Expert Guidance on debugging React Native Apps: Recommended Practices and Handy Tools!

Expert Guidance on debugging React Native Apps: Recommended Practices and Handy Tools!
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Debugging is one of the crucial activity during the software development. It refers to the process of identifying an error in a software application that causes performance issues, then analyzing the issue, and finally resolving it. Debugging allows you to validate your code and fix issues before pushing a software application into the production stage. However, debugging issues are likely to arise during various phases – development, testing, and even production/post-deployment. And, implementing the right debugging tools and methodologies will speed up development and enhance the efficiency of the end-product.
Coming to React Native debugging; the framework is made up of different environments, the most prominent being Android and iOS. As a result, it becomes challenging to debug apps due to multiple platforms involved. Moreover, React Native offers a huge variety of tools for debugging which seems confusing for many, particularly newbies. This post guides you through some effective practices and useful React Native and React debugger tools that will help you to identify issues and fix them like an expert.

React Native Debugging Methodologies and Best Practices

Identifying and Addressing Console Errors, Warnings, and Logs
Console errors and warnings are visible in the form of on-screen notifications with a red or yellow badge.
Errors will be displayed inside a RedBox with the command console.error(). This RedBox contains a description of the error and also a suggestion on how to resolve the error. Take a look at this example. If you write a style property that the React Native framework doesn’t support, or if you write a property meant to be used for a particular element (like a backroundImage needs to be set for the element View), then the RedBox shows an error along with the list of supported style properties that can be applied to the View.
Warnings will be displayed inside a YellowBox with the command console.warn()Such warnings include information on performance-related issues and deprecated code. Most of these warnings indicate some bad practice within your code. Examples of warnings include a notification about the presence of an eventListener that isn’t being removed, the presence of deprecated features and dependencies, etc.
For issuing logs, either use the command react-native log-android or use the Chrome console with the command console.log(string str)
React Native developers can hide the notifications concerning errors and warnings with the command LogBox.ignoreAllLogs() whenever needed, like during product demos. You can also hide the notifications on the basis of per-log with the command LogBox.ignoreLogs(). This method works in scenarios when a noisy warning cannot be resolved like the ones in a third-party dependency. But, whenever you ignore logs, make sure to create a task for fixing those ignored logs later.

Debugging using React Native’s built-in Debug Mode

Check out how to utilize the built-in debug mode offered by the React Native eco-system employing browsers like Safari or Chrome.
Debugging with Chrome
Install these react-devtools for supporting React Native: Yarn and NPM. Then use the development mode to open the in-app developer menu; here you start the debugging process by activating the debug option.
From the Developer Menu, select the option Debug JS Remotely. This action opens up a channel to a JS debugger. A new tab opens; here, from the Chrome menu, choose Tools – Developer Tools; for opening the devtools.
The other most prominent options to utilize in the in-app developer menu to debug apps are:
Enable Live Reload: for automatically reloading the app, Enable Hot Reloading: for identifying the modifications that result in a changed file, and Start Systrace starts the Android marker-based profiling tool. The option Toggle Inspector helps in toggling an inspector interface. This way, developers can inspect UI elements present on the screen and examine their properties. Then an interface is presented; this interface contains other tabs such as networking for displaying the HTTP calls as well as a performance-related tab. The option Show Perf Monitor tracks your app’s performance.
Debugging with Safari
Your app’s iOS version can be debugged using Safari, and here, you do not have to enable “Debug JS Remotely”. Simply open Preferences and then select the following options:
  • Preferences
  • Advanced
  • Show Develop menu in the menu bar
Next, choose the JSContext of your application:
Develop – Simulator – JSContext
Now, the Web Inspector of Safari is going to open and you would be able to view a Debugger and a Console. And, each time you reload the app, either manually or by using the fast refresh (live reload), a new JSContext will get created. Remember to select the option Automatically Show Web Inspectors for JSContexts; otherwise, the latest JSContext will be selected manually.

