Weekend Build: Water Tracker UI

Shared in Development on November 23, 2019

This is really not so much a weekend build as a when-I-find-time build. It’ll be a running log of my overall thought process and the execution of creating an application with React Native.

Stay Hydrated, Friends

Let’s build a water tracking app. The focus is going to start with the front-end, user-oriented needs. So, what am I building:

When I drink water, I want to track the amount to make sure I’m drinking a healthy amount throughout the day

To accomplish this, the application will require features such as:

  1. Set a water intake goal
  2. Create new drink
  3. Enter new drink amount
  4. Enter previous drink amount
  5. Store a list of favorite beverage types and their water amount
  6. Enable Quick-Add of favorite beverages for fast entry
  7. Show a history of the water drank
  8. History will clearly indicate when the daily goal was met
  9. Allow the user to edit, delete, and create entries for past drinks
  10. Congratulate the user on consistently hitting their goal

This sounds like a strong set-up for this app. This first version will be very minimal, allowing me to “grease the groove” with React Native, React, and maybe Redux. Okay, let’s talk overall architecture and structure.

The Plan

I want this to be as close to a single-point interaction as possible. The user should open the app, hit “Track Drink,” and close the app. Maybe a watch integration for these ultra-fast micro entries, but that’s what I’ll call scope creep — for now.

This single point interaction focus should help me to keep page count low. Our main screen should include all options required to quickly enter a new drink:

  1. Auto-set to previous drink
  2. Quick-select frequent drink type
  3. Adjust amount drank
  4. Change unit type
  5. Save entry as new favorite drink with label
  6. Select a favorite
  7. Submit drink

A navigation should be present to expand the value of the application:

  1. Main: Drink tracking screen
  2. History: See how well you’re tracking
  3. Favorites: Create and Edit favorite drink types
  4. Settings: Not required in this first version but may become a necessity in future if the development of this application is continued

Okay, let’s go make the interface.


Weekend builds, but with a family and newborn responsibilities, are not weekend builds! I’m going to build this in a ship-as-fast-as-possible, but let’s drop the weekend need.

Okay, back to the app.

I decided to give Figma a try for the prototype- and this is incredible. I’m still getting oriented to their interface, but this is quite possibly the perfect tool for fast prototyping. I’ve already become a big fan. They even offer embed code… let’s see what this is:

note: If you want to share your prototype, go to the prototype screen and share from there! You also get live updates. So if you want to lock in at a specific version, you may need to make a new document. The prototype shared here is updating as I create the interface.

I am very impressed with Figma! The only thing I’m struggling with is the animations of the prototype. Some of these connections do not make sense, however it may be my bias towards other systems I’m already familiar with.

Screens prototyped so far by Sunday night:

  1. Main entry screen/card
  2. Entry history timeline
  3. History stats

I hope I can finish the interface tomorrow. It is a busy day, but I can tell how positive this practice of greasing the groove is for me right now so I’ll make sure to find time.

One small thing I wish Figma had: Export Frames as images.

11/30: Anyone with kids who can still pull off a weekend project.. kudos. Massive kudos. 🙌

Okay, the interface is at a point where I’m happy to start building. You should be able to see the interface in its most recent state above.

Okay, let’s go:

First, let’s make sure Expo is up to date. Also handy if you haven’t installed Expo for react native yet:

$ npm install -g expo-cli

For more info, visit the official React Native docs

Now, let’s start the project:

$ expo init MinMaxHydrate

I decided on the blank workflow with Yarn as my dependency tool.

$ cd MinMaxHydrate && yarn start

Late addition to scope (our favorite!) of having teams in the mix. It’s a bold plan, let’s see if it plays out.

Now that we have our foundation, let’s add some structure:

  • app

    • actions
    • assets
    • fonts
    • icons
    • images
    • components
    • config
    • modules
    • reducers
    • services
    • store
    • views

Oh and of course, we should be tracking with git

git init

I’ll keep the rest of the git steps out of this, but just a reminder for anyone who may follow this!

Since this is a UI focused workflow at the moment, one of the first things I want to do is create a global stylesheet.

Let’s create another directory under assets called styles. I’ll create global.js within this directory.

I’m going to structure this file into sections that will help to clarify the purpose of the styles. For example:

import { StyleSheet } from 'react-native'

const layout = StyleSheet.create({   
  container: {                       
    marginTop: 150,
    backgroundColor: '#ededed',
    flexWrap: 'wrap'

const buttons = StyleSheet.create({  
  primary: {                         
    flex: 1,
    height: 70,
    backgroundColor: 'red',
    justifyContent: 'center',
    alignItems: 'center',
    marginLeft: 20,
    marginRight: 20

export { layout, buttons }   

In this example, every style that assists in layout will be contained within the const layout and styles for buttons will be contained to const buttons. Repeat as necessary.

Let’s move the contents of App.js into a better location. This will be /app/views/Main.js.


import React from 'react';
import Main from './app/views/Main'

export default function App() {
  return (
    <Main />

import React from 'react';
import { Text, View } from 'react-native';

export default function Main() {
  return (
      <Text>Open up App.js to start working on your app!</Text>

Great! Everything in our simulator should be nearly identical to how it was before! This move is going to be useful when we begin to add state management and routing into the application. More on routing soon.

