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Drag and Drop in Mobile App using React Native


Drag and drop functionality is a popular interaction pattern that enhances the user experience by allowing them to manipulate elements using touch gestures. In this tutorial, we’ll explore how to implement drag and drop in a React Native app using the PanResponder API. We’ll provide a practical example along with a detailed explanation of each step.

Understanding PanResponder in React Native

The PanResponder API is an essential tool for handling touch gestures in React Native. It provides methods and callbacks to recognize and respond to touch interactions like dragging, swiping, and more. 

To use PanResponder, you first need to create a PanResponder object. You can do this by calling the PanResponder.create() function. The PanResponder.create() function takes a few arguments, including:

  • onStartShouldSetPanResponder: This function is called when the user starts to drag an element. The function should return a boolean value indicating whether or not the PanResponder should be activated.
  • onPanResponderGrant: This function is called when the PanResponder is activated. The function can be used to do things like set the initial position of the element being dragged.
  • onPanResponderMove: This function is called whenever the user moves the element being dragged. The function can be used to update the position of the element.
  • onPanResponderRelease: This function is called when the user releases the element being dragged. The function can be used to do things like perform an action when the element is dropped.

Implementing Drag and Drop: A Practical Example

Let’s implement drag and drop functionality using a practical example. We’ll create a draggable component that responds to touch gestures by allowing the user to drag it around the screen.

Step 1: Import Dependencies

Start by importing the necessary dependencies:

import React, { useState } from ‘react’;

import { View, Animated, PanResponder } from ‘react-native’;

Step 2: Create the Draggable Component

Define the draggable component using the functional component syntax:

Step 3: Use the Draggable Component

In your main component, use the DraggableComponent within your layout:

Step 4: Style your Components

Add styles to your components to control their appearance:

In this example, the DraggableComponent component uses the PanResponder component to implement drag and drop. The PanResponder component is attached to the View component. The onPanResponderMove function is used to update the position of the draggable content as the user drags it. The onPanResponderRelease function is used to log a message to the console when the user releases the Image component.



You’ve successfully implemented drag and drop functionality in your React Native app using the PanResponder API. By understanding the PanResponder callbacks and applying them to the DraggableComponent, you’ve enabled touch interactions that allow users to drag elements across the screen. You can now build upon this foundation to create more complex drag and drop interactions and enhance the usability of your app. Happy coding!

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