Learning React Native

Here are my thoughts as I cover new ground.

My preferred pattern for learning new information is to watch tons of videos on the topic, then buy a course that matches my preferred learning style, then watch all the videos of my interest in one go that apply to the items I want to have in the app.

On the second watch, I open the tools that I installed on the first watch and code alongside while pausing the videos and occasionally getting lost in Google searches for trying to understand the concepts behind what I’m doing and also looking at the language’s documentation.

I tackle the easiest parts of the app first that I already know how to do from my web design experience then I jump into the harder parts last. I tackle each problem as a block of information, like a specific function of the app. I suppose this method came from my electronics troubleshooting background where you can either run after every point of the schematic in fine detail or go block by block, like the power is out so let’s tackle just the plug and power supply first before going from the back to the front of the radio with an ohm and voltage meter to check tolerances stated on the schematic.

Here’s what I want to create. An app with a side menu for both iOS and Android using React Native. I’m going to follow the tutorial and use VS Code on macOS (something fresh rather than Coda). I’ve observed two apps and they use shortcuts. Most churches already have a website (when it makes use of its resources then less has to be done in app) and these apps act as wrappers for these pages. There are links in the side menu or on the home page of the app that point viewers to the website without opening the website within the native web browser. Does the church want a Bible, I’ve seen Biblia and Crossway embedded within the app. The only part of the app that’s complicated for me at the moment is push notifications and that requires payment to Apple and Google for using their systems especially when push (remote) notifications are needed. And since I have full control of the WordPress website that I’m going to build this app for then I can build my own notifications hub with Node.js if I wish instead of using other services and paying for them. I’m not sure if I want to go that deep but if it’s one less bill for the church and one more tool for my skill set, then I might travel that path. That will involve figuring out WordPress REST API and Node.js inter-communications. Offline storage might also be complicated.

When I’m learning, I usually have a sense of fear that overwhelms my thoughts for short moments but when I get to those places, I brace myself and soak in the videos for a few days then tackle that hard bit of code. In the past, I usually conquer the problem and then laugh out loud because I realize that it too was not as bad and I should have just done it.

The code is written once with React Native in a code editor of your choice, that final code is exported to Apple’s Xcode and Google’s Android Studio and the apps are compiled then submitted to the stores.

Why not do a Progressive Web App (PWA)? They want it in the app stores and it is possible to change a PWA into a native app but I want to learn React Native.

I hope to do well. I hope I stay encouraged. I hope this challenge continues to excite my thoughts and senses as I push through it.

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