Okay, back to the matter at hand, styles. Let’s start with colors. Keeping colors consistent throughout the UI is critical, let’s set up some variables to help us with this:


const colors = {
    darkBlue: '#0A1C3F',
    midBlue: '#227BCE',
    brightBlue: '#59AFFF',
    grayBlue: '#18294A',
    yellow: '#E5D969',

const layout = StyleSheet.create({   
  container: {                       
    backgroundColor: colors.brightBlue,
    flex: 1,
    flexWrap: 'wrap'

Hol’ up

I didn’t set out to make this a tutorial, but an example of my thought process and a record of me creating an application. This is going to be where jumps begin to happen.

One jump is figuring out the swipe to show/hide the information behind the main entry form. This looks promising to solve this.

New Thing!

I’ve never forked an NPM package to use in a custom way within a project, this is how to do just that:

  1. Fork the original repo
  2. Remove original package from project
  3. In package.json, add the dependency with repo of your new package. For example, mine is now: "rn-bottom-drawer": "https://github.com/brandonbrown/mmf-rn-bottom-drawer.git",
  4. I also ran $ yarn add https://github.com/brandonbrown/mmf-rn-bottom-drawer.git
  5. In package.json of the npm module I removed react and react-native from devDependencies due to a name collision with libraries.
  6. Run yarn and yarn start and we’re back in business with our own version of the module

All of that so I can control the width, but also not lose the work in the case I need to pull the project back down and reinstall the dependencies.


Let’s add the ability to swipe the stats behind the main form card. I’ll add this package to handle this: $ yarn add react-native-swiper@nightly

I quickly added the package to my Main.js to test if it brings the correct capabilities.. and it did. That was too easy. Should I be worried?

Here is how this file looks right now:


import React from 'react';
import { Dimensions, StyleSheet, Text, View  } from 'react-native';
import { layout, buttons, card } from '../assets/styles/global'
import Card from './Card'

import Swiper from 'react-native-swiper'

export default function Main() {

  return (
    <View style={layout.container}>
      <View style={layout.header}>
        <View style={layout.navigation}>

      <View style={layout.content}>
          <View style={styles.slide1}>
            <Text style={styles.text}>Hello Swiper</Text>
          <View style={styles.slide2}>
            <Text style={styles.text}>Beautiful</Text>
          <View style={styles.slide3}>
            <Text style={styles.text}>And simple</Text>
      <Card />


const styles = StyleSheet.create({
  wrapper: {},
  slide1: {
    flex: 1,
    justifyContent: 'center',
    alignItems: 'center',
    backgroundColor: '#9DD6EB'
  slide2: {
    flex: 1,
    justifyContent: 'center',
    alignItems: 'center',
    backgroundColor: '#97CAE5'
  slide3: {
    flex: 1,
    justifyContent: 'center',
    alignItems: 'center',
    backgroundColor: '#92BBD9'
  text: {
    color: '#fff',
    fontSize: 30,
    fontWeight: 'bold'

Yeah that was incredibly easy.

Well, onto something else. Let’s bring some charts into this. I’m a big fan of Victory Charts and most likely will use them, but I’ll do a quick look to see if any new alternatives have shown up.

This looks promising: React Native Chart Kit I really like the contribution graph, I may install this and see how far you can push it.

$ yarn add react-native-chart-kit $ yarn add react-native-svg prop-types

This also needs a few adjustments to handle the styling I’m after. I also just learned that contributions don’t count in forks unless merged into the parent repo. I’d like to track my work, so duplicating the repo may be necessary. I may add the contributions into the parent in the future.

Also, holding a new born slows the typing and the brain equally

Phew! Messing with SVGs directly is a bit of a steep learning curve- but now I can control the radius of the bar chart … bars … independently. Need to sync the project to my custom version of this package now.

A snippet of what I just accomplished:

// barchart.js
const barX = paddingRight + (i * (width - paddingRight)) / data.length + barWidth / 2
      const barY = ((barHeight > 0 ? baseHeight - barHeight : baseHeight) / 4) * 3 + paddingTop
      const barTopRadius = this.props.chartConfig.topRadius
      console.log(`bar ${i} x: `, barX )
      console.log(`bar ${i} y: `, barY )
      return (
          h${barWidth - barTopRadius}
          q${barTopRadius},0 ${barTopRadius}, ${barTopRadius}
          v${(Math.abs(barHeight) / 4) * 3}
          h${(barWidth) * -1}
          v${(Math.abs(barHeight) / 4) * -3}
          q0,-${barTopRadius} ${barTopRadius},-${barTopRadius}

Alright! Customized repos so far if you’d like to take a look: Custom react-native-chart-kit Custom rn-bottom-drawer

Chart Styles

Wow, these really kicked me for one today! Finally have them looking close to what my design was- but the implementation could be stronger. For now, moving on to other things and will revisit later. Don’t want to stop for the sake of tweaking things.