Guides
Plan-enterprise-icon
Expo Application Services
API Reference

Tutorial: Creating a native view

1. Initialize a new module

First, we'll create a new module. On this page, we will use the name expo-web-view/ExpoWebView. You can name it whatever you like, just adjust the instructions accordingly:
Terminal
→ npx create-expo-module expo-web-view
Info-icon
Tip: Since you aren't going to actually ship this library, you can hit return for all of the prompts to accept the default values.

2. Set up our workspace

Now let's clean up the default module a little bit so we have more of a clean slate and delete the code that we won't use in this guide.
Terminal
→ cd expo-web-view
→ rm src/ExpoWebView.types.ts src/ExpoWebViewModule.ts
→ rm src/ExpoWebView.web.tsx src/ExpoWebViewModule.web.ts
Find the following files and replace them with the provided minimal boilerplate:
ios/ExpoWebViewModule.swift
import ExpoModulesCore

public class ExpoWebViewModule: Module {
  public func definition() -> ModuleDefinition {
    Name("ExpoWebView")

    View(ExpoWebView.self) {}
  }
}
android/src/main/java/expo/modules/webview/ExpoWebViewModule.kt
package expo.modules.webview

import expo.modules.kotlin.modules.Module
import expo.modules.kotlin.modules.ModuleDefinition

class ExpoWebViewModule : Module() {
  override fun definition() = ModuleDefinition {
    Name("ExpoWebView")

    View(ExpoWebView::class) {}
  }
}
src/index.ts
export { default as WebView, Props as WebViewProps } from './ExpoWebView';
src/ExpoWebView.tsx
import { ViewProps } from 'react-native';
import { requireNativeViewManager } from 'expo-modules-core';
import * as React from 'react';

export type Props = ViewProps;

const NativeView: React.ComponentType<Props> = requireNativeViewManager('ExpoWebView');

export default function ExpoWebView(props: Props) {
  return <NativeView {...props} />;
}
example/App.tsx
import { WebView } from 'expo-web-view';

export default function App() {
  return <WebView style={{ flex: 1, backgroundColor: 'purple' }} />;
}

3. Run the example project

Now let's run the example project to make sure everything is working. We'll need to start the TypeScript compiler to watch for changes and rebuild the module JavaScript, and separately in another terminal window we'll compile and run the example app.
Terminal
# Run this in the root of the project to start the TypeScript compiler
→ npm run build
Terminal
→ cd example
# Run the example app on iOS
→ npx expo run:ios
# Run the example app on Android
→ npx expo run:android
We should now see... a blank purple screen. That's not very exciting, but it's a good start. Let's actually make it a WebView now.

4. Add the system WebView as a subview

Now we are going to add the system WebView with a hardcoded URL as a subview of our ExpoWebView. Our ExpoWebView class extends ExpoView, which extends RCTView from React Native, which finally extends UIView on iOS and View on Android. We need to ensure that the WebView subview has the same layout as ExpoWebView, whose layout will be calculated by React Native's layout engine.

iOS view

On iOS, we set clipsToBounds to true and set the frame of the WebView to the bounds of the ExpoWebView in layoutSubviews to match the layout. init is called when the view is created, and layoutSubviews is called when the layout changes.
ios/ExpoWebView.swift
import ExpoModulesCore
import WebKit

class ExpoWebView: ExpoView {
  let webView = WKWebView()

  required init(appContext: AppContext? = nil) {
    super.init(appContext: appContext)
    clipsToBounds = true
    addSubview(webView)

    let url =  URL(string:"https://docs.expo.dev/modules/")!
    let urlRequest = URLRequest(url:url)
    webView.load(urlRequest)
  }

  override func layoutSubviews() {
    webView.frame = bounds
  }
}

Android view

On Android we use LayoutParams to set the layout of the WebView to match the layout of the ExpoWebView. We can do this when we instantiate the WebView.
android/src/main/java/expo/modules/webview/ExpoWebView.kt
package expo.modules.webview

import android.content.Context
import android.webkit.WebView
import android.webkit.WebViewClient
import expo.modules.kotlin.AppContext
import expo.modules.kotlin.views.ExpoView

class ExpoWebView(context: Context, appContext: AppContext) : ExpoView(context, appContext) {
  internal val webView = WebView(context).also {
    it.layoutParams = LayoutParams(LayoutParams.MATCH_PARENT, LayoutParams.MATCH_PARENT)
    it.webViewClient = object : WebViewClient() {}
    addView(it)

    it.loadUrl("https://docs.expo.dev/modules/")
  }
}

Example app

No changes are needed, we can rebuild and run the app and you will see the Expo Modules API overview page.

