Debugging an application is the most essential part of the complete React Native development process before the application is pushed to the production phase. This is true for other technologies as well. Debugging involves thorough checking of the code and helps in the early detection of error conditions. Fixing these errors or bugs during the development process, instead of fixing them in the production stages can be highly economical for every React Native development company.
So, how does the debugging take place in React Native? Well, thanks to the availability of a wide range of React Native debugging tools that help the developers debug their code efficiently in a short time.
This read is a brief guide for you, where we will be exploring the most popular React Native debugging tools used worldwide. So let’s quickly get started.
Most Efficient Debugging Tools for React Native Developers
So how does this tool work?
When your React Native app is running on Android Emulator and you have to access the in-app developer menu, press ‘Cmd+M’ on Mac or ‘Ctrl+M’ on Windows. When the app runs on a real device, simply shake the device. Now, a menu will appear and you need to click on “Debug JS Remotely” to open the Google Chrome debugger. After this, press ‘Command+Option+I’ on Mac or ‘Ctrl+Shift+I’ on Windows to open Developer Tools. You can now use console statements and debug the app. You may view your code by clicking on the Developer Tools Sources tab and open-sourcing the files. From here, you can add breakpoints and easily debug the app using the ‘Chrome DevTools’.
The Developer Menu
The developer menu comes with a plethora of options for the developers to do various things, as given below:
- Reloading option for reloading the app
- Enabling Hot Reloading for watching the changes accumulated in a changed file
- Debugging js remotely for opening a channel to a JS Debugger
- Enabling Live Reloading for allowing the app to automatically reload when the save button is clicked
- Toggle Inspector for toggling an inspector interface. It enables the developers to inspect a UI element present on the screen along with its properties. This interface has some other tabs too, which include a tab for performance and for networking that show us the HTTP calls
React Native Debugger
This is a stand-alone desktop application that works on Linux, Mac, and Windows and one of the most recommended debugging tools. It can be integrated with the other two tools- React’s Developer Tools and Redux DevTools, thus giving you the best of both tools. This combination doesn’t require any setup and can be installed quickly with ease. With this combination, react native developers can get some of the best features as below:
- Profiler: Identify performance issues by getting a flamegraph with components
- Elements: for examining the styles of the elements, editing them, and instantly viewing the results in the simulator
- Console: for examining different errors and warning messages
- Network: for checking and recording network requests
- Sources: for debugging JS, setting breakpoints, and walking through the code.
- Memory: for detecting any memory leaks
React Developer Tools
Due to the two reasons mentioned below, it is considered one of the best tools for debugging React Native.
- This tool allows the debugging of React components.
- Its new version also allows debugging styles in React Native and also works simultaneously in the developer menu with the inspector. In this version, the developers can debug and employ the style properties and without even reloading the app, they can instantly see the modifications implemented in the app.
So how to get started with this tool?
You need to use the desktop app for debugging React Native with this tool. It can be installed locally as well as globally in the project by using the below command- “yarn add react-devtools” or npm- “npm install react-devtools –save”
Now you can start the application by running the command- “yarn react-devtools” which will launch your application.
This open-source desktop app was designed in 2016 by Infinite Red. This tool enables the inspecting of the apps quite effortlessly. It is available for various operating systems like Linux, Mac, and Windows. It offers amazing features like:
- state tab
- React Native tab
- timeline tab for tracking app events and Redux actions
- connections for running several devices simultaneously and quickly switching debugging
Redux DevTools is also a standalone tool and a state container for JS applications. It is meant for both- React Native and React JS. It is used for common state management and allows easy inspection between actions and their reflections on the data store. Redux DevTools allows using redux debug components directly into the applications. This tool comes with several useful features such as Chart, Slider, Inspector showing real-time actions, Dispatcher, State tab, Action tab, Diff tab, Log Monitor, Test tab, Export/import, etc. You can start using this tool by installing the Redux Devtools Extension to the firefox or chrome browser.
React Native CLI
This tool is majorly used for the development of React Native apps but also used as a debugging tool at times. React Native CLI helps to access some relevant information about the dependencies and libraries used in the app. This information can be then used for debugging some bugs that take place due to a mismatch of different versions of tools being used for your app development.
So, our blog comes to an end with this.
Apart from the tools mentioned above, there are several other React Native debugging tools like Flow, Expo, Ignite, Visual Studio Code, etc. that can be considered by the React Native development services for their projects. It depends on what tool seems right for your project requirement, what your budget and time considerations are, and what your developers are convenient with. You may even go with a combination of some of these tools. And last but not the least, hiring skilled and experienced React Native developers also impacts the debugging process.
We hope this read was insightful!
Do share your knowledge and experiences about other React Native Developer Tools in the comments section.
Also, here are some of the UI component libraries used in React Native for building world-class apps.