Prominent React/React Native Debugger Tools

React DevTools
This set of React tools is employed for debugging the component hierarchy of React and works well for front-end operations. Using this toolset, you can view what’s there deep within your component tree – select the options state of the component and edit the current props.
React Developer Tools are the extension to the browsers Firefox and Chrome. However, to debug apps built in React Native, you need to use an autonomous version of React DevTools and run this command on your terminal – npm install –g react-devtools. Then launch the app by running the command react-devtools; select the option Show Inspector from the in-app developer menu for examining the app’s UI elements.
If Redux is used, then you need to use React DevTools along with ReduxDev Tools to fully understand your component’s state. For this, Redux DevTools need to be separately installed and here, the tool React Native Debugger proves quite useful as well.
React Native Debugger
The React Native Debugger is immensely beneficial if Redux is used during React Native app development. This is a standalone tool that functions on Linux, Windows, and macOS. This tool is used for logging or deleting Async Storage content, detecting as well as diagnosing performance issues, and examining network requests.
The best part is that it integrates React DevTools as well as Redux DevTools within a single app and so, there’s no need for using two separate applications to debug apps for the React and Redux environments. The tool offers interfaces where you can examine and debug React elements and also view Redux logs and the related actions.
React Native debugger outshines Chrome DevTools in employing the toggle inspector for inspecting React Native elements. Besides, React Native debugger provides the functionality for editing styles; this feature is not present in Chrome DevTools.
Flipper is a cross-platform tool used to debug JavaScript apps as well as the device and JS logs. It launches simulators for managing devices, can connect with several devices simultaneously to debug apps across multiple platforms, and involves a single-step debugging process including watchpoints and breakpoints.
Flipper edits the components on the fly, then reflects those edits in real-time within the application, and integrates with the app’s Layout Inspector. Its capability of integrated launch management enables developers to define configurations and employ them for unit testing, without having to replicate configurations in several places. Moreover, comes with a plugin-based architecture and myriad handy features; more features are expected in the coming years.
With Flipper, you can view, inspect, and control your apps using a simple desktop interface. Flipper can be used as it is or extended employing the plugin API.
Check this blog to gain more insights on other important tools for debugging React Native apps!

Bottom Line

The aforesaid tools and methodologies enable you to debug apps more efficiently and flawlessly, just like a pro. These tools and best practices work wonders to speed up development, enhance developer productivity, and improve the performance of the end product.
Would you like to team up with skilled app developers who comprehend the functioning of your React Native apps, identify issues at once, and fix bugs instantly? If yes, then Biz4Solutions, a distinguished outsourcing software development company is worth a try! We specialize in offering competent React Native development services and take care of the entire product lifecycle from app ideation to maintenance post-deployment.

How to make your React App SEO-friendly?

How to make your React App SEO-friendly?
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Today, architecting an impeccable and highly performant app/website isn’t enough to ensure success – you need to make sure that your content appears in the searches of your target audience as well. And, to meet this requirement, SEO is essential. Search engine optimization, commonly known as SEO, plays a crucial role in defining the success of an application or a website as it determines the amount of organic traffic received. SEO refers to the practice of regulating when, where, and how an app/website will be displayed in the search engine rankings.
SEO is more important for web apps as compared to a website. This is because web apps usually contain a lesser number of public pages and each of those pages need to be exposed to the fullest. Besides, web apps are likely to possess complex UIs on account of which search engine crawlers may trip and may exclude the app’s content from their indexes. And, SEO is hassle-prone, if a front-end technology like React is being used for web development. Thankfully, such challenges can be resolved with the use of productive strategies, judicious tweaks, and effective tools for SEO.
This post discusses one of the most sought-after queries of entrepreneurs – SEO strategies for a React app. React is one of the most popular picks for web app development and is known to fare poorly in terms of SEO. Therefore, this write-up guides you through the common SEO challenges encountered by a React app, the best practices for addressing those roadblocks, and the crucial tools that expedite a React app SEO.

Importance of SEO

How does a search engine function?
When a user types search keywords on the search box of a browser, the search engine decides the order in which the web pages are to be displayed. The search engine employs algorithms for examining the data stored for each webpage. Based on this data, the algorithms decide which of the web pages’ content is most relevant to the keywords typed by the user. The pages that are considered to be the most user-friendly by the ranking algorithms are displayed amongst the top ten. Here are the key steps!
  • Crawling: Crawlers such as Google bots look for new and updated web pages. This process is conducted by either following links from known sites or by crawling web host-managed web pages and sites.
  • Indexing: The new pages identified are examined by Google for understanding their contents displayed through texts, images, or videos. The content displayed via text – meaningful titles, meta descriptions, etc. – is understood best by Google.
  • Ranking: Then, Google provides the list of pages ranked as per the quality of content and the level of relevance to user searches – most to least relevant.
Role of SEO
It’s highly desirable for a web page to appear in the top ten of the search results to get viewed by users looking for similar content. The role of SEO is to convince the search engine algorithms that a specific webpage is the closest match for the content a user is looking for. Hence, web developers need to make the website/web app SEO-friendly by incorporating certain code modifications, tweaks, and add-ons. You must also pay attention to SEO prerequisites like powerful keywords, title description, heading tags on pages, alt tags on images, canonical tags, and OpenGraph information.

