Build a Chat App Using React Native

Step-by-Step Guide To Build A Chat App In React Native

By Harsh Kundariya Mobile, React 4 days ago 7 min read 70 Views

This article is all about developing a chat application using React Native. And for this, one should have a basic understanding of the technology and its usage.

It is an open-source, senior, and mature framework. It helps developers in developing applications for various platforms such as Android, iOS, Web, and UWP. This allows programmers to leverage the in-built native feature with React.

Pusher provides a service known as Chatkit. It is a programmer’s preferable toolkit as it adds a chat option to the application. Also, along with the chat option, it comes with a bunch of services, i.e., storing messages, file management, indicating typing, and many more features.

Chat applications have been gradually covering the market and this has become a noticing data. The social media messaging apps have witnessed huge success and this has a proven record. As per the statista, there are 1.6Bn WhatsApp users accessing the applications on a monthly basis.

And not only WhatsApp, but many other Chat Apps have shown tremendous hype in their numbers.

Worldwide Chat App Active Users

Steps To Develop Chat App Using React Native

Step 1: Start a New Project

You can use Expo as a CLI for creating a new project. Also, if you are only focusing on a particular platform, then you should have a particular IDE. For example, if you plan to build only for an iOS platform, then you should use Xcode as your integrated development environment.

Let’s see the prerequisites for creating a new project:

  • Node 10+ installation
  • Devices for testing
  • Account to get keys

Now, let’s see how to initiate the coding:

npm install -g expo-cli

The above-mentioned coding is the first step of installation. You can install Expo CLI, either by installing npm or yarn; it totally depends upon you. After this, you can give it a name as “VChat.”

expo init -t blank --name VChat
cd VChat
yarn add stream-chat-expo [email protected] [email protected]
expo install @react-native-community/[email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] @react-native-community/[email protected]

Step 2: Build Chat App With Stream Chat

An essential element to build a complete chat app is the Stream Chat tool that beautifully creates an application for your mobile app. There are multiple text editors out of which you can choose the best for yourself. And for implementing Stream Chat, you need to make changes in App.js.

You can see how the changes have taken place in the below code:

import React from "react";
import { View, SafeAreaView } from "react-native";
import { StreamChat } from "stream-chat";
import {
Chat,
Channel,
MessageList,
MessageInput,
} from "stream-chat-expo";

const chatClient = new StreamChat('f8wwud5et5jd');
const userToken =
'eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoieW91bmctZ3Jhc3MtNyJ9.Z1SLMbBf_lX1KdDt0ew8YlXZbyZZIrOgyLr5TiDyco0';

const user = {
id: 'young-grass-7',
name: 'Young grass',
image:
'https://stepupandlive.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/3d-animated-frog-image.jpg',
};

chatClient.setUser(user, userToken);

class ChannelScreen extends React.Component {
render() {
const channel = chatClient.channel("messaging", "young-grass-7");
channel.watch();

return (

);
}
}

export default class App extends React.Component {
render() {
return ;
}
}

Once you are done with the code, you are ready with your chat application. Also, you can preview your application by installing the Expo application on your handy device and then connect it to your wireless network.

By initiating the below code, it will automatically start a development server. Also, upon making any changes in the code, it will refresh the app.

npm start

After following the above-mentioned steps, a simple chat app is ready. Now, if you want add-on features in your application, then you can go through the below user interface React Native components:

Conversation

Online Messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram are quite famous among millions of users. These Chatting apps have features like group chat, one to one chat, and many more.

The conversation is the main objective of the chat application, and to implement it successfully, we have a tool that navigates all the contacts. Stacked navigation simplifies the task of managing the list. Also, react-navigation package supports stack navigation.

Now, with the help of code, you can implement the contacts and conversations:

import React, { PureComponent } from 'react';
import { View, SafeAreaView, Text } from 'react-native';
import { StreamChat } from 'stream-chat';
import {
Chat,
Channel,
MessageList,
MessageInput,
ChannelPreviewMessenger,
ChannelList,
} from 'stream-chat-expo';
import { createAppContainer } from 'react-navigation';
import { createStackNavigator } from 'react-navigation-stack';

const chatClient = new StreamChat('f8wwud5et5jd');
const userToken =
'eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoieW91bmctZ3Jhc3MtNyJ9.Z1SLMbBf_lX1KdDt0ew8YlXZbyZZIrOgyLr5TiDyco0';

const user = {
id: 'young-grass-7',
name: 'Young grass',
image:
'https://stepupandlive.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/3d-animated-frog-image.jpg',
};

chatClient.setUser(user, userToken);

class ChannelListScreen extends PureComponent {
static navigationOptions = () => ({
headerTitle: (
Awesome Conversations
),
});

render() {
return (

{
this.props.navigation.navigate('Channel', {
channel,
});
}}
/>

);
}
}

class ChannelScreen extends React.Component {
static navigationOptions = ({ navigation }) => {
const channel = navigation.getParam('channel');
return {
headerTitle: (
{channel.data.name}
),
};
};

render() {
const { navigation } = this.props;
const channel = navigation.getParam('channel');

return (

);
}
}

const RootStack = createStackNavigator(
{
ChannelList: {
screen: ChannelListScreen,
},
Channel: {
screen: ChannelScreen,
},
},
{
initialRouteName: 'ChannelList',
},
);

const AppContainer = createAppContainer(RootStack);

export default class App extends React.Component {
render() {
return ;
}
}

By executing the code successfully, you can now see the conversations and also can connect with the user by tapping on their name.

