React Native provides a set of built-in Core Components and APIs ready to use in your app. You're not limited to the components and APIs bundled with React Native. React Native has a community of thousands of developers. If the Core Components and APIs don't have what you are looking for, you may be able to find and install a library from the community to add the functionality to your app.
Selecting a Package Manager
React Native libraries are typically installed from the npm registry using a Node.js package manager such as npm CLI or Yarn Classic.
If you have Node.js installed on your computer then you already have the npm CLI installed. Some developers prefer to use Yarn Classic for slightly faster install times and additional advanced features like Workspaces. Both tools work great with React Native. We will assume npm for the rest of this guide for simplicity of explanation.
Installing a Library
To install a library in your project, navigate to your project directory in your terminal and run
npm install <name-of-the-library>. Let's try this with
npm install react-native-webview
The library that we installed includes native code, and we need to link to our app before we use it.
Linking Native Code on iOS
React Native uses CocoaPods to manage iOS project dependencies and most React Native libraries follow this same convention. If a library you are using does not, then please refer to their README for additional instruction. In most cases, the following instructions will apply.
pod install in our
ios directory in order to link it to our native iOS project. A shortcut for doing this without switching to the
ios directory is to run
Once this is complete, re-build the app binary to start using your new library:
npx react-native run-ios
Linking Native Code on Android
React Native uses Gradle to manage Android project dependencies. After you install a library with native dependencies, you will need to re-build the app binary to use your new library:
npx react-native run-android
React Native Directory is a searchable database of libraries built specifically for React Native. This is the first place to look for a library for your React Native app.
Many of the libraries you will find on the directory are from React Native Community or Expo.
Libraries built by the React Native Community are driven by volunteers and individuals at companies that depend on React Native. They often support iOS, tvOS, Android, Windows, but this varies across projects. Many of the libraries in this organization were once React Native Core Components and APIs.
Libraries built by Expo are all written in TypeScript and support iOS, Android, and react-native-web wherever possible. They usually require that you first install react-native-unimodules in order to use in your React Native app.
Determining Library Compatibility
Does it work with React Native?
Usually libraries built specifically for other platforms will not work with React Native. Examples include
react-select which is built for the web and specifically targets
rimraf which is built for Node.js and interacts with your computer file system. Other libraries like
npm uninstall if it turns out that it does not work in React Native.
Does it work for the platforms that my app supports?
React Native Directory allows you to filter by platform compatibility, such as iOS, Android, Web, and Windows. If the library you would like to use is not currently listed there, refer to the README for the library to learn more.
Does it work with my app version of React Native?
The latest version of a library is typically compatible with the latest version of React Native. If you are using an older version, you should refer to the README to know which version of the library you should install. You can install a particular version of the library by running
npm install <library-name>@<version-number>, for example:
npm install @react-native-community/netinfo@^2.0.0.