Aman Mittal 👨‍💻Developer 👉 Nodejs, Reactjs, ReactNative | Tech Blogger with 1M+ views on Medium | My weekly dev newsletter 👉 tinyletter.com/amanhimself

The top 6 animation libraries in React Native

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In a mobile app, animations have an impact on user experience in terms of interactions and engagement. Animations can quickly become one of the key factors that users love engaging with on your mobile app.

While building a React Native app, it is essential to think of user interactions. Animating some of the user actions can really help the user to engage within the app. In this post, we are going to cover a list of open-source animations libraries that work with React Native and you might consider trying some of them for your next app to accelerate development time. The libraries mentioned here do offer more advanced use cases than the Animatedbuilt-in API, React Native comes with.

React Native Reanimated

react reanimated

React Native’s built-in Animated API is written from scratch in the React Native Reanimated library to provide flexibility for gesture-based interactions along with creating animations in apps. The React Native API has some limitations when enabling gesture-based interactions and this library tends to solve them.

It has full native support and performs animations directly on the native thread instead of JavaScript thread. Any animation you write using this library is written using JavaScript code. It is also backward compatible, meaning you don’t have to change huge chunks of code or re-create the animation for a specific React Native core component if you plan to use this library and migrate from Animated API.

This library is created and actively maintained by developers at Software Mansion and Expo. It also works well with the Gesture Handler library to create gesture-based interactions, that is another advantage this library provides. It is also good for low-grade devices.

React Native Animatable

 

One of the most popular animation libraries in React Native, react-native-animatable has 7.8k stars on GitHub at the time of writing this post. Like react-native-reanimated it supports declarative usage and is one of the best libraries you can use to build micro-interactions in a React Native app.

It has a vast set of properties for declarative usage such as animations, looping, generic transition, and so on with an API that is easy to understand and use. This API is powerful in terms of giving you, as a developer, options and control over creating animations. It also has more than 60 built-in animations.

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Fluid transitions for React Navigation

Fluid transitions for React Native

This JavaScript library is used to implement a set of fluid transitions between elements when navigating with React Navigation library. It implements a new navigator called FluidNavigator that replaces StackNavigator from react-navigation. This new navigator shares almost the same API and configuration process as the navigator from the navigation library.

Apart from that, it allows us to create custom transitions and supports gestures for navigation. Shared transitions between identical elements can be done with this library when each element is part of a different navigating screen.

There is a caveat about this library that doesn’t support the latest react-navigation library versions. It only supports up to version 3.

React Native shared element

React Native shared element

This library provides a set of native building blocks for performing shared element transitions. It provides a set of primitives to enhance the building of custom transitions that are made available by core React Native API. These primitives are all through native implementation.

This library tends to solve a set of specific problems through its native implementation approach. Here are some of those problems:

  • No flickering
  • CPU & GPU interface
  • ScrollView clipping
  • Shadow transition
  • Cross-fade transitions
  • Image resizeMode transitions

Moreover, this library has a separate version to support shared transitions between navigators using react-navigation library called react-navigation-shared-element. It has createSharedElementStackNavigator that has a similar API to stackNavigator which you can use to wrap each route screen in the navigator and detect changes to trigger shared element transitions.

Pose

This library is a physics-based animation library that allows you to create animations easily. The way it works is that unlike other libraries mentioned in this post, you do not have to explicitly define the animations to transition between states. It automatically selects an animation based on the name of the property being mentioned.

It supports gestures and mounts and unmounts animations just like a React component. This library is also available for the Reactjs library and Vue.

React Spring

react spring

Another physics-based animations library that is simple to use. This is a library that is cross-platform which means that it supports web, react-native, react-native-web, and other platforms. What I personally like about this library is that it has its API available in the form of plug-n-play React Hooks. Why are they plug-n-play? Most Hooks described in the API of this library follow the three-step process as described:

  • Import the Hook from the library
  • Define the animation using the Hook
  • Pass on the animation props to a view component

That’s it! It is that simple.

Conclusion

The libraries included in the list are either based on personal experience or those which are actively maintained. The motive of these component libraries is to make your development faster as well as provide a robust way to build apps so that you’re not reinventing the wheel every time when you create a new React Native app.

That said, if you are familiar with any other React Native animation libraries, leave its link in the comment section below and tell us why you like it.

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Aman Mittal 👨‍💻Developer 👉 Nodejs, Reactjs, ReactNative | Tech Blogger with 1M+ views on Medium | My weekly dev newsletter 👉 tinyletter.com/amanhimself

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