ELI5: Flipper – Cross-Platform Debugger

In this blog post, we’ll briefly take a look at a popular open source project called Flipper, an extensible mobile app debugger for iOS, Android, and React Native. We are discussing this ELI5 style open source project to explain things in simple terms and in the shortest possible time.

If you’d prefer to learn by watching, we also have an accompanying video about pinball on our Facebook open source YouTube channel.

Why pinball?

Mobile developers know that debugging is one of the most difficult and tedious tasks they have to perform every day. Finding and fixing bugs in cross-platform environments like Android or iOS becomes even more difficult as each platform has its own unique setup, workflow, emulators, and more.

These challenges in dealing with multiple mobile ecosystems are the reason Facebook created Flipper.

Flipper is an open source platform for debugging iOS, Android and React Native apps. With this debugger you can visualize, check and control your apps via a desktop interface.

Flipper acts as a toolkit for any mobile developer who needs to debug an application. This debugging platform has tools such as a log viewer, an interactive layout inspector, and a network inspector.

Another great feature of Flipper is its expandability. This project was built as a platform because we wanted our community to extend the existing functionalities of the project and create new ones via a plugin API.

Where is it used?

Flipper was open source in early 2018. Here at Facebook we use Flipper extensively with lots of plugins designed for use cases like setting up mobile builds or collecting crash analyzes.

While frameworks like React Native come with first-class support for pinball, numerous popular open source projects have developed pinball plugins like Redux or Litho.

Where can I find out more?

If you want to learn more about pinball, visit their website. It contains extensive documentation and tutorials to help you get started with the project. If you would like to get in touch with the pinball community, we invite you to follow their Twitter account.

About the ELI5 series

In a series of short videos (approx. 1 minute long) one of our developer advocates in the Facebook Open Source Team explains a Facebook Open Source project in an easy-to-understand and usable way.

For each of these videos we will write an accompanying blog post (like the one you are reading now), which you can find on our YouTube channel.

To learn more about Facebook Open Source, visit our open source site, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Interested in working with open source on Facebook? Check out our open source related job postings on our careers page by taking this short survey.

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