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Networking

Many mobile apps need to load resources from a remote URL. You may want to make a POST request to a REST API, or you may need to fetch a chunk of static content from another server.

Using Fetch#

React Native provides the Fetch API for your networking needs. Fetch will seem familiar if you have used XMLHttpRequest or other networking APIs before. You may refer to MDN's guide on Using Fetch for additional information.

Making requests#

In order to fetch content from an arbitrary URL, you can pass the URL to fetch:

fetch('https://mywebsite.com/mydata.json');

Fetch also takes an optional second argument that allows you to customize the HTTP request. You may want to specify additional headers, or make a POST request:

fetch('https://mywebsite.com/endpoint/', {
method: 'POST',
headers: {
Accept: 'application/json',
'Content-Type': 'application/json'
},
body: JSON.stringify({
firstParam: 'yourValue',
secondParam: 'yourOtherValue'
})
});

Take a look at the Fetch Request docs for a full list of properties.

Handling the response#

The above examples show how you can make a request. In many cases, you will want to do something with the response.

Networking is an inherently asynchronous operation. Fetch methods will return a Promise that makes it straightforward to write code that works in an asynchronous manner:

const getMoviesFromApi = () => {
return fetch('https://reactnative.dev/movies.json')
.then((response) => response.json())
.then((json) => {
return json.movies;
})
.catch((error) => {
console.error(error);
});
};

You can also use the async / await syntax in a React Native app:

const getMoviesFromApiAsync = async () => {
try {
let response = await fetch(
'https://reactnative.dev/movies.json'
);
let json = await response.json();
return json.movies;
} catch (error) {
console.error(error);
}
};

Don't forget to catch any errors that may be thrown by fetch, otherwise they will be dropped silently.

By default, iOS will block any request that's not encrypted using SSL. If you need to fetch from a cleartext URL (one that begins with http) you will first need to add an App Transport Security exception. If you know ahead of time what domains you will need access to, it is more secure to add exceptions only for those domains; if the domains are not known until runtime you can disable ATS completely. Note however that from January 2017, Apple's App Store review will require reasonable justification for disabling ATS. See Apple's documentation for more information.

On Android, as of API Level 28, clear text traffic is also blocked by default. This behaviour can be overridden by setting android:usesCleartextTraffic in the app manifest file.

Using Other Networking Libraries#

The XMLHttpRequest API is built into React Native. This means that you can use third party libraries such as frisbee or axios that depend on it, or you can use the XMLHttpRequest API directly if you prefer.

var request = new XMLHttpRequest();
request.onreadystatechange = (e) => {
if (request.readyState !== 4) {
return;
}
if (request.status === 200) {
console.log('success', request.responseText);
} else {
console.warn('error');
}
};
request.open('GET', 'https://mywebsite.com/endpoint/');
request.send();

The security model for XMLHttpRequest is different than on web as there is no concept of CORS in native apps.

WebSocket Support#

React Native also supports WebSockets, a protocol which provides full-duplex communication channels over a single TCP connection.

var ws = new WebSocket('ws://host.com/path');
ws.onopen = () => {
// connection opened
ws.send('something'); // send a message
};
ws.onmessage = (e) => {
// a message was received
console.log(e.data);
};
ws.onerror = (e) => {
// an error occurred
console.log(e.message);
};
ws.onclose = (e) => {
// connection closed
console.log(e.code, e.reason);
};

Known Issues with fetch and cookie based authentication#

The following options are currently not working with fetch

  • redirect:manual
  • credentials:omit