React-Native-CTA

Message Thread (MT)

Thread is an integral part when you want to create a sub-conversation under the same channel. And this can be implemented with the help of Stream Chat.

Also, this helps in replying to the user by pressing long on a particular chat.

Let’s have a look at below code:

import React, { PureComponent } from 'react';
import { View, SafeAreaView, TouchableOpacity, Text } from 'react-native';
import { StreamChat } from 'stream-chat';
import {
Chat,
Channel,
MessageList,
MessageInput,
ChannelList,
Thread,
ChannelPreviewMessenger,
CloseButton,
} from 'stream-chat-expo';

import { createAppContainer } from 'react-navigation';
import { createStackNavigator } from 'react-navigation-stack';

const chatClient = new StreamChat('f8wwud5et5jd');
const userToken =
'eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoieW91bmctZ3Jhc3MtNyJ9.Z1SLMbBf_lX1KdDt0ew8YlXZbyZZIrOgyLr5TiDyco0';

const user = {
id: 'young-grass-7',
name: 'Young grass',
image:
'https://stepupandlive.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/3d-animated-frog-image.jpg',
};

chatClient.setUser(user, userToken);

class ChannelListScreen extends PureComponent {
static navigationOptions = () => ({
headerTitle: Channel List,
});

render() {
return (

{
this.props.navigation.navigate('Channel', {
channel,
});
}}
/>

);
}
}

class ChannelScreen extends PureComponent {
static navigationOptions = ({ navigation }) => {
const channel = navigation.getParam('channel');
return {
headerTitle: (
{channel.data.name}
),
};
};

render() {
const { navigation } = this.props;
const channel = navigation.getParam('channel');

return (

{
this.props.navigation.navigate('Thread', {
thread,
channel: channel.id,
});
}}
/>

);
}
}

class ThreadScreen extends PureComponent {
static navigationOptions = ({ navigation }) => ({
headerTitle: Thread,
headerLeft: null,
headerRight: (
{
navigation.goBack();
}}
style={{marginRight: 20}}
>

),
});

render() {
const { navigation } = this.props;
const thread = navigation.getParam('thread');
const channel = chatClient.channel(
'messaging',
navigation.getParam('channel'),
);

return (

);
}
}

const RootStack = createStackNavigator(
{
ChannelList: {
screen: ChannelListScreen,
},
Channel: {
screen: ChannelScreen,
},
Thread: {
screen: ThreadScreen,
},
},
{
initialRouteName: 'ChannelList',
},
);

const AppContainer = createAppContainer(RootStack);

export default class App extends React.Component {
render() {
return ;
}
}

After you have gone through the above steps to build a Chat app, you can also have a look at the article iMessage Extension with React Native that can give you more insight on the chat app development.

Rich Messaging

MessageList and MessageInput are the two components of Rich Messaging that include distinctive features:

  • User mention (@name) feature that can help mention a particular person in a group chat.
  • /giphy are tailor-made commands to enhance the customer experience.
  • Image uploading is one of the distinctive features of Rich Messaging. Users can upload it from the gallery.

Final Words

The above article consists of coding that can help you in building a Chat app using a react native framework. Apart from the above-mentioned features, there are many more that can enhance your user experience. The Chatkit is also used for creating new projects and using different other packages, you can successfully execute a chat app.

After reading this article, if you want a helping hand whom you can trust and share your idea, then a promising React Native Development Company would be the best fit for your project development.

Also, the company is a house of professional experts with years of experience in converting ideas into virtual platforms. Hire React Native Developer and witness yourself as an app owner. The developers are quite affordable and flexible.

FAQs On Chat App

Chat App is a means of communication that is an advanced version of the traditional method, i.e., Text messaging (SMS). The involvement of technology makes it Chat Applications. Chat apps involve transferring the message via the use of the internet. 

Yes, you can build a Chat App similar to WhatsApp with the use of multiple technologies. The components can help you in creating features like attaching an image, Docx, videos and many more things. 

There are various ways with which you can protect your chats such as fingerprint scanner, two-way verification, end-to-end encryption.

Hire-React-Native-CTA

Disclaimer: We at eSparkBiz Technologies have created this blog with all the consideration and utmost care. We always strive for excellence in each of our blog posts and for that purpose, we ensure that all the information written in the blog is complete, correct, comprehensible, accurate and up-to-date. However, we can’t always guarantee that the information written in the blog correct, accurate or up-to-date. Therefore, we always advise our valuable readers not to take any kind of decisions based on the information as well as the views shared by our authors. The readers should always conduct an in-depth research before making the final decision. In addition to these, all the logos, 3rd part trademarks and screenshots of websites & mobile apps are the property of the individual owners. We’re not associated with any of them.

Harsh Kundariya

Harsh Kundariya

Passionate about everything happening in the field of Enterprise Mobility. The Co-Founder of eSparkBiz @Mobile App Development Company where you can Hire Mobile App Developers.Interested in exploring various aspects related to Mobile Apps. Curious about knowing each everything that happens in the world of app development. It has landed him to be among the top-notch Entrepreneurs with 6+ experience in India and USA. Penning down his knowledge in the domain of mobile.

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