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A Journey into the World of Expo Git: Unleashing the Power of Universal Native Apps

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Rakesh Purohit

ReactJS Developer Advocate
August 21, 2023

Rakesh Purohit

August 21, 2023

Hello there, code enthusiasts! Buckle up as we embark on an exciting journey into the world of Expo, a powerful open-source platform that has revolutionized the way we create universal native apps. As a seasoned ReactJS expert, I can't wait to share my insights and experiences with you, and together, we'll explore how Expo has become a game-changer in frontend development.

From understanding the role of Expo CLI to comparing Expo and React Native, this post will cover it all. We'll also delve into the intricacies of GitHub Actions and how they play a pivotal role in Expo development. So, if you're an experienced developer looking to up your game and learn more about Expo, you're in the right place!

Let's dive right in, shall we?

Understanding Expo CLI and its Importance

Expo CLI is a command-line interface that serves as the primary tool for developing Expo apps. It's a Swiss Army knife of sorts, providing a range of functionalities that make the development process smoother and more efficient.

To install Expo CLI, you need to have Node.js (Node version 12 or higher) installed on your computer. You can then use the following command to install Expo CLI globally:

Once installed, you can create a new Expo project using the expo init command. This will prompt you to choose a template for your new project. After you've made your selection, Expo CLI will set up the project and install the necessary dependencies.

Expo CLI also allows you to start your project locally. By running the expo start command, you can open your project in the Expo app on your phone by scanning the QR code that appears in your terminal.

This will launch a development server where you can preview your app and see live updates as you make changes to your code.

Expo CLI is a powerful tool that simplifies the development process, making it an essential part of any Expo developer's toolkit.

Expo and React Native: A Comparative Analysis

React Native and Expo are two powerful tools that have fundamentally transformed the landscape of mobile app development. But what exactly are they, and how do they differ from each other?

React Native is a JavaScript framework developed by Facebook that allows you to build mobile apps using only JavaScript. It's like React, but instead of targeting the browser, it targets mobile platforms. In other words, with React Native, you can develop truly native apps that don't compromise your users' experiences.

Expo, on the other hand, is a set of tools built around React Native. It's a framework that offers a set of software development tools and services that let you build native iOS and Android apps using JavaScript and React. Think of Expo as a layer of tools and services built on top of React Native - it simplifies the process of deploying and iterating on your app.

The primary difference between Expo and React Native lies in the development experience. Expo provides a smoother and more streamlined development process, thanks to its preconfigured environment. It's perfect for developers who want to focus on writing JavaScript and don't want to deal with native code.

React Native, however, offers more flexibility. It allows you to write parts of your app in native code whenever you need to optimize certain aspects of your app. It's ideal for projects that need that extra level of customization that can only be achieved through native code.

In conclusion, whether you should use Expo or React Native depends largely on your project's needs. If you value a smooth, streamlined development process and don't need to write any native code, Expo is the way to go. If, however, you need that extra level of customization, React Native would be a better choice.

Running Expo: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we've got a solid understanding of what Expo is and how it compares to React Native, let's dive into the nitty-gritty of running an Expo app.

First things first, you'll need to install the Expo CLI on your computer. If you haven't done this yet, you can do so by running the following command:

Once the Expo CLI is installed, you can create a new Expo project by running the Expo init command. This will prompt you to choose a template for your new project. Once you've selected a template, Expo CLI will set up the project and install any necessary dependencies.

To start your project, navigate to the project directory and run the expo start command. This will start the development server and open a new tab in your web browser with the Expo developer tools.

On the left side of the developer tools, you'll see a QR code. You can scan this QR code with the Expo app on your iOS or Android device to open your project. Any changes you make to your project will be reflected in real-time on your device.

Running an Expo app is as simple as that! With just a few commands, you can have a fully functioning Expo app up and running on your device. Happy coding!

The Role of Xcode in Expo Development

As we venture deeper into the world of Expo, it's important to understand the role of Xcode in the development process. Xcode is Apple's integrated development environment (IDE) and is used for developing software for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS.

But do you need Xcode for Expo? The short answer is no, not necessarily.

Expo is designed to help developers create iOS and Android apps using JavaScript and React. With Expo, you can create and test your apps using the Expo client app on your iOS or Android device. This means you don't need Xcode or Android Studio to get started with Expo.

However, there are certain scenarios where you might need Xcode with Expo. For instance, if you decide to eject your Expo app to have finer control over the native iOS code, you'll need Xcode to build and run the iOS part of your project.

