One of the most prevalent reasons for its success is its robust, open source community.
React Native's extensive, open source community comes with many ready-to-use solutions in the form of components and plugins, and today, you can find hundreds of different component libraries on the web.
But how do you know which component library will be right for you? Selecting the right one for your project isn’t always easy. When you're on the hunt for components, it's crucial to choose libraries that not only fit your use case, but are up-to-date and high-performing as well.
Fortunately, our team has been around the block and has had ample opportunity to test out some of the most popular component libraries available today. In this article, we'll share some of our favorites!
But first, what are components, and why should you use them? For the uninitiated, components are essentially the reusable building blocks that make up a React Native application, and they're incredibly useful if you're looking to speed up your time in development.
Interested in trying out some in your next build? Here is a list of libraries that we recommend to help you build your React Native app better and faster:
UI Kitten is an incredibly handy user interface component library based on Eva Design System specifications. It provides more than 30 different components for interface elements that can be used for navigation, forms, buttons, modals, overlays, and even some global components for creating lists and cards.
As shown in the mockup above, UI Kitten also supports both light and dark themes, and it provides browser support with React Native Web. Developers often turn to this component library because it enables them to create customized themes and components with ease.
Note: The design system offered by this library also includes an icon pack called Eva Icons, and it's worth looking into as well!
Paper is a collection of customizable and production-ready components for React Native, following Google’s Material Design guidelines. Regardless of your design experience, it allows you to add clean, simple, and easily customizable UI components to your build quickly so that you can focus on getting the rest of your MVP in place.
This component library is cross-platform, supports both light and dark themes, and allows you to seamlessly switch between different themes. It also provides more than 30 production-ready components, some of which extend core components available in React Native with some additional properties.
The NativeBase component library has come quite far in terms of providing mobile-first and accessible components. It helps you build and maintain a consistent design system across both mobile platforms and the web, and it offers a rich and customizable set of components.
NativeBase supports theme-able design systems (optimized for both light and dark modes) and accessibility using React Native ARIA. It also provides more advanced components like skeleton, row, column for layout, and toast for components in addition to essential components like buttons, overlays, and icons.
One of the most easy-to-customize UI libraries available in the React Native ecosystem, React Native Elements provides an extensive set of components for cross-platform app development and supports custom themes. In addition, it includes components like overlay, star ratings, avatars, pricing, and badges.
According to its creators, the aim of React Native Elements is to not only provide an all-in-one UI kit for creating apps in React Native, but to take the hassle out of assembling packages together by offering developers a ready-made kit with consistent API and look and feel too.
Out of all of the other libraries mentioned in this list, React Native Elements provides you with the most control over the look and feel of the components it offers.
React Native Material Kit offers a Native application layout based on Google's Material Design system, and it comes with a set of pre-defined components that you can use to build your app. These components can also be further customized and re-used within your app to suit your needs.
If you're looking to create an MVP quickly, this library will shorten the time you spend in development and allow you to focus on building functionality.
RNUI is a toolset and components library that provides a set of primary and essential components like buttons, cards, and avatars. It also comes with pre-defined advanced components like color picker, hints and drawer, tagsinput, wizard, animated scanner, and animated images.
This component library is cross-platform, has out-of-the-box accessibility, and RTL (right to left) support. It also comes with a set of predefined constants, presets, and layout modifiers as properties in order to properly align your content on the app screen.
React Native Vector Icon is one of the most used component libraries in React Native ecosystem—I mean, check out the sheer size of this library! If you are looking to use icons in your application, chances are you are going to use this library at one point or another. It provides icons from various sources like Font Awesome, the Material Design community, Ionicons, and Ant Design among others.
This library also provides ways to customize, style, and extend these icons. For example, you can use them in combination with the Animated library that comes with React Native or use a higher level of animation library like react-native-animatable to create animated icons.
Lottie is a library from Airbnb that allows you to add beautiful animations to your React Native app. As all of the animations are created in JSON format, the relative size of the files are extremely small and easy to manage.
You can create custom animations in Adobe After Effects and then convert them to JSON to be used in your app utilizing an extension called BodyMovin. This extension is bundled with a JS player to render animations on the web, and it works well with React Native applications.
Lottie is completely free, and you can also use featured animations from the Lottie community!
Chat is a popular feature found in many apps, and React Native Gifted Chat makes this functionality incredibly easy to implement.
The best part is that every component offered by this library is fully customizable, from composer actions to creating an avatar for profiles, text inputs, loading messages, copy messages, and enhancing the bot functionality.
In React Native, there are many different ways to display a collection of images in a gallery view, and a carousel is one of the most popular methods to achieve this. Carousels help a user cycle through a series of images that can be displayed horizontally and vertically, making it easy for developers to display content on various mobile devices.
The React Native Snap Carousel component library has a vast API containing properties and different layout patterns that are plug-n-use, and it also allows you to implement custom interpolations and animations.
The React Native Maps library offers a map component for both iOS and Android and provides features like markers and polygons. As a developer, you can change the map view region, customize map style, overlay other elements on the map, and even customize the markers.
With the Animated API, you can also animate your map’s zoom and positioning in order to create a better user experience.
It takes a decent amount of time to set up a React Native project and start development—that's where Ignite CLI comes in! Ignite is a popular React Native boilerplate that helps speed up the process of getting started, and some developers have stated that it's saved them 2-4 weeks at the beginning of their React Native project.
Ignite is widely considered one of the best open-source starter kits because it offers boilerplates and generators that are both flexible and easy to use. Those built-in components, screens, and model generators for React Native probably don't hurt either.
VisionCamera was designed to provide all of the features a camera app should have, enabling you to configure options like frame rate, colorspace, and more.
While it has a lot of different features, this camera library keeps you from feeling overwhelmed by providing you with hooks and functions to help you get started faster.
Every functionality has been thoroughly documented and even errors are fully typed. Use TypeScript to get compile-time feedback on what has gone wrong.
Nachos UI is a component library that comes with more than 30 pre-defined components that can be used when building cross-platform React Native apps, and it works on the web too thanks to React Native for Web. It's completely open sourced and community driven, and the team that created it encourages community members to create and contribute their own components.
While these components do come pre-styled, they can all be customized to suit your needs.
In short, component libraries are a fantastic way to create a polished app in record time, and this is just a small list of the kind of component libraries available within the React Native community. New libraries are being added all the time, and you never know when you might find a new favorite!
At Crowdbotics, we're invested in getting your app up and running fast and efficiently, and we believe that modular coding with the assistance of components will help get you there. We offer a low-code App Builder with automated and drag-n-drop visual scaffolding tools, pre-built modules and templates, and the complete flexibility to customize and modify source code using GitHub.
And if you'd like for our expert team of PMs, designers, developers to build any of this functionality into your app for you, we can do that too— get in touch with us today for an estimated quote and timeline!
July 2, 2021