A Guide to Embedding and Playing YouTube Videos in React Native Apps | Hacker Noon

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In this article, we are going to describe how to add a video player in your React Native app in order to support the playing of YouTube videos. Video is the present and the future of the Internet, as you can already see through apps such as TikTok, YouTube, Instagram or Facebook.

Video support is a feature that makes your app more lively, more interactive and more fun. By the end of this article, you will be able to embed any YouTube video of your choice in a React Native app easily. For you to understand this tutorial you should be familiar with the use of useRef and useState in React Native.

To play YouTube videos in React Native, we will be making use of the npm dependency named react-native-youtube-iframeWe will use this library by fully integrating it into an app.

Installation

You need to install react-native-webview first. Simply run:

yarn add react-native-webview

or

npm install react-native-webview

then install react-native-youtube-iframe:

yarn add react-native-youtube-iframe

or 

npm install react-native-youtube-iframe

Usage

/**
 * Sample React Native App
 * https://github.com/facebook/react-native
 *
 * @format
 * @flow strict-local
 */

import React from 'react';
import {View} from 'react-native';
import YoutubePlayer from 'react-native-youtube-iframe';

const App = () => {

  return (
    <View>
      <YoutubePlayer
        height={300}
        play={true}
        videoId={'84WIaK3bl_s'}
      />
    </View>
  );
};

The required props here are height and the videoId  of the YouTube video you intend to play in the React Native app. As seen in the app below, we have a Casey Neistat travel vlog on display:

The play prop is set to true, so let us take it a step further and control play and pause actions:

/**
 * Sample React Native App
 * https://github.com/facebook/react-native
 *
 * @format
 * @flow strict-local
 */

import React, {useState, useCallback} from 'react';
import {Button, View, Alert} from 'react-native';
import YoutubePlayer from 'react-native-youtube-iframe';

const App = () => {
  const [playing, setPlaying] = useState(false);

  const togglePlaying = () => {
    setPlaying((prev) => !prev);
  }

  return (
    <View>
      <YoutubePlayer
        height={300}
        play={playing}
        videoId={'84WIaK3bl_s'}
      />
      <Button title={playing ? 'pause' : 'play'} onPress={togglePlaying} />
    </View>
  );
};

Now we have a control to play and pause the YouTube video. It would be nice to add a feature to tell the user that the video is done playing by passing a callback such as the onChangeState prop provided by the dependency:

/**
 * Sample React Native App
 * https://github.com/facebook/react-native
 *
 * @format
 * @flow strict-local
 */

import React, {useState} from 'react';
import {Button, View, Alert} from 'react-native';
import YoutubePlayer from 'react-native-youtube-iframe';

const App = () => {
  const [playing, setPlaying] = useState(false);

  const onStateChange = (state) => {
    if (state === 'ended') {
      setPlaying(false);
      Alert.alert('video has finished playing!');
    }
  }

  const togglePlaying = () => {
    setPlaying((prev) => !prev);
  }

  return (
    <View>
      <YoutubePlayer
        height={300}
        play={playing}
        videoId={'84WIaK3bl_s'}
        onChangeState={onStateChange}
      />
      <Button title={playing ? 'pause' : 'play'} onPress={togglePlaying} />
    </View>
  );
};

Now that we’re done learning the basic usage of this YouTube player dependency, let us go ahead and build a complete control for our video player to play, pause, skip, and mute.

import React, {useState, useRef} from 'react';
import {View, Alert, StyleSheet} from 'react-native';
import YoutubePlayer from 'react-native-youtube-iframe';
import {Icon} from 'react-native-elements';

const App = () => {
  const [playing, setPlaying] = useState(false);
  const [isMute, setMute] = useState(false);
  const controlRef = useRef();

  const onStateChange = (state) => {
    if (state === 'ended') {
      setPlaying(false);
      Alert.alert('video has finished playing!');
    }
    if (state !== 'playing') {
      setPlaying(false);
    }
  };

  const togglePlaying = () => {
    setPlaying((prev) => !prev);
  };

  const seekBackAndForth = (control) => {
    console.log('currentTime');
    controlRef.current?.getCurrentTime().then((currentTime) => {
      control === 'forward'
        ? controlRef.current?.seekTo(currentTime + 15, true)
        : controlRef.current?.seekTo(currentTime - 15, true);
    });
  };

  const muteVideo = () => setMute(!isMute);

  const ControlIcon = ({name, onPress}) => (
    <Icon onPress={onPress} name={name} size={40} color="#fff" />
  );

  return (
    <View style={styles.container}>
      <YoutubePlayer
        height={300}
        ref={controlRef}
        play={playing}
        mute={isMute}
        videoId={'84WIaK3bl_s'}
        onChangeState={onStateChange}
      />
      <View style={styles.controlContainer}>
        <ControlIcon
          onPress={() => seekBackAndForth('rewind')}
          name="skip-previous"
        />
        <ControlIcon
          onPress={togglePlaying}
          name={playing ? 'pause' : 'play-arrow'}
        />
        <ControlIcon
          onPress={() => seekBackAndForth('forward')}
          name="skip-next"
        />
      </View>
      <ControlIcon
        onPress={muteVideo}
        name={isMute ? 'volume-up' : 'volume-off'}
      />
    </View>
  );
};

const styles = StyleSheet.create({
  container: {
    flex: 1,
    backgroundColor: 'darkblue',
  },
  controlContainer: {
    flexDirection: 'row',
    justifyContent: 'space-around',
  },
});

We have added more custom controls to the original component we already had before and added callbacks to seek forward and backward using the playerRef ref.

The mute control is basically managed by the isMute state but it is worthy of note that the dependency provides a method isMuted (returns a promise that resolves to true if the video is muted, false if not) to determine if the video is muted or not.

Conclusion

Embedding and playing YouTube videos in your React Native app is seamless and a more affordable way of displaying videos in your app, given that YouTube will support the costs of hosting the video itself.

The npm dependency we described is really easy to use and is highly customisable, as we have seen in the above snippet where we added forward and rewind controls.

Next time you’re looking to add YouTube video support to React Native apps, refer to this tutorial. If you enjoyed the project, please consider sharing the link with your friends and community. Cheers!

Previously published at https://www.instamobile.io/react-native-tutorials/play-youtube-videos-react-native/

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