A Glimpse into The Future of React.JS Development
React.JS is set to remain an industry-leading front-end library for quite some time to come. While this is a strong claim to make, particularly when predictions about the future of tech seem so tailor-made to come back to bite you in undisclosed places later, it’s one that’s well justified by the evidence.
While front-end technologies typically tend towards an especially short life span—React.JS is doing things a little bit different. Today, React is building a foundation that will last, one that will create a reliable and dependable library for developers to lean on well into the future.
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While React.JS developers can often list off at least a half dozen previously essential technologies and tools that are now deprecated, obsolete, or completely forgotten—React.JS is working to remain a competitive choice amongst newly emerging platforms.
Why Shift to React 17
In the React.JS framework’s latest release, no new features have been announced at all. Instead, React has been gradually re-tooled and re-focused to build on incremental improvements and architectural changes. The library's continued refinement has, in recent months, been aimed at catching eyes and turning heads using a different kind of approach.
The headline features of the latest version of React.JS includes making future upgrades easier and less error-prone than they’ve ever been. Similar changes to the way React is embedded into other apps are likely to be highly popular too. These two small alterations are going to have a major impact on the productivity and output of developers.
However, it’s work going on deep under the hood that is really making waves in React.JS development communities. Additional effort is being put into making the framework as performant and efficient as possible, addressing previous issues the library has seen, and heading off new ones before they can arise.
Work being undertaken now is designed to ensure that reliability and dependability become words readily associated with the React.JS framework in future developer meetings and discussions. If you are interested in learning more about the current developments of react after it’s v17 release late in 2020, make sure to read our guide to React.JS 2021.
What’s Changing in the Future of React
Far from being a headline-grabbing feature of new versions of React, staged upgrades are coming to the platform and quietly promise to make life much easier for React Developers.
Work done to the underlying architecture makes it possible to upgrade, react, and take full advantage of future new features with less groundwork beforehand. This marks a notable improvement over wholesale changes previously needed. This change alone makes new things possible for React.JS developers.
Working with problematic codebases, upgrading legacy apps, and keeping on top of vital maintenance will be far simpler and more cost-effective using future versions of the library.
Even using multiple different versions of React on a single page, something that caused unpredictable problems previously, has been solved out of the box from version 17 onwards.
While these changes may not be as eye-catching or as enticing as new features, major releases, or changes to tool-sets, they are guaranteed to make future React apps more performant and stable than those built with older versions of the library. They are, in effect, keeping the framework relevant and up to date in the modern day. Further changes are sure to make future releases and updates easier to take advantage of as well.
More changes to the way React works under the hood include recent improvements to the way the library handles async rendering. A tough problem that has followed the library for quite some time, it’s one that often comes with issues of backward compatibility, race conditions, and the potential for memory leaks.
With a seemingly ever-increasing weight carried by the UI in modern apps, and user expectations at an all-time high, it’s a problem that has become increasingly difficult to ignore in recent years.
The time slicing solution built into the latest version of React addresses some of these issues by splitting computation over multiple frames. A process that happens “behind the scenes”, it’s a solution that allows for CPU and task scheduling to be allocated without extensive management by development teams.
Alongside the major and substantive changes happening behind the scenes in React.JS, React Native is inheriting similar transformations of its own.
React native is building on the architectural improvements being implemented in React.JS and using its most recent release to implement more. React’s architectural improvements, codenamed Fabric, aims to take advantage of changes within React.JS to refactor the React Native framework at every level.
The goal of changes in both platforms is to create a more flexible and capable springboard for app developers to leap from.
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The single largest change to React.JS that will impact React Native apps is the wholesale changes made to the way JSX transform toolchain works.
Within React.JS, the benefits of upgrading to take advantage of the new JSX transform include:
- The ability to use JSX without importing React
- Potential to compile more space-efficient apps
- Create an easier barrier of entry for new developers—a reduction in the number of tools and concepts needed to learn React from scratch
In React Native, there are three major internal changes which are likely to impact development on the platform into the short and mid-term future.
Recent additions to React.JS are also enabling improvements to the asynchronous rendering capabilities of the platform. These modifications will make handling asynchronous data easier and more reliable than before, paving the way for asynchronous rendering across devices.
Changes to the current bridge, undertaken as part of the Fabric project, are designed to modernise it for efficiency while improving debugging and tools for future applications.
Recent developer surveys show ReactJS still sits amongst the most popular frameworks in use today. With such a vast user base, extensive community support, and the backing of commercial giants such as Facebook—it’s safe to say the framework isn’t disappearing from the top anytime in the immediate future.
Recent changes that focus on stability, consistency, and reliability will ensure that React.JS retains its popularity and builds on a stable core well into the future.
While this year’s release of React.JS may lack flashy new features and exciting new tools, developers prefer to see resources that boost productivity and efficiency more often. Productivity boosts and ease-of-use updates are one of the most valuable commodities to have. Recent changes and upcoming updates to React.JS promise all that and more.
Work being done today is paving the way for apps in the future and carving a path that will ensure React.JS keeps to its promise of leading the way in application development for many years to come.
If you are still not convinced React.JS is the right choice for your front-end development and you are considering Angular.JS, you may be interested in our article, The Difference Between Angular.JS and React.JS where we explore the precise differences between the two solutions and leave you in a better place to choose between the two technologies.
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