Frequently Asked Questions


react-sketchapp evolved out of our need to generate high-quality, consistent Sketch assets for our design system at Airbnb. Wrapping Sketch’s imperative API is a pragmatic solution for a great developer experience and predictable rendering.

How do I console.log?

If you're using skpm, use console.log as usual.

You can view the logs using -> ~/Library/Logs -> com.bohemiancoding.sketch -> Plugin Output.log, or in the terminal

tail -F ~/Library/Logs/com.bohemiancoding.sketch3/Plugin\ Output.log

Occasionally this file disappears — in that case, run this and then try tailing again.

touch ~/Library/Logs/com.bohemiancoding.sketch3/Plugin\ Output.log

Outside of skpm, use log instead of console.log.

I'm running a project as a plugin & Sketch isn't showing my changes

Sketch has a developer mode which refreshes plugins before running. If you're using skpm this should be set up automatically, but just in case try running

defaults write com.bohemiancoding.sketch3.plist AlwaysReloadScript -bool YES

<View> & <Text>? Where are the shapes? Talk to me about your API decisions!

Early versions of react-sketchapp mirrored Sketch's layers — <Rect>, <Oval>, <Star> etc. This was adequate for rendering simplistic designs such as grids of color palettes, but our focus is on production design systems.

At some point, we had to translate from our component codebase's primitives to Sketch's shapes. We tried translating trees of React Native elements into <Rect>s etc, but it felt clumsy. Not every Sketch property has an analog in react-native, but most react-native properties are translatable to Sketch.

By aligning with react-native's API we:

  • think in the same primitives as we actually use in production
  • use the same layout algorithm in design & code
  • render real components into Sketch with react-primitives (a platform independent set of primitives)

Where it makes sense we're open to creating Sketch-specific components —there's no analog for <Artboard> on web or mobile—but the goal of react-sketchapp is to bring design & engineering closer together.

So I can't draw arbitrary shapes?

Not currently. When we find the right API we'll probably implement an SVG-style abstraction for inserting arbitrary paths & polygons etc.

Any plans to support Sketch's constraints for layout?

Not currently. Flexbox is the closest we have to a predictable, cross-platform layout specification — by using it, we can use the same styles on every platform we build for.

We currently use css-layout, but switching to yoga is on the roadmap. #51.

Is there two-way binding? Can I generate React components from Sketch? :repeat:


Isomorphisms are compelling but our focus is on tools that we can use day-to-day to improve the productivity of designers and engineers working on large-scale production applications.

Getting production-ready semantics out of Sketch is more difficult than generating production-ready Sketch templates from React components :skull:

Our solution is to keep our our design system’s source of truth in code, and use react-sketchapp to compose & consume it.

To edit our design system, we are free to leverage any technology that can create React components, or be compiled to JSX, such as:

  • React-centric IDEs
  • in-house design tools that are tailored to our workflow (whilst being backed by data, version control & semantic versioning) :soon: :eyes:
  • writing React components in text editors with our fingers

Does this tie your workflow to Sketch? What about other design tools?

Treating Sketch primarily as a rendering target for cross-platform components pushes you to store components & style in code — you're then free to build translation layers for any other design tool that exposes an API.

Given equivalent API support it would be possible to simultaneously render to react-sketchapp, react-figma, react-xd & react-quark.

Rather than tying us into one design tools, reasoning about design in cross-platform primitives frees us to use the tooling we want.

Can I use Flow or TypeScript?

Of course!

Flow definitions are published with the npm package in lib/*.flow.js.