Blue, white, and red poppy flower field
Evan Stern
Evan Stern
June 23, 20233 min
Table of Contents

Navigation is an integral part of any mobile application, providing a pathway for users to traverse various screens and interfaces. React Navigation, a popular choice among developers, offers a flexible and intuitive approach to implementing complex navigation patterns with relative ease.

Laying the Foundation for React Navigation

Let's start by installing React Navigation:

npm install @react-navigation/native

For the Expo managed project, you will need to install additional dependencies:

expo install react-native-gesture-handler react-native-reanimated react-native-screens react-native-safe-area-context @react-native-community/masked-view

Grasping the Core of Navigation

Demystifying navigation elements: stacks, tabs, and drawers

These are the three primary navigation patterns in mobile applications:

  • Stack Navigation: It follows a stack data structure where screens are stacked on top of each other. Navigating to a new screen places it on top of the stack, and you can go back by popping the screen off the stack.
  • Tab Navigation: It is commonly used for the app's main navigation where different sections of the app are accessible via tabs typically located at the bottom of the screen.
  • Drawer Navigation: It provides a sidebar drawer from the left or right of the screen, typically containing links to various sections of the app.

A primer on screens and components in the context of navigation

In React Navigation, a screen corresponds to a React component. It gets displayed when that screen's route is active in the navigation stack.

import * as React from 'react';
import { Text, View } from 'react-native';
function HomeScreen() {
return (
<View style={{ flex: 1, alignItems: 'center', justifyContent: 'center' }}>
<Text>Home Screen</Text>

A peek into navigation options and parameters

We can pass parameters to routes using the navigate function.

navigation.navigate('RouteName', {
/* parameters goes here */

We can also customize the appearance of a screen in the stack using navigation options.


  1. Why use React Navigation instead of other navigation libraries?

React Navigation provides a JavaScript-based navigation solution that doesn't need native code recompilation, making it a flexible and popular choice.

  1. Can I use both Tab and Stack navigation in the same app?

Absolutely. You can nest different navigation patterns within each other to achieve the desired navigation flow.

  1. How can I pass parameters to a screen?

Parameters can be passed as a second argument to the navigation.navigate function, which will be available in the screen component's props.

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