Learn the Basics

React NodeGui uses native components instead of web based components as building blocks. So to understand the basic structure of a React NodeGui app, you need to be familiar with Javascript or Typescript and React. This tutorial is aimed at everyone who has some web experience with web development.

React NodeGui development in a nutshell

As far as development is concerned, an React NodeGui application is essentially a Node.js application. The starting point is a package.json that is identical to that of a Node.js module. A most basic React NodeGui app would have the following folder structure:

your-app/
├── package.json
├── index.js

All APIs and features found in NodeGui are accessible through the @nodegui/react-nodegui and @nodegui/nodegui modules, which can be required like any other Node.js module. Additionally you have access to all Node.js apis and node modules.

require("@nodegui/react-nodegui");

The @nodegui/react-nodegui module exports widgets and features in namespaces. As an example, a window can be created using the Window component. A simple main.js file might open a window:

const { Window, Renderer } = require("@nodegui/react-nodegui");
const App = () => {
return <Window></Window>;
};
Renderer.render(<App />);

The index.js should create windows and handle all the system events your application might encounter.

What's going on here?

Firstly, we are running a Node.js app and not a browser based app. This means we do not have access to any browser APIs. The window you see is actually a native widget created by Qt. Window component is essentially a lightweight javascript wrapper over NodeGui's QMainWindow, which internally is Qt's QMainWindow. Hence every prop you set on Window instance is actually affecting a native window widget. This is very light weight as compared to browser based solutions and hence is more closer to the Operating system.

Trying out the starter project

Clone and run the code by using the nodegui/react-nodegui-starter repository.

Note: Running this requires Git and npm.

# Clone the repository
$ git clone https://github.com/nodegui/react-nodegui-starter
# Go into the repository
$ cd react-nodegui-starter
# Install dependencies
$ npm install
# Run the dev server
$ npm run dev
# Run the app on a separate terminal tab or window
$ npm start

What else other than a basic window?

React NodeGui has support for basic components like View (similar to div), CheckBox, PushButton and many more. You can take a look at the list of native widgets that React NodeGui currently supports here : Native widgets in React NodeGui. With time more native components and APIs will be added to React NodeGui. Apart from modules in React NodeGui, you also have access to the entire node modules ecosystem. Thus, any node module that you can use with Node.js, can be used with React NodeGui. This makes it extremely powerful.

Fine, I want something more custom and beautiful than just native looking widgets. What do I do?

To make things more beautiful, you will have to learn about styling. Lets take a look at that next.