SEO Challenges encountered by React Applications

SPA Usage
The usage of React-based SPA (Single Page Apps) is preferred for web apps and websites as it reduces the loading time considerably. SPAs refresh the content when updating add-ons/changes; instead of the traditional practice of reloading the entire page. This approach improves the page’s performance and responsiveness, but poses SEO challenges as given below:
SPAs are likely to encounter indexing woes. A single-page app can provide the content only after the page has been entirely loaded and, if the loading is incomplete while a bot is crawling the page, an empty page will be viewed by the bot. As a result, a major portion of the webpage will not be indexed leading to a lower search ranking.
JavaScript usage: An SPA uses JavaScript for loading content dynamically into the various web page modules. There’s a high possibility that bots might miss running JavaScript pages.
Limited Crawling Budget
Crawling budget refers to the maximum amount of pages on a particular website that can be processed by search engine crawlers within a given time. The time devoted to each script is usually five seconds. But, the loading, parsing, and execution of the script of most JavaScript webpages take more than five seconds for loading. As a result, the Google bot runs out of its crawling budget for your site and has to leave it before the indexing is complete.
The Inability of creating built-in Sitemaps
Google bots need to assess sitemaps – files containing crucial information about a web page, video, etc. – for comprehending a web page for being able to crawl it correctly. But, React is incapable of creating sitemaps within the given framework.
Meta Tags
For obtaining higher search engine ranks, a webpage must have unique titles, and descriptions for every page; if not all pages will end up with the same Google listing. With React is unable to change the tags.
Less likely to crawl JavaScript pages
Earlier, Google used to crawl only HTML pages, but now Google claims to run JavaScript pages as well. But some bottlenecks persist and Google may or may not load JS pages. The likelihood of JS pages being crawled depends on several factors like the usage of obscure engines, the manner in which JavaScript is polyfilled or transpiled, and so on.

Strategies and Tools to Boost SEO for React Apps

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React App SEO Strategies
Isomorphic React Apps
Developing an isomorphic JS technology-based website/web app in React is a viable solution to boost SEO. This technology auto-detects whether the client-side has disabled the JS page or not and if Javascript is turned off, Isomorphic JS renders the code on the server-side and then sends the webpage content to the client. This way, all the essential content and other prerequisites including metadata and HTML/CSS tags, are available to the crawling bots at the time of page loading.
When JS is enabled, the first page gets rendered on the server. This allows the browser to receive HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files. Thereafter, JS starts to run and the remaining content gets loaded dynamically.
Prerendering is one of the most prominent approaches that is implemented for improving the SEO-friendliness of single-page apps as well as multi-page web apps. This approach is leveraged whenever search engine bots or crawlers are unable to effectively render pages. Prerenders are distinct programs that restrict the number of requests made to the website. When a crawler sends a request, the prerenderer sends the webpage/website a cached static version of HTML. And, if those set of web pages sends the request, the page is loaded normally.
These programs are effortless to implement, support the most recent web novelties, and effectively execute various types of latest JS, transferring them into static HTML. However, such services come with a price, take too long to load in case of large files, and are less effective for pages that modify data at frequent intervals.
Server-side rendering
Client-side rendering is not an SEO-friendly option because bots either cannot detect any content or receive minimal content leading to improper indexing. But, if you employ server-side rendering, the browsers/bots receive the HTML files containing the entire content and hence the page is indexed properly; leading to higher search engine ranks.
For designing an SPA that is going to render on the server-side, React developers need to add an extra layer of Next.js while crafting the web app.
URL case and ‘Href’ Usage
When the URL of a web page contains the upper as well as the lower case, Google considers them as separate pages, leading to duplication of pages. So, it is advisable to create all URLs using the lower case only.
Google bots are unable to read “onclick” links, and so it is recommended to define web page links using a “href”. This makes it easier for bots to locate your page and visit it.
React App SEO Tools
React Helmet
This is a library that enables developers to set the HTML metadata in the header of a component. With this tool, one can easily update the meta tags on the client-side as well as the server-side.
React Helmet supports every valid head tag including meta, title, script, NoScript, style, link, and base; server-side rendering; and every attribute for title tags, body, and HTML. Moreover, it enables callback from tracking the DOM alterations. The nested components override the duplicate modifications in the head and these duplicate head modifications are preserved when they are specified under the same component.
This tool not only makes your web app SEO and social media-friendly, but also facilitates modifying the title, metadata, and language of the page. Combine server-side rendering with React Helmet for best results.
React Snap
This tool is responsible for pre-rendering a web app into static HTML and employs Headless Chrome for crawling all links that are available right from the root. Moreover, React Snap involves a zero-configuration approach – you need not worry about its functioning or configuration techniques. Furthermore, it employs a real browser behind the scenes to avoid any issues regarding unsupported HTML features such as Blobs, WebGL, etc., and is not dependent on React.
React Router v4
This is a component for creating routes between the various pages/components and makes it possible to develop a website having an SEO-friendly structure.

Concluding Words:

I hope my post has enlightened you on the necessary attributes of SEO and provided ample information on the best practices and tools that are used by veterans to accelerate SEO ranking.
For further assistance in developing an SEO-friendly React app, contact Biz4Solutions, a highly experienced mobile/web app development company providing top-notch React/React Native app development services to clients around the globe. We are recognized as top digital marketing service provider by