Adding stack navigation with Stack Navigator

In the previous part, we’ve added navigation to our application using SwitchNavigator from the React Navigation library. This enables us to navigate between two screens, a splash and home screen. Now, let’s see how to add stack navigation between the home screen and a read later screen that we will create next, but we’ll implement its functionality later in the upcoming parts.

According to the docs:

StackNavigator provides a way for your app to transition between screens where each new screen is placed on top of a stack. By default the stack navigator is configured to have the familiar iOS and Android look & feel.

You can create a stack navigator by calling the createStackNavigator() method which takes a route configuration and a navigation configuration as arguments.

Inside the screens folder. Create a ReadLaterScreen.js file and add the following initial code:

import React from 'react';
import { View, Text} from 'react-native';
const ReadLaterScreen = () => {
    return <View>
        <Text>
            Read later screen
        </Text>
    </View>
};
export default ReadLaterScreen;

Go to the App.js file, next import the createStackNavigator() method and the ReadLaterScreen component:

import ReadLaterScreen from './screens/ReadLaterScreen';

import { createStackNavigator, createSwitchNavigator, createAppContainer } from "react-navigation";

Next, create a stack navigator as follows:

const MainNavigator = createStackNavigator({
  Home: HomeScreen,
  ReadLater: ReadLaterScreen
});

Also, you need to change the switch navigator as follows:

const AppNavigator = createSwitchNavigator({
  Splash: SplashScreen,
  Main: MainNavigator
});

We moved to the HomeScreen component from the switch navigator to the stack navigator and we nested the stack navigator called MainNavigator into the switch navigator called AppNavigator.

That’s it. We already have created an application container and called it from the App component:

AppContainer = createAppContainer(AppNavigator);
const App = () => {
  return <AppContainer />

};
export default App;

Now, we only need to be able to navigate from the home screen to the read later screen when we press the Read later button which will save the link in the local database and navigate us to the screen where we’ll find all the saved links.

First, open the screens/HomeScreen.js file and pass the props.navigation object to the ArticleItem component:

            <FlatList
                data={ props.navigation.getParam("articles", []) }
                ListHeaderComponent={FlatListHeader}
                ItemSeparatorComponent={FlatListItemSeparator}
                keyExtractor={(item, index) => index.toString()}
                renderItem={({ item }) => <ArticleItem article={item} navigation = { props.navigation }/>}
            />

Next, open the components/ArticleItem.js file and call the navigate() method of the navigation object when the Read later button is pressed:

        <IconButton width= "50%" color = "white" bgcolor = "#ff5c5c" icon = { bookmarkIcon } onPress = { () => { saveArticle(title, url); navigation.navigate("ReadLater"); } } title = "Read later" />

Now, if your reload your app, you should be able to navigate to the read later screen by clicking on the Read later button in any news article.

After, adding the stack navigator you’ll notice that the components that are part of the navigator have a blank top bar:

Now, how to customize the text and color of the top navigation bars?

You can customize the the top navigation bar using the navigationOptions object for each screen component or the defaultNavigationOptions object for all screens.

Change the stack navigator as follows:

const MainNavigator = createStackNavigator({
  Home: HomeScreen,
  ReadLater: ReadLaterScreen
},
  {
    defaultNavigationOptions: {
      headerStyle: {
        backgroundColor: '#f4511e',
      },
      headerTitle: 'Newzzz'
    },
  }
);

We provide a second argument to createStackNavigator() method which takes a configuration object for customization many aspects of the navigation.

Here we use the headerTitle property to set a default header title for all the screens of the navigation stack and we set a default background color using backgroundColor.

We can also customize each screen differently using navigationOptions in the route configuration.

Let’s see that by customizing the header title of the read later screen:

const MainNavigator = createStackNavigator({
  Home: HomeScreen,
  ReadLater: {
    screen: ReadLaterScreen,
    navigationOptions: () => ({
      headerTitle: `Reading list`
    }),
  },
},
  {
    defaultNavigationOptions: {
      headerStyle: {
        backgroundColor: '#f4511e',
      },
      headerTitle: 'Newzzz'
    },
  }
);

Instead of directly passing the component to the route configuration, we use an object with a screen property that specifies the component to render and the navigationOptions that takes an arrow function which returns a configuration object for the screen.

Here we only set the title using the headerTitle but you can refer to the docs for more navigation options.

These are the screenshots of the screens, after customizing the navigation bars:

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About the author

Ahmed Bouchefra
is a web developer with 5+ years of experience and technical author with an engineering degree on software development. You can hire him with a click on the link above or contact him via his LinkedIn account. He authored technical content for the industry-leading websites such as SitePoint, Smashing, DigitalOcean, RealPython, freeCodeCamp, JScrambler, Pusher, and Auth0. He also co-authored various books about modern web development that you can find from Amazon or Leanpub


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