Understanding the CLI

Though you may have installed the react-native-cli via npm as a separate module, it is a shell for accessing the CLI embedded in the React Native of each project. Your commands and their effects are dependent on the version of the module of react-native in context of the project. This guide will give a brief overview of the CLI in the module.

The local CLI

React Native has a local-cli folder with a file named cliEntry.js. Here, the commands are read from commands.js and added as possible CLI commands. E.G. the react-native link command, exists in the react-native/local-cli/link folder, and is required in commands.js, which will register it as a documented command to be exposed to the CLI.

Command definitions

At the end of each command entry is an export. The export is an object with a function to perform, description of the command, and the command name. The object structure for the link command looks like so:

module.exports = {
  func: link,
  description: 'links all native dependencies',
  name: 'link [packageName]',


The command name identifies the parameters that a command would expect. When the command parameter is surrounded by greater-than, less-than symbols < >, this indicates that the parameter is expected. When a parameter is surrounded by brackets [ ], this indicates that the parameter is optional.

© 2015–2018 Facebook Inc.
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License.