5. Add a prop to set the URL

To set a prop on our view, we'll need to define the prop name and setter inside of ExpoWebViewModule. In this case we're going to reach in and access webView property directly for convenience, but in many real world cases you will likely want to keep this logic inside of the ExpoWebView class and minimize the knowledge that ExpoWebViewModule has about the internals of ExpoWebView.
We use the Prop definition component to define the prop. Within the prop setter block we can access the view and the prop. Note that we specify the url is of type URL — the Expo modules API will take care of converting strings to the native URL type for us.

iOS module

ios/ExpoWebViewModule.swift
import ExpoModulesCore

public class ExpoWebViewModule: Module {
  public func definition() -> ModuleDefinition {
    Name("ExpoWebView")

    View(ExpoWebView.self) {
      Prop("url") { (view, url: URL) in
        if view.webView.url != url {
          let urlRequest = URLRequest(url: url)
          view.webView.load(urlRequest)
        }
      }
    }
  }
}

Android module

android/src/main/java/expo/modules/webview/ExpoWebViewModule.kt
package expo.modules.webview

import expo.modules.kotlin.modules.Module
import expo.modules.kotlin.modules.ModuleDefinition
import java.net.URL

class ExpoWebViewModule : Module() {
  override fun definition() = ModuleDefinition {
    Name("ExpoWebView")

    View(ExpoWebView::class) {
      Prop("url") { view: ExpoWebView, url: URL? ->
        view.webView.loadUrl(url.toString())
      }
    }
  }
}

TypeScript module

All we need to do here is add the url prop to the Props type.
src/ExpoWebView.tsx
import { ViewProps } from 'react-native';
import { requireNativeViewManager } from 'expo-modules-core';
import * as React from 'react';

export type Props = {
  url?: string;
} & ViewProps;

const NativeView: React.ComponentType<Props> = requireNativeViewManager('ExpoWebView');

export default function ExpoWebView(props: Props) {
  return <NativeView {...props} />;
}

Example app

Finally, we can pass in a URL to our WebView component in the example app.
example/App.tsx
import { WebView } from 'expo-web-view';

export default function App() {
  return <WebView style={{ flex: 1 }} url="https://expo.dev" />;
}
When you rebuild and run the app, you will now see the Expo homepage.

6. Add an event to notify when the page has loaded

View callbacks allow developers to listen for events on components. They are typically registered through props on the component, for example: <Image onLoad={...} />. We can use the Events definition component to define an event for our WebView. We'll call it onLoad as well.

iOS view and module

On iOS, we need to implement webView(_:didFinish:) and make ExpoWebView extend WKNavigationDelegate. We can then call the onLoad from that delegate method.
ios/ExpoWebView.swift
import ExpoModulesCore
import WebKit

class ExpoWebView: ExpoView, WKNavigationDelegate {
  let webView = WKWebView()
  let onLoad = EventDispatcher()

  required init(appContext: AppContext? = nil) {
    super.init(appContext: appContext)
    clipsToBounds = true
    webView.navigationDelegate = self
    addSubview(webView)
  }

  override func layoutSubviews() {
    webView.frame = bounds
  }

  func webView(_ webView: WKWebView, didFinish navigation: WKNavigation!) {
    if let url = webView.url {
      onLoad([
        "url": url.absoluteString
      ])
    }
  }
}
And we need to indicate in ExpoWebViewModule that the View has an onLoad event.
ios/ExpoWebViewModule.swift
import ExpoModulesCore

public class ExpoWebViewModule: Module {
  public func definition() -> ModuleDefinition {
    Name("ExpoWebView")

    View(ExpoWebView.self) {
      Events("onLoad")

      Prop("url") { (view, url: URL) in
        if view.webView.url != url {
          let urlRequest = URLRequest(url: url)
          view.webView.load(urlRequest)
        }
      }
    }
  }
}

Android view and module

On Android, we need to add override the onPageFinished function. We can then call the onLoad event handler that we defined in the module.
android/src/main/java/expo/modules/webview/ExpoWebView.kt
package expo.modules.webview

import android.content.Context
import android.webkit.WebView
import android.webkit.WebViewClient
import expo.modules.kotlin.AppContext
import expo.modules.kotlin.viewevent.EventDispatcher
import expo.modules.kotlin.views.ExpoView

class ExpoWebView(context: Context, appContext: AppContext) : ExpoView(context, appContext) {
  private val onLoad by EventDispatcher()

  internal val webView = WebView(context).also {
    it.layoutParams = LayoutParams(
      LayoutParams.MATCH_PARENT,
      LayoutParams.MATCH_PARENT
    )

    it.webViewClient = object : WebViewClient() {
      override fun onPageFinished(view: WebView, url: String) {
        onLoad(mapOf("url" to url))
      }
    }

    addView(it)
  }
}
And we need to indicate in ExpoWebViewModule that the View has an onLoad event.
android/src/main/java/expo/modules/webview/ExpoWebViewModule.kt
package expo.modules.webview

import expo.modules.kotlin.modules.Module
import expo.modules.kotlin.modules.ModuleDefinition
import java.net.URL

class ExpoWebViewModule : Module() {
  override fun definition() = ModuleDefinition {
    Name("ExpoWebView")

