react-native-app with expo.io on coder.com

In the past few weeks I learned about react-native, coder.com and expo.io.
My brain went kinda crazy and wanted to connect these things into one, so I can develop my app whereever I want with only a browser and my phone.

For those who doen’t know about these technologies, I’ll explain them real quick.

react native:
Developing Cross-Platform apps by only using JavsScript.

expo.io:
Testing and deploying your app directly onto your phone without a virtual machine.

coder.com:
Browser based, cloud IDE.

creating your project

First of all we need to create an account on coder.com and a project on their website.
After opening the empty project we are able to hit the ‘console’ button on the left tool-bar.

Since we are not able to install global packages on this small virtual machine, many people didn’t even tried to init a new expo project.
Therefore you need a globally installed expo-cli module. We are going to install it locally, and still access it’s commands.

$ npm install expo-cli

This is going to take a while, if fast-mode is disabled. When finished we get a node_modules folder with all of our expo commands.
These commands are located in node_modules/.bin/expo. Now we can init our project:

$ ./node_modules/.bin/expo init my_new_project_name

Choose between blank or sample project and hit ENTER to finish the setup.

Delete our old project files:

$ rm -rf node_modules
$ rm package-lock.json

Copy our new project into the root directory of this project and remove the old files:

$ cp -a ./my_new_project_name/. ./
$ rm -rf ./my_new_project_name

To use our exp commands in the future, the last step we need to do is installing the package again.
We also have to make sure all packages are installed correctly.

$ npm install exp
$ npm install

setting up your project

If we want to run an exp command now, we’ll always have to type node_modules/.bin/exp, this is really time wasting.
Node.js knows about it’s .bin directory. We just have to edit the commands in package.json.

Change all of your scripts to these ones (I only changed expo to exp):

"scripts": {
    "start": "exp start",
    "android": "exp start --android",
    "ios": "exp start --ios",
    "eject": "exp eject"
 }

Another way is to install expo-cli locally. But that’s a little bit more overhead.

$ npm install expo-cli

ports

We can already run our server with $ npm start but the server would only run on the local machine.
We couldn’t connect to it via expo-app.

coder.com only supports a few ports that are available for a connection outside our black box.
These are: [80, 3000, 3001, 8000, 8080, 9000, 9080]

Expo needs two ports so we gonna choose 8000 and 8080 in this tutorial.

To change the port for expo, we need to create a file called .exprc in our root folder and paste the following content:

{
    "manifestPort": "8000"
}

The metro bundler will still be on port 19001, to change this we need to edit our app.json file.
Search "expo": {} and insert the following as another option to expo:

"packagerOpts": { "port": 8080 }

address

The addresses of our links are still going to be a local ip address, even though coder.com is tunneling our connections outside.

When the server is running (npm start) coder is recognizing our connections.
To check that, just click onto the globe symbol on the left side.
We should see two links right now. They should be similar to this one:
https://8000-interestmisshapenseal.cdr.co

These are our new addresses. All we have to do now, is to tell node, that it should proxy our connections to this link and we are done.

$ export EXPO_MANIFEST_PROXY_URL="https://8000-interestmisshapenseal.cdr.co"
$ export EXPO_PACKAGER_PROXY_URL="https://8080-interestmisshapenseal.cdr.co"

If you start your server again, you should see something like this at the bottom of the QR-Code:
Your URL is: exp://8000-interestmisshapenseal.cdr.co:443

Just scan your QR-Code and Expo App (can be downloaded in play or apple store) on your phone will open your app.

The first time you open the app, it will load a long time if fast-mode is turned off on your virtual machine.

enable hot reloading

coder.com doesn’t support inotify events for the file system in their mounted project directories.

If you still want to enable hot reloading, you can move your project folder out of the project directory into the ./root folder of your machine for example.
It should work then.

Last updated
PREVIOUSHow to inspect a Python API
NEXTsystem.exe at ~25% CPU fix