So, while Xcode isn't a necessity for running Expo, it can be a valuable tool in your arsenal if you decide to dive deeper into native app development.

Remember, the beauty of the Expo lies in its flexibility. Whether you're a JavaScript guru who wants to stay in the comfort zone of JS and React, or a brave explorer eager to venture into the realms of native code, Expo has got you covered.

Expo Router: An Evaluation of its Effectiveness

Routing is a crucial aspect of any application. It's the mechanism that allows users to navigate between different parts of an application. In the context of React Native and Expo, we have several options for routing, and one of them is Expo Router.

Expo Router is a simple, yet powerful routing library for Expo and React Native apps. It's built on top of React Navigation, which is a popular choice for handling navigation in a React Native app.

One of the key strengths of Expo Router is its simplicity. It provides a straightforward API that makes it easy to define your app's navigation structure. You can define routes as simple JavaScript objects, and Expo Router takes care of the rest.

Another advantage of Expo Router is its support for universal apps. With Expo Router, you can write your navigation code once and have it work on both iOS and Android. This can save you a significant amount of time and effort.

However, it's worth noting that Expo Router might not be the best choice for complex apps with intricate navigation structures. In such cases, you might be better off using a more robust solution like React Navigation.

In conclusion, Expo Router is a solid choice for simple to moderately complex Expo and React Native apps. It's easy to use, supports universal apps, and provides a clean and intuitive API for defining routes. But for more complex apps, you might want to consider other options.

The Significance of GitHub Actions in Expo Development

As we continue our journey into the world of Expo, it's impossible to overlook the significance of GitHub Actions. GitHub Actions is a powerful feature from GitHub that allows you to automate your software workflows directly in your GitHub repository.

In the context of Expo development, GitHub Actions can be a game-changer. It can automate a variety of tasks, such as running tests, building your app, and even deploying it to the App Store or Google Play Store.

For instance, you can set up a GitHub Action to automatically build your Expo app whenever you push to a specific branch or open a pull request. This not only saves you time but also ensures that your app is always in a deployable state.

Here's a basic example of a GitHub Action that builds an Expo app:

In this example, the GitHub Action is triggered whenever you push to the main branch. It checks out your code, sets up Node.js, installs your dependencies, and builds your Expo app.

By leveraging the power of GitHub Actions, you can automate your Expo development workflow and focus on what you do best: writing awesome code.

Expo vs Bare React Native: A Detailed Comparison

The choice between Expo and bare React Native often comes down to the specific needs of your project. Both have their strengths and can be the right choice depending on the situation. Let's take a closer look at how they stack up against each other.

Expo is a framework and a platform for universal React applications. It's a set of tools and services built around React Native, and it's great for getting started quickly with a new project. With Expo, you can write JavaScript and have it run natively on iOS and Android devices. It also comes with a bunch of APIs out of the box, which means you don't have to worry about linking libraries or dealing with native code.

On the other hand, bare React Native is just the React Native library and nothing else. It doesn't come with any extra APIs or tools like Expo does. This means you have more flexibility and control, but it also means you have to do more setup work yourself. You'll have to link libraries, set up your build process, and handle updates all on your own.

Here's a quick breakdown of the key differences:

  • Setup and Updates: With Expo, setup is a breeze. You don't have to worry about setting up Xcode or Android Studio, and updates are handled for you. With bare React Native, you'll have to do all of this yourself.
  • API Access: Expo comes with a bunch of APIs out of the box, like camera access, accelerometer, and more. With bare React Native, you'll have to link these libraries yourself.
  • Flexibility: Bare React Native gives you more flexibility. You can write native code and have more control over your app. With Expo, you're limited to the APIs and services that Expo provides.
  • Build Process: With Expo, you can build your app on the Expo servers, which is easier and faster. With bare React Native, you'll have to set up your own build process.

In conclusion, if you want to get started quickly and don't need to write any native code, Expo is a great choice. If you need more control and don't mind doing some extra setup work, bare React Native is the way to go.

The Use of Expo for React Native: Pros and Cons

Expo has become a popular choice among developers for creating React Native apps, and for good reason. It provides a streamlined development experience, allowing you to focus on writing JavaScript without having to worry about the nitty-gritty details of setting up your native environment.

However, like any tool, Expo is not without its drawbacks. Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of using Expo for React Native development.