    View(ExpoWebView::class) {
      Events("onLoad")

      Prop("url") { view: ExpoWebView, url: URL? ->
        view.webView.loadUrl(url.toString())
      }
    }
  }
}

TypeScript module

Note that event payloads are included within the nativeEvent property of the event, so to access the url from the onLoad event we would read event.nativeEvent.url.
src/ExpoWebView.tsx
import { ViewProps } from 'react-native';
import { requireNativeViewManager } from 'expo-modules-core';
import * as React from 'react';

export type OnLoadEvent = {
  url: string;
};

export type Props = {
  url?: string;
  onLoad?: (event: { nativeEvent: OnLoadEvent }) => void;
} & ViewProps;

const NativeView: React.ComponentType<Props> = requireNativeViewManager('ExpoWebView');

export default function ExpoWebView(props: Props) {
  return <NativeView {...props} />;
}

Example app

Now we can update the example app to show an alert when the page has loaded. Copy in the following code, then rebuild and run your app, and you should see the alert!
example/App.tsx
import { WebView } from 'expo-web-view';

export default function App() {
  return (
    <WebView
      style={{ flex: 1 }}
      url="https://expo.dev"
      onLoad={event => alert(`loaded ${event.nativeEvent.url}`)}
    />
  );
}

7. Bonus: Build a web browser UI around it

Now that we have a web view, we can build a web browser UI around it. Have some fun trying to rebuild a browser UI, and maybe even add new native capabilities as needed (for example, to support a back or reload buttons). If you'd like some inspiration, there's a simple example below.
Triangle-down-icon
example/App.tsx
import { useState } from 'react';
import { ActivityIndicator, Platform, Text, TextInput, View } from 'react-native';
import { WebView } from 'expo-web-view';
import { StatusBar } from 'expo-status-bar';

export default function App() {
  const [inputUrl, setInputUrl] = useState('https://docs.expo.dev/modules/');
  const [url, setUrl] = useState(inputUrl);
  const [isLoading, setIsLoading] = useState(true);

  return (
    <View style={{ flex: 1, paddingTop: Platform.OS === 'ios' ? 80 : 30 }}>
      <TextInput
        value={inputUrl}
        onChangeText={setInputUrl}
        returnKeyType="go"
        autoCapitalize="none"
        onSubmitEditing={() => {
          if (inputUrl !== url) {
            setUrl(inputUrl);
            setIsLoading(true);
          }
        }}
        keyboardType="url"
        style={{
          color: '#fff',
          backgroundColor: '#000',
          borderRadius: 10,
          marginHorizontal: 10,
          paddingHorizontal: 20,
          height: 60,
        }}
      />

      <WebView
        url={url.startsWith('https://') || url.startsWith('http://') ? url : `https://${url}`}
        onLoad={() => setIsLoading(false)}
        style={{ flex: 1, marginTop: 20 }}
      />
      <LoadingView isLoading={isLoading} />
      <StatusBar style="auto" />
    </View>
  );
}

function LoadingView({ isLoading }: { isLoading: boolean }) {
  if (!isLoading) {
    return null;
  }

  return (
    <View
      style={{
        position: 'absolute',
        bottom: 0,
        left: 0,
        right: 0,
        height: 80,
        backgroundColor: 'rgba(0,0,0,0.5)',
        paddingBottom: 10,
        justifyContent: 'center',
        alignItems: 'center',
        flexDirection: 'row',
      }}>
      <ActivityIndicator animating={isLoading} color="#fff" style={{ marginRight: 10 }} />
      <Text style={{ color: '#fff' }}>Loading...</Text>
    </View>
  );
}
A simple web browser UI built around our WebView

Next steps

Congratulations, you have created your first simple yet non-trivial Expo module with a native view for iOS and Android! Learn more about the API in the Expo Module API reference.
if you enjoyed this tutorial and haven't done the native module tutorial, go to the "creating a native module" tutorial next.
  • Message-iconAsk a question on the forums
  • Edit-iconEdit this page

Was this doc helpful?