🌌 create-universal-app

Video Demo


🌌 What is this?

Here’s a 15 minute video going over everything if that’s more of your style!

This is an opinionated template for creating fullstack universal(mobile + web codeshare) apps with built in auth for both mobile and web using Expo(mobile), Next(web), tRPC, Prisma, Tamagui(ui/styling), and Clerk(mobile + web auth).

This repo is made on top of

🌟 How it works

Folder Structure

  • apps
    • next
    • expo
  • packages
    • ui (your reusable components/tamagui)
    • db (db schema, prisma stuff)
    • app
      • features (basically all of your frontend code in React Native will go here ⭐️⭐️⭐️)
      • navigation (unifying web + mobile nav)
      • provider (unifying providers)
      • utils (your utils ie. auth/trpc)
    • api (all of your tRPC/backend code)

In a bit more detail

  • Your frontend code will be coded in React Native, meaning that you’re going to write Views instead of divs.(Note: since we are using Tamagui, we’re gonna write Stacks instead Views)
    • apps/expo and apps/next are practically empty folders that are simply referencing your packages/app folder.
    • If you’re familiar with React Native, it’s going to feel as if you’re writing a React Native app, that just happens to also run really well on the web(with SSR and all of those goodies).
    • Your code will get rendered as HTML/CSS on the NextJS side and normal React Native on the Native side.
  • Your backend code is gonna be in “packages/api”. This code is actually gonna get ran by NextJS in a serverless environment. If you’re a little confused about how that works, here’s a good video by Theo that talks about NextJS as a backend framework.
  • Your backend and frontend will communicate with tRPC.
  • Your backend and your DB will communicate with Prisma(ORM).
  • Mobile auth is done with Clerk Expo, and web auth is done with Clerk React and Clerk Next.

Note: you don’t need to understanding how everything works in detail before you can start using something like this. As someone that wants to know how every bolt and nut works, I often get “blocked” by my own perfectionism, so I’m just throwing this out there in case you’re feeling the same about something.

💭 Behind the decisions

Why Tamagui for style/ui?

  • what is Tamagui? -> TLDR: it’s for making things look pretty on both web and mobile while being really really fast and easy to work with.
  • In a bit more detail, Tamagui has 3 things. 1. Compiler 2. Core 3. UI
    • 1 is their unique way of turning your “style related code” into pure CSS faster. Most important thing here is probably this tree flattening thing they do.
    • 2 is a small set of components they built aimed to replace View and Text that you one uses in RN, with some advantages.
    • 3 is a set of UI components that the tama team built using #2.
    • if you want a bit more detail, either visit their website or join discord channel or ask ChatGPT(I admit it’s not the simplest thing out there)
  • why not Nativewind/Tailwind?
    • What I like about Tamagui is that it’s simultaneously Tailwind and DaisyUI that’s built from the ground up designed for universal apps with its own compiler and core components.
    • Feel free to use Nativewind/Tailwind instead of Tamagui! You should be able to set things up there fairly easily.

Why Clerk for auth?

  • On a high level, clerk promises an overall user management solution instead of just authentication with things like User Profile, Banning, Device management and stuff all built in. But in practice, I’ve just personally had an great time using Clerk for Expo compared to Firebase/Supabase auth for my projects.
  • practical things I like about Clerk:
    • Really nice hooks/components(SignedIn/SignedOut) that work for both Expo and NextJs
    • SDKs for all 3 sides: Expo frontend, NextJs frontend, NextJs serverside
    • Fantastic support/help from their team(personal experience)
  • downside:
    • doesn’t do SMS unless you pay: big negative for mobile, but imo makes up for it with easy oauth.
    • premium plan is also expensive compared to the alternatives
    • double edged sword of being a start up

Which DB?

  • I recommend either spin up a postgres instance on Railway or use Supabase, doesn’t matter too much IMO.

🔨 How to use this? Step by step tutorial.

After you’ve duplicated the repo and cloned it, we need to make sure your Yarn is set up properly for monorepos.

1. Set up yarn

  • yarn set version stable make sure we are on 3
  • yarn plugin import workspace-tools add in a workspace plugin
  • yarn config set nodeLinker node-modules make sure we are not using the default plug n play

2. Set up project properly

  • yarn install packages and build the project
  • yarn generate generate your prisma client!
  • set up your environment variables properly by duplicating the .env.example page, removing .example, and entering your environment variables.
    • Clerk API: sign up clerk
    • DATABASE_URL: spin up a postgres instance with Railway or Supabase
  • you’ll also need to manually enter your clerk frontend api into /packages/app/provider/auth/index.tsx(you can also global search //ENTER YOUR ENV HERE)
  • yarn db-push push our schema to our DB

3. Start up your project!

  • yarn web for web dev
  • yarn native to run on iOS or Android
  • yarn studio to start up your prisma studio

4. Starting your project!

  • Put your screens in packages/app/features
  • For smaller components, feel free to put them in /packages/ui
  • For new routes, add them in /packages/api/src/router, and make sure you merge them in index.ts
  • When you add a new page or screen, you’ll need to add the page into both Expo and Next by
    • Expo
      • Go to packages/app/navigation/native/index.tsx and add the page in there following the example
      • Go to packages/app/provider/navigation/index.tsx and add the page in there following the example
    • Next
      • Go to apps/next/pages, create the folder with the name being your route, and an index.tsx that’s importing your element from /app/feature/home


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