  • Simplicity: Expo simplifies the process of setting up and managing your React Native environment. You don't need to install Xcode or Android Studio, and you can get started with just a few commands.
  • Speed: With Expo, you can see your changes in real time on your device or in a simulator. This makes for a fast and efficient development process.
  • Built-in APIs: Expo comes with a bunch of APIs out of the box, which means you don't have to worry about linking libraries or dealing with native code.
  • Over-the-air updates: Expo allows you to push updates to your app without having to go through the app store review process. This can be a huge time-saver.


  • Limited flexibility: While Expo's simplicity is one of its strengths, it can also be a limitation. Because Expo handles a lot of the details for you, you have less control over your app's configuration.
  • Size: Expo apps tend to be larger than their bare React Native counterparts. This is because Expo includes a lot of APIs and libraries out of the box, whether you use them or not.
  • Native modules: If you need to use a native module that isn't included in Expo, you'll need to eject it from Expo and switch to bare React Native. This can be a complex and time-consuming process.

In conclusion, Expo is a powerful tool for React Native development, but it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your project's needs, you might be better off with bare React Native. As always, the best tool is the one that fits your needs the best.

Expo Git: A Comprehensive Guide

Expo Git, a term you might have come across in your development journey, refers to the process of managing your Expo projects using Git, a widely-used version control system. Git allows you to track changes in your code, collaborate with other developers, and revert back to previous versions of your code if needed.

In the context of Expo, using Git can be incredibly beneficial. It allows you to keep track of changes in your Expo project, collaborate with your team, and ensure that your code is always in a deployable state.

Here's a basic workflow of how you might use Git with Expo:

  1. Initialize a Git repository: Navigate to your project directory and run git init to initialize a new Git repository.

  1. Add your files to the repository: Use the git add command to add your files to the repository. You can add all files in the directory using git add.

  1. Commit your changes: Once you've added your files, you can commit your changes using git commit. This creates a new version of your code that you can revert back to if needed.

  1. Push your changes: Finally, you can push your changes to a remote repository using git push. This allows other developers to access your code and collaborate with you.

By integrating Git into your Expo workflow, you can ensure that your code is always in a good state, collaborate more effectively with your team, and develop better apps.

The Role of EAS in Expo Development

As we continue to explore the world of Expo, it's important to shed some light on Expo Application Services (EAS), a suite of tools and services that help you build, deploy, and update your Expo and React Native apps.

EAS provides a range of services that make it easier to develop and maintain your Expo apps. These include EAS Build, which allows you to build your app in the cloud, and EAS Submit, which simplifies the process of submitting your app to the App Store and Google Play Store.

One of the key benefits of EAS is that it allows you to build your app in the cloud. This means you don't need to have Xcode or Android Studio installed on your machine, and you can build your app for both iOS and Android with a single command:

EAS also simplifies the process of deploying updates to your app. With EAS Update, you can push updates to your app over-the-air, without having to go through the app store review process. This can be a huge time-saver, especially for apps that need to be updated frequently.

In conclusion, EAS is a powerful addition to the Expo ecosystem that can significantly streamline your development workflow. Whether you're building a simple app or a complex project, EAS has the tools and services to help you succeed.

Conclusion: The Future of Expo in Frontend Development

As we wrap up our journey into the world of Expo, it's clear that Expo has a lot to offer for frontend development. With its streamlined development experience, built-in APIs, and powerful tools like EAS and GitHub Actions, Expo is a compelling choice for building universal native apps.

But as with any tool, Expo is not without its challenges. The limited flexibility and larger app size can be a drawback for some projects. However, with careful planning and a clear understanding of your project's needs, these challenges can be managed effectively.

Looking ahead, the future of Expo in frontend development looks bright. With ongoing improvements and a strong community of developers, Expo continues to push the boundaries of what's possible with React Native.

As a developer, it's an exciting time to be working with Expo. The tools and services that Expo provides are continually evolving, making it easier and more efficient to build high-quality native apps.

So whether you're just starting out with React Native or you're an experienced developer looking to streamline your workflow, I highly recommend giving Expo a try. It might just be the tool you need to take your frontend development to the next level.

And remember, as you embark on your Expo journey, don't forget to explore tools like WiseGPT, a promptless Generative AI for React developers. It can write code in your style without context limit, provides API integration by accepting Postman collection, and even supports extending UI in the VSCode itself. It's a powerful companion that can make your Expo development experience even more enjoyable.

Happy coding!

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