up your local development environment for working with React Native. Then we will go through the basics of creating a simple application that you can deploy to your own iOS or Android device.

Setting Up Your Environment

Setting up your development environment will enable you to follow along with the examples in the book and write your own applications.

There are two general approaches to setting up a development environment for React Native. The first, a tool called Create React Native App, gives you a quicker, easier installation but supports only pure-JavaScript applications. The second, more traditional approach involves fully installing React Native and all of its dependencies. Think of Create React Native App as a shortcut for easier testing and prototyping.

Information on migrating from Create React Native App to a full React Native project can be found in Appendix C.


Which approach should you take? I recommend that beginners use Create React Native App for educational purposes and quick prototyping.

Eventually, if you’re working on a React Native app professionally or writing a hybrid app that uses both JavaScript and native Java, Objective-C, or Swift code, you’ll want to install the full React Native developer setup.

Both approaches are described next. The example code in subsequent chapters will typically work with either approach; when something is incompatible with Create React ...

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