How to Implement Push Notifications in a React Native Mobile App?

react-native push notifications

Did you know that an average millennial Smartphone user has around 67 apps installed on the Smartphone?

However, they don’t usually use them all regularly. In fact, most of them use around 25 of the applications. It means that to gain the expected engagement from your app, you have to find ways to remind them of its existence.

There are many ways to do it, like email reminders, but the best way is push notifications. And this post will tell you more about them. It will talk about implementing it in one of the common mobile app frameworks- React Native. Have a look.

What are Push Notifications?

If you have a smartphone that most people nowadays have, you are familiar with the small messages that appear in the notification sections. They can be notifications about financial transactions, social media updates, or even the new themes in your theme pack. These clickable pop-ups are what you generally call push notifications.

Blackberry started them way back as a way to divert their users towards applications or messages. Google and iPhone soon followed it, along with a lot of mobile application companies. Presently, these notifications are being used to remind users about emails, missed calls, application updates, music players, and much more.

Businesses now use them as a way to communicate with Smartphone users. They can inform users about the latest updates, offers, important information and sometimes conduct surveys.

How to Implement Push Notifications in React Native Applications?

React Native is an open-source framework that offers excellent compatibility with cross-platform applications. It uses JavaScript as the main language and has all the tools to implement automated notifications.

But before you implement them, you need to decide the method for sending the notifications. Usually, any React Native application allows you two different ways for this part-local and remote implementation.

Local Notifications: As the name suggests, the messages work internally. They are pre-programmed into the application and do not need a direct server link to display the messages. They might need the internet, but it’s not mandatory.

Remote Notification: This approach is complicated and needs a server and a messaging service like Firebase cloud.  In this case, you generate and send the messages from the server to the app or browser. They need the internet and are often preferable for non-constant applications. Like shopping applications where the cart content and offers change constantly.

Now that you know about the messaging methods, the next part is implementing them in your application. For this part, you will need a couple of SDK and Services installed on your system.  In the case of remote notifications, a server system or messaging service is also a must. There are more than enough options like Dappros that you consider for this part.

Dappros can also provide you with custom SDK and codes that you would need to automate the push notifications. Their experts can also help you to implement them in your applications. But, if you are willing to put in extra work into implementing the notification, here’s how you do it.

Step 1: Acquiring Libraries

To get started with push notifications in React Native application, you will need NodeJS, React Native client, and a system to program it. It’s also good to have an emulator to test the applications. It lets you test the new setting at any number of devices and screen sizes.

Once you have the required part, the next thing is the React Native push notification library. It helps control the notification, and you can easily acquire the library over Github or any similar site.

Simply create a new React Native project and install this library on it. The iOS app will need manual installation, and you can help regarding pity from the React Native community.

As for Android, you can make direct changes to the file. The first file you need to change is the ‘android/build.gradle.’ Here, you need to define the role of the file and import the necessary libraries. Usually, you start by writing ‘Buildscript’ in the first line and ‘Ext’ in the next one. Then define the application that will implement the notification along with its version.

Next is the command for the messaging version, SDK, and support libraries. You can refer to the following code as a reference to get an idea.

React-Native

The next file that you need to create or change is the ‘build.gradle.’ Save it in the path – ‘android/app/build.gradle.’ This file is short and defines the dependencies of the push notifications. The following reference code will help you understand.

React-native

After you complete both cradle files, it’s time to create data for the basic behavior of the notification. Start with opening ‘android/app/src’ and create/opening the file mainfest.XML.

In this file, you will write about the notification’s permissions and how it acts. In simpler words, this is the file that defines the action of your notification. The code provided below will shed some light on this aspect and help you understand the available options.

react

And lastly comes the color file, which defines the background of your notification. You will find this file under the path- ‘android/app/src/res/values.’ It’s named ‘color.XMl,’ and you can create a new file if it’s not there.

This file has two simple commands. The first one starts the services, and the next is the execution part. Simply write ‘<Resource>’ and then ‘<color name= XXXX>’ where XXX is the color code you need. Finally, close both these commands using ‘</color>’ and ‘</resource>.’

Step 2: Configure Notifications

While the initial configuration files of push notifications are the same, the execution configurations differ depending on implementation.

Local Notification

The notification configuration will need you to create a service file. You have to create this file by the name ‘localPushController.js’ in the ‘services’ folder of your ‘src’ files. Then open the file and write ‘import PushNotification from ‘react-native-push-notification’ to import the library.

After that, write the’ PushNotification.configure ()’command to enable notification. Everything about the push notification, including how it behaves and its functions, comes under this command. Here’s the basic code that you can use for a trial run.

REACT

Next, import the local notification file and start writing its properties, like vibration or light intensity, time, and more.

Some of these properties like vibration are Android only, while others like titles, text, and more works on iOS too.

Now, create or start editing the file-‘App.js.’ Start the file by importing the React Native files, the control files, and libraries. Then you have to add a handle that defines when the notification will pop.

The following reference code shows the command for push notification that gets triggered when the user pressed a button.

The button you define and its properties depend on your application or code. If you are using the sample code provided here, you will see a white screen with a button in the middle. When you click it, a notification will appear with a vibration. When you expand it, you will see the text under the ‘Bigtext’ command.

Instead of the button, you can also set the time for the notification using the ‘PushNotification.localNotificationSchedule’ command.

Remote Notification

Enabling the remote notification requires you to have a messaging service account. Once you sign up for one, download and install the React Native library. Then register your application and download the JSON file from the link that appears.

Next, browse to ‘Android/App’ in your React Native project and save the JSON file. Then open the file ‘build.gradle’ and define the dependencies.

Now, browse to the ‘Services’ folder in the same location and create a new file under the name ‘Remote PushNotification.js.’ the content and command of this file identical to that of the ‘localnotificationcontroller.js.’ It will start by importing the React Native libraries and then writing notification behavioral properties. The whole code looks almost the same as what you wrote for local notification.

However, in the remote notification, you need to provide a sender ID and sometimes need tokens. You can get your sender ID in the project setting. The tokens, on the other hand, are available with your server.

Once the code and files are in place, open the ‘cloud messaging’ section to run tests. Write the message and press the send button. It will immediately send a notification with your defined action.

And again, if you have used the provided code, the result will not be accurate. These codes are for references only. You will have to alter them according to your app for proper functionality.

Final Words

While the Push Notification seems like a simple feature, its interactive capabilities are very good. They gave a lot better opening rates and click-through than a standard email or text. But of course, that will highly depend on the way you use them.

The data you read should give you a head start for this part. It’s not very personalized, but you can use it as a base for your push notification. And, if it seems too over your head or pain for your finances, outsourcing is always an option.

Finally, it is worth noting there are multiple backend-as-a-service platforms and low code engines such as Dappros Ethora: https://github.com/dappros/ethora that take care of push notifications server infrastructure and reduce your work in the client-side React Native code implementation. We invite you to check them out. Good luck with your project!

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